Several months ago, at the church in Hillsdale one of our “senior” ladies was sharing how sad she was when home milk delivery by horse stopped in 1951. There were cars, but horse & buggy was far more efficient. A driver would walk with a crate of full bottles, dropping 1 or 2 at each house. The horse would follow along the road.
The homeowners would leave out empties & milk money. Deliveryman made money change if needed. When the delivery man had his crate full of empties, he’d go back to the road & the driverless horse & buggy would be waiting. Grab another crate of full bottles and the horse would follow along.
The lady loved the horse. She shared while tearing up that each day she’d take an apple out for it as a treat. One day she forgot & there was a knock on the door. Deliveryman said, “Madam, can you please bring out the treat for the horse.” The horse had stopped & refused to move until it got its treat.
I’m not sure why the horse & buggy home milk delivery was discontinued in her town at the time in Guelph, Ontario. I’m guessing this type of delivery would have been happening for generations. I’m thinking with modern gasoline powered delivery vans, people felt the horse and buggy was outdated. They need to catch up with the times. In reality, nothing could match the efficiency of that driverless horse and buggy.
Today’s society seems dominated by the idea of new. New phone. New car. New appliances. New travel destination. All of this is great, right? Tired of the old? In with the new. Sadly, with our demand for the new, and last year’s stuff outdated, our planet’s precious resources are being plundered to meet society’s insatiable demand. To the point where there will be nothing left for future generations to come.
I had been the lay pastor at the church in Hillsdale for its’ final 11 yrs. An elderly congregation, several have passed on. I’ve listened to 100’s of stories like this. My life has become much richer because of it. My biggest regret is I wished I wrote them all down. So much so, I could have written a book. Our elderly are living history books. Hard times & simple lives we learn so much from them. There was a time when the local community church was the central focus of all the small communities. A place of belonging. A place of caring and building one another up. A place of connection. I’ve witnessed this so deeply in my 11 years within our small congregation at St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Hillsdale. Plus, I’ve learned so much local history in my 11 years. Can you imagine with this church beginning in 1851, that people could have been sharing memories going back into the 1700’s. If those church walls could talk. Hillsdale wasn’t even on the map then. Unfortunately, the local community church has become outdated to most people these days. Personal disposable income is at an all-time high. This increase in income also gives people more options for how they choose to spend their time. So many leisure activities to partake in. So many new places to explore. Local pastor and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof has suggested: “People always make time for the things they value most. If they’re not making time for church, that tells you something.”
Another cultural phenomenon is the growing number of children who play sports or engage in other group activities. And there is nothing wrong with sports. I grew up playing hockey myself. Many of these sporting events or extracurricular activities take place on weekends. And more and more parents are choosing their children’s sports and hobbies over the local church. Often children’s sports, hobbies and extracurricular activities take place a considerable driving distance away from the local community.
Another dynamic is employment. It used to be that our employment was local. Nowadays work can involve long commutes. Plus, more of us are working on weekends. Depending on what kind of work people do, it’s not unusual for people to travel out of town for work. What has happened is that with travel outside the community for work, travel outside the community for leisure and travel outside the community for kid’s activities, our small towns and villages have become “bedroom communities”. Often people do not know who their neighbors are, beyond the “I know their name” level. Which I’m guessing will become even more pronounced once the new development happens in Hillsdale.
Perhaps I’m a bit nostalgic and old fashioned, but I really miss life centered around the local community. This was a huge part of my life growing up in the nearby community of Edgar. Everybody knew their neighbors extremely well and would help one another at the drop of a hat. So often old is better than new.
HILLSDALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAPPENINGS – Written by Paige Shanahan – Grade 7 Student Hillsdale Elementary School
Hello, Hillsdale! School started back up this month and here are some things your child has been doing and participating in. This September, we welcomed our new students and kindergartners. We also welcomed our new secretary, Ms. Palmer, our new EA Mrs. Halfkenny and our new grade ⅞ teacher, Ms. Gray. Welcome to our school, Huskies!
On September 23rd we held the annual Terry Fox School Run. Our Huskies fundraised money for cancer research and we raised $300 for the Terry Fox Foundation. We had the honour of welcoming Mr. Nelson and Mr. Nelson to open up the run by the annual release of their birds. The students ran extremely hard to carry on Terry Fox’s legacy. We have also been learning a lot and making beautiful masterpieces about Terry and his run across Canada. Ms. Harris’s grade ¾ class and Mr. Regier’s ⅘ class were kind enough to make gorgeous posters and come to every class to remind us that the Terry Fox Run was coming up.
Over the summer, our school has been rearranged. There is a new tarmac area to play in and that is where our portables have been moved to. With all these changes in our school yard, our school’s ECO team will be taking on more initiatives. We would also like to personally thank Laura, Brady, and Tyler Awrey, Alissa Shanahan, Stephanie McKibbon, Chelsea and Riley Bouwmeester, and Carl and Lynn Wright for helping move plants to the schoolyard meadow.
Orange Shirt Day and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation have passed, too. Our huskies wore their bright orange shirts to honour the Indigenous children who passed away at residential schools. We have been learning a lot about residential schools and their horrid impact on children.
We are so excited that our annual Elmvale Fall Fair is returning this year. Our talented Huskies will send their amazing artwork to the fair to be on display.
We have had a terrific start to our school year! It will be another awesome year full of fun, friendship, and kindness.