A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Chickasaw & The Raid From Hell
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This image is one of the tragic realities of the Civil war...this image is not from Don's book but I really like the drama of this picture so I put it here! Thanks to the soldiers!Local author Don Davison is gearing up to release his new book "Raid From Hell" based on the infamous civil war raid of 1864 in St. Albans, Vermont that tied the politics and geography of Quebec's Eastern Townships to Vermont in a most extraordinary way. Not only is the well-known Knowlton author set to release his newly published book but the novel is now being turned into a new theatrical production and will be appearing onstage as a presentation of Knowlton Players starting on October 25th.

The St. Albans Raid took place on the fateful day of October 19, 1864 making this almost the anniversary of the event! It is one of the most celebrated incidents in Canadian/American border history and one that intrigued the author, Knowlton Resident Donald Davison, enough to cause him to devote many years to writing the book.

Considered by many to be the official northernmost engagement of the American Civil War, it involved more than twenty Confederate soldiers who, under the command of Bennett Young, a lieutenant, carried out a successful raid on three wealthy banks in St. Albans, Vermont. The raid was launched from Canadian soil in the Missisquoi County and the bandits took the peaceful town of St. Albans totally by surprise, and created an international furor which threatened to bring Britain into the American civil war on the side of the Confederacy. It also demonstrated to authorities in both Canada and the USA how vulnerable the common border was.

Even today it seems the border guards recall the shadows of the St. Albans Raid and perhaps hold a grudge because on my recent trip to Vermont I was practically treated as an ammunition smuggling horse thief as I crossed the border in my Pontiac Vibe! I can understand the need for border protection in 2007 and the Raid on St. Albans was probably one of the early examples of how easily ruthless bandits could exploit weak links in the defenses of North America.

Donald Davison -Author of Raid From HellBoth "Chickasaw" and "Raid From Hell" combine the historical realities of life in the the 1860's with a sprinkling of fictional possibility, crossing the documentary renditions of actual people with characters created from the imagination to add a sense of story and gaiety that a textbook rendition may not supply. The theatrical production "Chickasaw" instills music and movement into the characters from Davison's book and is sure to add a new dimension into the characters.

Donald Davison has launched his new website : www.raidfromhell.com which features excerpts and insights on his writing of the book "Raid From Hell" based on the St. Albans Raid. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has now listed Don's new book as one of the sources for historical information relating to the St. Albans Raid. see the wikipedia entry for the St. Albans Raid

Knowlton Players presents the world premiere of “Chickasaw”
Knowlton Players presents the world premiere of CHICKASAW, a new Canadian musical comedy, directed by Vesta Jorgensen, at Arts Knowlton, 9 Mont Echo Road, Knowlton, Quebec, October 25 through November 11, 2007. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 8:00 PM, and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 PM. Adults $15, Townshippers members $13, students $12, children $8.

Thursday, October 25, is a benefit for the BMP Hospital Foundation. Saturday, October 27, is a Gala Evening with a wine and munchies reception following the show, and an opportunity to meet the cast. Don’t be disappointed. Reserve early. Reservations: (450) 263-1061.

This spirited tale of love, larceny, war and patent medicines is played out against an historical incident that occurred during the American Civil War resulting in a political dilemma for the Canadian courts. The action takes place in Montreal and Frelighsburg, QC, as well as St. Albans, VT.

The story is adapted from the novel “RAID FROM HELL” by Don Davison. The stage play is by Roger de la Mare, with lyrics by Graham Hardman and music composed and directed by Donald Patriquin. Choreography is by Diane Cahill Yarmush, and costumes are by Linda Carey. John Rumsey, a destitute British solicitor, having been banished to Canada, ends up in Montreal.

At the urging of an old friend, Rumsey soon finds himself on the streets of St. Albans, Vermont, hawking a medicinal remedy said to be extracted from the Chickasaw Plum Tree. While he is there, Confederate soldiers arrive from Montreal where they had been planning a daring raid on the local banks of the small Vermont town. Following the robbery the bumbling Rebels flee to Canada for protection, taking Rumsey along as hostage, thereby complicating his budding romance with the widowed Minnie Green. Somehow everyone ends up in a Canadian courtroom presided over by a tipsy judge.

In the end, Rumsey’s Chickasaw Tonic proves to be a blessing in disguise. Original songs, as well as music from the Civil War period, add fun and poignancy to this swift-moving production, performed by a cast of twenty-four.

The Civil War raid is factual.
The romance is fictional.
The result is farcical.

Visit the web page of Don Davison, author of "Raid From Hell", at www.raidfromhell.com.

Chickasaw, the musical-comedy based on the book by Don Davison runs at the theatre in Lac Brome from October 25th to November 11th. See more in the Destination Knowlton Calendar

Une Saison Chez Guy Borremans
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Guy Borremans montage from the brain of David Milligan after borrowing images from a long long time ago...art is timeless and all artists copy and recreate!Sutton seems to be a real hotbed of culture in the Eastern Townships and visitors and residents of Lac Brome are lucky to have such a dynamic artistic centre so close by…in fact with the renewal of Sutton over the last few years it could be argued that Sutton is becoming the new hip destination that is more modern than dear old Bromont!

The latest cultural event to take place in Sutton is the launch of the book “Une saison chez Guy Borremans with text by Sébastien Hudon. This event is sponsored by Librairie le livre d’or. Librairie le livre d’or and Arts Sutton Gallery are pleased to invite you to a book launch on October 19 at 7:00p.m.

According to the press release: “In his book, young photographer Sébastien Hudon meets Guy Borremans, one of Canada’s pioneer photographer and film maker. The reader will discover some of the more important pieces spanning his evolution. “

Guy Borremans has been a photographer for 48 years. As well, he has been a film-maker, cameraman, director of photography and producer for 29 years. At the National Film Board of Canada he has worked with Arthur Lamothe, Gilles Groulx, Clément Perron, Gilles Carle and others. Since the 1960's, in intimate collaboration with the founders of so called Cinema Verite, he has left his mark on cinematographic imagery, using available light and a hand-held camera. In 1956, he was a correspondent with Paris Match. In 1965, during a three-year stay in New York, he worked with the United Nations Film Department, National Educational Television (N.E.T.) Movietone and private producers of commercials.

Upon his return to Quebec in 1968, he worked on such films as Day after day, Le Mépris n'aura qu'un temps and Vingt-quatre heures ou plus. Marilu Mallet's film Le journal inachevé, which he shot, was awarded the Quebec critics' prize. He has also taught at the University of Montreal, at the Moncton University, Concordia University and UQUAM, while pursuing his career as portraitist and director of photography ( Film & video).

Since La femme Image, the first independent film shot in Quebec, in 1959, and his first one-man photography exhibition in 1956, he has taken part in more than 72 film productions, and 33 one-man photography exhibitions, including Voyou, voyant, voyeur (1972), Attentat instantané (1980) and, more recently, Connues, inconnus, malconnues, trop connus, at the Cinémathèque québécoise (1985). which was going to tour Europe through cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Liège and Charleroi.

Guy Borremans now has lived in Sutton since 1996 where he has his studio.

Arty phto by Sebastien Hudon...does the door give permission to become art or does the artist become a thief by extracting images like juice from a kiwi? Questions abound yet still we find time to...This sounds indeed like an interesting subject for a book and to think he lives in Sutton after all he has done! But what about Sébastien Hudon who has taken the time to devote himself to writing about this interesting figure in the Quebec artistic community. Sébastien Hudon studied art history and has worked as a photographer and on many interesting projects involving contemporary Quebec society and the artistic expression of many unknown masters.

- Librairie le livre d’or and Arts Sutton Gallery are pleased to invite you to a book launch on October 19 at 7:00p.m. This event is sponsored by Librairie le livre d’or. There will also be a book signing of Hudon’s book as well as an exhibition of Borremans’s photographies.

The book launch takes place at Arts Sutton Gallery
7 Academy Street, Sutton Quebec. Call 450-538-2563 for info. The artssutton.com website seems to be undergoing renovations and currently doesn’t offer much information on the event but take your chances.

Thanksgiving: A Moment to Reflect on Life
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The bounty of our land is another reason why we shuld be giving thanks this weekend. We are blessed with an abundance of space and a freedom that is un-matched anywhere in the world! The last few weeks leading up to this thanksgiving weekend has been arguably some of the best weather we've seen lately here in Quebec. The traffic and visitors coming from Montreal to Lac Brome since the Brome Fair and the Duck Festival has been heavy and throughout this week-end the corner stop at Knowlton Road and Lakeside has been a a steady ballet of pedestrians and cars passing through the village center. The lovely weather put everyone in a good mood and despite the slow pace of traffic through downtown was almost welcome as people shopped and chatted and enjoyed the brilliant colors.

When we are blessed with another long weekend and warm temperatures with bright sunshine we can be extra contented. The colors on the leaves are at their best and the streets of Knowlton were literally packed with visitors enjoying what will likely be the nicest long week-end of the year.

A horse feeding on sunny autumn long-weekend near KnowltonThe animal creatures of the area also enjoyed the mild weather and everywhere you looked you could see happy horses, playful dogs and cats and many other of our barnyard friends showing signs of joy to the world.

Beautiful Autumn days remind us of the precious changes that occur in life in that they signify the end of our summer which is somewhat like the end of youth. There is a poignant flavor, a bitter sweet spice, in such fall days as we are forced to accept the coming winter yet want to spend as much time holding on to the warmth of the end of summer. The days are getting shorter and the nights are colder so when we have bright sunshine and mild temperatures like we've had this weekend it is understandable that we want to be outside and share the time together in what seems like a ritual celebration of the lust for life.

One of the lessons of this time of year is to make the most of every moment and seek out and appreciate the beauty in the world around us and in each and every one of us.

Thanksgiving is a time when we gather to celebrate with family and friends and give thanks for all that we have. We are fortunate here in the Eastern Townships that we live in a healthy and safe environment. It allows us to foster a greater feeling of spiritual connection to the world and to see our children grow up in warm and friendly communities. Such warm October days allow us to pause and reflect on the beauty of the natural world around us and to be thankful for everything we've got.

Red and orange leaves create a beautiful quebec scene and we should not forget our gratefullness for life and the beauy around us!
Father we thank thee for this food
for health, strength, and all
things good. May others all these blessings
share, and hearts be grateful
I thank you God for most this amazing day;
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is infinite which is yet.
- E. E. Cummings

Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and look to inspiration in the histories of older generations who have the wisdom of the years to share and enlighten us. Nothing can stir the soul more than poetry and this poem is by Robert Frost. Robert Frost (1874-1963) was one of the finest of rural New England's 20th century pastoral poets.

Mist rising off of the Mill Pond on Saturday morning in Knowlton. Warm fall weather makes the Eastern Townships one of the most beautiful areas of Quebec.

Gathering Leaves
by Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Bessette Could Have Been A Contender
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Lyne Bessette in action. Photo courtesy of an unknown photographer. Thanks for the great shot of a hard working athlete in action!Lyne Besette is one of Knowlton's most well-known athlete of the modern era. For years the Olympic cyclist has proudly represented Canada and especially the small town of Brome Lake where all of us were particularly proud to see her hard work bring her to the top of her athletic profession. Not only has she sacrificed much of her life to her athletic dreams she has also been a strong advocate of cycling and helped focus attention on the need for good bike trails in the Eastern Townships. Lyne Bessette, born in 1975 in Lac Brome, Quebec, is a professional bicycle racer. A two-time member of the Canadian Olympic team (2000 and 2004), she has twice won the prestigious Tour de l'Aude Feminin (1999 and 2001) as well as the 2001 Women's Challenge.

Now we have learned that our hometown hero Lyne Bessette could have actually reached the summit of her sport and won even more races if she hadn't been competing against cheating drug users like Genvieve Jeanson! Genevieve Jeanson was a cyclist who often competed against Bessette on the cycling circuit and who had a winning record that brought her some very good sponsorship money from such local Quebec businesses as Rona. Now it turns out this Jeanson wasn't such the stellar athlete we had been led to believe; she was in fact boosted up on artificial performance enhancing drugs! She had be hailed as a superstar for winning race after race and now she has admitted that she couldn't have done it without her regular dosing of EPA (a performance enhancing substance banned in racing).

Genevieve Jeanson has disgraced the sports world. Not the first time nor the last that athletes cheat to win...but still it is sad to see another former champion being suddenly reduced to a mere pillar of salt.Yep, another case of a young athlete going down the wrong path and trying to cheat all the way to the podium. No wonder she won so many races without breaking a sweat! Jeanson admitted during a recent interview that she was doping from the age of 16, a decision she says was the result of pressure by her former coach and husband Andre Aubut. Her husband, Aubut denied the charge, which would be expected. But she has to take responsibility for her actions and there is no excuse for jacking yourself up on illegal substances to win a race...it is beyond comprehension!

"I didn't really want to do it," she (Jeanson) said. "However, I did not have the courage to say no, so I just didn't say anything." OK...admitting such things merely proves you are in denial and bordering on being crazy...at least that's what I learned listening to Don Cherry!

This syndrome to win and be number one at any cost is not new but it is always disturbing; as parents we try and instill ideals of "doing the best we can" into our children but it is sad to see how these kids can lose sight of this and resort to lying and cheating in order to get what they want. Maybe this is the human condition to just take the easy way out. It is just sad to see Lynn Bessette now being forced to put on a brave face and try to put the past behind her.

Bessette could have been a contender if not for the cheating actions of Jeanson and those who knew what was happening. It is sickening to think that our hometown girl could have been in the spotlight more if it hadn't been for this self-indulgent Jeanson and her pathetic cheating. Winning several races and world championships by using illegal drugs is not very "winner"...it's cheating plain and simple and if I was a lawyer I would be reclaiming payouts and prizes for reasons of Jeanson's blatent cheating! I guess she and her husband coach can enjoy the fruits of their disception and then just shrug their shoulders and disappear into the sunset!

Some people think that performance enhancing substances should be permitted and maybe this is a good idea. The Tour du France is constantly scandalized by toothpick-necked chaps with thighs as big as Popeye's forearms who somehow manage to cycle for 8 hours at 30 km per hour and wake up the next day ready for more. Is this pure training or just the wonderful advancements in the latest genetic growth hormones that some scientist in the former Soviet Union has developed that has yet to be detected by testing?

The new prize winners are the drug companies and the sponsors of sport...But if you are going to give all sports competitions an "anything goes" policy relating to performance enhancing substances then are we going to expect the great un-washed masses to idolize these sports heroes? If Joey Couchpayate knows that everyone on the Olympic swim team is mainlining bovine blood prior to the race do you think he will be so eager to care considering that the other team is being sponsored by Pfizer and their latest cocktail of muscle manipulators?

Sport has historically appealed to us regular folks because it brought the best athletic citizens to the forefront where they competed with other top-achievers on the public stage. When the big corporate sponsors got involved the big bucks suddenly turned mere sport into a huge business where huge sums of money could be earned by an athlete and the supporting crew who work with them. If you tell some poor slob that he can coach an athlete and actually make a living and that poor schmuck knows that he could make more money if he can make his athlete a winner and he can do that just by giving the athlete a regular injection of "Acme Winning Juice" then some desperate people might do that!

Many of these athletes start young and are trusting of their coaches. A 15 year old cyclist who is told to take a pill or get a shot in their left buttock before a race might be naive enough to do it...then comes a gold medal...then a $40,000 Rona sponsorship and then...the sky is the limit!

What a shame that the honest players are always the ones who suffer. Today's elite athletes are given such special treatment that often they live in a gilded bubble. Just look at Myriam Bedard, she looks absolutely psychotic on television and seems to fall into the same category as a naive athlete whose life is being run by a controlling "coach" or husband or combination of the two!

Knowlton is home to a very healthy and athletic population who participate in many sports locally and provincially; while Lynn Besette may be one of our most notorious exports there are many folks who play rugby, soccer and baseball at the local level who should be acknowledged.

There is also one of the finest fitness centers in the Eastern Townships right here in Knowlton. Brome Lake Fitness is the local gym where more than 200 locals regularly go for weight training and cardio workouts. The friendly staff at the gym are always ready to help and we are lucky to have such a place in Knowlton where the goal is personal development and being number one...naturally!

My sympathies go to Lynn Bessette who had the misfortune of being involved in a sport at the same time as a blatant cheater but in the end she comes out the real winner because she has her reputation and pride intact. Sometimes what you stand for and your integrity is your invisible Gold Medal.

Share your thoughts on this or any other subject in our forum.

Another Sacred Veterans Plaque Stolen
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With Rememberance Day only a month away such vandalism is particularly insultingWith Remembrance day only a few weeks away the theft of yet another commemorative plaque and the vandalism of a cemetery in Lac Brome have many people shaking their heads. Have people gone so far downhill that the brave veterans and the deceased have become targets? What a shame to see our values sink so low.

Recently a bronze plaque honoring the names of fallen soldiers from the great wars where our fellow Canadian soldiers from the Knowlton area served was stolen by a someone or some people who have clearly not developed mentally past a steaming turd and considered it acceptable to deface an austere monument for a few dollars; some group of sickening retards who are engaged in the underground black market trade of metals.

Lac Brome was shocked that the cenotaph was literally grave robbed by such a money grubbing brain dead group of criminals and the letters to the editor poured into the Brome County News and other local newspapers in the Townships as people practically cried at the heartless violation of this sacred monument.

After such a violation the Town stood up ready to get tough with this creeps but now again there has been a similar robbery and with only one bronze plaque left in the park it is surely only a matter of time before some idiot and their gang of trouser-knapes crawl from beneath a rock to desecrate another proud monument!

Now it appears the greedy bastards have struck again, this time robbing the bronze name plate listing the brave soldiers who fell in action right off the statue in front of Knowlton Academy on Victoria street in Lac Brome.

It was with utter sadness that we woke to saw our local graveyard literally destroyed by grafitti. Tombstones over one hundred years old were damaged beyond repair by senseless vandalism this week in Brome.While plaques were being ripped off of our sacred monuments the cemeteries were being painted by groups of idiots who were somehow allowed out of their cages to have a little fun. I remember One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest well and when the sick mental patients had a chance to escape they simple went fishing..why is it today mental defectives want to destroy property and sacred monuments? Did any parents notice little Johnny leaving at night and then coming home smelling like spray paint? Graveyard vandalism photo courtesy of Jessica Brown

After we thought the crime was over in our small town...it happens again...and we are literally wringing our hands in dismay and disgust! What's worse is that the cemetery was also vandalized and headstones were spray painted with graffiti. This is enough to turn any stomach sour with disgust! It's bad enough that grown adults are robbing commemorative plaques to make a few hundred dollars and add to that a bunch of kids running around at night desecrating burial grounds and you have to wonder if Knowlton hasn't turned the Harlem of the Eastern Townships!

My heart is literally caught in my throat that someone has the heartless disregard for the brave mates who sacrificed their lives for our country. If these soldiers had known that they would sacrifice their lives for the money mongering snakes who would steal from their own brethren they surely would have chosen another path.

As it is, to see such careless vandalism in our small town only a few weeks before Remeberance Day makes me want to elect someone who will get tough with criminals. To imagine that some group of morons can pull up in a residential area in front of the Knowlton Academy and tear off a heavy plaque off of a statue seems incredulous.

The sad thing is is that while Mayor Wisdom expresses his outrage at the criminal robbery of the plaques and the vandalism of the graveyard there remains one heavy plaque sitting on the statue. Obviously this should be removed before it too is stolen by black market scrap metal dealers. Why is the last remaining veterans name plate still allowed to stay up when it is surely going to be stolen within two weeks! Why not take it down and protect it? If the Town is so outraged why not try and protect the last remaining original remnant?

If that statue was in front of my house I would have installed one of those night vision motion detecting cameras and would have shot to death those pathetic buggers who think that our brave soldiers deserve such desecration! How many people are raised to think that robbery and selfish means are a manner of survival? We are too lenient on such offenders! If kids are running around at night with spray paint what kind of family environment are they being raised under?

Isn't it time that Canadian society made better progress in raising the future generations so that morals of greed and disrespect do not become a permanent genetic disposition? Make your comments in the DK Forum!

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