James Bredin

Rookie (1933 / Ennis Canada)



James Bredin

I remember Scarborough proud Protestant and blue,
With portraits of a Queen near every pew.
No Sunday shops, no music hops, no liquor on display,
Where the Lodges and the Legions marched each Victoria Day.

Where ensigns flew, Union Jacks too, unique uniforms on parade,
A raucous rush of pompous pride by pals from every trade,
As they beat the drum down Danforth Road on the twenty fourth of May,
Out to the country and back by Byng, again on Dominion Day.

Those were loyal times before the war for king and queen and all,
For more than a few, this love did cause, their ultimate downfall.
It did at Dieppe and D-day too like their seniors at the Somme,
They died for king and country; they did it for a song.

And soon they were forgotten, those who fought for king and crown,
Though those lucky to return had saved the country and the town.
They would walk again forever with their flags flying high,
Marching medals of the heroes that no one could deny.

Except the town of Scarborough was down on the drawing board,
And those fields and sheep and meadows didn't fit the grand accord.
No newcomers paid attention as the veterans vied for space,
And their parades of marching medals only had an old-time grace.

And Scarborough changed by day and night from a township to a city,
Old soldiers faded fast and few and no one had much pity.
And the immigrants came in wave after wave from places far and wide,
As the soldiers went to grave after grave with their flags and faded pride.

But still a few survive today and I'm sure they are not pleased.
'bout the changes to the town and how Scarborough had been squeezed,
From a township to a city where no one cared for esprit de corps,
So they amalgamated with Toronto and Scarborough was no more.

And culture clash and bureaucrat and ever changing rules,
Of mandarin and moguls and Tamils dressed in jewels,
While traffic roared and the buildings soared sometimes to sixty stories,
Where women wrapped in saris sashayed in all their glories.

They had lost the town without a fight, those men from long ago.
And everything was centralized; they said to save some dough,
But the authorities had lied again; it was all politically correct,
And no one marched, no flags did fly and no one did protest.

There are sometimes you still can hear it, the distant drone of pipes,
And men in kilts still carry on, just watched by boys on bikes.
They're just a faint reminder now of the many marching bands,
When those with flags and medals marched and Scarborough had some land.

Submitted: Saturday, February 22, 2014

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