April 6, 1917 Good Friday, Bad Friday


April 6, 1917 Snow and Earth

The papers came by train this morning with the news. The United States is going to War against Germany. The headlines showed that the Senate voted 82 versus 6 in favour of War. It’s expected that President Wilson will make the declaration today.

I decided to go out to sketch early in the morning. I took one of my smallest boards cut from the orange crates. Good Friday is supposed to be a day of sacrifice and humility so my contribution to the observation is getting out early and painting on a small board. I am hoping that Shannon’s contribution will be staying away from the whisky.

Annie’s decided to have the Good Friday meal at noon. She made a meatless stew. There’s a meat shortage so she’s thinking about making every Friday a meatless Friday. They’re doing that in England and there’s talk of doing it in Toronto, because there is indeed a meat shortage. Annie’s stew was quite delicious so I’m sure there was some beef stock used so it wasn’t technically meatless. But I decided the let the fine point of doctrine slide and complimented on its savoury taste. The other guest enjoyed it too, except for one who broke into an uncontrollable coughing fit, spitting blood on the table. Shannon hauled him up to his room and opened the bedroom window to the let cold air in.

Once that episode was complete (and the tablecloth changed) we started to talk about the War. When Shannon recalled that when he talking to George Bartlett and learned that Mark Robinson was returning to the Park, there was another point George made that Shannon had forgotten to mention. Mark was returning early (sometime next week we believe) to keep an eye on suspicious activities. Bartlett was told that he needed to man the Park to make sure the railway keeps running. Someone called from Ottawa (George had his own telephone and liked to show it to everyone) that German saboteurs might take out the some of the rail lines.

Shannon was incredulous at this possibility, but he liked the excitement it garnered. I started to put two and two together, recalling the visit I had from that that fellow from the Corps of Guides, saying I might be needed in the Park. I kept that fact to myself, and decided that I would talk to Mark when appropriate.

Well, it’s early afternoon. My day’s deeds are done. My sketch was small and quick and I was quite pleased with the effects and the shadows.

Tonight’s going to be a humble meal. Annie’s going to bake some bread, which we’ll break after a bible reading. Instead of wine, we’ll dip it into re-heated stew.

Communion, Mowat Lodge style. I appreciate this type of ceremony. It’s much better than being bawled at by a pastor with soft hands and no sons to sacrifice.