The words of a temperance man


The battle between good and evil has always been with us but evil seems to have the upper hand these days.

What brings this to mind is the death a few weeks ago of a Barrie youngster who ran away from home because his father said he had to quit spending so much time playing with his video game system. Being a parent today seems to be an almost impossible task . Addictive and mind destroying drugs can be found almost anywhere; predators lurk on the internet; and, as in the Barrie case, there are addictive video games.

J.J. Hunter was editor of the Kincardine Reporter back in the early years of the 20th Century. In the Scrapbooks of J. F. Yemen there is a Hunter interview with William Welsh, 88, a life-time Kincardine resident. Welsh, a temperance man, is quoted as follows: "I do not know if temperance runs in the blood or not. One thing I do know, is that no intoxicating liquor ever passed my lips. I have never taken any soft drink or used tobacco, and never made it a habit to sit in a bar-room. I claim that example is better than precept."

Welsh named the vices that were available in Kincardine from 1850 to 1960. However, in the last 50 years, alcohol has become one of dozens of addictive substances that could easily fall into the hands of a young teenager. Then there is the internet and video games.

Welsh pointed out that after the publication of the poems of Robbie Burns toward the latter part of the 18th Century, a wave of intemperance and obscenity appeared to follow in its trail, until all gatherings, public and private, had to have liquors handed around before any proceedings could be transacted.

The debauching of the fine Scottish people brought grief to the hearts of the temperance workers, said Welsh. "Perhaps that is why it was never any hardship for me to refuse to drink or smoke. Early training had taught me its evils. There was nothing to be gained by it."

It seems so simple coming from the lips of a temperance man a hundred years ago. But can you imagine today’s children following their "early training" so religiously?

Note: The late Jane Fyfe Yeman, a teacher, grew up in Huron township and retired to Kincardine. Her articles and a collection of newspaper clippings of others were put in book form and published in 1983.

Long time Kincardine businessman Ken Battler was given a surprise 60th birthday Saturday evening upstairs at Gilley’s.

One of those who spoke mentioned that Ken is a people person.

There is some truth to that statement. Ken often held court at Gilley’s and appliances were not the subject of conversation.

When he opened his business more than 20 years ago, my mother-in-law, Annie, dropped into his shop and explained why she wanted an empty refrigerator box. Ken liked her plan and dropped one off at her house.

A few days later, Annie asked my wife and her sister over to the house to see their Christmas present.

Out of the box popped the eldest sister, who had been living in Ethiopia.

Ken also had a tendency to hold court in the rear of his first store, across the road from his current B&W Appliances. Anyway, my ad man, the late Dave Dickie, and Ken were often in deep discussion – and it wasn’t about advertising or appliances.

Saturday evening was arranged by Ken’s wife, Marie Wilson.

Former mayor Glenn Sutton and wife Joan and current mayor Larry Kraemer and Bonnie made appearances and Larry even produced a song, Ken’s favourite things.

Lou Kosmerly opened his bar for the occasion. Gilley’s opens again in January when the new owners of the business take over.