"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau



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David Dawson

By Wade Wiebe

David Dawson, a long time participant and supporter of the South Eastman Transition Initiative and frequent contributor to Rethinking Lifestyle, has passed away. He was 76. Regular readers of this column will immediately recall some of David’s more contentious, opinionated views. Many have no doubt scowled in indignation or laughed in agreement with his commentary - either because you disagreed with him, or because you agreed and wouldn’t have had the audacity to say it so bluntly yourself.

David Dawson was passionately dedicated to intellectual reason and the cultivation of craftsmanship and community. The truths he had to tell about these values were drawn from a lifetime of experience and offered as his civic contribution to society. As such, David’s role was as an unlikely and indispensable pillar of our community. “Unlikely”, because many of us, when we first experienced his censure, the only thing that we understood was that David disagreed with us. But, as with many such commentators - some of whom also participate in this column - his views were a sincere reflection of his deepest-held values. “Indispensable” because engaged and civic-minded individuals like David keep our communities strong. Teachers and volunteers like David are the foundation of the institutions we take for granted. South Eastman Transition Initiative was just one of many community groups that benefited from and relied on his involvement over the decades he spent living in southeast Manitoba. Some of the community groups that benefited from his involvement were: 4-H Club, Chimney Swift Initiative, Manitoba Beekeeper’s Association, and Diamond Aces R/C Flying Club.

Indeed, for those of us who knew him better, David’s outspokenness was just the surface of a profoundly thoughtful, generous personality. David’s mastery of beekeeping, gardening, woodworking, photography, cheesemaking, breadbaking, and model aircraft flying (to name only a few) were a constant source of admiration and instruction to those who knew him. David was constantly teaching. He was good at it. He cared deeply about the environment and about our responsibility to the generations that will follow us. He loved his family, his native England, and the Canadian community that he chose to make his home.

Whether we agreed with him or not, David was present in our lives to challenge us and to be challenged. He showed us the importance of open and good-willed exchange with people we disagree with. Even when no full accord could be reached, this continuous process of discussion bound us together and widened our horizons. We are all the richer for having known him. He will be truely missed.

David’s Bread Recipe- voted 5 stars (by David)

Before going to bed, in BIG bowl put:

3 cups white flour

3+ cups warm water

2 tsp yeast

Stir well, makes a batter. Cover and put in a warm place overnight.

Also get ready:

2 cups home ground flour

1 cup white flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup ground flax

In the morning add the rest of the ingredients to the batter, stir & knead for a few minutes. It may need some extra flour.

Then put it back in the bowl and put it in a warm place for ½ hr. During this time the gluten develops on its own.

Then tip it out, knead for a couple of mins or ten, shape & put in bread tins.

When well risen, bake 15 mins @ 425 plus 30 mins @ 375

To David: You were right about *everything.


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