Confederation Celebration, Postponed

Starting on January 1, 1914 and for every issue of the paper going forward, The Charlottetown Guardian ran some variation of “Confederation Celebration, Charlottetown” as part of its flag on page 1:

Until, that is, Tuesday, August 4, 1914 when it was changed to “Confederation Celebration, Postponed”:

As a page 1 story explained:

At a special meeting of the General Committee for the celebration of the Jubilee of Confederation held in the Council Chamber last night it was resolve to postpone indefinitely celebration of the event.

Hon. Mr. Justice Haszard presided over a full attendance.

The chairman opening the proceedings by referring to the crisis in Europe and asked an expression of opinion as to the advisability of proceeding with the celebration.

Hon. J. A. Mathieson, Premier, thought there was no alterative to postponement. In the present condition of affairs there was nothing else for it.

The chairman, Messrs. Pope, Tidmarsh and Ings concurred.

Mr. Pop this moved, seconded by Mr. Heartz:

“The in view of the fact that the Empire is at present engaged in a world-wide struggle and all lesser issues are sunk in our hopes and fears for the welfare of our country, it would, in the opinion of the Committee, be unfitting to hold the celebration at this time and it is therefore decided that it be postponed indefinitely, and that the Committee adjourn subject to the call of the chair.”

The following day, Wednesday, August 5, 2014, The Guardian reported that Britain had declared war:

R. T. Holman and the Continuous Feeling of Thankfulness

I was intrigued to find this passage in the R. T. Holman entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography earlier this week:

R. T. Holman was a merchant who stood apart from the social life of his small community, who apparently neither sought nor gained political favours, and who possessed unorthodox religious beliefs. Though Holman had been born into a Baptist family, his father had left the church in 1835 following a doctrinal disagreement with a clergyman. It is not evident how Robert’s views on religion developed, but the census of 1861 listed him as a “universalist” and by the 1870s he had abandoned organized religion in favour of free thought. Not content to object passively to the predominant religious sentiment of the community, he brought speakers to Summerside to preach humanism. One example of his antipathy was his response to the province’s proclamation of Thanksgiving in 1899. He protested in a half-page advertisement in the Pioneer that the day should be “free from cant, free from hypocracy and free from policy” and that consequently his stores would remain open.

Prince Edward Island is a challenging place to be weird, and so it’s useful to look to history for examples of successful weird people like Holman.

The ad that’s referenced is an interesting one. Here’s the version that ran on October 18, 1899 – the day before Thanksgiving – in the Summerside Journal:

Summerside Journal, Oct. 18, 1899

It reads:

A Proclamation!

Being unable to comprehend how I can SERIOUSLY or SINCERELY box up the beautiful sentiment of thankfulness into any special week days operation by ORDER of Parliament or any civic ruler, and recognizing as I often do the consistent, profound, and reverential manner in which many of those who think differently from me regarding such old customs, keep this special day, nevertheless I must proclaim to my patrons that I shall have



Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, the 19th inst.

As usual to receive PAYMENTS? SELL CHEAPLY? and not to disappoint those who may have hauled their load of produce many miles.

In this country of SHORT SEASONS and RAPID CHANGES with winter soon upon us we should not lose any fine day but carefully and quickly save the bountiful crop that we have been favored with, thus enabling us to more easily discharge our mutual obligations to each other. WE ARE ALL DEBTORS AND ALL HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO MEET. And the man who could be so cold as not to have a CONTINUOUS FEELING OF THANKFULNESS while engaged in the activities of life with prospects of good success and this MANLY OBJECT IN VIEW is somewhat more than even PAYING BILLS. And if THURSDAY, THE 19th INST., should be a fine day and I should be financially better off from the operations of the day, I KNOW that I shall have many opportunities before THE WINTER PASSES to cast a ray of happiness into many dwellings RIGHT HERE IN SUMMERSIDE, the occupants of which will be asking heretofore


And if I could be moved to recognize in a proper way their real wants then a manifestation of natural, true and unadulterated thankfulness would be apparent and which would be Free from Cant? Free from Hypocrisy?? Free from Policy???

Grief, love or thankfulness are not things to be made to order, bottled up and “used as directed.” They simply spring spontaneously from the human heart. We all know it, LET US BE FRANK ENOUGH TO ADMIT IT.

Call next Thursday, the 19th inst., and always for exchange of favors.


Yellow Sunshine

Usually I’m at the other end of the camera, so there are very few photos of me when I’m traveling.

Which is why this photo of Oliver and me in Berlin, along with Sam Stewart and Matthew Richard, taken in 2010, is such a nice thing to stumble across.

We all happened to be in Berlin the same week, and we met up at Yellow Sunshine on Weiner Straße one night for burgers and debrief.

I was reminded of that night this afternoon when I encountered Matthew behind the counter at The Kettle Black, where he’s working for the summer (and where he’s making fantastic coffee, having honed his skills, I am told, in the big city).

In Berlin with Sam, Matthew and Oliver

We were all so young then.

When in doubt, blame the Volkswagen

One of the confounding aspects of our two weeks spent in a VW camper in Europe this summer was that I struggled to keep my mobile phone charged from the camper’s electric outlets.

The design of the camper’s electrical system didn’t help: there are two power outlets behind the driver’s seat: one works while the camper is on the road, the other when it’s parked and plugged into the mains. Meaning that I had to switch back and forth at least twice a day, and, what’s more, to remember which was which.

But still, the phone would often end up dead in the middle of the day, for reasons I couldn’t explain, and I became convinced that the VW electrical system was flaky.

It never occured to me that the micro USB cable I was using to charge the phone would be at fault. But it was.

Returning home to the Reinventorium I found, sure enough, that this cable, the one that came with the phone, one worked if it was plugged in “just so,” and exactly what that meant changed every day.

Why I opted to believe that a brand new $60,000 vehicle was at fault when it was, in truth, a $2.00 cable, is beyond me.

Speaking of which: what’s up with the price of micro USB cables in retail stores? I went over to The Source in the Confederation Court Mall to buy a replacement for this faulty cable and all they could sell me was this $24.99 Blackberry-branded cable. I finally found one for “only” $14.99 up at Target. But still, when Monoprice retails these cables for $1.11 it makes the local pricing, even if you factor the acceptable cost of “I just had to walk a block instead of waiting a week,” seems like highway robbery.

For $93 I could buy 100 micro USB cables from Monoprice and just pass them out on the street as a public service. Hey, maybe I should do that.