Unpacking A Time Capsule

Apr 28, 2017

Drumcree Church, Portadown
Credit David James

Seven objects- found in a corrugated box on my sun porch, there since 2014 when I moved in.

A copy of my 2007 1099, listing my music income for the year as $3725.00. Ten years ago. Never had the knack o' making money-learned that from my ole man, who died intestate, bankrupt, and drunk, bless his heart. That's  why I had to wait on Social Security for any hope of a mortgage. Realizing I had a time capsule here I started paying attention to the contents. Most were innocuous cash register receipts, but buried in the shambles were:

$15 Canadian from the last trip to the Goderich "Celtic College" roots festival, by Lake Huron, in 2006.

Canadian money has a story on one side. On the ten dollar bill, issued in 2005--is a stanza in tiny print of the famous poem from WWI by John McCrea. Also a physician, he died of pneumonia at Boulogne. "In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses row on row/ That mark our place, and in the sky/ The larks, still bravely singing, fly/ Scarce heard amid the guns below." Next to the poem, in English and in French, N'oublions jamais--Lest we forget--and three poppies.

On the $5--issued in 2002, is an engraving of hockey players--kids bundled up skating on a frozen pond, and in miniscule print a memo by novelist Roch Carrier: "The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons.We lived in three places-the school, the church, and the skating-rink--but our real life was on the skating-rink."

On the obverse side of both bills is an engraving of a former Prime Minister.

Costa Rican banknotes--amounting to 5000 and 10,000 Colones, both issued in 2005. On the 10,000, one side is a jaguar (puma) leaping out of the background, while on its other side is a tame portrait of pedagogue Emma Gamboa Alvarado. She was a reader and a progressive. We'd get along. The real beauty is the 5000 note. On one side is an ancient chaman of the Chorotega tribe in full regalia, resembling a tusked animal. On the obverse is a jungle scene, complete with the stone moon, leopard, toucan, and jade figurine.

Here was a 5 Euro note from a trip to Ireland - not as beautiful as the American bills. Smaller in size, on one side is the Arc de Triumph, not identified--I guess you're supposed to know--and on the other side an aqueduct span, once again, not identified either in origin or place. And the circle of stars around an outline of the European Union (with England still a part).

The real "find" was a photocopy of the top half of the Sunday South Bend Tribune for July 19, 1998 Metro Edition ($1.50). The headline stretching all the way across reads: "Principles on parade in Northern Ireland."

"Firebombs light the skies of Northern Ireland the morning of July 2, destroying three Catholic churches and damaging nine others in the hilly green country."

"The next day, South Bend musician David James and Plymouth attorney Kenneth McDermott fly into the country, aware of the violence but hopeful they might play some role in limiting it." The article describes us as" not on holiday" but "official observers--witnesses, in McDermott's legal parlance--with  the New York-based Irish Parades Emergency Committee, an organization concerned with human rights violations during a tenseltime in Northern Ireland.... Marching season, they call it ..."

And there's a photo of two "Scots Guardsmen" standing at a barricade between Portadown's Drumcree Presbyterian church and Garvaghy Road Catholics. Not visible in the picture, but certainly "there," is auld Davy, who might as well have a target painted on his back for all the dodging of dynamite filled coffee cans and Molotov milk bottles as they hurl over the line of troops in our general direction.

Stories. I'll have a book if I ever get a chance to write them all down.