Letters from Home: Help is Here!
by Patricia Heffernan
Dear Mary Jo,
In your most recent letter you tell me that when you make your hamlet-wide proclamation to your people that help from the Village is coming, one of two things is likely to occur.
You say Hamletians will either lay down their pitchforks in relief and wait for said help or that you will be mistakenly arrested for disturbing the peace while in an inebriated state.
Well, now that you have had time to carry the message of help and hope to your people, if the latter has come to pass, do send word immediately! We will send consular officials to your aid in the form of law enforcement officers along with the Most Honourable Ted Collins.
Though you have absconded from Village to Hamlet, your roots are here, you are kin and we will not forsake you if you have been unreasonably subjected to the frighteningly archaic judicial system of the Hamlet.
Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that Hamlet dwellers receive our generous offer with graciousness and that they wait patiently, hopefully, gratefully, for Villagers’ guidance and stories of triumph in order to move in the same direction progress takes.
I know you will remember Mark Pearson with fondness from the days of your youth. He is third generation Lakefield.
A glimpse of Mark’s tall, broad form moving swiftly through the Village streets is in and of itself a literal example of how productivity in any community begins with determined action.
Mark was the youngest of four siblings. From eldest to youngest, Karen, Patty, Brent and Mark were expected to assume their share of responsibilities even as youngsters. Parents, Gerry and Kaye (Kathleen) had an innate understanding of the importance of a team effort to move lives forward and to prepare their children for the future.
Lakefield’s late Gerald Pearson, a World War II veteran, and his late wife Kaye are fondly remembered by neighbours and friends.
Gerry introduced his son, Mark, to a productive day’s work from a young age.
Mark recalls that his father taught him everything he knew by example. Side by side, father and son worked amiably on outdoor maintenance at their Lakefield home. From the chopping and piling of wood to grass cutting and snow removal, Gerry taught Mark to work, to work hard and to do it well.
When results at home met with their satisfaction, father and son tended to outdoor work at the family cottage on Beaver Lake where they built docks in early spring and tended to the upkeep on the cottage and property the rest of the year.
Mark’s mother, Kathleen (Kay), expected her sons to share responsibility for indoor chores equally with their sisters. Mark recalls that from a young age he helped to wash dishes, set the table and undertook numerous other household tasks which helped to prepare him to run a household.
Mark recalls the importance his parents placed on preparing their children for the real world which resulted in a sense of satisfaction in a job well done and in a sense of pride at the end of a day.
Mark explains that his parents also firmly believed in a balance between work and play and in the importance of making time for family and friends.
He recalls neighbours dropping by for coffee and a visit with his mother, carefree days spent skating at the old quarry or fishing at Beaver Lake with his Dad, playing kick-the-can with neighbourhood friends ’til after dark and watching family movies on Saturday afternoons at Ridpath School. Playing hockey or collecting pop bottles to cash them in at Eric Holmes’ Live Bait Shop near Roydon Wasson’s gas station were great ways to spend an afternoon.
Through the years, Mark has enjoyed working at the Lakefield arena, on a farm, at a local lumber yard and at Lakefield College School. In addition to putting in a long, hard day at work, Mark walked or biked everywhere he went.
Today, Mark operates his own Maintenance and Lawn Care Service which keeps him busy all year round.
In his free time, Mark enjoys watching hockey, baseball and football, reading, doing puzzles and cooking. Mark loves spending time at the Lakefield Library and is impressed with its wide variety of resources including magazines, books and internet access. Mark has a passion for history and has a keen interest in historic buildings. Some day he hopes to visit Nova Scotia.
Mark’s best advice for hamlet dwellers, Mary Jo, is to recognize that the opportunity for progress exists in a day’s work.
Mark says, “Be efficient, be punctual, gain experience and carry that knowledge into the next job. Look after family through the generations and encourage young people to work to the best of their abilities.”
He also acknowledges that times have changed. In an age where two parents often work, the cost of living is high and there is increasingly less time to spend with family and friends, Mark firmly believes in an old fashioned work ethic and in the value of being a good neighbour and friend.
“It all starts at home,” Mark states from personal experience.
With Mark’s words, Mary Jo, we offer advice from one of the best Lakefield has to offer. He comes from good, kind, honest, hard working stock and though he doesn’t love all changes that come with progress, he is determined to live up to the standards set by past generations in adaptation.
Please pass Mark’s story on to your people, Mary Jo. Be gentle, but be firm. They may not love all the changes they must make to see progress, but with determination, they really can keep pace with the Village through the ages if they can learn to strike a Pearson Family kind of balance between work and play.
Economic, social and technological stagnation for the Hamlet no more! This is what we say in the Village!
Warm regards to you and your people.
As soon as I received your letter I gathered my people together and read it aloud to them. At first they were restless but when I reached the part about Mark Pearson they started to stomp their feet and bang their fists together in a show of approval.
My people hold a good work ethic in high regard.
The more I read about Mark and how his parents prepared him for the real world, the louder they cheered, stomped and clapped.
Since all of the hamlet dwellers attended the reading, the rest of the hamlet was deserted and I was able to read the letter in its entirety.
When help from the village was mentioned, several Hamletians cocked their rifles in a show of solidarity. Obviously your suggestion of help from a higher power did not meet with their approval.
They send back the following message,: “We know how to work. We challenge the Villagers to a ploughing match without ploughs and horses.”
Let me know what the Villagers think, Tricia.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
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