Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Nero and Herod of Bonfield, Ontario

Last weekend the Lions Club of Bonfield held a Medieval Night to raise money to rebuild a footbridge in the park.  My wife and I put on our own medieval duds and went on over.  It was a lot of fun.  The Lions -- an international men's service club --supplied custom-made dinnerware, hats and other costume accessories, and really good food, featuring barbeque chicken and excellent, meaty ribs.

Part of the festivities was the presence of King Harold and Queen Tamela.  King Harold, who I bet had played this role before, spoke well and without too much phoney medievalesque affectation.  His main job was to raise money by finding excuses to put people in the stocks and then putting them up for auction. You could pay to release someone or to keep them imprisoned.  This worked very nicely.  Since I have just finished up teaching Gregory of Tours, I was delighted to hear King Harold addressed as "Herod," to which he quite naturally objected.  I don't know if the mistake was really a mistake or not.  This is a country township full of French Catholics and I am sure that a fair number of the attendees know perfectly well who King Herod was.  At least, that he was a bad man.

The Brueghel painting above was suggested by my wife who thought the whole scene was reminiscent of the Flemish painters, in large part because it was an old crowd (us included).  Speaking of age, after 20 years here, someone still felt compelled to comment on our funny accents.  True enough, we don't sound like North Bay area people, but still...

I heard something quite odd from one of those same people.  She said that when she moved to Bonfield from North Bay, some decades back, that she was warned  to buy a big mean dog and not go out at night.  I was surprised because she was too young to be talking about the really remote past, and in my 20 years there's never been anything happen to make  me feel that this is a rough place.  There used to be fights between French and English, but this was in the historic past by the time we got here.

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