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Bob’s Meanderings: Mayor Bob

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I have yearned for many years to have a designation or title to go with my name. Many of those persons I know have designations to give them prominence such as MBA, P.Eng., DA, Sgt., Councilor, Editor, etc., but not me.

To make matters worse, Sheila found an old Cobden Sun from October, 2006. It brought back an occasion I thought I had buried. Three candidates were vying for two positions in Ward 2 (four wards back then) to be elected councilors of Whitewater Township. One was me who was gung-ho at the beginning of the campaign, even leading in early polls, but whose energy waned for the final weeks. The voting was expected to be a tight race and it was. I was a close third trailing by thirteen votes but no cigar.

Occasionally, if our incumbent Mayor Mike Moore is around for an event and expected to give a little speech, in jest he sometimes referred to me as ”Bob, the Mayor of Westmeath.” It causes a chuckle for the others but it warms my insides for a moment or two.

I was thinking about how I contributed over a dozen years of columns and news items to so many editors. At Cobden Sun it was Connie, Jake, and Debbie (she taught me the proper spelling of La passe). Later at Whitewater News, it was Connie again, Meagan, and currently Alex. To all of them I only felt like the sprinter needing an odd bit of praise to keep me ticking like a Timex watch under water. Would anyone notice if my battery failed?

However, reaching as far back as 1950 in the village of Westmeath, I do have some uniqueness. I am the “last man standing” from a family member still occupying a house originating from that time. Unbelievably everyone else has left town or died trying to leave. I am so isolated, like an abandoned toy, hoping to meet someone I knew coming back to retrieve it.

I don’t know if it would be a relief or a loss when I finally fade away by all the newcomers. But I feel that sustaining my residence for so long I would like to use it too my advantage. I thought that I deserved to be honoured as the “designated survivor” (like the TV series) for one week – but how?.

I had an impressive dream last night. In the dream I was appointed to be the mayor for a week. In it any rules or community bylaws I established or altered had to be adhered too. My first rule was that no snowmobiles or 4-wheelers could come within 1000 metres of the village. Any trucks noisier than 80 decibels would have to bypass Westmeath – a blessing to many of us not to be wakened in the early morning hours.

A group of disgruntled citizens approached me about shutting down that Catholic Church bell. ”Too loud and an irritation,” they moaned. I used to complain about it being a nuisance myself until I began relying on it instead. At noon it meant my lunchtime and at 6 pm was a reminder to watch the Ottawa CTV newscast. I felt bad for those wanting it squashed but I turned down their request. “Get used to it or check out!” I spoke.

On the only weekend in power I would order every household to have a property cleanup of leftover junk and trash. This one because of slander. A guy I grew up with moved to Pembroke and years later said, “Driving through Westmeath is like driving through a shack-town.” That insult has haunted me ever since. I’ll take a few photos after the restoration and e-mail them to him.

My crowning change would be a make-over of the Westmeath Rink facility into one that had a regulation basketball court, a fully equipped gymnasium, a walking path around its perimeter, the ability to host Tour de Whitewater cycling events and the upstairs hall engineered with the acoustics for holding symphony orchestra events.
In reality, I like Westmeath; you can park on the street facing the wrong direction and never ever get a ticket. It’s also acceptable to put out the weekly garbage while wearing your pajamas.