rambling28

It is always tomorrow somewhere, a new day is forever beginning ...

It is always tomorrow somewhere,

a new day is forever beginning …

Digging into books is more fun, at the moment, than digging into the ground, though that pleasure will come soon enough. Some digging by an early Canadian in 1811 brought us all a shot at good health, if it’s true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

This fellow found a wild apple tree on a hidden corner of his land. He dug it up and transplanted it closer to home. His first bite of the first ripe apple revealed he had the best apples he’d ever tasted. Naturally he wanted more, but there was a fly in the apple sauce. Apparently, apple seeds from apples do not produce exactly the same variety of tree as the original.

John McIntosh was stymied, the story goes, when, luckily, along came a hired hand with the missing know-how. Grafting trees was his skill, an orchard full of well named McIntosh trees soon grew on the hill. According to Ralph Nader’s book Canada Firsts, every McIntosh apple tree in the world originated from John’s lone wild apple tree near Dundas, Ontario. John lived from 1777-1846. His tree outlived him, bearing fruit until 1906.

A tale from “the good old days,” with hidden innuendoes. It surely illustrates the value of the little guy with hands-on experience, and ability to put it to work. Every McIntosh apple in our grocery shopping baskets result from John’s lone tree, and might not be if that hired hand with grafting skills hadn’t wandered onto John’s land 200 years ago. Sure, another person might have come along with the necessary experience, though that doesn’t diminish his contribution to all the Mac apple pie lovers in this land alone, let alone the world.

A tip of the hat to him, and the John McIntosh family. As was the way of the world then, the McIntoshes probably recognized the hired man’s contribution with a polite thank you. As to the likelihood of government support, I apply, from my 1930s Oxford dictionary’s abbreviations, N.B.L.

Close to the same time, Charles Saunders was rewarded for his contribution, but a pittance considering the significance of his contribution. Our government of the day rewarded him with an annual pension of $900 a year. It was increased to $5,000 a year in 1925, when Prairie farmers pressured the government because he’d changed their lives, significantly and for the better.

Sir Charles Saunders, (knighted in 1934) developed Marquis wheat. This wheat produced a higher yield than others, in a shorter season. And it made excellent bread. At his death the Daily Express of London, England, wrote: “He contributed more to the wealth of his country than any other man.”

His wheat did more for the world than we can imagine; it was a good chew too. Prairie young people didn’t know his name, but on hikes past wheat fields we’d chew his wheat when we couldn’t afford a one-cent stick of gum. Not much flavour to it, but if you swallowed it, it was food. Gum wasn’t, Mom said.

I wonder if any Grade 12 grads could put Sir Charles Saunders and Marquis wheat together? Or give the history of the McIntosh.

According to author Jack Granatstein in his book Who Killed Canadian History, there would be few, if any. “The simple truth,” he writes, “is that Canada’s public and high schools have not only stopped teaching most world history, but have also given up teaching anything we might call Canadian or national history.”

One explanation he gives is, “History is important because it helps people know themselves. It tells them who they were, and who they are; it is the collective memory of humanity that situates them in their time and place; and it provides newcomers with some understanding of the society in which they have chosen to live.”

So passing your traditions and culture, by word of mouth, from generation to generation keeps your people and their culture strong and vibrant. Our First Nation peoples did just that, and historians tell us their culture was kept alive and well by the practice for 30,000 years, or so. I wonder if ours will last 300 years at the rate we’re giving it away and letting it slip away.

(Oh, the official abbreviation N.B.L.—not bloody likely, Oxford Brit, of course.)

The best Easter card received said, “Nine leading scientists have proven rabbits cannot lay eggs. Have a Happy Easter anyway!” And the same to you!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. City of Whitehorse city council past the first reading of a rezoning ammendment that would allow for a Dairy Queen to be build on Range Road along the Alaska Highway. (Submitted)
Public hearing set for rezoning of 107 Range Road

Petition for Dairy Queen drive-thru garners more than 1,800 signatures

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read