MCHS picnics took place at Cliff Lumsdon Park in Toronto on Sept. 24, 2020 and in Stratford on Sept. 30, 2020

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Just a note to say that we had a most enjoyable picnic in Stratford on Sept 30, 2020. The event – the most recent in a series of luncheons extending back several years – was attended by Gina Cayer and Dan Cayer, Lynn Legge, Scott Munro, and Jaan Pill.

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MCHS get together at Mandarin restaurant on The Queensway, Toronto, Jan. 25, 2019 during the pre-pandemic era. From left: Bob Carswell, Rita Witrylak, Jaan Pill, Dan McPhail, Scott Munro. Photo courtesy of Mandarin restaurant

We talked of many things – including (among many other things) Covid-19, the history of agriculture, Indigenous history, and days past when many people from Canada used to go to Florida for the winter. We also spoke of safety precautions during the pandemic. We shared many interesting stories.

I’m working on a book project which among other topics refers to Indigenous history. In the few conversations I’ve had with people to date, regarding this aspect of Canadian and world history, I find it most interesting to know what people’s views are, regarding the topic.

There is a tremendous amount to learn, in my anecdotal experience, about history – and about the language that we use to describe and discuss events that have occurred in the past and that impinge upon people’s day to day lives in the present moment.

Cliff Lumsdon Park, Toronto, Sept. 24, 2020. Left to right: Bob Carswell and Dan McPhail. Jaan Pill photo

Of related interest are processes of language socialization, whereby we as individuals develop – in a sense, have constructed for us – our characteristic, individualized mindsets and worldviews.

Sept. 24, 2020 MCHS picnic at Cliff Lumsdon Park on Lake Ontario shoreline

The Sept. 24, 2020 get together at Cliff Lumsdon Park in Toronto also went well. The event was attended by Bob Carswell, Dan McPhail, and Jaan Pill. We spoke of many things – among them the story of a young man from Montreal who had volunteered to fight overseas during the Second World War. I had heard the story before, but this time I made sure I recorded (on the two Zoom recorders that I had brought along) Bob Carswell’s account of it.

Later in the afternoon Jaan drove over to meet with Rita Witrylak at her backyard. At the latter event, Rita shared with Jaan information about the local neighbourhood in Cartierville where each had gone to the same high school, some five years apart.

As Dan McPhail mentioned on Sept. 24 in Toronto, such luncheons with friends from years past are a great way to recharge our batteries. The face to face conversations matter hugely.

Jaan Pill, Cliff Lumsdon Park, Sept. 24, 2020. Dan McPhail photo

Both Lynn and Gina have spoken of hosting MCHS picnic luncheons at their respective backyards/garages in 2021. I hadn’t thought of such possibilities but they are already thinking ahead. When our next get together in Toronto will be I do not know. It depends on what happens with the coronavirus in the fall and winter.

View of Lake Ontario, Sept. 24, 2020. Jaan Pill photo

If we can arrange a picnic in Ottawa (for anyone who can make it that far) at a park near Graeme Decarie’s home in 2021, that would be a huge plus as well.

This was the last in our series of MCHS picnic get togethers in Toronto at least through the fall and winter.

From the pre-pandemic era: Mandarin buffet arrangement on The Queensway, Toronto, May 24, 2019. Jaan Pill photo

I’ve outlined some thoughts, about what may or may not be ahead across Ontario, at a previous post:

According to many public health observers across Ontario, the province appears well on its way to a catastrophic turn of events

Please contact me at jpill@preservedstories.com if you have a connection to MCHS and wish to be on our MCHS luncheons email list.

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