The poor old men of Mississippi Mills

by Jeff Mills

I jest!

It sure would be easy for the men of Mississippi Mills to be envious of the men of Carleton Place. After all, the men of Carleton Place have a shed! “Envy is the art of counting another’s blessings instead of your own” is a quote of Harold Coffin and could easily apply in this case.

The poor old men of Mississippi Mills have recently formed a Men’s Shed group. Men’s Sheds being those great groups of men first started in Australia where men come together around different projects. These inclusive groups for men offer opportunities for men to commune with other men and work on personal and community projects. Many come together around woodworking but a men’s shed could be about gardening, painting, a book club or other leisure pursuits. The key is that men have social time together, and is the case in Carleton Place, eventually have a place they can call their own. Hence the envy of the poor old men in Mississippi Mills; the men of Carleton Place are blessed to have the Hackberry men’s Shed a two bay woodworking garage in the heart of Carleton Place and the poor old men of Mississippi Mills are without a home!.

What’s not to envy! The Hackberry boys have the free use of a garage offered to them by a widow with the proviso that members of the men’s shed assist with building projects to help this senior remain safely in her home. The men have helped fix her fence, repaired the porch lights, installed an outdoor faucet and this year will build her a new arbour and perform other repairs as needed.  Their 500 square foot workshop came with many existing woodworking tools; table saw, band saw, drill press, scroll saw etc. and members have rounded out a full complement of hand and other carpentry/woodworking tools. Members pay a $1 a year membership fee and donate a non-mandatory suggested monthly shop fee of $20. Already they have winter-proofed the shop and installed a propane furnace at their expense. What a great symbiotic arrangement between the men of the shed and their landlady. “It is important to note,” says Hackberry men’s shed leader, Victor Maltby “our shed was formed a few years ago and it took us awhile to find our home. This arrangement works so well for all of us.”

These poor old men in Mississippi Mills have just started on their journey to find a home. A bus trip was arranged using the Mills Community Support bus to visit Carleton Place’s Hackberry Men’s Shed. There was a buzz in the air at this visit and it wasn’t coming from a power tool; it was the friendly networking of the men of these two towns and the discussion of what could be. The Mississippi Mills “shedders” believe that there’s got to be a similar “shed”/garage in Almonte that could be pressed into service in a similar way to the Hackberry Men’s Shed in Carleton Place.  Can you help the poor old envious men of Mississippi Mills? Know of a garage or shop they could use?  Contact Jeff Mills jmills@themills.on.ca