Taking a Steady Step with Pride
By Lorna Wall
Recently an elderly friend confided that he felt instantly less competent because a family member had insisted that he start to use a cane due to his unsteady walking. In this day of aging, having to use a cane for support is viewed as a sign of our fragility. Yet, in the herding dog trial world the prize of a cane is viewed as the ultimate badge of accomplishment. Where once the arrival of a cane could present the recipient with a badge of age and inability we can turn this day into one of presentation of a prized possession. A possession with the ability to reconnect us to others though discussions about our beautiful possession. Previously, when it was stylish to carry and use a cane, they came in many beautiful designs. Here in Manitoba we are blessed with a very talented carver of horn canes.
Graeme MacKendrick of Balmoral. Manitoba has carved his way into many a heart and home. We have one of his canes on display in our living room carved with a personal touch for my husband Pete. Traditional walking stick shafts are made from hazel wood but any hardwood can be used. Horns from domestic sheep are used for handles. It is hard to access enough horn for all of Graeme's artistic ideas. In the stockdog world it is a badge of honor to win one of these artistic prizes and they are proudly used at stockdog competitions.
Graeme states that what he actually makes are crooks and sticks. The crook being for use (what we refer to as a cane with a curved handle) or show with shepherding. I also make thumb sticks that are used for hiking and shooting. The stick is for show or support when walking. The cane is usually connected with the old fashionable swagger stick which was actually made from cane or bamboo.
Graeme MacKendrick also has a way with antlers and produces scenes that are breath-taking. Moose antler provides a beautiful canvas for his larger projects but nothing is wasted and small bits removed are also carved into other projects such as ear-rings, pendants, broaches, napkin rings, Christmas tree ornaments, letter openers, or buttons. Cribbage boards are another of his designs carved from elk antler.
When thinking of getting that gift of stability for a senior friend or family member, consider one of Graeme's creations to make that transition a positive experience. It would be wise to have the proper height determined prior to ordering the cane to ensure that the safety factor of the gift is incorporated.
Graeme MacKendrick can be reached by calling 204-467-9127 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY Lorna Wall
Lorna & Pete Wall Raise White Dorper Sheep & Border Collies in Poplarfield, MB