by Christl Stephanblome,
Some time ago I was asked to write for the Millstone about refugees.
Nobody reacted to my letters except one. Then a lot of questions arose. Who were the people who read my letters? I wanted to know who the Millstone was read by, because I needed knowledge about the people I spoke to, what I had to explain, what everyone could understand without further explanation — was it necessary to add some maps, how much was needed to explain our political system and that of the EU?
I remember how astonished I was to learn that the paper was read all over the world. That made me a bit frightened, because I didn’t want to hurt somebody. Then I started to take a closer look at the paper. And by and by a picture of the town of Almonte appeared:
I learned what the town looks like, looking at these beautiful pictures of the town itself and its environment, especially their gardens.
How they keep the community spirit, which is expressed by the behaviour of the people, i.e. how they treated the Syrian refugees or how they help one another, when someone needed to be taken care of.
How they entertain themselves, introducing books, playing music, involve children and students, celebrate social events.
How they teach themselves about birds, about the stars which they can still see clearly, and giving some thought to basic questions and experiences.
That they talk about politics that concern the town, that they write their personal history of Mississippi Mills, and that they remember the dead soldiers of the world wars with pride and sorrow. History seems to be quite vivid in this town.
There would be more to tell of the spirit of the inhabitants of this small Canadian town, relaxed and self-aware, pragmatic, as it seems: Don’t talk too much, just do it.
A friendly small town, reminding me of the village I grew up in, it’s a feeling of coming home, a refuge. There you don’t confront the police and the barricades, when you want to visit the cathedral in Cologne, always reminding you of terrorist attacks, i.e. of Berlin where someone drove a car into the Christmas market and caused death. With these memories we, notwithstanding, live our lives.