Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 27, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
People of the south - 19 Margaret Luckhurst The Ayrshire lad who helped our farmers WHY does a young man leave a Job in a lovely little spot like Ayrshire, Scotland, to travel miles and miles to an uncertain life in a sparsely settled area such as Leth-bridge was back in 1921? Well, according to John Dykes, a Scotsman who did just that, yet still retains a "burr" which sounds as if be got off the boat yesterday, a good deal of bis wander-lust emanated from itchy feet. But there was a little more to it than that. "I worked in a textile factory which wove lace curtains," Mr. Dykes said in an interview recently, "and while it was a decent enough job, things were very tough in Scotland just after the First World War and there wasn't much opportunity for promotion. I had a relative out here in Lethbridge who wrote rather convincingly of the challenge to be found here, and I decided to take a chance on it. I wasn't married, so it wasn't too difficult a move to make at the time." E things were tough in Scotland, Mr. Dykes was to find they were equally tough in Canada. "I slept that first winter, 1921, in a tent, and washed my face in snow," he recalled ruefully, "anyone who had a job was considered very lucky indeed. However, in the spring I was taken on as a gardener at the Experimental Farm, and after a time there, I was transferred over to the poultry division which was a big move for me. You have to understand that in those days the poultry business was pretty important to the small farmer. The pin money farm wives realized from the sale of eggs paid for their grocieries, even though during the laying season eggs went for five cents a dozen and turkeys sold for seven cents a pound dressed. But there was one big major problem in the poultry business, people believed that hens wouldn't lay in the winter. Eggs then went up to $1.50 a dozen if they could be bought at all. It was the conviction of farmers and poultrymen that hens simply wouldn't lay in cold, dry weather, and of course in this they were right." At the Experimental Farm however, under Dr. William Fairfield, Dr. Asael Palmer, and head poultryman John Dykes, experiments to. study the relation of the humidity of incubator air to hatching results in artificial incubation got under way. These men knew that poor hatching results were obtained by fanners and commercial poultrymen when dry weather prevailed because of excessive evaporation of the egg-contents. It was finally discovered that the use of a moistened pad hung in the top of the incubators brought positive results far beyond their greatest hopes. "It seemed to me, after all the work I'd put in on learning the poultry business, that there was a good market in it," Mr. Dykes reminisced. "In 1923, my parents and the rest of my family joined me in Lethbridge and although I maintained my associaton with the Experimental Farm we went to work on building what we called the Winter Egg Poultry Farm. We designed and built the first deep chicken coops which were far more suitable for our cold weather than what we had previously been used to. In a couple of years we bad made astonishing progress. In 1925 at the International Egg Laying Contest at the Washington Experimen- tal Station, our pen of five Barred Rocks took top honors for laying 1,257 eggs in 365 days. In those days that was really something!" This feat was just the beginning for John Dykes and his Winter Egg Poultry Farm. "Contests were run all over the country to encourage the upgrading of breeding hens, and I'd ship off 10 birds to whatever college or institute was sponsoring a contest," Mr. Dykes grinned. "My hens w o u 1 d be gone for the better part of a year, but we'd get weekly bulletins on how they were doing. And I'd be immodest if I didn't say they always did very well, not only for our. farm, but for Alberta and Canada too. I've got boxes of ribbons and cups and trophies of one kind and another to show the progress that was made in the poultry business over the years. One year I sold a cockerel to a Win n i p e g hatchery for $100 - that was a lot of money in those days. I used to ship eggs to England, and also bring eggs out from Scotland, and hatch them. The only thing with those eggs, they didn't have my Scotch accent!" Naturally the progress in poultry raising was an important step to farmers. "I think I spoke to every Woman's Institute in the west," Mr. D y k e s said. "Women depended on their egg money, so for them to have year-round pin money they could count on was a major improvement in the mechanics of farm life." Although he was terribly busy building up his business, Mr. Dykes never lost touch with his Scottish background. "I didn't have time to get married," he grinned, "but I kept corresponding over the years with Ethel Gill, a lass I knew back in the Old Country. I finally convinced her to come over and marry me in 1947." Mr. Dykes' other very natural link with Ayrshire in his deep love for "the bard" Robert Burns. He has read almost every biography written about the poet, and they run into many volumes indeed. He can quote from The Cotter's Saturday Night, Tarn O'Shanter and many, many other of Burns' immortal works. "Aren't you supposed to be some sort of direct descendant to Burns?" Mr. Dykes asked, and went on reprovingly, "then you should make it a point to learn a little more about him! And don't believe all the sordid tales you read about him; his life has been terribly distorted, but what a man he was! He was a force, a real life force, and there has never been anyone like him in all of Scotland's history." But he's so difficult to read, all those strange words like "we twa hae run about the graes, and pou'd the gowans fine," that's pretty tough going to translate into just plain English. "But," Mr,, Dykes protested, "isn't Auld Lang Syne sung all around the world, and don't tell me you don't know what that means!" To keep the Scottish Canadian ties well knotted, Mr. Dykes used to have a radio program back in 1925-26 when the days of radio were very young. "I made my first recording, well before that, oh, it must be 70 years ago, on an old Edison, you know, with the cylinders and big horn. I played the harmonica and a lady sang Annie Laurie, but she went awfully sour on the high notes." It was this devotion to his background which perhaps has made Mr. Dykes a sought after personality to propose the toast to the Immortal Memory of Burns, a task he has undertaken cheerfully more than 100 times. "But please don't think I've been caught up in chickens and Rabbie Bums all my life," Mr. Dykes protested. "I've been a Rotarian for more than 30 years, but am too incapacitated and old to attend meetings. They very kindly made me an honorary member, a signal honor I appreciate very highly. "Life has been good to us fere in Lethbridge. Although most of my family now has gene, I think we did make a small contribution to the farm element with our work in the poultry business. But I was 80 on Thursday and I like to spend my time now on reflection, thinking back on all the trials and errors, the joys and satisfactions that every small achievement brought not only for my family, but for people involved in the chicken and egg business. And of course, I still spend some time reading the poems of my old friend, Rabbie Burns." JOHN M. DYKES -Photo by Walter Kerber Book Reviews Confederation and nationalism "The Maple Leaf Forever: on Nationalism and Politics in Canada" by Ramsay Cook (Macmillan, 253 pages, $7.95). TT is apparent from the essays in this book that the subjects of Quebec's places in Confederation and of Canada's relationships to the United States have not just lately become matters of debate. Historian Ramsay Cook in these 13 essays shows that they have been seriously discussed over the years. One of the surprises in store for the non-historian may be to learn that not all French - Canadian spokesmen have held Victorian achievements "Victorian Engineer i n g" by L. T. C. Rolt (Allen Lane The Penquin Press, $12.75, 300 pages, distributed by Longman Canada Ltd.) QUEEN VICTORIA lent her name to a period in history which today stands for 100 years of moral repression and self - satisfaction. What this detailed, often overly - technical book serves to point up is that Britain in the 1800s was as varied in public sentiments as it was rich in technical developments. Confident that man was endowed with the mind and will to ensure himself a Utopian destiny, Victorians revelled in the achievements of inventors. Men of technical genius, notably engineers, reciprocated by developing the steam locomotive, large-gauge railways, innovative bridges, new irons, cement and precision tool measurements. When the Crystal Palace was completed for the Great Exhibition of 1851, it was the crowning note in an age of unprecedented mechanical development. But the palace also marked the turning point of public confidence and its attendant scientific developments. Although Britain went on in the last half of the century to produce steel, the steam turbine, electricity, subways and aqueducts, her progress was in a decline. The solitary geniuses of the past were replaced by anony- Sex fantasy "Where's Poppa*" by Robert Klane (Random House, 150 pages, $5.95). A fantasy in sex has been excogitated by the author, Robert Klane, a former advertising writer, using a New York setting. A middle-aged bachelor lawyer still tied to his senile mother's apron strings, and trying his best to break away, his brother who tries to prevent his mother's murder, a salesman of pornographic bibles and a would-be mistress, make up his latest satire. His abundant use of four-letter words, although not in keeping with the literary arts, seems to fit the rapid pace and theme of the story. A sophisticated yet zany comedy holds the reader's attention up to and including the sick and tasteless ending. Robert Klane who lives in Encino, California is also the author of "The Horse Is Dead." Both books have now been made into movie productions. HELEN KOVACS. mous teams of experts. Engineering fell in prestige, and the invention technique of trial and error and persistence was overtaken by scientific formulas and laboratory work, which the British refused to take seriously. Original inventions were taken up and improved by other countries, particularly the U.S. The public recognized that material progress was paid for by terrible living and working conditions of the lower classes. Darwin's theory of evolution created doubts about man's inherent supreme station in life. The Crimean war suggested manufacturing progress did not mean the end of war's progress. Although Mr. Rolfs book contains long passages of sociology, the chapters given over to technical issues are so detailed, Uiey aire hard to get through. The book needs drawings and needs to assume a little less scientific background on the pail of the reader. The subject deserves it. "No other age has been so unmercifully caricatured whereas, by its world - changing achievements in engineering alone, none has a stronger title to be treated as seriously as it took itself." JOAN BOWMAN. that the English conquest was a disaster. Even now, as the Chamber of Commerce speaker demonstrated recently, it is a respectable view for a French-Canadian to hold that the conquest represented a long-run benefit. It has been considered by some to be a progressive step since it began the destruction of the old backward communitariianism that had been inherited from France. Increasingly, concern for cultural survival has come to dominate French-Canadian consciousness. Many thought survival depended on giving the French language preeminence over English. But the critical question was whether survival was threatened more by the failure to change French-Canadian society in accordance with the demands of modem industrial and urban society, or by willingness to change. Those who have been rush- 'Color' collection "Stories in Black and White" Collected and edited by Eva H. Kissin (J. B. Lip-pincott Company, 82.35, paperback, 315 pages). nrmS collection of 14 short stories has the avowedly didactic purpose of helping readers to ". . . learn to know each other better." It provides a way, says the editor, for blacks and whites in their "Mutual ghettoes" to "climb into one another's skin." Fortunately, the collection does more than that - it makes good reading. The reason for this very likely stems from the fact that the editor had deliberately tried to choose each story, she says, for the breadth and depth of its insight into the human condition. She has been largely successful in her attempt to concentrate on this, the essence of good art, and the stories show the common ground, the bridge between the two colors of people. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Why did they reject Him? CINCE such a large part of our world has rejected Jesus, it is good Lenten discipline to consider why he was rejected in his own day. We may find that exactly the same reasons obtain today. Caiaphas the high priest was the first on the fateful Friday to reject him. Caiaphas was a bigot and bigols always believe that in their own lMe system of truth they hold all truth. Thus they oppose new truth. Also Caiaphas loved his church beyond all else, which made his love idolatrous. The temple was so precious to him that he would die, as many heroically did die, for its defence. Carefully Caiaphas had kept peace with Rome, dreading the day when some mad revolutionary would stir up Roman wrath and revenge, a disaster that ultimately came in the year 70 A.D. Jesus was dangerous. Had he not said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will build it again?" "Neither in this mountain nor the temple shall you worship," he said on another occasion. Moreover Jesus was attacking the racial prejudices of Caiaphas with his sympathy for Samaritans. Jesus also had made serious attacks on the religious laws and customs of the time. Our attitudes are not much different from those of Caiaphas. I have been ministering to a church in Bermuda which is still known as "The White Man's Church" because of church officials who used to turn black folk away at the doors saying, "Your church is down the street." The prejudice against colored people is intense and not only in Bermuda. Now it has raised a sad counter-prejudice in black hatred for whites. Also the church of today has sought security in proliferation of churches and popularity with the crowd. Take any suburban area and note the fact that, when one church is built, other denominations have rushed in, motivated by little beside ecclesiastical pride. To attract the crowd, churches have resorted to the most absurd sacrilegious stunts which have turned the old worshippers away without attracting the new. The church has also remained silent on thorny issues. The "women's liberation movement", for example, has raised no strong protest, though it destroys the home and viciously distorts the true nature of women. ing to embrace nationalism in the face of increasing dominance by the United States will be arrested by Dr. Cook's statement that the greatest threat to the Canadian nation-state comes from nationalism. He believes that it is necessary to shake from our minds the outworn nineteenth-century belief that nationalism is a primary human value. Dr. Cook doesn't think Canadians need to refrain from criticism of U.S. affairs. Writing about the Vietnam war he says that "nothing more effectively discredits the United States in the eyes of the world than that dirty little war." Canada, he thinks, should exert whatever small influence she possesses to encourage the U.S. to hasten its withdrawal from Vietnam. These essays make a good contribution to matters of keen interest to Canadians at this time. DOUG WALKER. The careful job done by the editor is also seen in the different angles on the racial situation illustrated in each story. Each shows the reader a fresh perspective through the use of different sets of relationships - the white sheriff in a southern town faced with trying to accept his mulatto son, the "poor white trash" shut out from a well-to-do black family, the Jew discriminated against by the Harlem community he v/ants to be a part of. This is a good, very readable collection. All the stories are basically about people, but in each case color is the basic fact around which the tension in the story revolves. Those readers primarily interested in the color aspect will find more variety and complexity in the various relationships between the races than they may have imagined existed. HERB JOHNSON. They took Jesus next to Herod. Herod in many ways had proved to be an able king. At one time he had had strong spiritual desire which led him to hear John gladly and obey his teachings in several particulars. But lust had got him enslaved. He was living in open sin with bis brother's wife and his relationship to Salome was grossly indecent. To keep a drunken vow he killed John the Baptist. But since this is the most blatantly disgraceful, lustful age in history, when gross indecencies have become the norm, and every kind of pornography in books and screen have been legalized, what criticism can our age make of Herod? So Jesus was sent back to Pilate. Like all dictators, Rome demanded that religious leaders keep out of politics. It is worth noting that Jesus was crucified - and crucifixion was a political punishment - as a political criminal. It was not the Jews who crucified Jesus: it was the Romans. But does not the modern church carefully keep its skirts clear of politics? In Germany there is a strong youth movement against this abstention. They feel that incarnation is the important thing in religion and incarnation demands involvement in politics. So it does! Not that the church should ever become a political party, but it should be a political power. Yet on questions like unemployment what is the church doing? Unemployment is the greatest problem of the West and will destroy this civilization unless it is solved. What nonsense to talk of a "strong economy" when nearly a million Canadians are unemployed The problem is strongly political, so it is safer to keep silent. The crowd was the deciding factor in tipping the scales for crucifixion. When Pilate was about to follow custom and release a prisoner, the crowd asked for release of Barabbas, a prominent revolutionary leader. You and I can understand that, since this is the bloodiest century by far in history. Ours is the age of world wars, saturation bombing, nuclear burning of Hiroshima, pitiless war in Vietnam, callous murder and highway slaughter. You and I can understand the soldiers: they were merely "carrying out orders." They had been brutalized by their army's deliberate policy. It's not unfamiliar! Drop out for a year? By Richard J. Needham, in The Toronto Globe and Mall TN a previous column I ran an item which said in part: "There is a restlessness in the young which makes it hard for them to stay in school much past 18. The secondary school would be wise to give some thought to this. It should prepare youths in such a way that though they do not go to college, they are able to continue their education outside school." This brought me an exceptionally interesting letter from F. R. Campbell of St. Catharines, who agreed with one of my own pet theories - that high school students should be allowed and encouraged to drop out for a year or so in their mid-teens. But let's hear it from Mr. Campbell: The age which restlessness becomes Serious varies with the individual, from perhaps 13 to past 20. It used to be most noticeable in boys, but has become increasingly obvious in girls. Contrary to a common belief, it seems to be very pronounced in some of the most able and intelligent young people. I could be burned at the stake for this, but from my observation it appears that if this restlessness affects them early - say in Grade 9 or 10 - but they remain in school in spite of it, many of them deteriorate quite rapidly. Their learning capacity, character and entire personality seem to retrogress - unless, of course, they have strong support from an understanding family. The schools and society exert enormous pressures to keep them in school during this period in their lives, on the grounds that, if once they leave, they will be lost forever, and so condemned to a "disadvantaged" role in society. As things stand, there is some evidence that this could happen. But it seems rather irresponsible to me, to accept the idea that it must - and to do little about it. The same paragraph suggests that the secondary schools "should prepare youths in such a way that they are able to continue their education outside school." A generation ago, our secondary schools existed to prepare students for university. The rest could just drop out along the way. Our thinking is still affected by this tradition. Because of this, we have special programs for the "weaker" students, who are not thought to be "university material." This, in spite of the fact that these are the majority who will finance our educational system, and elect our leaders! I have come to believe that it is not the responsibility of the secondary schools to lighten the responsibility of the universities. They should accept full responsibility for preparing young people for life, as well as they can, with no special orientation to specific university programs. The present four-year stream, as we know it, is an abomination, which wastes money and effort, but, what is more important, wastes student potential. But I do not suggest abolishing four-year programs. I suggest, instead, we abolish the concept of a five-year or "academic" stream. Let's concentrate on a four-year program which will prepare students for life. And finally, let us reorganize the schools in such a way that a student can "drop out" at any point, and can return to pick up where he left off, with no special hardship or stigma attached. I am not really qualified to comment on education, for I had a total of barely eleven years of formal schooling. However I did manage to acquire a four-year honor degree in a rather demanding science program. After several years in industry, I taught for nine years, six years in high schools, and three years in a rather prestigious boys' private school, and during this time taught academic courses in Grades 10 through 13. I have also raised four boys, two of whom are in university at this time - both doing very well, and incidentally with no financial assistance whatever from their parents. My own university program was repeatedly interrupted by creditors, who forced me to go back to work for a year, or in one case, for two years. Each tune I returned, in spite of financial and health problems and sheer laziness, I breezed through the courses with less difficulty and more enjoyment than most students. Others, including many returning war veterans, had the same experience. I have come to the conclusion that an interruption of a year or more, in which one digresses from learning for its own sake, has two effects. It provides time to digest what one has learned, and to put it in context. And it provides experiences which illuminate and give meaning to subsequent learning. The worst drawback is that it makes formal learning relatively effortless, and so fails to demand the best effort. I know that you constantly emphasize the possibility of self-education through libraries, etc. You are quite right, if you assume that everyone - (1) comes from a warm home background, and from a fairly literate family; (2) has developed fairly high verbal skills and interests; (3) lives and works in an environment where he can use these skills, either in his work or in his social life. Unfortunately, these three qualifications do not apply to everyone. And so, more opportunities for education in a specially prepared environment must be made available. Not only be made available, but "sold" to young adults. The ogre By Dong Walker JIERB JOHNSON is the guilty one! The Herald management ought to dock him his wages for a few weeks for all the man-hours he has cost the company. While I was making a stab at coughing out my lungs the other day he came and stood looking at me gloatingly. When he could be heard, he proudly took credit for having introduced the plague to the office staff. I hadn't thought much previously about what kind of person lurks behind that beard. I should have been suspicious of a guy who burns bad tobacco.