New Year’s Eve (2023)

As is my custom in the late afternoon, I am seated at my desk overlooking the Mississippi River and the neighbouring farmlands, strengthening myself with a bowl of sliced green apple and a cup of chilled triple espresso coffee. I mention this in particular because it is likely an odd preoccupation on New Year’s Eve.  The explanation however – apart from the standard excuse of unforgiving habit and routine – is that we have just come off an exceedingly uplifting late morning and early afternoon agenda.  Several days ago we were invited to join a nephew and his children (and the sweetheart of one of the two boys) for coffee and a chat. It was an animated and highly nutritious conference.

Not only had we the pleasure to share the current hopes and aspirations of the younger generations, but also had I the coincidence when subsequently driving my car (to fulfill the final detail of my daily mundane usages) to learn improving facts surrounding our Canadian history.

Elnora Ruth Procter was born on November 21, 1919, in Edmonton, Alberta. Her parents were of black and Creole Indian heritage and were originally from the State of Oklahoma. They were drawn to the area by a 1906 advertisement to purchase a quarter section (160 acres (65 ha)) of land for $10, among more than 10,000 black homesteaders who did so. As a girl, she sang and played hymns, religious songs, and anthems, and was involved in Shiloh Baptist Church in Edmonton, a congregation formed by those recent immigrants.

Eleanor Collins

Because the nephew is crucially involved with Canadian immigrants on behalf of the Government of Canada, we engaged in a conversation about immigration which is a topic of concern worldwide as issues of poverty and racism connect and collide universally. Barring the extraordinarly preposterous solution of “building a wall” this penetrating humanitarian issue has yet to be resolved. Nor is it a coincidence that the celebrity of Eleanor Collins inspires meaningful solutions.

Coalesced with this diverting discussion was the coincidental exchange surrounding my own family heritage which to my thinking highlights the uniformity of the immigrant ambition.

The core of this project (Atlantic Geneology Project) is related to descendants of the migration of families from Yorkshire, England in the late 1700s, to what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada. The subsequent lines and interconnections through marriage have a pan-Canadian and global reach (including: Black, Carter, Chapman, Dale, Darliing, Emerson, Frost, Ibbitson, Killam, Stocks, Tate, Thompson, Tuttle, Weldon).

George William Chapman

Arising from this dialogue was the matter of Freemasonry of which fraternity both my paternal grandfather and I were members. I encouraged one of the great-nephews in particular to pursue admission to the Craft because he expressed an interest in the subject and I have long held the opinion that it is an enviable source of community and intelligence (without the illogical mysteries that so often characterize similar associations).

On a less recondite topics than worldwide immigration and Freemasonry, I have only lately surfaced from a subscription to Sirius XM.  We have found that because we may now connect our iPhone (and Apple Music) directly to the car, it amounts to unnecessary duplication to subscribe to Sirius XM. This qualification is unquestionable as far as music is concerned; though regarding news, I was obliged to visit AM and FM radio stations once again for the first time in years.  Having done so I was pleasantly surprised to reacquaint myself with these sources of information and entertainment, including not only the predicatable Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) venues but also an unanticipated private radio station (89.1 FM) which distinquished itself by offering superlative jazz music combined with informative historical reports regarding the talents exhibited.  I shall hereafter be obliged to endure the deprivation of FOX NEWS on Sirius XM.

The truly wholesome nature of the day is yet at hand; viz., a New Year’s Eve celebratory meal of crab cakes, sweet potatoes and arugula salad followed with (I hope) the Mostly Berry Dessert!

A mostly berry dessert

Happy New Year to one and all!