Storytellers another big hit on Canada Day

The museum-sponsored storytellers tent was buzzing with those telling and those listening

Good Grief.  Where does the time go?  More than a month since Canada Day and I haven’t told you about our wonderful experiences.

Our Storytellers’ Tent was an even bigger hit than it was last year.  When you have people like Tom Moffat, Jean Speare and Ruth Scoullar stepping up to the microphone, there is always a wealth of local history.

Jean Speare had her notes all ready as she told us about cutting ice and getting it ready for the icebox. Harking back to a much simpler time, Speare recalled what it was like when her father took her ice cutting for the first time and it was almost her last time. People nowadays will have a hard time visualizing someone hauling ice blocks to the ice house and covering them with sawdust to preserve the cold, particularly in summer.

Ruth Scoullar then proceeded to tell us about the life of Paul Gauthier. Gauthier is 102-years-old and although he is hard of hearing and speaks mostly French, Scoullar related stories about Gauthier that caused laughter to ripple around the tent. Another writer, like Speare, Scoullar tells a story very well.

Tom Moffat wanted to talk about what happened in LeBourdais Park exactly 100 years ago to the day. Moffat’s father competed against runners from as far away as Vancouver, running a mile in four minutes eight seconds decades earlier than Roger Bannister, who ran it in just under four minutes in 1964. The narrative included the medal his Dad received for the championship. Moffat then went on to relate family stories about his brother carrying on the tradition, including anecdotes about running in jeans and cowboy boots.

Another speaker was Norman Wilson, as he related his tale of rescuing a young woman from drowning in the Fraser River in 2005.

After he finished recounting this, people gave him a round of applause and were asking him for his autograph.

Our singer/sound man/storyteller Ab McQuillin was there to rescue me as usual and he sang a song or two while people were waiting for the Tea Tent to open.

Fortunately, we were able to record these stories which are available at the Museum. Thanks, Dave Sutton, as once again, you help preserve Quesnel’s history.

Hope to see you as you ‘pass time’ at the Museum.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

–Winston Churchill

Honey Affleck is chair of the museum commission and regular Observer contributor.

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