Village News (June 19, 2019)
By Gary Dyck
It was great to meet some of you at our Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) Waffle Booth in ‘Summer in the City’ and again on Sunday at our Father’s Day buffet at the Livery Barn Restaurant. While standing outside I saw a man walking down our Village Main Street (Steinbach has two Main streets you know!) and I could tell by the way he moved which clan he was from. Talking with him only made me more certain this was indeed his family. Funny how we ‘take on’, family.
This week we will also host a book launch around the theme of Fathers. “Finding Father: Stories from Mennonite Daughters” is edited by Mary Ann Loewen. It contains 13 chapters written by 15 different daughters (one chapter is written by the Loewen trio). Former Steinbach Councilor Cari Penner will provide a reading from the story she wrote and hopefully, Mary Ann will share some gems she found in preparing this book for us all. We have much to learn from each other. In the ways, we are the same AND in the ways we are different.
At MHV we are also on a search for our forefathers. Who were they? What did they leave us and can we somehow connect with them today? For many of us Mennonites, you only have to go back one-hundred years or two before we find out we have the same father or mother.
After the Father’s Day buffet was over I saw an older man slowly moving his hand along the old farm implements lined up by the windmill. It was as if he was recalling his childhood and finding his father in those plows. I can also imagine the joy my grandfather had the first time he sat on the seat of the plow instead of having to keep up with the horses. Surely his joy in that innovation vastly surpasses that of the innovation of our modern cup-holder – even if there are eight of them within your reach.
We are all given a vantage point on history. My vantage-point theory is that the average human can have a tangible grasp on history going back two to three generations – more if the family passes on the stories well.
As author Richard Llewellyn wrote in the novel How Green was my Valley: “I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front, to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond. And their eyes were my eyes. As I felt, so they had felt and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning, and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line stretched from Time That Was to Time That Is, and is not yet.”
I hope you can take time to cherish your vantage point. At MHV, we will continue the work of preserving our tangible connections with these buildings and artifacts which are now going beyond the third and fourth generations! Hopefully, we can stretch the vantage point of the next generations to go further yet.
Calendar of Events
June 26 – 9 am to 5 pm
Book Launch – Finding Father 7 pm
July 1 – 9 am to 6 pm
Canada Day @ MHV
July 13 – 9 am to 6 pm
Heritage Classic Car Show 11 am to 4 pm