05:56:35 am on
Thursday 29 Oct 2020

2020 So Far
David Simmonds

The other day I did a mini inventory of all the dreadful events of 2020, which is only a little more than half over. It’s scary. Still, let’s review, briefly, the first half of 2020.

Here we go.

The Australian bush fire crisis carried over from 2019 and offered the prospect of an environmental Armageddon. Donald Trump just about started World War III with his attack in Iran on an Iranian general. That led to the shooting down of a commercial Ukrainian International Airlines jet, killing 57 Canadians.

Two Canadian armed forces plane crashed, each one involving loss of life. The worst mass murder in Canadian history happened in tranquil Nova Scotia. We’ve had the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

There’s till more. The blockade of railway lines by protesters showing solidarity with a group of BC indigenous elders Brexit and the less well-known Sussexit. The Harvey Weinstein conviction.

There the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks led to anti-racism protests. Innocent Canadians are still hostages in Chinese jails. The government stands its ground by going ahead with the extradition hearing of Meng Wanzhou.

Oh, yes, and there was something on the news the other day about a new coronavirus called COVID-19. It is said to be causing problems. I didn’t catch the full story.

All in all, I was hoping the second half of the year, beginning on 1 July, Canada Day, would lift me out of the doldrums. It is not to be. There were no parades, no street dances, no fireworks this Canada Day, at least in Wellington. Main Street was festooned with Canadian flags, but it wasn’t the same.

Canada Day in Wellington is normally a day I look forward to, a day I plan around to make sure I will be in the village. My routine is set. On 30 June, catch the street dance and watch the children dancing to tunes their grandparents loved as well as grandparents shedding their inhibitions and trotting out moves that even Chubby Checker would approve of. Then off to see the fireworks with an endurance battle against the mosquitoes. Then to bed, to be up early 1July for the pancake breakfast, although I’m usually too excited to sleep, much. 

I love a parade.

Then clear up and out of the pancake breakfast in time to see the 10:30 am parade, at which I must restrain myself from fighting schoolchildren for the candy handouts. Then off to the used book sale at the library to pick up somebody else’s reading material for a pay-what-you-want price.

Then I’m off to church number one for triangular sandwiches and church number two for strawberry shortcake. Then to the park for the official program and the singing of O Canada. Then to check out the various booths and vendors. And then to home to collapse with exhaustion.

At every turn, people are revved up with goodwill, decked out in red and white and shouting “Happy Canada Day” to all and sundry. They revel in their good fortune to be living in a prosperous and vast country, and to be sharing it in a small town like Wellington. Canada Day in Wellington trumps Canada Day in Ottawa, every time. Thanks to the Wellington Recreation Committee and its team of volunteers for their efforts in putting on Canada Days past and present.

Now, there’s Pumpkinfest, in October, to look forward to. Notwithstanding that the second half of the year isn’t getting off to a good start, the silver lining lies in the fact it’s going to be worth sticking around for the next six months and maybe a few more to see how problems, from the first part of year, play. I am ever hopeful.

Will police budgets be reconsidered or intervention services be assigned to help the police and citizenry? How long will it take u to get the coronavirus under control? Will a guaranteed minimum income be served up or will the debt level prevent us from doing so?

I can’t wait to find out.

How will the province or federal governments pay for improvements in long term care facilities? Will Donald Trump defy the pollsters and win another election, perhaps with more help from his foreign friends?  I can’t wait to find out.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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