Margot’s Hidden Gems

Margot Bishop

The ‘gems’ for this month are the people of our wonderful Valley. We come from everywhere. The ancient people, the Mi’kmaq, populated Nova Scotia, and then came the Acadians, Planters, and so on. My family are Planter stock and have been here since 1759. Before that my people were Irish, French, and Flemish. With all the newcomers, we are very varied, and we have all brought with us lots and lots of traditions.

What is really fun is that we all have some very funny expressions. A favourite of my mother’s was “everyone to their own taste, said the old lady as she kissed the cow.” What about “it was so hot, you could fry an egg on the pavement”? Also “it was raining cats and dogs.” Crocodile tears, hen’s teeth, bee’s knees, the cats’ pajamas, are all silly phrases that sometimes can be traced back to earlier times and cultures, but mostly not. Many are lost—signs of the times.

Other things that have become lost or at the very least are confusing are directions. People telling you how to get to there from here will often use places as landmarks that no longer exist. Notable examples include Jawbone Corner (the corner is there but the jawbone is gone), Nolan’s canteen, and the wharf at Baxter’s Harbour. Women of Wolfville did a skit about Nova Scotia directions a few years ago.

The people here are all so di​versified. Look at the great work done by our service groups, like the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, The Legion and many more. The church groups also do their part in keeping our people safe and connected. Our food banks and the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul are all there in times of need. Other groups like the 100 Men and Women (who give a damn) and Kings Point-to-Point are in place and work well because of our remarkable people.

Some of our more venerable people are our elderly. Please reach out to an older person and see if they need anything, maybe just a smile. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. Also you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Expressions—some mean nothing at all, they are just expressions, their history lost to the ages. Remember your source. Wherever you came from: remember you are all precious GEMS.