I voted this October 19 Monday to do my bit for democracy. And bring in a new government for the country. I did it at our Town Hall which, for 140 years, remains a vital heart of our little community. Built in 1875 for the grand sum of $4000, it has hosted every sort of event imaginable. Dances, dinners, showers, meetings, concerts, lectures, amateur shows, receptions, theatricals, debates, strawberry socials, etc., etc. Generations of nervous school children, including myself, have trod the boards, reciting and caroling at their Christmas concerts. The highlight of my own career was starring as Mrs. Green in Mrs. Greens Goodwill when I was in grade six. And we little tykes could cram ourselves into the deep window wells as the best place to watch the antics of the grown ups.
Our Hall changed with the times. The long buggy shed at the back has been replaced with a base for our volunteer fire department trucks. The four hole outhouse toilet has given way to modern sanitation and the kitchen has all the conveniences. The two stoves at the back, with pipes running the length of the Hall are replaced by up to date heating. Folding chairs take the place of the long wooden benches that had to be so laboriously unstacked for use. Somewhere along the way, the modernizers also pulled out the beautiful proscenium arch stage, so permeated with history, and replaced it with an incongruous platform. Useful but not right.
The unusual size of the place attests to ambitions of the builders who expected the village to grow into a thriving town that would need the space. Well, the place shrank instead but the Hall remains the central hub. Where once buggies crowded the front, today cars pull up continuously as the neighbourhood casts it vote. If we have a one single duty to this splendid country we live it, it is to think and vote. Parties in power tend to have a ten year cycle before they become too entrenched and arrogant. Then they need a good time out to clean house and refresh themselves. So we chucked the rulers out and replaced them with a shiny new prime minister and a party rejuvenated from near death at the previous election.
Once again the Hall did its job. Hope they’re still voting and dancing inside it’s walls a hundred years from now.