Wednesday, March 30, 2016

VERSe Ottawa 2016 Hall of Honour : rob mclennan

Thrilled to be inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour a week-plus back, along with Gatineau poet Andrée Lacelle [see the write-up on the VERSeFest website here; see the official press release here]. It has been quite humbling and gratifying to receive such an outpouring of support and congratulations, such as this incredibly kind and generous post by Cameron Anstee.

The experience has me thinking about a number of things, including some similar awards bestowed upon both of my parents: the period my mother was a Cub Leader in Ottawa (at St. Timothy's Church on Alta Vista Drive, 88th Cub Pack, across the street from where we live; she was later a Cub Leader in Maxville, during my own time in Boy Scouts), and my father's plaque from his time as a 4-H Club leader.

What do these connections mean? Perhaps I attempt to link my own activities to those of theirs, working over an extended period to attempt to assist, direct and offer whatever help one can. One does not do it for the acknowledgement, to be sure. I know I learned my sense of community directly from my father's activity as a dairy farmer: it is impossible to work alone, without help. He helped neighbours with plowing laneways, welding and fixing machinery, among other things. There was the year of the ice storm, when he daily went to multiple neighbours' homes with his generator to heat up their house for an hour or two, before moving to the next; before arriving home in time to get chores done, and my mother's kidney dialysis machine.

I have my mother's small token upon my writing desk, and have for a number of years now. My father's plaque lives on the wall of his home office. I remember some of those final meetings at the farmhouse, as my mother prepared snacks and my pre-school self sat on the floor in the midst of a half dozen or so teenagers in chairs.

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