The 143rd Westminster Dog Show is on television today through Tuesday. So from Jan. 13, 2011 here is my St. Thomas Dog Blog post about that year’s Elgin County Kennel Club Show in London, Ontario.
The Elgin Co. Kennel Club dog show is fun. A chance to see so many different kinds of beautiful dogs, and a chance to learn something about each breed as you watch them go through their paces. Watch long enough and you’ll start to see what the judge is looking for and why particular dogs are chosen in their category.
Showing dogs is a complex affair with a long history. There’s a lot to learn in order to have any idea why one dog is chosen over another. But watching the judge at work gives you some clues after awhile. You’ll also see how serious it is, when you watch the concentration of the judge and the handlers (some dogs take it seriously, some don’t). Equally intense is the preparation in the grooming area – hours spent getting dogs ready for the ring then, for some breeds, almost as long brushing them back to their everyday hair.
The breeders and handlers don’t have a lot of time at the show to tell you about their dogs. But if they did, they’d be able to tell you each dog’s pedigree back for generations and the characteristics that mark the dog as one of that lineage and as a show dog.
Pedigrees and breed standards
You won’t see mongrels there and you won’t see “designer” dogs, even if it’s a cross-breed that’s working toward CKC acceptance as a breed. That official acceptance takes a long time, many generations and satisfaction of many breeding and conformation criteria. So the people who sold you a “purebred” Maltipoo won’t be there.
Actually, you won’t see any dogs there other than those in the show. It’s not a place to take Fifi to let her visit with her own kind. These dogs are working and must stay focused on the prize. You may see breeders who have kennels full of dogs. You may see breeders who have only one show dog, the one with them. You’ll see dogs taken in the ring by professional handlers while the owners stand nervously at the side watching. You’ll see dogs handled by their owner/breeder; that’s a separate class within the judging. You’ll see owners and breeders doing grooming and some exhibitors who have grooming assistants. You’ll see it all, and hear a lot of barking from excited people and dogs.
The room is ringed with stalls of grooming equipment, dog bed makers, collars and leashes, dog food. Retailers come from all over to set up shop for a couple days. So take a notebook and your wallet, but not your dog, and enjoy the show. Maybe you’ll see a dog that later in the year will be at Westminster and you can say “I saw her when…”
Doug Ford as leader of the Ontario PC probably means that Kathleen Wynne will be re-elected as premier in May. Or he gets elected premier. Either way, it’s a disaster for Ontario. I’m sure there’s still a leader of the NDP but I’d have to google to find out who it is. And I have no real faith that she or he would be all that much of an improvement on either of the other two. Just mess up the province in new and different ways.
I am very glad I am no longer living there. Living under the Liberal flag of first Dalton McGuinty and then Kathleen Wynne was an endless nightmare of trying to survive under their endless, non-essential ‘improvements’. And also an endless source of amazement of what stupidity they could dream up next. Kind of like what living in Donald Trump’s USA must be like.
But I have another reason for being glad I have been well clear since long before this latest move to crazy-land in Ontario politics. A friend once told me that when I moved to a place, it tanked.
He was speaking about my move to St. Thomas, Ontario, years ago. When I moved there, a Ford assembly plant had been in operation for four decades. Then it shut down and over 1,000 people lost their jobs. It was the largest employer in town.
I moved to Sussex, New Brunswick, where PotashCorp had operated a mine for four decades. Then it shut down and over 400 people lost their jobs. It was the largest employer in town.
So, superstitious or not, I’m glad I am far away from Ontario. I do not have to feel any responsibility for this newest shit show. Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne could be the dictionary definition of ‘between a rock and a hard place’. Good luck, Ontario!
In this gallery are newspaper clippings from my mother’s scrapbooks. Their dates are from the 1940s on. They are about family and our towns as well as random people and events that struck her. And, of the many clippings in her scrapbooks, these are the ones that also particularly struck me.
Hover over an image to see its caption. To see a particular article, click or tap it. After doing that, you can click the small magnifying glass under the image title for a larger view. I will add more as I scan them, so check back.
Belmont Clubs, late 1940s
Oddfellows photo with my dad George Anger, granddad Austin Anger and uncle Wallace Jackson. The Mary Hastings’ Bluebirds (below) with my mother Ruby Anger.
Belmont Arena 1949
The parents of Jake Bradburn (top photo, left) were Flo and Wes Bradburn. A few years later, when my parents moved to the big old house at the corner of Main and Odell, Flo and Wes lived in the front apartment.
Uncle Floyd, horseradish king of Tillsonburg, was my mother’s uncle. He married Marguerite Lymburner, sister of Minnie Lymburner Burwell. They lived near Tillsonburg with their eight children.
The top clipping is from 1950 and tells the story of a young Port Burwell teacher, Mary Anne MacMath, a century earlier. The next is about the 1960 historical plaque for Col. Mahlon Burwell. Below that are stories about a faith healer in Port Burwell in 1951. I can’t find any information on the Rev. Orland Bailey but I found Harvey Vaughan’s 2013 obituary.
My mother was quick to send off a letter to the editor if need be.
Obituary for Mom’s uncle Eddie Lymburner, 1948
Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings
In this 1951 story of Woodstock cat Herkimer, the writer mentions “the wealthy” Rhubarb. Googling told me that Rhubarb is a 1951 movie about a stray cat who hits the jackpot when he is given a home. It is based on a 1946 novel by H. Allen Smith. You can watch it on YouTube (for a fee).
I don’t often agree with Peter Worthington, but I did with what he wrote (March 14, 2012) about Pit Bulls and Ontario’s Breed Specific Legislation. He calls BSL a “Ku Klux Klan law”, “akin to deciding guilt based on appearance, not behaviour.” Like him, I applaud Cons. Randy Hillier, NDP Cheri DiNova and Lib. Kim Craitor for bringing forward a private members’ bill to rescind it. No law should apply to a specific breed and dogs who look “substantially similar” to that breed.
Fashion of fear
A lot of dogs have been in fashion as “feared” dogs. German Shepherds had their time. Someone I know found his beautiful Shepherd poisoned, most likely by a neighbour who disliked “that German police dog”. Then came Doberman Pinschers as the “feared” breed. There is reason to be fearful of them and most dogs– if you’re not on the side of the fence you belong on, as I heard the owner of an auto wrecker business once say.
But I don’t remember Shepherds or Dobes being the fashion accessory for young men that Rottweilers and Pitties became in the past two decades. Now, it seems to me, Mastiffs and Cane Corsos have supplanted them.
These are all very powerful breeds used for herding and protecting. They are intelligent and strong-willed. You have to be their match in order for the relationship to work out well, and just wanting to be isn’t enough. I would never have a Rottie or Pit Bull. Dog trainers have told me that I don’t make myself the dog’s boss. “You’re more a litter mate than alpha dog,” one said.
Fashion of image-making
These powerful breeds of fashion can scare me. But it’s not the dogs, it’s the owners. I don’t mean huge, tattooed drug dealers or nasty pimps. I mean teenagers who cannot have had much experience handling any dog except the family pet because they are just not old enough. The caution the Westminster dog show announcer gives about some breeds, “not for first-time dog owners”? Shep, who let you pull his ears when you were two, does not qualify you as an experienced dog owner.
I also have concerns for these dogs of youthful fashion: are they being fed right, exercised enough, socialized and trained properly? You might well be concerned about the same things for their owners. However, if either of them wig out, the owner won’t be sentenced to death but the dog will.
Myth-making and Pit Bulls
A well looked after, happy Pit Bull is a joy. A neglected or abused, frightened or aggressive one is not. Just like any other dog. The reality is that there have been vicious attacks by Pit Bulls that have killed and seriously maimed people and animals. But presuming therefore that Pit Bulls are all crazed killers is itself, well, crazy.
Lovers of the breed have tried to counteract the “fighting dog” label by pointing out the breed’s protector instincts. However, the “Nanny dog” image may be equally damaging to the poor Pittie. The photo at left has circulated the internet, and it’s lovely. And maybe back then, the Pit Bull was your first choice of baby minder. But there’s been a hundred years of selective breeding, good and bad, since then and that has an effect on all aspects of a creature.
Gross generalizations on either side are neither accurate nor fair to Pit Bulls. They deserve to be treated like other dogs without bearing the burden of vilification or sainthood. To paraphrase Tammy Wynette “after all, he’s just a dog.” So stand by him and be proud of him – for what he is, not the angel or ogre you want him to be.
From my St. Thomas Dog Blog Mar. 22, 2012. 4 comments below.
This was first posted on my St. Thomas Dog Blog, May 10, 2012. This Saturday, May 7th, 2016, it’s Derby Day again. It feels different this year – it’s the first anniversary of the beginning of American Pharoah’s successful run for the Triple Crown. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Barbaro’s Kentucky Derby win. Sadly, he was injured in the Preakness and he died Jan. 29th 2007.
The 1st Saturday in May, this is the mug I pour my first cup of coffee into. Last Saturday, the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another came from the middle of the pack and passed the frontrunner. At 15-1 odds and in the 19th position, he wasn’t considered a serious contender.
His jockey, Mario Gutierrez, raced at Hastings Raceway in Vancouver, or as the announcer put it, “the small-time circuit up in Canada.” It was Gutierrez’ first Derby ride. The owner of I’ll Have Another, J. Paul Reddam, is originally from Windsor, Ont. As a university student, he got interested in racing by hanging around Windsor Raceway. Two racing lives honoured in the winner’s circle of the most prestigious race in North America, both nurtured on Canadian tracks.
Tracks that, at least in Ontario, face closure. Premier McGuinty’s government decided that the long-standing profit-sharing agreement between tracks and the OLG would not be renewed. Until now, OLG and the track shared the profits, with OLG getting the lion’s share. Still, the 10% that the tracks get is crucial to their economic survival. Slot machines and rooms that house them cost far less to maintain than do barns, tracks and horses.
Another side of tracks: history and tourism
All racetracks, including Churchill Downs, rely on slot machines and other forms of gambling for income. When we toured Churchill Downs, our guide said the only day of the year on which the track actually makes money from racing is Derby Day.
But the pride, prestige and history of Churchill Downs is in the racetrack and barns. It is a tourism draw, with tours, gift shops and a museum. Restaurants, motels and stores in Louisville also benefit from the dollars that come with these tourists who come to Horse Mecca and buy a commemorative mug. Do non-gamblers make a special trip to tour a casino, other than in Las Vegas?
A racetrack is a huge operation, employing many in track and horse maintenance. Also the breeders and trainers who spend years refining bloodlines and preparing juveniles for the track. The stars are the horses and they are expensive to maintain.
Meanwhile in Ontario, racehorses are being sent for slaughter. If the tracks don’t have the slot machines, they likely will close. There will be nowhere to race horses so breeders are getting out of the business. That means getting rid of living horses. It is said that newborn foals are being killed before they stand up – that way insurance will cover their “loss”. Many of those thoroughbred foals and their mothers and fathers have the blood of the great Canadian Northern Dancer in their veins.
Thoroughbred and harness racing are part of our national history. If profit sharing with slot machines keeps tracks alive, that also keeps alive our horses and our presence in the sport of kings. McGuinty’s tinkering with what worked just fine for long before he became premier is now costing the lives of horses and livelihoods of horse people.
There is a Burwell family in southwestern Ontario and one in Virginia. No one is sure if they’re related. I wonder if the link might be through Burwells in Connecticut.
The Ontario Burwells are United Empire Loyalists. Fighting for the losing side in the American Revolution, they fled New Jersey north to still-British Canada. The Virginia Burwells fought on the American side. In the War of 1812, the two again fought on opposite sides. In the American Civil War, the Virginia Burwells, plantation owners, fought on the Confederate side.
An obituary of James Burwell of Fingal says he was grandson to John Burwell “who removed from James Town, Virginia, in the year 1721, a relative of the extensive family of Burwells in that county.” A relative. Speculation has been that this John Burwell (1695-1763) was the son of Lewis Burwell Jr. and Martha Lear.
Burwell Family Chart, Canada and USA
I suggest instead that John and Lewis Jr. were 3rd cousins twice removed, related through two cousins in England. One cousin, John’s great-great-grandfather, came to Connecticut. The other died in England but his widow and son Lewis (Sr.) moved to Virginia. Molly’s Burwell Family webpage has Samuel Burwell of Connecticut as John’s father. From this, I found what seems like a feasible line back to England and thus to the Virginia line.
The story of the Virginia Burwells is like Gone with the Wind with spin-offs. There are two Burwells I will write more about. They are on the bottom right side of my chart.
Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell Puller is a descendant of Lewis Burwell V. Nicknamed Chesty, he was the most-decorated Marine in US history.
Wikipedia says he is a distant cousin of Gen. George S. Patton. I haven’t looked into that, but it sounds like they were spiritual kin if not actual. A quote attributed to Lt. Gen. Chesty is: “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies the problem”. The Marine Corps Bulldog mascot is named after him.
George “William” Kirkland is a descendant of Armistead Burwell, Lewis’ brother. First known as “Garland’s George,” he enlisted as “William Kirkland” in the Union Army during the Civil War. He died in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri.
Pvt. Kirkland was born into slavery, son of Elizabeth Keckley. Armistead Burwell fathered – and owned – Elizabeth. He later gave her to his legitimate daughter Anne, who married Hugh Garland of North Carolina. Andrew Kirkland, friend of the Garlands, fathered Elizabeth’s son George.
This election I don’t know who I’m going to vote for. When the electioneering machine started cranking up, so did the recorded messages. You know, the taped messages that lazy and/or cheap telemarketers seem to like. Saves them paying real people in India or Moncton to annoy householders at dinnertime. This election, it seems to me, there’s been more of these recorded calls coming from candidates and pollsters.
“Hi, I’m blahblah for the blahblah party and I want your vote October 6th.” Not bloody likely, I say to the recording and hang up. I’ve waited through the spiel for the option to press a key to get taken off the calling list. It isn’t there. So I made a vow: I will not vote for any party that phones me with a recorded message.
The Liberals were first out of the gate, no problem. I wouldn’t vote for Dalton McGuinty if he came to my house and made my dinner. Second was the Conservatives, a recording for Tim Hudak at 5:45 pm. No danger I was going to vote Conservative anyway, but what are they thinking? What are most people doing at that time? Either making dinner or eating it.
So I thought it was clear sailing. Whether because they don’t have sufficient resources or that they have the sense to know how alienating such calls are, I hadn’t had a recorded message from the NDP. Hadn’t had any live NDP calls either. Then, last Friday evening, 6:30, making dinner – phone rings. “Hi, I’m Kathy Cornish … NDP candidate…” No, it wasn’t really her. I’d have talked to the real Kathy Cornish. Wouldn’t have been thrilled with her timing, but was even less thrilled with it being a recording.
One election call from a human
The only actual human who has called campaigning was a lady on behalf of our Conservative candidate Jeff Yurek. I told her I wouldn’t be voting for his party under any circumstances, but I appreciated having a real person doing the calling. She said many people prefer the recorded calls. I asked why and she said she didn’t know. I cannot imagine. Maybe easier to hang up on?
And pollsters – I don’t mind them usually. They have a job to do and I’m usually willing to help them. But not an automated one. For pollsters and candidates alike, if you can’t be bothered actually having a human call me, I can’t believe my opinion or vote would have much sway with you.
So this election, I’m voting with my phone. Right now, the choices left to me in my riding are the Freedom Party or the Greens. They are the only ones who have not bothered me with phone calls, either recorded or live.
My cousin Lynda Sykes wrote this about her visit to Mabee’s Corners many years ago, after reading about my ‘sighting’ of the road sign for it. She graciously gave me permission to post it. Lynda is the editor and collaborator of Charles Kipp’s WWII memoir Because We Are Canadians.
Ever since I can remember anything, I remember Grandma telling me many times with great pride how her family came to found Mabee’s Corners, which I vaguely knew was somewhere down around near Tillsonburg.
Grandma told me that her great-great-great (I don’t remember now how many “greats”) grandparents got married on the three-way crossroads of Mabee’s Corners. There was nothing there at the time – just the intersection of the three roads. She said the bride came from one direction, the bridegroom came from another direction, and the preacher came from the third direction. They all met at the intersection and the preacher married them there at the crossroads. After they were married, the young couple was looking for a place to settle, and so they decided to settle at that same crossroads. And thus, they founded Mabee’s Corners. Real romantic story, right?
I never saw Mabee’s Corners until I was a teenager, dating Wayne. One Sunday, he and I were out driving and we were coming into Tillsonburg, kinda through the ‘back door’ from the south. I saw this road sign that pointed to Mabee’s Corners, so many miles down the road. I got all excited, and asked Wayne to turn around and follow that road. As he did, I’m telling him with great pride about how my ancestors founded Mabee’s Corners, and relating Grandma’s romantic story to him.
Mabee’s Corners now and then
Today, Mabee’s Corners looks very different from what it did then, almost 50 years ago. Then, it was just a three-way stop. It’s only in the last 20 years or so that they opened up what used to be barely a cowpath to make a fourth road running to the south, thus making it into a four-way stop. Today, all the roads in the south country are paved. Modern, tidy homes have been built in Mabee’s Corners.
Back then, however, when I was happily telling Wayne Grandma’s wonderful romantic story, it was very, very different. And it was March, when everything looks particularly bad and dirty and scrubby at best.
We’re driving along, getting closer and closer to Mabee’s Corners, and we start seeing all these dilapidated tarpaper shacks along the road. I remember one place in particular that had a sagging front porch with mud and junk everywhere. Chickens roosting on the railings, while Ma and Pa Kettle (or maybe Mabee – haha!) sat in rocking chairs. And Pa in a straw hat smoking a pipe. It was a scene straight out of Dogpatch! Tarpaper shacks with junk strung everywhere. Omigod!!!
Needless to say, I was stunned! I had always wanted to see this place. Wayne looked at me with such a smirk on his face and he started to laugh. “So this is the place your ancestors founded, eh? Well, it looks like they’re still here.” Well – we laughed and we laughed and we laughed. It was at such odds with the romantic story I had just been telling. For years and years, even after Mabee’s Corners got cleaned up, we could never drive through it on the way down to Judy and Fred’s without laughing.
Marrying at a crossroads
Years later, after Grandma passed away, Mom found a newspaper clipping amongst her papers and keepsakes. It was an article about the Mabee family. But it also gave some history regarding early pioneer culture and customs in this area. It described the practice of marrying at a crossroads, like Grandma’s ancestors did.
Normally when a couple plans to marry, in order for the union to be legal, they either have to have their marriage certificate for at least three days before the marriage date or have the banns read aloud in church for three Sundays before the blessed event. However, back then, if one was in a hurry, there was another way. If neither of those two criteria had been met, a marriage could still be considered legal if 1) the marriage took place at midnight, 2) the bride and groom were attired in their nightclothes and 3) the marriage took place at a crossroads.
SURE SOUNDS LIKE A PREMISE FOR A SHOTGUN WEDDING TO ME! Needless to say, this article pretty much obliterated whatever romantic notions I had left regarding my ancestors’ founding of Mabee’s Corners.
Doesn’t it make ya’ wonder if great-great-great-great-great-grammy was knocked up, and that great-great-great-great-great-grandpappy wasn’t too thrilled about marryin’ her? But bless their hearts! I guess we all turned out all right anyway. All I can say is, “Thanks,” and I hope life wasn’t too hard for them.
And those are my stories about Mabee’s Corners.
Newfoundland Mi'kmaq, family history, Coronation Street, etc.