I had to get up early today at 07:30am which is somewhat like the middle of the night for me. Usually I am a Crack of Noon riser which is the civilized time for retired folks like me.
So at 9:30am I had to be at the Club for the Thursday morning Coffee and Conversation program, today we had an Acadian historian Georges Arsenault, O.C., O.P.E.I whose family has been living on PEI since 1700. He is also an author and has written much about Acadian life and history on the Island. He also has a voluminous collection of old photos of Acadian Life on the Island dating back to 1860. He showed us many old photos of Acadian families and explained traditions in the period 1860 to 1950. It was fascinating, he had wedding photos dating from prior to 1946. How the common people lived if compared to high society, there was a stark difference. Brides has no wedding dress, they simply wore their Sunday best and so did the groom. Only people with money did the fashionable weddings the way we think of them today. The food prepared and served at weddings was also very different from today. Essentially the wedding would take place in Church at 7:30am and then the family would return home for breakfast at 9:00am. Back then Roman Catholics, Acadians are all R.C. , were not allowed to have food before Mass. Everyone was in their Sunday best and all of it took place in the Kitchen including the square dancing. What Acadians call in French souper (Supper) took place at Noon and both meals were offered by the Bride and her parents in their home. The Dinner at night around 6pm moved to the Groom’s parents home for more square dancing and food and of course Whiskey and Island Gin at 50 proof. That’s the Gin I buy for my Island friends, they do not want the English stuff at 40 Proof. The most important element of a successful wedding meal during the day was the desserts and sweets, some families could offer over 30 different types of sweets not including the Wedding Cake which was white and baked usually in the village by a woman who was known for her cakes and hired for that day. Which reminded me of my great Aunt Marie-Ange in Charlesbourg near Quebec City who was known at Christmas for her desserts and sweets.
The family photos are also interesting, most taken outdoors for the light in an age when no flash existed. Women in Acadian fashion have their heads covered by a bonnet or large scarf, custom being that only unmarried maidens could show their hair. Families were also large on average 12 kids and many upwards of 19 kids, all living under one roof in small farm houses. One wonders how they did it. It is only again after 1946 that people start having small families of 2 or 3 children.
After the talk, I went to my barber Jared who is a very nice person and great to chat with, we talked about what had happened the previous day in Washington D.C. at the Capitol building. He was working so could not watch television and was being told by his customers what was happening, he was in disbelief like I was and many other people. Though he remarked and I agree, we could see all this coming and were bracing for it. How come the Capitol Police did not prepare, were they over confident? I watch it all and was sickened by it, how can the symbol of a democracy be attacked like that by a mob which looked like Duck Dynasty. Ignorance on parade, truly sad. I was wondering if the Ceausescu solution could not be applied to Trump and his family, worked in Romania in 1989. What I fear like a lot of people is a possible return of another Trump type in 4 years, populist but more intelligent and cunning. Is the USA sliding into authoritarianism, it could happen after all 75 million Americans voted for him, hopefully not and the world will move on.
Afterwards I went to the Service Canada Office which provides info and registration for all Federal Government Programs, one stop shopping. This was instituted some 8 years ago by the Canadian Government. I was having some problem online with an application and could not get anyone at their 1-800 number unless you are willing to wait an hour or more on hold. So I simply went down to the Office and saw an Officer in 5 minutes. She answered my questions and all appears all right, I am much relieved.