Top of the Mornin' To Yah

FTLComm - Tisdale
March 17, 2000

By 9:15 the morning's snow and blow was pretty much over and it was time to settle down for a cuppa.

Though no doubt there is a little bit of Irish in most of us there is a lot of Irish good nature in every community. Many people object to the stereotyping of cultures but you must admit no one objects when some elements of a culture are as engaging and pleasant as the social customs of the Irish. Saskatchewan people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds truly love a good story.

The Irish may call it "blarney" but it is the glue that brings us together to share time with one another and savour the stories that we tell. In some communities "coffee row" is remarkably similar to the banter on a segment of CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce where the performers sit in a coffee shop and exchange one liners about the news of the day.

Though this form of conversational wit is practiced and polished all over the province, so is a much more intense form of shared story telling. Oral literature developed on the fly, evolving around a table of friends and associates that weaves a web of concern and congenial humour. The very best of these are tales which each member of the circle contributes to and embellishes the topic from their own perspective. Each member of the group will assume their traditional roles so that the curmudgeon will be able to turn the tale into a grumble, the joker will insert the irony into it, the wise one will make a profound pronouncement that all will agree is profound because it is for him to say some thing profound and no matter what he says "it must be profound". In every group there is a "facts" guy who gets the main points in the topic out and keeps the story line together, then there is of course, the interlocutor who bridges the thing together works the story, brings everyone into the discussion and when it starts to wear out, kick starts a new topic.

Generations have honed this skill and where ever you go you will find variations on this form of communication. The most important thing is the group expression, the level of consensus that develops and the formulation of a group attitude toward real life problems. These conversations/storytelling sessions may seem to be about a specific topic, but the essence of the event is how together, the story tellers reformulate and interpret reality to fit their needs and help each other accept and measure external events.

Had a psychologist enough sense to develop really great group therapy, it would be smart to follow this working model that allows people of all walks of life to digest the events of their time and establish a shared perspective on reality.
"may you be half an hour in heaven before the devil knows your dead."