There was something more than a little surreal this week about two mostly unrelated assignments bisecting each other at a common point.
That point being named Williams.
On Monday night, at Quinte West city council a painted portrait of former Mayor John Williams was presented to the man himself in recognition of his 11 years of service to the city (three as councillor, eight as mayor.)
Two days later, Bay of Quinte Tourism council presented a photograph to Ryan Williams in gratitude for his years leading the council.
Having a chance within 48 hours to watch both men being feted emphasized both the differences between the two and certain similarities.
The differences are more interesting.
One similarity that emphasises a difference is the nod both men made towards humility in the face of praise.
Neither carries it off particularly convincingly, but for different reasons.
Williams Sr. is simply too accomplished and too brimming with confidence – two features that made him an extraordinarily effective mayor – to pull off humble. It simply doesn’t take.
That being said, in making the effort toward humility, Williams Sr. comes across as gracious: you don’t necessarily believe he feels humbled, but you appreciate the fact he knows he should and is making an effort to act appropriately.
It leaves those in attendance feeling their efforts are being appreciated, even a little grateful.
That same can’t be said for Williams Jr.
Young Ryan has a natural “aw shucks” element to his demeanour that should lend itself to a more natural appearing humility. And to an extent it does.
The problem is that part of his personality simply can’t keep pace with the high energy, go like hell part of him that comes out in everything he does.
Quinte simply, he is the Energizer Bunny personified. If the Energizer Bunny was cranked up on speed.
Williams Jr. appears to be moving even when standing still. He seems incapable of saying five words if he can say 10. It’s hard to tell if he carries his cell phone or is wired to it.
He is a 21st century Don Draper. Or possibly Gordon Gekko, for those more into movies than television.
All of which can be dismissed in part – especially when, as it is with Williams Jr., it is so often directed to good causes — as a function of youth. In fact it’s hard not to wonder if Williams Sr. was similarly wired in his youth, only to smooth out those edges with age and maturity.
Only time will tell if Williams Jr. will learn that elegant calm his father carries with him or not.
Which brings us to the other difference between the two ceremonies this week, namely that while Williams Sr. is moving out of the public eye (although I’m sure not completely, not for a long while anyway) Williams Jr.’s hiatus from the spotlight will be, I’m sure, short lived.
In fact, it brings to mind news that came out last week that the provincial government will follow the federal government in realigning the electoral boundaries to create a new Bay of Quinte riding provincially as well.
That puts provincial Conservatives here facing the same quandary as their federal counterparts went through, waiting to see where their very popular current seat occupier goes with the choice of two new ridings.
So let’s, just for fun, suppose MPP Todd Smith follows MP Daryl Kramp and goes north into Hastings-Lennox-Addington (let me say right now I have no knowledge of or reason to believe this will happen, this is just fun speculation.)
Further, let’s suppose Jodie Jenkins doesn’t not get elected MP this fall.
That would mean within the span of about 12 months, local Conservatives – of which Williams Jr., like his father, is a supporter — would be looking for both a federal and provincial candidate with name recognition and pedigree.
About the same time as municipal elections are going to be held as well.
Not a bad situation for an ambitious, highly energetic and personable young man with some political pedigree to find himself. At the very least, there will be a lot of choices.
Like I said, I don’t think we have seen the last of young Mr. Williams. Not by a long shot.
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