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Believe it or not, this is advance notice for readers of Rachel Writes: Tickets are now available for the Eaton Corner Museum's new play. It's Beyond Belief.

That's the name of the play. It's a dramatic presentation about the life of Bill McCallum of Sawyerville. He was known as "The Glass Man" because of his uncanny ability to pierce glass with nails or tacks without breaking or shattering said glass. When he was upset about something, he would even nail beer bottles to the telephone poles along the streets of Sawyerville.

How did he do it? Why, and when? Beyond Belief promises to reveal something of that. Writer Ann Rothfels of Eaton Corner wrote the play, Pamela Jouris is directing it, and a cast and crew of 20 local luminaries, volunteers all, are working hard to bring us this original theatrical work.

McCallum was born December 8, 1875, on Brion Island. That's a lighthouse island in the Magdalen Islands. His brother came to this area first, and he and his family lived in Randboro. Bill followed, and lived in Randboro and Sawyerville until he died on January 1st, 1947. Now his remains lie beneath a small ground-level stone in the Maple Leaf Cemetery on Route 210.

While he was living, his remarkable gift made him the centre of attention, and in 1993, Freeman Clowery wrote a well-researched little book about him, called The Imps and Bill McCallum. "He seemed to be distorting matter on the atomic and molecular level, in defiance of the laws of physics," he wrote.

Hmmm. McCallum said he could only pierce glass when "the Imps" were on him. In Beyond Belief, I wonder who plays the roles of the Imps? And Bill himself? Stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, you can be among the first to reserve your tickets. Two performances are planned for Saturday, February 21, at the Sawyerville Community Centre. One is at 2 p.m.; the other at 7:30 p.m. The tickets are just $10, or for a child, $5.

McCallum always refused to exercise his gift for profit. He said the Imps would not like that. But don't' worry - tickets to Beyond Belief should be entirely pleasing to the Imps. All the proceeds go to an eminently non-profit purpose, to help support the Eaton Corner Museum. Which, by the way, actually owns a piece of glass pierced by one of Bill McCallum's nails. And the nail that pierced it.

To reserve, call Pat Boychuck at 819-875-3182 or email, making sure to give your name and phone number. Don't delay - last February's play, William Stone's Leg, was sold out. Beyond Belief is hotly anticipated and likely to follow suit.


Now you can laugh all the way to Newport, and home again, too. Two sessions based on Laughing Yoga begin Saturday, January 31, with Claudia Ross, aka Clowndia. First, she offers a fun workshop for children and parents at 11 a.m. to noon. Then a Laughter Club session from 1 to 2 p.m. They're both at the Newport Municipal Hall in Island Brook, 1452 Route 212, and they're both a lot of laughs. They'll continue until June on the last Saturday of every month, and they are free of charge (free-will donations welcome). Info: or 819-200-3277 (please leave a message).


A project's afoot to make resources available in English. Okay, in French, too, but let's talk English in this secret little column. These resources are available to Haut-Saint-Françiscans, and cover a broad spectrum of needs. For example, how to get beyond the daily grind of just making ends meet. Budgeting. Jobs. Training and education. Transportation. Health care. Respite. Lodging. Food.

All these are just a click away, on And yes, there's a brand new English version of the site with information about all these resources, and how to access them. It's a cooperative venture by all the service and non-profit agencies in the MRC, and it aims to help people "progress toward successful social and economic integration." The site is accessible to service providers, and service seekers. Everyone.

Yes, this is new. And here is an invitation to take part in a focus group in English that aims to learn about the new site and offer feedback. It's coming up on Friday, February 6. If you are interested in participating, please contact me at 819-300-2374.


Oh, the romance of a torchlight walk, moonlight or not. Newport's 4 Horizons Recreational Committee offers an opportunity to usher in Valentine's Day by taking part in a Torchlight Walk in Island Brook on Friday, February 13. They invite "citizens, friends, families, lovers, young, old, and everyone in between" for "a lighthearted evening of fresh air and camaraderie topped off with hot chocolate." The evening begins at 7 p.m. at the Newport Town Hall, 1452, Route 212. Info: 819-875-3895.

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French (819-239-8818).

United: Sunday services are in Cookshire at 9:30 a.m., and Sawyerville at 11 a.m. During the winter months, the Cookshire services are on the basement level of the church, accessed through the side door. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message or leave one).

Anglican: In Bury, Sunday services with Sunday school are at 9:30 a.m,. and in Cookshire, services are at 11:15 a.m. (or sometimes a bit earlier) at the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale West (Info: 819-239-6902).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email by February 2 for publication February 11, or by February 16 for February 25.

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