Grace Notes Kathleen Francis Review by Sarah Brown What is the subject? The book uses the concept of a grace note – an embellishment that is neither melody nor harmony…
What was it like 50 years ago? My wife Dorothy and I travelled down memory lane in an exciting journey into my past, like the one portrayed by Michael J. Fox in the classic movie Back to the Future.
During the early sixties, the East-West Cold War worsened drastically. In August 1961, the Berlin Wall was built and, by October 1962, the world was on the brink of annihilation with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Canadians were building concrete bunkers under their basements: a nuclear war would devastate us, since Canada was the shortest distance between the USSR and the USA.
You could almost time the passersby’s reaction to us four teenaged guys dressed in baby-blue blazers (purchased at an MCC Thrift Store) perched in the mezzanine of the Steinbach Regional Secondary School gym: a stare, a smirk, and a shake of the head. Our low-budget crew consisted of Marty behind the VHS camera and rickety tripod, Ken holding a microphone duct-taped to a hockey stick (boom mic), and Chris providing colour commentary to my play-by-play call of the games below.
A memory of integration comes to mind when I think of my six years at the MB Herald some 30 years ago. I remember a vision of Mennonite Brethren identity as holding together open gospel witness with acts of love and obedience. It’s true that memory sometimes plays tricks on us – but there you have it.
Like a number of others who have sat in the “driver’s seat,” I got my MB Herald driving lessons from Harold Jantz. I came to work for him in 1973, as his first assistant editor. I was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity, for I’d long had the desire, inarticulate as it was, to work in the area of writing.
It is the most mind-numbing task demanded of the Herald editor all year long. It comes at the very worst time, right in the middle of the busy Christmas season. It is called “proofreading the annual index,” that listing of everything we have published in the previous year.
Nearly fifty years ago – in 1964 to be precise – as a young man in his twenties, I first came to the Mennonite Brethren Herald. Those were turbulent years. A few months earlier, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. The U.S. was drifting into the Vietnam conflict, the first major war it was to lose. Riots, marches, and city ghettoes on fire heralded the civil rights conflict.