Mennonite Heritage Village

When Change is as Good as a Break

Village News (May 9, 2019)

By Gary Dyck


When Change is as Good as a Break


Last Saturday my family joined 2245 volunteers in our community’s annual ‘pick up and walk’ event. What would take three full-time City Employees a year of garbage collection around the city we did in three hours.  As we went about picking up clear plastic and blue foam in the marshy ditches, red-wing blackbirds cheered us along. Next we cleaned up a field on the city outskirts. It was enjoyable to see people wearing the same yellow shirts as us half a mile away coming closer and closer and finally meeting up with us in the middle of the field. This is what community is about: we all start on our edge and suddenly find each other in the middle with a job well done.


Adults and kids had fun. It is good to see this as part of our personal recreation. R&R doesn’t always need to be about zoning out at the TV or sleeping at the cottage. As my Uncle Alvin taught me when working at his chicken barns all summer, ‘sometimes doing something different is just as good as a break’. He said this at 10am on my first day, just when I was expecting a coffee break, but I trusted him and it turned out to be true.


Remember how our mothers and grandmothers would always be sitting in the living room quilting or knitting on their rocking chairs after a long day of work on the farm? Scientists hadn’t even proven it yet, but they knew that there was good therapy in rocking back and forth while focusing on a simple yet somewhat challenging task. Another example of Uncle Alvin’s doing-something-different-can-be-as-good-as-a-break theory.


Barn-raisings are another example. It was like a major sporting event complete with tailgate parties in the parking lot. People cooked and ate, there was excitement and comradery. Pioneer fun had everyone chipping in to make something useful for a neighbour. We don’t have to always separate leisure from work, just change it up sometimes and enjoy it.


A fourth example can be found in the ancient Chinese proverb; “the person who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” It might not be fun to move a mountain, but every kid loves to throw rocks. Little by little we can get a lot done with community, with our kids. Garbage collection as a fun break to our routine work!


In celebration of our great community of Manitoba and its 149th birthday (one shy of the big 150!), Mennonite Heritage Village will be hosting a full day of activities for everyone. On May 11 at 10:00 am, the Steinbach and Area Garden Club will offer a workshop on spring planting and gardening. This will be followed at 11:00 am by a short ceremony featuring the significance of Manitoba Day with speeches by dignitaries, musical guests, raising the flag, and serving birthday cake and coffee. The outdoor village will be open to guests. The Livery Barn Restaurant will be serving its menu of traditional Russian Mennonite food. Village Books & Gifts will feature an assortment of handmade toys, clothing and household goods. Horse-drawn wagon rides will be available during the day. And here is the clincher: admission is FREE all day (9 am – 5 pm)! Oh, and don’t forget to come back on Sunday for our unique Mother’s Day Lunch Buffet!


Calendar of Events

May 9, Low German Primer starts: a course for beginners – 7pm (sign-up now!)

May 11, Manitoba Day celebrations – 10am

May 25, Russländer Tribute Fundraiser Banquet – 4pm