Cornwall Cogitation (North America) #6 Saturday 4 November 2017   Time change. Temperature change. Color change. Change, change, change.

A youngster might say, “Yippee!” O, let the youngster in me rise up!

View across to Island Park, late afternoon, Friday, 3 November.

More views from the week

Rain drops, mist, scenes and reflections along the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers, that’s some of what greeted our senses this week.

Stately oak and sycamores in Oak Ridge Cemetery (est. 1838), Bristol, Indiana

Some books you’d just love to quote ad infinitum

I’ll spare you with only brief quotes from two books.

The books are The Reason You Walk, by Wab Kinew (Viking, 2015) and A Celtic Temperament: Robertston Davies as Diarist (McClelland & Stewart, 2015). I have my sister-in-law Vivian Bender to thank for the gift of these two volumes, something in how I handled them at the New Hamburg Thrift Store. Thanks Vivian!

The Reason You Walk. Kinew’s first-person story revolves around family, cross-cultural reconciliation, and engagement in the promising future of Aboriginal peoples. It’s heartwarming, insightful, funny.

The account of how he took off the year 2012 to help and be helped by his father, Wabanakwut, who was dealing with cancer, especially the final days, brought tears to my eyes. The immediate and extended family rallied around a man who was a survivor of Canada’s residential schools for Indigenous children that aimed to “kill the Indian in the child.”

(It’s worth looking up reviews of the book online, as it is the story of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission). Kinew has been a musician, broadcaster, university administrator and is now Leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

From the book: “Reconciliation is not something realized on a grand level, something that happens when a prime minister and a national chief shake hands. It takes place at a much more individual level. Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand that what they share unites them and that what is different about them needs to be respected.”

The quote relates to how Kinew’s father, Tobasonakwut, adopted the Roman Catholic archbishop, James Weisgerber, as a brother. The story has many ups and downs and the reader comes away not only informed, but deeply moved.  That a person who was abused mentally and physically could be reconciled to one of the churches that ran the residential schools on behalf of the Canadian government, is nothing short of miraculous.

Part of the burial ceremony for his father included keeping a fire burning for four days. Wab spent four days tending the fire/ “I knew that even though I was hurting, things were going to be all right.

“How wise our ancestors were to leave us with this path to walk on, this way of life. Therese traditions may not always make sense or seem important, but somehow, when we walk the path as others did before ourselves, we get what we need.”

A Celtic Temperament. Davies was born in 1913 in Wales. He came to Canada as a child when his parents emigrated there. His father owned a newspaper and became Senator Rupert Davies. Davies died December 2, 1995.

A Celtic Temperament tells his story through his diaries from 1959-1963. The diaries reveal the inner  actor, journalist. newspaper publisher, playwright, essayist, novelist, founding Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, and husband and father. Compelling, sharp, funny.

Davies had his hands in many fires. He spoke of his “celtic temperament,” among other things, as reflecting swift changes of mood from dejection to exhilaration.

From the book: “Thursday, January 1, 1959: . . . What did I achieve last year? A Mixture of Frailties came out in U.S.A., England, and Canada, and has had the best notices yet and is admitted by all to be my best work–but has not sold well. Yet I do not grieve, as once I would have done: my joy is to write and write well, and if fame and money do not follow I can do nothing about it. . . . I am a very lucky man and I must be sure to deserve my luck.”


Marty, Alice Roth, Willard Roth, Marlene Kropf, and I had a wonderful time catching up over Sunday supper at our home. Once close neighbors, Alice and Willard now live in Goshen and Marlene and Stanley, her husband, live in Port Townsend, Washington. We lack nothing in love of food and convivial exchange.


Years ago we would spend a week in Indiana’s Brown County State Park. At the Hob Nob Café in nearby Nashville we commented to the server how dull the colors were that year. “Yes,” she said, “they’re just turning brown and falling down.” Somehow that phrase has popped up with merriment many seasons since.


This morning we walked to the Steelyard Coffee Café at Birds Gotta Fly, a handmade goods and vintage wares shop in an old factory on N. Michigan Street in Elkhart. We had a very tasty quiche and good coffee.

Our walk then took us to Church Community Services for an Open House for the 20 years of Soup Of Success. A real success it has been, giving job skills to scores of women. Check it out on the CCS website.

We hurried home to sounds of thunder and it’s now raining heavily. Miles for the day exceed 6; to the end of October we walked 1303 miles. It’s been a good year. I’m super grateful that a recent CT scan shows that the brain bleed from my fall a month ago has been completely absorbed. All is well! PTL!



We recently enjoyed this pizza with Nancy Kauffmann in Goshen. Actually, got a second meal out of it.

Changes coming to near downtown Elkhart

4 thoughts on “Change

  1. Thanks, John. We’re glad to hear you have completely recovered from your fall. This has been a good year for walking for both of you! We recognize Island Park. Have you found my hat? : )

    Monty & Ginger



    1. Oops, the hat has not appeared on any of our walks, neither on the path, nor the head of a duck or goose. Maybe a possum made off with it. Hope you have a warm cap for the winter ahead. Still, you’ll need a hat for Florida. Thank God for seasons and for proper clothing.


  2. John, As always I marvel at your writing and photographic talent. I have been very privilieged to know you and to share some very meaningful times with you. I hope we can find a way to reconnect, maybe in Cornwall again. I certainly enjoyed my last visit there. I’m just afraid I can’t keep up with you an Marty anymore. It was a challenge when I was there in 2014 and I suspect it would be a much bigger challenge now. Best wishes, John Parker


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