MacKendricks and The Thistle

The Highlander's Christmas - 1916.

A Scottish soldier on sentry duty, “One Flag, one King”. The Highlander’s Christmas – 1916.

The Christmas Card and the Table

Imagine please, if you will, MacKendricks. Chuntering as he did in the sanctity of his space MacKendricks had outlived – all family, all friends. Each day a similar caned path to The Thistle where with pewter near to hand he sat at an edge-worn, darkened wise table carved deep with letters, words, dates, expressions and the familiar – more than a few of his own hand. Though he seldom spoke, he was not impolite but nodded to patrons should he wish to acknowledge them. MacKendricks’ lined and duned face, thick to the touch had felt the close glow of the sun, the rasp of the sand and history. Save for one day of the year, each day the same for this man of the line.

On Christmas Day The Thistle, hearty with patrons, knew no less kindness than to serve goodwill for all. MacKendricks would appear in better clothes that once fit a larger frame, a better glass near to hand with better spirits to cling to his person. From his pocket he removed the one gift he provided to himself each year a simple card that on this day of days he allowed himself to read once again. “Hearty good wishes for a happy time at this glad season. One Flag, one King. Yule-tide Greetings. Be prepared for joy and gladness, Christmas morn is dawning clear, Cast away all thoughts of sadness – Joy be thine throughout the year! Joy and Peace – God’s greatest blessings, May they ever hover near! James Christmas 1916”.

And then, MacKendricks stood, charged glass in hand – “Friends make winter warm!” and drank as the card returned to its pocket. Towards the door he would go – his chuntering returning to form. All eyes upon him as he opened the door and drew in the good air, the cool, the pure. Before he stepped to the ground MacKendricks rested his eyes, reopened and walked knowing with each step he was closer to next year’s visit with James. The edge-worn, wise darkened table knew too well the spirits of old souls who reside carved deep amongst the letters, words, dates, expressions and the familiar.


About The Author

pferguson
In April 2007 Paul met Casey and Ian Williams of the Paradigm Motion Picture Company in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul has worked with Paradigm since 2009 as Producer and Historian. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was amazed by films such as David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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