Closing the Great Divide – What about a Mississippi Mills Day?

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by Tracy Stimpson

I am very jealous of artistic people.  I pride myself on being a smart dude but I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.  My oldest son has many artistic bones.  I bought him an acoustic guitar for Christmas 2015 and he picked it up very quickly.  Within a year he was teaching guitar to his grade eight class at ADHS.  Sometimes I just stare at him in amazement.

I had a beer with Nathan Rudyk last week.  In truth, I had several. It was my first time meeting Nathan.  I have a great history with him through The Millstone.  During the middle of the Enerdu debate, we both fought like cats and dogs for our views, which in pretty much all cases were backed by facts.  Now that things have settled down, we agreed it was time to meet.  After the first hour of political talk, we moved onto our personal lives.  Wouldn’t you know it, Nathan is in a band.  Writing, playing guitar and singing. The Ragged Flowers, a five-piece folk-rock outfit of all local guys with three CDs, has a sold-out show at the Almonte Old Town Hall this Saturday.  He is one of those artistic people that I am jealous of.

Friday night, while dropping off a friend of my son Austin at his home, the dad ran out and invited us in.  You see, there were a bunch of local country music lads doing what I have been told is “Kitchen Pickin”.  They invited Austin to jam with them.  As I sat there watching my son play guitar with well known musicians (Barry, Brad and Marty) with a smile a mile wide across his face, all I could think is damn I’m jealous and man are there a lot of artistic people in Almonte.

Kelly Prescott at an Old Town Hall show (Millstone photo)

I told you these stories for a reason.  There is a divide that seems to be getting worse in Almonte.  The people in my stories above couldn’t be more different. Nathan was against Enerdu and wants a nice quiet walking trail downtown, while Marty works for Cavanagh and I had a great time with him once sledding so I’m sure he is for a multi-use trail all the way through it. They are polar opposites but both enjoy music.

People have different views. That’s OK.  It took me a long while to realize that there are two sides to every story and both usually have merit.  There are good and bad things about Enerdu, good and bad things about a multi-use trail, good and bad things about selling a park.  We need to work together.  We need to compromise for the greater good.  We need to be part of the solution or we will just be part of the problem.

Let’s focus on our commonalities.  I think we need a Mississippi Mills Day.  A day to showcase all the talented people in our community.  A day of local music, local food, local art (I consider farmers, butchers, bakers, chefs all artistic as well).  No politicians. Just people celebrating the fact that we live in a beautiful, historic, artistic town.  I have also restarted the Almonte Coffee Talk group on Facebook.  I hope it will be a place where everyone can feel comfortable posting positive comments to create the greater good I’m aiming for.

What does everyone think?