"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Damn Right It Matters

I was born in a town whose beginnings were literally lost in the mists of antiquity.

It is situated on either side of a river where it flows into the sea. On one side is Fullarton on the other Irvine. It's in the Parish of Dundonald,in the Diocese of Galloway. The postal address is Ayrshire,Scotland

For a while, it was called Strathclyde after the region was created. At some point, they abandoned that and went back to their historical roots.

Irvine is a Royal Burgh.I think it was James,father of Mary Queen of Scots who gave it that distinction.It meant the children of the burgers could receive and education ad the King wouldn't have to come by every year tothe assize and make the decisions.

The town was there before the Romans and Christianity.
The harbour was it's reason for being.

The river has a weir. I've never been able to discover when it was built. A weir eliminates the effect of the tide. Within the town, the river is contained between two walls. The water level is maintained by the weir.

At intervals the weir would be opened and water allowed to flow freely out to the sea and the river would resume it's natural edge.

The purpose,I think, was to cleanse the river.There was salmon fishing in the river.

Before garbage was collected, refuse was dumped into the river.

The river came fast flowing down from the hills and in heavy rain, would swirl and whirl into currents and eddies and whirl pools in the torrent at full spate.

All that was undesirable would be carried out to the sea.

It was always a good thing when the weir were closed, water level restored and bottom edges covered again.

I lived in Irvine until I was eighteen.I was born in a house in Friar's Croft, a street that ended at the river. There had been a friary in that location in early Christianity.

Everywhere I went; to school,to church,to the swings, to shops, to the shore, to my grannie's house.I walked by and across the river.

I never thought much about it. It was always there.Like the sun and the sky.

The town was full of history. But we didn't learn it in school. We learned what was in the text books. No connection was ever made by our teachers to the place we lived.

What a difference it would have made to the subject to know that our place was a regular haunt of Robert the Bruce and his ilk. The teachers probably hadn't learned about that either.

There was so much to know that was deliberately kept hidden and much of what wasn't, was twisted and distorted.

I had to discover that as an adult.

The reason had to be political.

I love the place I was born.It has never left me. It's part of who I am.

I've lived in Aurora almost three times as long. I raised my children here. My grandchildren know it too.
Great-grandchildren as well.

There's no river here. No outlet to the sea. History that we know, is not much more than 160 years.

Young enough to be recorded in accurate detail with a building, with locations mapped and actual artifacts to keep it alive for the children who know this as their birthplace. Their heritage.

And provide them with roots and the strength that comes from roots to know who they are.

Aurora is not a bedroom community.

It is a town in its own rights.

A community with pride in its heritage.

It took people who got here yesterday to decide our history didn't matter.

We will not stand for that.


Anonymous said...

Lovely! Thank you !

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Tout Sheet on the NDP. It helps to know which horses can run in the mud and where they have raced in the past. Sometimes a new bettor can actually get it right from the stats. One query though. Where does Sid Ryan fit into the picture?

Anonymous said...

ACM Program presents an interesting thought. Does the superstition about the number of crows in a murder derive from the North American Indians or from the Irish?