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Monday Musings 05/08/13

Spring Summer Iphone Pictures 2013 245The Squirrel’s Nest…

I ate at a restaurant in Rouses Point, New York, with my father-in-law and a friend while on vacation this summer.  Years ago, my father-in-law and I would frequent the establishment for Saturday morning breakfasts.  After a series of new owners, changed menus, higher coffee prices, and a rapid turnover of staff, (all causing loyal customers to go elsewhere), it closed down three years ago.

This spring, the mayor’s wife, of the small border town, re-opened the restaurant under a new name called “The Squirrel’s Nest”.  Two things happened.  Old clientele returned, and new customers are flocking to the restaurant, especially on weekends.  A big part of the success seems to center around the historical theme of the restaurant.  The walls are covered with pictures from the past and the tables place mats give historical information.  A television plays a revolving PowerPoint presentation of the history of Rouses Point, New York.

Spring Summer Iphone Pictures 2013 193Old timers are buzzing about the history.  I sat with one elderly couple, over breakfast, who have lived in Rouses Point all their life.  The pictures allowed them to tell great stories from the past, giving me an whole new appreciation for the community and its heritage.  New comers sit at the breakfast bar, glued to the television, intrigued by the history portrayed in the pictures.  Its a win, win, win.  The old timers win because of the memories the restaurant has created.  The new comers (many who come from the local marina) win because they gain a new appreciation for the community they are visiting every weekend.  The Squirrels Nest wins because of the income generated by all of those who eat in the establishment.Spring Summer Iphone Pictures 2013 191

The experience got me thinking about 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation churches.  With so many churches turning their foyer’s into cafe’s, perhaps it would be a good place to establish an “Ole Tyme Cafe”.  Display pictures from the past, invest in a television screen designated especially to heritage, and play some music that is so old, it is new for 1st generation church goers.  It may just keep some of the “old timers” happy (at least a little bit).  Too me, it is a win, win, win.  It will bring joy to 3rd and 4th generation believers as they reminisce about the past.  It will educate 1st and 2nd generation believers and seekers about the history of the church.  It will help the church to bridge a gap that seems to widen with every passing year.  Who knows that the “Ole Tyme Cafe” may become a place to get generations talking together.

Could it be that a little restaurant in Rouses Point, New York, could benefit the church in Canada?  The Squirrel’s Nest has “reinvented” itself, perhaps the church should consider doing the same!

Until next Monday…




  • David Maye

    August 6, 2013

    Karen and I love Rousses Point. I love to cross that bridge and look at the fortress. We often take The Champlain Island route to Burlington. Karen actually went their yesterday with her sisters. I do enjoy those diners. How about those Chicago BlackHawks? Are u back in Quebec? Give our love to MJ.
    Dave Maye

    • rtcblog

      August 7, 2013

      Try the Squirrels Nest on Main Street. Great breakfasts!

  • Lennox & Rosannah Dwarka

    August 6, 2013

    We just watched a movie of 3 generations in a small town.
    It would be an excellent idea for our Churches in Canada, to share our Histories with each other.


    Lennox & Rosannah D

  • Helen Tuitt

    August 7, 2013

    Hi Don,

    Calvin and I have just returned from the southern United States, which included time spent in North Carolina and Alabama. We drove through South Carolina and Georgia to get to our final destination and something in your Monday Musings column reminded me of our time in Alabama this past week.

    The purpose of our trip was to attend a family reunion on Calvin’s grandmother’s side of the family (The Wynn family). Calvin has quite a few aunts, uncles and cousins whom I had heard about for many years however, I had never had the opportunity to meet them.

    Calvin’s Auntie Clem, who left Montreal 43 years ago to move to Toronto, also attended the family reunion and she was joined by her daughter, Sharleen, who is Calvin’s only first cousin. The first leg of our trip was Montreal/New York where we met up with Auntie Clem and Sharleen and we travelled with them on our flight from New York to Charlotte, N.C. There were many wonderful moments during the 5 days that we were there and, after the Family Reunion in North Carolina, we set out on the second leg of our trip which was a 5 hour drive to Anniston, Alabama where Auntie Clem was raised as a child and where her mother, Edna Belle Landrum (Tuitt)(Calvin’s grandmother) was also raised with her large family.

    The original family home still stands on Stephens Street in Anniston and Calvin’s grandmother’s sister, Aunt Burdelle, still lives here today. What a lovely southern home, with its outdoor balcony, screened-in porch and lovely flower gardens. You would never think that almost directly across the street, a similar house stood, however, this one has been abandoned and boarded up since the parents died. The children have long left Anniston behind in search of bigger cities and new careers which explains why so many of these lovely homes now stand empty. Their only occupants are snakes, rats and raccoons. It is very sad to see how the past is of little importance to the younger generation. They know that they are 3rd and. 4th generation family with roots in the Deep South, however, they do not seem to place much historical value on the small cities where their great grandparents settled and tried to make a life for themselves over 100 years ago.

    Calvin ‘s Auntie Clem, who celebrated her 85th birthday with us on August 1st, in Charlotte, had one main wish for this trip and that was to go back to Anniston, Alabama, where she lived from ages 3 to 8. She wanted to see the house where she had lived with her grandparents and relive for a few days, her childhood years. The house has been well-maintained and it is lovely with its formal living and dining rooms. A large master bedroom and en suite bathroom are also located on the first floor and there are two small bedrooms on the second floor where the children and grandchildren slept years ago. I believe that Calvin and I slept in one of the bedrooms where Calvin’s grandmother also slept as a child. It was a wonderful and touching experience as many memories were shared and new moments created for us to cherish.

    Could a city like Anniston reinvent itself and resurrect its historical heritage? Is there enough interest from the families who still live there to do something about it? I don’t have the answers to these questions but it is a city that boasts numerous car and truck dealerships, large banks and investment companies and some great restaurants. We visited the Public Library and saw many churches, some of which were also abandoned and boarded up but there is new life in Anniston. We visited an affluent neighbourhood where many beautiful homes stand on large expanses of beautifully manicured lawns. Sadly, when the black people move into a more affluent neighbourhood, the whites move out, so racial discrimination exists to this day. It is a sad statement and not one that is discussed openly, however, it is a known fact. This may be one of the reasons why the 3rd and 4th generations have moved out and abandoned their family homes. They are looking for a better future and an opportunity to integrate more fully into a society that is more accepting of them.

    I am happy to hear that The Squirrel’s Nest has attracted people, old and new, and that its history is of interest to the residents and visitors. We will certainly cherish our memories of the historical heritage of the Wynn and Tuitt families in Anniston and we plan on bringing our children to the next family reunion in 3 years and bring some of the past back to life for them, so that they have an appreciation of their roots and will share it with their children.

    We hope you are enjoying your time back home in Canada and
    we look forward to getting together with you and Marie-José soon!

    Our Love to you both,


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