A. Douglas Alkenbrack - Memories of a Local MP
Oct 12, 2013
By Nancy Kallina
The winter of 1978 was unusual, quite cold but with little snow. As a result the lake froze over to create a wonderful enormous skating rink. While out for a skate, my mother met another woman who she likely would not have met otherwise - the ice seemed to bridge the gap between cottages. They realized they both had young daughters, so Katherine was begrudgingly dragged out to meet me. After a few awkward moments we found our con-nection and have been friends ever since.
When I met the Alkenbrack/Grennell family, I learned the joys of an extended family. Tables were full of food, people would pop in and out, and conversations would start at one cottage and finish in another, generosity was overflowing. So much was always happening, but I and all my family were always welcomed as if we were part of their family. I started to refer to members by their family names, Aunt Myrtle, Big Paul, Auntie Anne, Dougie. The Matriarch and Patriarch were no doubt Doug Senior and Nan. I learned that Doug Sr. was once the local MP but I was too young to know the significance. It seemed hard to imagine that he was a politician as he seemed quiet, reflective, and honest; nothing like the politicians I saw on television. His relaxed face had a slight grin. I remember him travelling from cottage to cottage ensuring each fireplace had sufficient wood. I remember him on Canada Day, not making an announcement but starting to sing with a strong voice the first line of Oh Canada as we then joined in.
He was also a published poet and over the many years after he passed away, his poems would be recited, at weddings, at birthday celebrations, on Canada Day. I always found them to be calming and a beautiful continuation of his presence at a place he dearly cared about, read by the people he cared for most. We have included an excerpt of his poem “The Village on the Skoot” for your enjoyment. (The entire poem plus two others will be posted on our website). As Doug Sr. would be 100 years old this year, I felt it appropriate to ask his family to include a few memories of their father and grandfather for us to enjoy.
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