Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 11, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
Snlurday, Juluy 11, 1970 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Margaret Luckhursl Camping Is Not The Life For Everyone -RECENTLY our editorial writer Doug Walker re- turned from holidays which he and his family had spent on the camping circuit. From this experience Doug returned to work singularly untanned, and with very little to say about his trip which led me to believe that perhaps he shared with me a notable lack of enthusiasm for this method of relaxing and getting away from it all. Now I know that camping per se has never known such popu- larity as it enjoys today. Not since pioneer days has this country been dotted with fam- ilies sleeping under the stars, happily sharing their campfire smoke with neighbors, and their food with ants, flies and a va- riety of cheeky rodents. The thing is, pioneers had to do it, while we have a choice. Nevertheless, just as some pioneers .failed, so do some campers, and I'll admit without .a shade of regret that I'm a camper drop out. I tried, and I failed. It's a number of years now Eince my husband and I took our kids camping but several episodes still stand all too fresh i in my memory so that when I begin to get sentimental at the sight of campers snug in their little tents and trailers, I re- flect for a few minutes on my maladjustment to camp life and the mood passes. Initially it had been my sug- gestion to' try this one-shot ven- ture because, as a country girl born and bred, I felt our chil- dren were growing up too ur- banized, too soft, too removed from nature. They wouldn't walk from here to lie corner if they could get a ride; they didn't know a meadowlark from a horsefly or a crocus from a water-lily. I wasn't at all surprised to have my suggestion flatly re- jected at first, but at mealtime I kept up a running commen- tary on the virtue of the great outdoors so that in time the re- sistance was worn down and before I could say "tent" we were packed and on our way. Now five kids, two adults, a dog and camping luggage all crammed into a station wagon is about as comfortable as I imagine it was travelling by covered wagon, except that it is faster and more confined. As 'a protection for the queasy I had handed out Gravol to one and all with the exception of the dog who had appeared tha most enthusiastic of the lot over the whole outing. It was incon- iistent therefore, why so nor- mal a creature chose to throw- up right down Daddy's neck when we were only a few miles from home. To say that this lidded a certain tension to the journey is an understatement most families will appreciate. It didn't add much to the at- mosphere either to have four year old Hedy begin to whine a mere half dozen blocks away from home, "are we there yet, can I get out, I want a drink, can I have a popsicle, huh, can I, Mummy, Nancy's teasing me, are we there yet, can I get out now, I want a and on and on, mile after1 mile. It wasn't ths best way to start out a holiday but things improved. The campground .which had been our objective was deserted so that had it to ourselves. It was spacious, running alongside a little lake, but its facilities ran to nothing more than outdoor plumbing, a few brick barbecues and a pump which served up delight- fully cold, fresh water. We all drank our fill, with the excep- tion of Hedy, who, with that perverseness known only to four year olds decided she didn't want a drink after all. While the boys and Daddy raised the tent, the girls and I got supper ready and life at camp began in earnest. It was a lovely evening and the chil- dren enjoyed exploring around, investigating nature to the lim- it it had to offer, while I be- came rather smug. It was go- ing to be such an educational experience, I kept congratulat- ing myself, it will help the chil- dren understand that there is something in the world beyond the city limits. Before bedding down we built a bonfire and the kids cooked marshmallows and pop corn. Carried away with the togeth- erness of it I invited one and all to enter into an old fashioned sing song and began wafbling Home on the Range. Daddy ob- ligingly joined in, "where the deer and the antelope come on everybody "We don't know that the kids protested. Didn't know Home on the Range? Daddy was scandalized. it was second to the Na- tional Anthem; what do they teach kids nowadays? "How about Sweet Rosie I volunteered. "That's a chocolate bar." "Well what do we all Daddy wanted to know, and as if following a metronome the kids all burst into a jivey ren- dition of I'm Gonna Rock Rock Rock Around the Block. Ob- viously it was past bedtime. I know now that seven is too many to sleep in a less it's one of Ringling's. Still, it bothered me, the outdoor girl, that everyone but I fell asleep without a murmur' that first night. Even Daddy, who had been negative about the whole camping idea, dropped into a blissful slumber, mouth wide open, so that I felt resentfully like stuffing a sock in it. The air in that place! Sneakers, bubble gum wrappers, sweaty T shirts. There must be a house- keeping method workable in tents that I didn't know about. I spsnt half the night crawl- ing around on my hands and knees pitching things out that I thought were offensive, but nothing seemed to help. It was surprising to me how- ever, how well the children set- tled to life in the wilds. The boys, all in their early teens, who usually in vacation time beat a palh between the play- ground and. the TV spent hours perched on rocks, dangling their fishing rods hopefu 11 y Nancy collected stones, twigs and rosebuds to, build an end- less chain of forts and castles Hedy was the only one who had to bs watched. Her initiation to outdoor plumbing had resulted in a fascinating preoccupation with pitching articles, down the holes; potato masher, Daddy's sunglasses, three rolls of toilet paper, all met the same fate. It had been the advice of sea- soned 'campers that tinned foods and stews was the tradi- tional bill of fare at camp. This sounded to me' a rather limited diet, and in opposition to such a set formula I tried cooking a roast in my dutch oven. It was a disaster. The gas. stove had two switches, off and high, so' that the roast either stared weakly or burned. "What smells like an inner tube Daddy wanted to know. That didn't help much so I tried to doctor the thing up by adding a few dumplings. Whatever it smelled like, it was as tough as rubber, and the dumplings went down like tennis balls. The morning we wakened to rain beating on the roof was the morning I was ready to head for home. After only four days, I'd had neglected to put away the stove, the butter was runny, the milk sour, the wood wet and the campsite dripping for miles around. For break- fast we had grape freshie, tin- ned tomatoes and macaroons. As we huddled inside the soggy tent, the kids delightedly munching macaroons, I couldn't help looking at their Father, who was quite unperturbed by it all, asking myself why on earth I'd ever spoken to him.in the first place. I voted to move immediately to dry ground (like a motel) but my motion was over-ruled. The family, with a dedication to nature I had not foreseen, wouldn't hear of it. We settled in for the remain- der' of the wet season. Daddy picked the driest spot and stretched out with a pile of comic books on Ms stomach. The boys amused themselves by alternately making up card games, and teasing the girls. The thing was. when I wasn't slapping the kids around to set- tle their fights, I really couldn't find anything to do. Removed from my routine household tasks, I, of the whole family seemed unable to amuse my- self for a few hours. Even when Daddy produced a scribbler and pencil with an order to "write somelhing" I couldn't do it. I wanted a bath. I wanted a hot cup of tea. I wanted to sleep in a room where the air didn't hang around my head like cotton wool. I was, I dis- covered to my horror, too ur- banized for camp life, while my children, whom I suspected of being "soft and spoiled" had adapted without a qualm. The day arrived however when the family unanimously elected to move to a new camp- site which was chosen with much deliberation from a pre- marked map. It took longer packing up than it did origin- ally because the kitchen uten- sils were charred and greasy in spite of my scrubbing, the bed- rolls were lumpier and the dirty laundry took up twice as much space. However, lest they change their mind, I got every- one hustling and pitched and tossed stuff into the car with little care for order. At last we were all in our appointed places ready to take off. Daddy fetch- ed in his pockets for his keys. Funny, he was sure he had them last night he fumed, as he sorted through (he glove com- partment. Everybody was or- dered out of the car and a s e a r1 c h ensued. I frisked through the laundry while Ihe kids combed the area, Number II in the Builders ol Hie South scries scheduled for today's paper has been unavoidably delayed. The Herald wishes lo assure ils readers that this popular scries will resume us soon us possible. Suddenly Hedy sang out brightly, "Oh I 'member where the keys arc now, and she glanced over lo the out- house. "I think I dropped them in there." "Oh Without a word Daddy march- ed over to the car, sorted the camping rake out of the mis- cellaneous effects and with a dramatic flourish handed it to me. "Why I protested as the kids all slunk into the car. "This was your Daddy said firmly, an argument which seemed to me not to have any- thing to do with the case. I knew however, that there are limits beyond which the typi- cally urban male could not be budged, and the limit had been reached. The car, as far as Daddy was concerned, could rest there, or we could walk. The choice between staying there and retrieving the keys was an easy one for me to make: squaring my shoulders I fairly ran to ths outhouse. Just how much our kids ac- tually learned from nature on that csmp out I doubt will ever be measured. With typical child- ish intuitiveness however, I'm certain they learned that their mother is not the fresh cheek- ed country girl she professed to be. Over the years they have been generous enough not to remind me of this whenever I get carried away with highly imaginative outdoor plans. The Magic Of Sea And Sand by Bryan Wilson Book Reviews Carson's Thesis Vindicated Since Silent Spring by Frank Graham, Jr. (Houghton Mifflin Co., 333pp, .ANYONE who entertains the notion that the experts and officials can be trusted to labor unsHntingly for the public weal would have his faith badly sha- ken by reading this well docu- mented book. It tells the story of what has happened since tha publication of Rachel Carson's landmark book "S'ilent Spring" eight years Bgo. Every effort was made to re- pudiate Miss Carson's thesis that life on this planet was be- ing endangered by the use of persistent pesticides. Only a handful of ecologists and con- servationists supported Miss Carson. Arraigned against her were executives of the chemi- cal industry, officials of gov- ernment agencies, farmers, and members of the World Health Organization. Such was the effect of that massive attack on Miss Carson that some people are still afraid to get on the anti pollution bandwagon lest they be brand- ed as oddball. An effective tech- nique for discrediting concern about persistent pesticides has been to picture tnose with the concern as faddist people more concerned about birds than peo- ple. The approach is still being employed despite the fact that the issue has been demonstrat- ed to be a matter of life itself and not just bird life. In Frank Graham's book there is an account of the writ- ing of "Silent its re- ception, and what has happen- ed since the publication of that social scientific document. The whole sony record is set out in a way that, could make Gra- ham's book almost as signifi- cant as the one by Miss Car- son. There are five sections to the book. The first deals with the publication and initial controversy over "Silent Spring." Some scientists and spokesmen for the pesticide manufacturers should be morti- fied by the positions they look at that are named and quoted. Vindication of Miss Carson's thesis is set out in the second section. This makes the next two sections seem almost un- believable. The first report the false and misleading "studies" that have been published to pa- cify the public alarmed and out- raged by what they learned from Miss Carson. Then the dis- mal record of government agen- cies largely U.S. failing to protect the public health and welfare is set out. These two sections are perhaps more dis- turbing than the truth about persi s t e n t pesticides them- selves. The final section attempts a bit of optimism. It radicates that the tide has turned but does not provide relief that all is yet well. It was not the contention o! Miss Carson that all pesticides should be abolished. Slie made that quite clear in her book so that it is obvious critics who attribute this to her did not read the book. Mr. Graham's book does not permit dismissal as hysterical either. It includes as an appendix a listing of pes- ticides and herbicides that do not have long-lasting effects. That we have been too hasty in claiming many scientific re- sults as beneficial is becoming apparent. So many things have turned out lo Iiave deleterious effects that something seems to be lacking in the scientific at- titude that permits their mar- keting. Too many scientists are hiding behind a position that seems to be that nothing can be discredited until it is abso- lutely discredited. There are times when action has to be ta- ken before all the evidence is in. The British scientist J. New- man put this nicely saying that if smoke is seen pouring out of. a hotel door it is not necessary to have mathematical proof i that the building is on fire be- fore turning in the alarm. Both "Silent Spring" and "Since Silent Spring" have rung an urgent warning bell. It is to be hoped that enough adrenalin has been pumped into the pub- lic to ensure that there can be no lapse into complacency on tliis issue cides. of persistent pesti- DOUG WALKER. Struggle With Faith TIic Bishop by Bruce Mar- shall (Constable, 224pp, S5.95, distributed by Longman's Canada 'T'HE UPHEAVAL created in the Roman Catholic Church by Pops Paul's birth control encyclical is the osten- sible theme of this novel. Tlirough the clergy of a certain English bishopric, the various reactions from angry rejection to wholehearted approval are rehearsed. 'Crazy Capers' Why must I stop drink- ing? I've seen n lot more old drunks around than old doctors! While the birth control contro- versy may have been the major concern of the author, there is a sub-theme in the novel that seems to me to steal the stage and even make the title irrele- vant. This other theme is the struggle of a priest and nun to keep their faith. As chaplain lo the nun's con- vent the priest is given the task of counselling the wavering nun. Her doubts succeed in making him aware that he has been going through .the motions without much conviction. She leaves the church first and he follows suit. It looks as though they will get married but she spikes the romance by insisting that for them (o be convincing in their non-belief they must not permit its purity to be shadow- ed by any doubts about mo- tives. That's really quite pro- found and worthy of reflection and emulation. I found this novel a bit diffi- cult at ths beginning because I couldn't keep tire characters clearly identified. The names and titles of individuals, used interchangeably, confused me. Also the frequent use of Latin, French and Italian, while per- haps justified as a means of giving flavor, was disrupting. DOUG WALKER. Focus on the University By J. W. FISHBOURNE Give Me Blessed Age TN THE NORMAL course of browsing through periodicals, and talking with people, I find I am continually running into ideas intended to make this a "better" university. Many of the ideas sound very reasonable, and of course the objective of improvement, in this or any cither institu- tion, is worthwhile. There are a couple of questions, however, that bother me a little. Just what is meant by "better" (or even for that matter) as applied to universities? Who determines this, and on what criteria? The more one thinks about these ques- tions, the more puzzling they become. In fact, I have just about reached the point of deciding that there are no answers, at least not in the usual sense. To determine lhat a certain university is good (or poor) and that another is better (or worse) would require some sort of measuring stick, an accepted and general- ly comprehensible standard of compari- son; strangely enough no such device exists. Moreover, if it did exist or could be developed, there is no agency to use it. In short, neither you nor I nor anyone else really knows whether a university is any good or not. We may have our opinions, and many people have, but opinions don't prove anything. If you think that is strange, or if you don't believe it, all you need do is think about the matter for a moment or two. Ask yourself just how much you really know about any university, even the one you may have attended. For instance, just how distinguished was its faculty? Or more to the point, how much more distinguished than that of a neighboring institution? If this could be established which it can't it would have to be on the basis of research or scholarly productivity, and how much real difference would that make to you, or the type of education you re- ceived? So far hi my travels, I have yet to meet student who was prepared to say that .be 'got his degree from a poor university, or a faculty member who admits to work- ing for one. But that scarcely proves that second-rate institutions don't exist. It docs indicate, however, that neither faculty nor students are likely to be entirely objective in describing their own institutions, what- ever their private opinions may be. And if the opinions they circulate are not wholly reliable, whose are? If you were to select the universities with the most resounding names, and see what it was that they have in common, I rather suspect you would find that the single characteristic they all possess is age. Try it, and I think you will find that every "big" name among universities is one that has been in business for a long, long tbre. And however much we may respect age, and whatever credit any institution should be given for having persisted for centuries, one still has to remember that the dissolu- tion of a university is an unusually rare event. Once established they endure, so simple survival isn't a reliable index of quality. But the longer they are in exist- ence, the more people have heard of them, through their graduates, the activities of their scholars, and most of all the simple fact of their being. Reputation, then, may be a function of ordinary longevity. Maybe it is just as simple as that. They have been around for a long time, they have grown over the years, a lot of people have hoard of them, and so it is assumed that they are great institutions. Try as I do, in the absence of accepted criteria, or s. super agency to apply them, I cannot see that the reputation of any institution is much more than a matter of opinion. En- lightened, perhaps, but still opinion. There is a positive side to this, especial- ly for the student who is contemplating going to university, and Is bothered about the choice of an institution, If the only provable difference is that some are older, than others (and unless he has some peculiar reverence for antiquity) hs can go to any institution he likes without worrying about whether it is a "good" one or not. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY The Tide Is Coming In can come a time in the life of a man when in a moment of crisis he exposes the ugliest part of his1 personality. Such time may come in the life of a nation, has come indeed in North America. Student and race riots will not be put down by soldiers with guns. The basic cause ot student rebellion is a numbing disgust with a world in which villages1 in Vietnam have been systematically destroyed and count- less thousands made homeless to save them from communism, where the urban slums are a stench, where air, water, and land are polluted, where political lying is a way oE life, and where guidelines and values are washed away. It is said that the most important asset a man can have for his mental self-preserva- tion is to be a shock-absorber. He certainly gets ample opportunity to use such equip- ment. Rebellion is healthier than the atti- tude of multitudes who accept events like sponges, soaking them in without any re- action. But nothing is of any'use to a man who loses hope, who is disillusioned and discouraged. Man's ineptitude and wicked- ness have afflicted him with a malady close to despair, a paralysing hopelessness which results in aimless violence, prevents con- structive effort, and derides idealism as hypocrisy. A British Methodist minister told a con- ference that all hope of reviving the Meth- odist Church was "Eke painting the ship while it was slowly going down." His speech could hardly be expected to stir the hearers to heroic action! It reminds one of the town of Flagstaff which was con- demned to death as part of a dam-building program. No one painted his house, of course, or repaired anything, so the houses looked sorrier and sorrier as if ready to tumble down. It's a parable of Me. In the year 1830, when Europe was filled with riot and unrest and the condition of the British workers was dreadful beyond description, an historian, Lord Thomas Ba- bington Macaulay, gave his judgment, "A i single breaker may recede, but the tide is coming in." There is abundant evidence to show that, not only the devil, but the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today. In all the furore of the "God Is Dead" theology, not since the days of the early church' and the Arius Athanasius debates has theology kad so much discussion among ordinary people. Never in history has thare been such a study of the Bible. Booksellers find it difficult to keep sufficient copies of the New English Bible in stock. Many of the problems of the world are the result of the opportunities, challenges, and progress of tha world. The increase of production, the new era of science, the demand for univer- sal education, the rejection of the concept that a large portion of mankind should live- in squalor, the belief in racial justice, and the spectacular growth of international law, are all sources of our discontent but sources of hope and inspiration. Torment and darkness cover much of the earth, but there is meaning in the struggle and light in the darkness. Man must recover his belief in what it means to be a human being and the most promising of theological studies deals with1 this research. Man was made to be an artist and a lover and any less appraisal of his high destiny is spiritual treason. When man's meaning is summed up in material terms, everything falls into corruption. There is much ambition and greed in the world, but never was there so much altru- ism. Calamities behind the Iron Curtain bring Western sympathy and help. But the only hope of a man consists in faith in God, a God who is Lord of history and cre- ator of process, but captured by neither. Otherwise he becomes Dostoievski's char- acterless man, spiritually impotent, "hollow" man of whom T. S. Eliot spoke. With God, like St. Paul, he can be "troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perpleied, but not in despair; persecuted, but not for- saken; cast down, but not destroyed." Cheer Alice By Doug Walker T recently survived two weeks of tent trailering. Hugh MacAulay across the street only lasted through one night. The fact that I was brave enough to plan a holiday with a tent trailer must have been the lever Alice needed to get Hugh to give it a try. Hugh only committed himself to a weekend but even that proved to be too much. Hugh, Alice and their three boys took off on a Friday afternoon just before the rain came. They -were back before breakfast tha next morning. Alice wordlessly sig- nalled that the campout had been a wash- out. Hugh had a word for It: DISAS- TROUS. No more camping for Hugh. He's back to the motel and relatives routine. But, cheer up, Alice, when you read Margaret Luckhurst's something less than a panegy- ric on camping you rr.ay be grateful Hugh capitulated so quickly.