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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Canadian Icons

There were news items this week with reference to a couple of iconic Canadian characters: Anne Shirley and Sam Steele. This is the 100 anniversary of the writing of the book "Anne of Green Gables," by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This week a great treasure trove of historic artifacts once owned by Sam Steele were bought from his English relatives and returned to Canada. In their own way, each has helped to shape Canada's image of itself.

For those who have not read "Anne of Green Gables". . . .shame on you. If you are American, you are forgiven but I encourge you to correct this situation, particularly if you have a young person to share it with.

Anne Shirley was an orphaned girl who grew up in the home of the strict and hardworking Cuthberts. ( Presbyterians no doubt.)The red headed Anne is a delightful, smart, talkative, imaginative, young girl growing up in rural Prince Edward Island. While she occasionally got into mild trouble for the most part she her life was very civilized and charmed.

I like to think Anne Shirley is to Canada what Tom Sawyer is the the United States. Both stories are about coming of age in rural small towns or their respective countries.

Anne of Green Gables is widely loved and enjoyed across Canada. It has beeen the basis of a movie and a couple of series of TV programs. On PEI it is a virtual tourist industry where you can visit the House of Green Gables and in the summer attend a production of the play of Anne of Green Gables in Charlottetown.

Anne of Green Gables is a book read around the world. For reasons not clear to me, the Japanese, in particular, love Anne of Green Gables and the other "Anne" books. They come by the thousands to visit Prince Edward Island, a beautiful and most civilized place, and many even get married in the land of Anne Shirley.























A doll of Anne Shirley
















In my family we have our own Anne Shirley. This is my niece Andrea. If she were an actress, What a wonderful Anne she would make. She is the youngest of my brother's girls. She is the funniest, most talkative, athletic and fun loving. She is presently in graduate school at the College of William and Mary studying psychology toward a career in University teaching.













The happy couple

Then again, perhaps Laura could be an Anne Shirley. Laura is my brother's oldest daughter, currently living in Australia, working as a lawyer. This picture I just got with an invitation to her wedding to the fellow standing beside her, Dominic. The wedding will be in Charlotte, NC, this fall. Since I just got this lovely photo I thought I would post it.

But I have digressed.

Sam Steele the other Canadian character I started out to mention was a real person an early North West Mounted Policeman, (Now the Royal Canaadian Mounted Police, (RCMP). He was sent to western Canada in the early days of settlement and came to represent law and order, fulfiilling the goal of Canada for "peace, order and good govenrnment."

As a young person Sam Steele was very interested in native North Americans and apparently read James Fenimore Cooper's books. His interest in and sympathy for the aboriginal peoples of Western Canada no doubt help him resolve conflicts among them and the settlers. Canada is did not experience the wars against the Indians waged by the Americans to our south. In fact, he met will the American Commander Alfred Terry. Sitting Bull when he and his tribe fled North into Canada after the Battle of the Little Big Horn. They were allowed to stay as long as they maintained the peace. He did try to encourge Sitting Bull to return to the US, which he did after a few years.


We have the mythic image of Sam Steele, thought strength of character, fairness and insistence of the rule of law, keeping the peace in the west. He, first went west to put down the Metis North-West Rebellion. Later he confronted the American whiskey traders, resolved issues between natives and settlers, turned back gun toting Americans wanting to go the the Yukon in the gold rush of the 1890's. Sam Steele, no doubt, help to establish the reputation of the Mounted Police in the early days if it deployment.






















Sam Steele


Sam Steele went on the have a military career after his years in Western Canada.

If the Americans can have their iconic western lawman, Wyatt Earp, Canada can have it's lawman, Sam Steele. Each came to represent how the West was won.

11 Comments:

At 4:29 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

I have read the book and do enjoy it. Now I'll have to dig it out and re-read it. :)

 
At 7:51 a.m., Blogger Gattina said...

I don't know them, but your two nieces are very pretty girls !

 
At 2:47 p.m., Blogger edifice rex said...

Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorites. I generally don't go for that type story but just loved that book. Hhmmm, maybe it's the name!

 
At 7:21 a.m., OpenID daffy said...

Aha! trying to catch me out huh? ;o) Yes, I've not only read it I have a copy from when I was little that my daughter now keeps...who incidentally shares her name with your very pretty niece.
:o)

 
At 11:52 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tossing Pebble, you are right about Anne being brought up n a Presbyterian household, but Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, the spinister and bachelor brother and sister who adopted Anne, were not related to Anne at all. Anne was born to her young parents in Nova Scotia, and after spending time with various foster families and finally in an orphanage, she was sent to Prince Edward Island by mistake. The Cuthberts had asked for a boy who could help Matthew on the farm, but Anne arrived instead. After some confusion and consternation, they decided to keep her.

 
At 12:22 p.m., Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Thanks to Anon, I stand corrected.
One should not rely upon weak memory. It must be time to re-read
Anne of Green Gables.

 
At 8:12 p.m., Blogger possum said...

What strange things we remember! My 5th grade teacher read Anne of Green Gables to us in, ummmm,1954. I loved it! She also read Misty of Chincoteague. We were living near Buffalo, NY at the time. I had never set foot in VA but I promised myself (as only a 10 year old can) that I would someday go to school on Chincoteague Island where the kids rode ponies to school. Know what is amazing? I went to school in Maine the next year, got a quick visit to PEI, and then joined my father in the Middle East, where I graduated high school in Ankara, Turkey. How far from Chincoteague can you get??? But, back in the states in college, I met a Virginian, fell in love, sigh... got my degree... moved to Virginia and my first teaching assignment included teaching at Chincoteague High School in the afternoons. So I did go to school on Chincoteague, but I drove a Ford, maybe I shoulda bought a Mustang??? LOL!
Ain't life strange????

 
At 10:59 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

I too loved Anne of Green Gables. I thoroughly enjoyed an television adaptation that I watched with my daughter (also a red-head).
Your nieces certainly could have been cast as Anne.
Happy wedding times--for your elder niece.

 
At 6:35 a.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

Never read it... and now I find reading a chore.. how sad is that Philip. I loved reading.. but after my by-pass operation reading and watching film have taken a back seat.. One of the reasons I blog is I only need to read small amounts and move... I even tried taped book but just could not get into them.
As for the Red heads in your family.. I read some where that true red heads were getting rarer in Scotland.. maybe you have heard the same.

 
At 9:37 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I am well-steeped in Anne: read the books, seen the series, and visited PEI. But Sam Steele is new to me. Shame on me!

 
At 11:39 p.m., Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

I first saw the Anne of Green gables movies before I ever read the books. Now I have done both as well as seeing the old black and white film with an actress called "Anne Shirley." I've never heard about Sam Steele, but the character Mike Flanigan in "Mrs. Mike" sounds similar. Mrs. Mike takes place in the Lesser Slave Lake area of Canada above Calgary.

 

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