Hi, this is the old guy with the plaid tam again (well, you know the rest). And yes, I’ve put the bike away for the winter.
I was thinking back to the year 1935 or 1937, when my brother, Norman, and I walked a team of horses from our farm at Rainy River to Nestor Falls. This was in January but there was very little snow, so we had a high-wheeled farm wagon as our vehicle for that reason.
Our first day took us east of Sleeman, where we took a “short cut” that went through to Sam Booth’s blacksmith shop, located near where the Barwick school is located now on Barwick Road North.
About 4 p.m. and starting to get dark, we began to look for a place for our horses and us to bed down for the night. The first place (I do not remember the name) said, “Yes, boys, but we haven’t any room in the barn for your horses.”
We thanked them folks and went on to the next home, who said, “Yes, we have room for the horses but our house is small and no room for you boys.”
Finally, about halfway through that “short cut,” we came to another big two-storey home with a big barn. The people greeted us, we told them our wishes, and they said, “Sure, we’ve got the room.”
We were tired but very happy. We immediately “attempted” to unhitch the horses when one of the family stopped us and said, “Oh no, boys. You go on into the house and warm up. We’ll take care of the horses, take off their harness, and feed them.”
We obliged, of course, went into the house, and met the family, but I can only remember the lady of the home and a school teacher who was boarding there.
After a few minutes of conversation, we sat down to a lovely supper and had a lovely visit until the lady of the house said, “Boys, you must be tired and we have your bed all fixed upstairs.”
We accepted that offer and trundled into a “feather tick” bed. But before we said good night, we were asked what time we’d like to be awakened. Being as we had a big trip ahead of us, my brother, Norm, asked if 7 a.m. would be too early.
The answer, of course, was, “Sure, 7 a.m. will be fine.” (I’m glad Norm answered because I’d have said 10, probably).
Seven o’clock came too soon, but we were awakened, came downstairs, and had a beautiful farm breakfast. It was unbelievable.
When we finished eating and chatted a moment, we noticed the man or men of the home had gone outside, rather unannounced, and as we sipped our last bit of coffee, we heard a sound outside the kitchen door.
Yes, you guessed it. It was our horses—all fed, harnessed, and hitched to the wagon and ready to go! It was like a fairy tale.
Asking these folks to take money was out of the question. “We were just happy to be able to accommodate,” they would have said.
Thinking back, we probably didn’t have any money anyway. However, for subsequent trips to Rainy River, for years later, we took fish to that family and they were happy for the fresh feed.
It took two more days for us to get to Nestor Falls, and Red Deer Lodge. And if you read the Times the following week of this printing, I’m sure you’ll be looking for the rest of the story. Thank you for your interest.
a.k.a. “Rapid Robert”
and “Biker Bob”