Wild Rice 2015 

The two actors appear on stage, from opposite sides, both shaking their heads in disbelief.  They meet in the middle.

Creighton: She did it again!

Collins: That Crystal Kolt is one mamataweeso eeskweyo!  (explain to the audience, with a grin, that that is Cree for ‘powerful woman’) (repeat it if you think the audience will enjoy being taught it)  (a handy expression to know maybe)

Creighton: (a little time to collect thoughts) So tomorrow is your big day.  Flin Flon is finally going to get around to honouring you.  It’s way overdue.

Collins:  Well … (after thinking for a moment)... I’m happy for my family. There are six generations of them now you know. Some of them did really well for themselves. My daughter Rosa married one of the Moodies. Her father-in-law was the famous Inspector Moodie who was sent overland from Edmonton to bring law and order to the Klondike gold fields in 1897. His wife was a famous photographer and the granddaughter of the famous author Susanna Moodie. My grandson Irvin is an amazing sculptor: Probably the best in northern Manitoba.

Creighton:  You were no slouch yourself.  As I remember you skippered a Yorkboat brigade didn’t you?

Collins:  Yep.  And then I operated a tugboat during the Mandy Haul.

Creighton:  And seems to me you were the go-to guy for a lot of people who couldn’t read and write around here, and around Cumberland House. You were the guy who helped lots of folks get their status applications filled out. You even helped with the Dominion census locally.

Collins:  It wasn’t much. I was lucky enough to get an education and I was always glad to help.  My people have always been generous sharing what they know (a little nudge, nudge, wink, wink). You should know that better than anyone.

Creighton:  Well your family had to wait a century for the world to acknowledge what they always knew.  Tomorrow will be a day for them to celebrate. What time do they unveil your plaque?

Collins:  Right after the Dance Down Main Street.  About two o’clock.  By Super K.

Creighton:  You know it was this concert last year that got that started don’t you?  A couple of good folks in the audience that night heard what you said and decided it was past time you got some recognition -  time you finally got some sugar for your tea.

Collins:   I know.  I know. And I’d like to thank them each individually - shake their hand. But I don’t know who they are.

Creighton:  Well there are quite a few.   I know some of them:  Mckeens hauled the boulder for the memorial into town and patiently positioned it. No charge. Mckeens are always doing stuff like that for the community.  They’re good people.  Holmes Trucking did a lot of the landscaping.  Again for free.  Bob’s Construction attached the plaque and didn’t charge.  Dadson’s provided expertise in creating the memorial and got a very good price for the plaque itself.  The City of Flin Flon helped with several legal technicalities and with sprucing up the site at Collins Corner.  The Flin Flon Friendship Center provided space for the committee to meet. And it met quite a few times.  Getting a plaque put on a rock wasn’t as straight forward as it seemed:  Even finding the right rock was a big discussion item. A lot of very big rocks got considered.  There was Gerry’s rock and Kelly’s rock and Margaret’s rock. In the end it was the Konuto Rock that got picked.  Buz and Bill’s candidate. They found it out near Konuto Lake.

The committee included Greg East, who got things started and then popped up every so often to tell everyone what a great job they were doing. Also on the committee were Gerard Jennison, Cal Huntley and Dave Price. That Dave Price did an amazing amount of the work ... as usual. (he’s not young any more you know)

Collins: I know.  He doesn’t look a day over 80 does he?

Creighton: Did you know your granddaughter Margaret Head-Steppan, and your great granddaughter Kelly Blouin were on the committee? 

Collins: Yes...they made me proud. Kelly is Ted‘s daughter, Ted Mackonka... Ted campaigned for years to get me some recognition.  

Creighton: Also on the committee were Gerry Clark, Buz Trevor, and Les Oystryk …

Collins:  He knows a lot of stuff that Oystryk...  History stuff.  I sure hope he gets around to writing some of it down.

Creighton: ... and there were others who helped...Margie Gibson and Crystal Kolt looked after the invitations. The committee invited everyone who should consider this an important event. They even invited the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper but he said he was too busy saving the economy and fighting the election.  Or was it the other way around?  They also invited the Winnipeg media - but, it’s the usual thing - Winnipeg only gets interested in Flin Flon if it’s a bad news story.

Collins:  (nodding his head in agreement)  Who paid for everything?  

Creighton:  Well...They’re not sure!! Mayor Cal keeps saying not to worry.

Collins: (pregnant pause) Too bad my son-in-law Ted Mackonka won’t be at the unveiling tomorrow.

Creighton: Maybe that Crystal Kolt can arrange for us, you and I, to be there, in spirit at least... and this time for us to bring Ted with us. It will be a good moment for us all to share.

Collins:  Tin a kay (that’s ‘thanks’ in Cree)

After this Creighton introduces someone ….

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