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A couple of fellows who cared

Guelph lost a couple of caring, active citizens this month. I didn’t know either one of them personally, but they were forever writing letters to the editor opining on the issues of the day. They were trying to make the world, our world of Guelph, a better place.
Don Ewing, in his 90s, and Stephen Rodd, in his 80s, were activists to their last dying days.
Ewing was first and foremost someone who lived and breathed his beloved NDP. However, amid the countless political letters sent to us over the years – and across Canada – he would locally sprinkle bon mots about his other passion, namely music. He would write letters to the editor celebrating local musical events that he attended, suggesting we should have attended, too. We should not miss future concerts, he would advise readers.
Rodd’s passions were more apolitical and more big picture, with a focus on the environment. He, too, liked penning letters to the editor. He personified that old saw: “Think globally, act locally.” A vivid memory of him was his plaintive call for answers about how to get people to care about climate change. It was at War Memorial Hall, and I forget who the expert was that he was quizzing. I remember, though, the answer to his question was, in effect, it’s going to take a lot more people like him if were are to effect change.
I called these gents activists, but that might not be correct. It’s probably more correct to call them active, engaged and caring about Guelph and the larger world.
Don Ewing and Stephen Rodd were a couple of retired fellows who gave a hoot. Their letters were always food for thought. That’s why letters to the editor have always enjoyed a top ranking among readership surveys. I am not sure if letters to the editor ever lead to change, but bless them both for trying.
• • •
While on the topic of effecting change, Guelph residents once again have a chance to do that. Whatever your expertise, there is a likely spot for you on one of many City of Guelph boards, committees and commissions. There are almost 20 of them, ranging from cultural initiatives to economic development to choo-choo trains under the banner Guelph Junction Railway Company.
It’s a chance for some to walk the talk. It’s easy to sit upon high and harpoon stuff that comes out of city hall. It’s quite another to be in on the ground floor where the arduous decision-making process begins. Try it; it’s an eye-opener on the civic process.
Besides, you might like it.

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