By Lindsay Starr Platt
Friday night at the Gin at Nolan Creek an Independence Day celebration got started a little early. Another country that also earned their freedom from Britain is Canada. The celebration is known as Canada Day and commemorates the enactment of the Constitution Act on July 1, 1867. Local Canadians came together to celebrate the day in Belton over food and drink.
“I am a dual citizen of both America and Canada,” said Reid Feltmate, Gatesville resident. “I was attending college in the states on a green card and I got drafted for Vietnam. I had a choice to go back to Canada and never come back or join the war. I wanted to be in America, so I joined the American army.”
George Shott, Commander, The Scottish American Society (SAMS) SGT John MacGregor Post 1298, planned this event for a chance for fellow Canadians to meet each other and share stories. Shott had Canadian beers to include Molson and Labatt on ice and an Hors d’Oeuvres tray of assorted meats and cheeses.
“I like Canadians. I think they are cool,” said Bob Harrell, Gatesville resident.
Feltmate talked about how he grew up in a mining town in Schumacher, Canada that was named after a prospector from Waco, Texas. Feltmate’s father was a miner and they moved from town to town for work.
“Many of the towns I lived in no longer exist. When a mine leaves an area they clear the village and give it back to the bush,” said Feltmate. “Gagnon, Quebec was the town where I graduated, is gone all you can see is where a road once was, maybe.”
Not all that attended the event were Canadian, but all were welcome. A soldier from Fort Hood came by to tell the group “Happy Canada Day” he was invited in and picked out a Canadian beer and just had a conversation with the group. The waitress from the restaurant has family in Canada and was delighted to serve a group celebrating Canada Day.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to be an archeologist and that is how I ended up in the states,” said Shott. “I was accepted into Arizona State University. Then I came back to Canada as an archeologist assistant for a project at Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia.”
Shott mentioned plans of maybe having a “Moose Milk Night” in December. Moose Milk is a Canadian version of an eggnog and is popular during the holidays.
“Once a year we throw a Canada Day party. We had a few people come over and we partied like a bunch of good Canadians should,” said Shott.