AMONG FRIENDS BY ROSALIE MACEACHERN
Maggie Lalande has diamonds and lace on her mind these days.
It is not that the New Glasgow Kinettes president is really a diamond kind of girl. As a mother of four grown sons she’s spent far more time in hockey dressing rooms than in front of make-up mirrors over the years. And she has handled a lot more dirty sports socks and grass-stained baseball uniforms than fine laces but when Maggie imagines a girls’ night out, diamonds and lace are what it is all about.
“We’re planning something really special. We’re calling it A Magical Night of Diamonds and Lace and we’ll have a fashion show, we’ll serve a lovely dinner and we’ll have entertainment by a master magician/hypnotist. We’re working really hard to get all our tickets sold,” she said.
Maggie grew up in Springville and Sunny Brae before marrying teacher Paul Lalande and raising a family with him in New Glasgow.
“I grew up in the country where you had to make your own fun. You played with whoever was around and television was something you got to watch for a little while in the evening so I guess I was a people person from an early age.”
She worked at Riverview Adult Residential Centre and Valley View Villa before taking a job downtown at Crescent Jewellers and then working for her father-in-law until her third son was born.
“As the family grew and the boys got older we were involved in more and more activities. Hockey took up a lot of time and it was usually me running between rinks because Paul was coaching high school basketball and away a lot of weekends.”
If she had a dollar for every skate tied through the years she’d have her own stash of diamonds.
“Getting one kid out on the ice just in time to get the second one to another rink and then running back and forth with two others to catch as much of the games as possible was pretty much a normal winter day for us for years.”
Paul was a Kinsman for six years before Maggie signed on with Kinettes.
“Another teacher, who was a Kinsman, recruited Paul to help with the minor ball program and it was through the baseball program, which our boys all got into, that he joined Kinsmen. The Kinettes invited me to join. I didn’t have a lot of time and I suppose I was concerned about the cost of going out and having to get a babysitter, too, so I didn’t join,” she said.
By the time her youngest son graduated from Beavers Maggie had 15 years in as a Beaver leader. She also had a sponsor anxious to sign her up for Kinettes.
“I’d seen a lot of Kinsmen-Kinette projects through Paul’s involvement and I knew a lot of Kinettes by then. With Beavers out of the way, I had more time so I jumped into Kinettes feet first. In those days 40 was the age cutoff for Kinsmen and Kinettes so I thought I’d get a couple of years in and I’d be gone,” she said.
She remembers attending her first meeting and the discussion around the amount of food needed for a weekend event.
“That’s something I’d already learned through years of Beavers’ events so pretty soon they were listening to me as if I knew what I was talking about and it was easy from there.”
Three years in, she was club president. About that time the age restriction was lifted, clearing the way for her to chair a district convention and eventually serve at the zone level as a deputy-governor and also as governor for Atlantic Canada.
“I’ve had great experiences through Kinettes. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people. All of them are people who want to do something for their community,” she said.
In 2007 Maggie and Paul were both presented with life memberships. She counts that honour and having two granddaughters in Pictou County as life’s blessings.
“Two little girls after a house full of boys is pretty special.”
Looking back over 22 years of working with Kinettes the happy memories are countless but there are touching moments that have stayed with Maggie through the years.
“Every year we help the Kinsmen with Christmas shopping for families who need gifts and groceries. We get lists from the families and do our best to provide what the children want. Year after year I’ve seen mothers, who could have asked for something for themselves, ask for bedding because it is so needed.”
Every once in a while Maggie admits she thinks about cutting back on her involvement with Kinettes.
“About a year ago I remember telling Paul I was going to slack off. He said it sounded good but I don’t think he believed me and the next thing I knew I was president again.”
It is an easy job with so many willing workers, she contends, noting recent new additions have brought the group to 39 members.
“We try to keep a balance between community service and fun. That’s the balance we’re after with A Magical Night of Diamonds and Lace – a night of fun that raises money to meet needs in our community,” she said.
A Magical Night of Diamonds and Lace will be held Saturday, March 1, at Summer Street Industries.