A midnight stampede can spoil your sleep!

Someone had left the front gate open because I awoke one night to the sound of cattle bellowing in the front field across the road and in front of our home.
They usually belonged behind the barn and away from the road.
I hurried into my clothes while car horns started blowing and saw by the headlights some of the calves had stayed behind in the front yard while others had caught up to the cows.
I finally managed to reach the road, where several cars had lined up in what was fast becoming a melee of traffic and cattle of all sizes.
I could see there was only one thing to do—and quickly: get all the cattle off the road and out of harm’s way, so I grabbed my tractor and started chasing them with my headlight beam.
By this time, several drivers had ventured to help out and finally we managed to push all my strays into the field beside the river.
Did I mention we were now working in a blizzard that had begun bothering our vision!
As the snow came down in sheets, we found this was helpful because it was at the back of the main herd and the animals were turning away from the road to run down the riverbank ahead of us.
I was relieved to see none were running into the water, but not stopping, either. They had turned to test the weak fence protecting a neighbour’s home and undoubtedly were heading through his yard if we could not stop them.
A couple of the car drivers in the field had anticipated this by now, however, and turned the herd so it was again facing my house and barn and, wonder of wonders, the cattle at last were coming home.
Except for a few stragglers, my big bunch soon was running for my back fields beyond the road and their danger time was over.
Fortunately, the cattle had decided not to head south towards town or my troubles would have been only begun. Instead, they had avoided all the perils of the car traffic, drowning in the river, and maybe even being shot (this was late fall and rifles were being kept loaded).
Just maybe a generous slaughter might have been avoided. Yet all of more than 100 head had survived what had started out to be not merely a severe loss for me—but possibly including several car accidents.
All this might not compare to the bad news concerning the U.S. ban against buying Canadian cattle, which remains in effect despite earlier pledges to the contrary, but it’s merely another example of what our district cattle industry faces almost daily!
Or, as in this story, nightly!
• • •
Chuck Hammond, now 92, phoned to pass along his memory of “The Mad Trapper story” I used for this column recently. Chuck once had visited the Regina museum where relics of the trapper, Albert Johnson, were on display.
He saw the trapper’s snowshoes which Johnson had worn backwards for miles to confuse following police. Also displayed were his clothes riddled with bullet holes.
• • •
I met George and Bertha Ossachuk over lunch and wondered how many other couples in this community could boast more relatives. Both came from well-known families (Bertha’s maiden name was Fournier).
We’ve known each other casually for years, all having been raised here, but we don’t meet often to compare notes.
I learned that John Ossachuk, well remembered as the ticket-taker in our old Royal Theatre, was not related to George, and that Adolph Fournier is no longer among us.
• • •
Give Don Hammond credit for re-opening The Harbourage again two weeks ago. His American guests continue to drop in for good meals by the river, with Don smiling a greeting to all comers.
• • •
Mary Lou Beaulieu at McDonald’s comes from the Miramichi region in New Brunswick, but missed seeing her historic old home being described on the History channel the other day.
Nor did she ever meet any of our Holmes and McEvoys here from the same region. They were woodsmen and operated bush camps east of town.
• • •
For my second last birthday, my granddaughters included a cardboard hula girl, who became an inspiration for me each week while writing this column! But now another birthday arrived last week and I had not yet, at this writing, suggested any similar ideas for this year!
But I will say that the years are flowing past me faster than ever.
• • •
But say, are we ever going back to square dancing that was once popular at Pither’s Point Park, the Rainy Lake Hotel, and elsewhere on Saturday nights—if you wonder about Scott Street activities from bygone years.
Yes, barn dancing was formerly very popular across this entire district, but in former years there seemed to be more local musicians around—as well as suitable barns such as those owned by the Cyrs of Crozier and McFees of Miscampbell, and further out like Blackhawk and other places.
And weren’t we fond of driving for miles to enjoy those old dances.
Much of this activity occurred before I owned any vehicles myself, but on Saturday evenings, there usually were rides available. I still think of all of us piling into Glen Carmody’s truck for such trips.
And let the good times roll!
• • •
Bruce Murray is fond of recalling his family living above Stan Marsh’s Coca-Cola plant next door to the present Times office, formerly the Riverside Garage operated by another Marsh, Ross, who became the town’s treasurer.
Stan was a long-time secretary of the Kiwanis Club, where I enjoyed a free dinner as a reporter for weekly club meetings and events. That started before the Rotary Club also organized in the Rainy Lake Hotel and also invited me to attend for the press.
So I was on the receiving end of two free dinners, also both on Thursday (noon for Rotary and supper with the Kiwanis). And this went on for years—somewhat to my wife’s despair!
• • •
The Peachy name returned here after a lengthy absence when a North Air taxi driver moved in. The first Peachy was a downtown telegrapher for CNR before a former mayor, Joe Livingstone, arrived.
The office had used two Scott Street locations before it left town and also another office at the CN station. Our driver is Richard Peachy.
• • •
I read that the BIA hopes to awaken Scott Street again—a laudable ambition deserving of the fullest support by all those among us who always used our main street for almost everything imaginable!
Scott was the centre of our world with its parades in all seasons and attraction for many visitors, including American who came in for many reasons and international events.
We joined them for Labour Day celebrations back and forth over the bridge, and welcomed them for Canada Day and brought them here at every opportunity, not merely to return the money to our stores that we spent in theirs!
Lately, though, there is regret over rumours of Scott Street closings. A hefty jolt of fresh energy is being demanded by all those who grew up loving old Scott all the way!

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