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Neighbours to the left of the first burst of rifle shots begin to empty their gun chamber skyward as well. Do you remember this? This is Canadian tradition! In the cold black night, the sound is magnified. We all hope that Uncle Ed has his rifle pointed in the right direction; he’s been snipping bits of brew. Funny, he has been shooting at the Big White Moon on New Years for 70 years and has not hurt himself yet.

Aurora Borealis, the northern lights shimmer and sway with vibration of the rifle fire. Last year the boys shot up old Ron’s outhouse. It’s New Year’s in the North. Happy New Year’s, Happy New Year’s! Everyone is shaking hands and smiling, it is a new beginning, a fresh start and the very best of all…the days will now begin to lengthen into the light of the midnight sun and the brightness of spring. Darkness in a northern winter grows heavy.

Another form of light has begun to shine in our little village. We have a new priest, Father Rene’ Fumoleau has returned to Fort Good Hope. This is a small native village of 350 people; it is located along the banks of the McKenzie River in the N.W.T. of Canada. Father Fumoleau held this parish in 1953, which is before my time.

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