“Honouring the Ties that Bound”
by Martha Perkins

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In the still silence that follows the last rousing chorus of Battle Hymn of the Republic, there’s a sadness, a plea from the church not to be left alone for yet another year. Remember the solace and strength it has provided the county’s early settlers. Remember the tribulations it has suffered through as it grew older, facing those long, cold winters, with nary a glowing ember or beating heart to keep it warm. Remember the countless passersby whose love for the highlands has grown every time they come across this little white church in the valley.

Of course, a church can’t talk. But its organ can. Here, on the Sunday of the Civic Holiday weekend, the only day of the year when the Essonville Church is open, there is no electricity or running water and the pale green metal ceiling and gyprock walls remind you of the days when the hardware store sold three colours of paint – pale green, pale blue, or pale yellow. And yet the pump organ which has sat silent for the past year springs miraculously to life under Elsie Lewis’s hands (and feet), never missing a proud and defiant note.