Saturday, 03 December 2011
I think it was Samuel Johnson who wrote that few things in life surprised him, but there were some which astonished him. Being honest, I confess I read the quote in one of Conrad’s Black’s recent articles about Quebec in The Post. I suppose what I want to say this morning is that I am never surprised by selfishness, egocentrism, self-destructive behaviour and the whole list of ‘evils’ all of us encounter in ourselves and others. But I am genuinely astonished by ‘goodness’, by an unexpected good turn, by the generosity and helpfulness of others. Over the past few months I have reached out to far away St. John’s for help, and I am very very grateful for the response. I need to especially thank Richard Stocker and Ed Shorthall for their references to painters, and I need to thank Regina O’Keefe for taking the time to fill me on land development particulars in CSB. Few of us say thank you as often as we might, and I am certainly one who doesn’t, so thank you all!
Last Sunday night a few of us ex-pat Newfoundlanders gathered in my house to watch John Doyle’s movies about his Father, Gerald S. Doyle. I may have mentioned this before but I want to mention it again. Those of you who have not seen it should pick up a copy. [I had Jim Brokenshire of Fred’s send me a copy.] Because we live so far away, it is cheaper for me to fly to see my son in LA, and because many of us have been away for so long, we tend to romanticize our home. We all loved it, and all of this week I have been receiving emails from the people who watched it with us conveying how much they were touched. Thank you again to John and Marjorie for capturing something that might have been lost.
Today is the day a man named Francis Xavier is remembered. Recall those red robed creatures in Shogun. Born in Spain, educated at the University of Paris, and buried in Goa in India, this man was a real mover and shaker, one of the early Westerners in Japan and in China, and a geographic trailblazer, even if you forget all that pouring water on the head missionary stuff.