Page 22 - The Day the Men Went to Town / The Cape Breton Shelf
ISSUE : Issue 65
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/1/1
dust. I crawl out, brush the hay from my clothes and put on my coat, then I close the bam door behind me and walk up the yard towards the house. The children are still playing quietly, they haven't even noticed that I had left the house. Thank God, I only have the rinsing left to do. Our thanks to Evelyn Garbary for permission to publish this story from her collection of Tessie Gillis' writing. As many now know, Ms. Garbary and Tessie Gillis were really partners in the realization of Ms. Gillis' writing, and it will always be a difficult task to say exactly where one ends and the other takes up.... What is clear is this: that we are to be forever grateful for the working relationship that they achieved, and for the high quality of writing that resulted. An excellent collection of Tessie Gillis' writing is now available in The Promised Land, a book of stories published by Medicine Label Press. Our thanks to Tessie's daughter, Helena MacLeod, who provided us with photographs of her parents, Joe and Tessie Gillis. The Cape Breton Shelf: "The Cape Breton Shelf" is an occasional column that lists new Cape Breton items as a service to our readers. Please let us know about new products so we can include them in "The Cape Breton Shelf." Order these from your local store or from the publisher. (You can order the compact disc "Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island" from Cape Breton's Magazine.) From BLACK MOSS PRESS 2450 Byng Rd., Windsor, ON N8W3E8 The Debris of Planets is a new book of poems by Clive Dou? cet, the author of My Grandfatfier's Cape Breton, Tlie Priest's Boy, and several other books. These are the first poems of his that we have seen. They are solid, straightforward tellings, with a tone somewhat like his prose. There is no attempt to be poet? ic. He trusts the event, his response to the event, and often the special language of the place. Here's an example: Milk-Bottle Souls I wonder how Brother Felix's soul is doing these days? I wonder how mine is doing? Brother FeUx taught us our souls were like niilk bottles white and pure; and each sin was a black stain against the white. Neil Murphy drew his milk botde soul with a great northern cod swimming around inside it, and I printed beneath the milk bottle, 'Cod Soul.' Cod soul, it seemed funny at the time. Neil got the strap for that one, and I got the pointer. We were supposed to make litUe black dots on the white and write "missed mass" and "took the Lord's name in vain." Brother Felix liked to see a nice collection of black dots at the bottom /ofthebotUe. It told him you were serious about sin. He drew his own milk bottle soul on the board, and mixed canonical and mosaic law to teach us the difference between church sin, and sin from Mount Sinai which he preferred to see in equal parts. I don't remember the sins of Brother Felix. I remember his grey head and the way he held his pointer against his hip. "Spare the rod, and spoil the child," said Brother Felix, and not wanting to be spoiled we sat up in our seats attentive to sin and other /misdemeanours. There is a small, bronze plaque in front of St. Pats in memory of Brother Felix and all the good men who laboured to keep the cod out of our milk botde souls. Sometimes when I'm sitting at my desk, I find myself sketching milk botdes. Inside each one, I create black dots just like Brother Felix would have wanted and beside the dots I write: 'avarice, pride, despair.' And in Uie white, I draw a cod. From ATLANTICA MUSIC Minglewood Band • The Legendary First Album. While Tm tempted to say that everything old is new again, the truth is that this album has never aged. It was fresh music when it was first released in 1975, and it stands up as good, hot listening today. Originally released on vinyl only, the studio masters have been digitally remixed and Minglewood Band • The Legendary First Album is now available on both compact disc and cas? sette tape. It is simply first-rate Matt, and Enver Samson, and all • a good place to start, or to fill that empty place in your blues and rock collection. Buy it • you'll like it. From NIMBUS PUBLISHING LTD. P. O. Box 9301, Stn. A, Halifax, NS B3K 5N5 We Were Not the Savages by Daniel N. Paul. Sub-titled "A Micmac Perspective on the Collision of European and Aborigi? nal Civilization," this book is another valuable contribution to? ward our understanding of a Micmac reading of our region's history. Daniel Paul has virtually nothing happy to offer here; his book is largely a demonstration of failed promises and abuses of power. Mr. Paul questions whether towns and streets should be named in honour of people who promoted genocide of the Micmac. In an interview, he said, "I think I'm stepping on the toes of some Nova Scotia gods, and I think it's bothering a lot of people." As with other recent contributions • such as Out of the Depths by Isabel Knockwood (see selection in Issue 63 of Cape Breton's Magazine) • this is not the final word; but it is a firm, felt, researched word that should serve the process extremely well. Whether it will be in the homes or the class? rooms or the privacy of our hearts, this is the stuff that has to be addressed. From NIMBUS RECORDS (UK and USA) Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island. Available on compact disc only, this enjoyable music was recorded live at the 1993 Cork University Traditional Music Festival in Ireland. Jerry Holland, Buddy MacMaster, Natalie MacMaster, Carl MacKenzie, Brenda Stubbert, Dougie MacDonald (all on fid? dle), Howie MacDonald and John Morris Rankin on fiddle and piano, Dave Maclsaac (guitar), Tracey Dares and Hilda Chias? son (piano), Paul MacNeil and Jamie Maclnnis (pipes) • plus an extremely appreciative audience. This is a dandy and re? spectful production, with a 16-page booklet of text by fiddler/ researcher Liz Doherty, including photographs. 80 minutes of music. This CD can be ordered through Cape Breton's Maga? zine, Wreck Cove, Cape Breton, NS BOC IHO. $21.95 plus 7% GST and 11%PST and $3.50 shipping (per item).
Cape Breton's Magazine