After the war was over

For me, there is always mourning for our fallen. But also I return to the VE Day scene in the streets and highways of eastern Ontario, north of our Trenton airbase, and recall the shock of seeing people dancing in the streets.
This was within an hour after we had attended a burial service for a young airman after a training crash.
Our bus had barely left the cemetery when all the church bells along the way, whistles, and car horns set up a deafening din that accompanied us all the way back to base.
This had little to do with the war just ended but it saddened my group until we rolled onto our home field to join its celebration.
And a small town fire chief had extended hospitality by waving a bottle at our bus, then demonstrated drinking from his false teeth!
No, this wasn’t Remembrance Day but suddenly a much brighter time despite the tragedy we had been part of. There was still the war to win against Japan, for which I had been trained, but for most of the country at that point, this was insignificant although it took months before I could be discharged.
But I never come down to Remembrance Day without that eastern scene steadying my thoughts. I learned later that air crew trainee we had buried north of Trenton was among hundreds who fell while the Europe war was ending.
We managed to celebrate, though, on that long ago day. And, oh, one more note concerning VE Day there: our sergeant major proved to have a sense of humour despite the nasty things said about him.
His men marched in and grabbed him before scissoring his tie and, would you believe this, he was laughing as hard as anyone else. There was so much pandemonium it seemed that a new war had broken out right there and then!
Many in our camp that day had known war in the skies over Europe. Others among us would never have to go there now. Yet many of our boys in blue still would die before the last shots were fired—same as the lad from P.E.I. we had buried on that memorable day.
Still, we could take pride in the stately performance of his funeral procession although we never knew him.
• • •
The Hong Kong veterans from World War Two may be mostly all gone but they’ll never be forgotten as long as their old comrades like Jimmy James of Emo can stick together.
Now, Jimmy reports their popular group has managed to establish a branch in the next generation, where their children are affiliating to review their fathers’ memories!
• • •
Kelvin (Brush) Christiansen at Anchorage, now retired from coaching the University of Alaska hockey team, phoned his father, Walter, here that the earthquake a week ago Monday really shook up his neighbourhood.
It measured seven on the Richter scale. After the tremors ceased, Brush went back to his more or less full-time career of fishing and hunting moose and caribou.
• • •
Two International Falls businessmen joining us for lunch the other day who had their roots here were Jerry Arason and Larry Arch. Jerry, who fixes cars, grew up here before his father opened his Falls repair shop.
Larry now sells real estate and formerly managed Penney’s store. His father was well-known Bill Arch of Nestor Falls.
Together, they can provide lots of memories. Bill operated Bull Moose Lodge where the family included twin sons, Larry and Harry, and two daughters.
One of them, Joanne, and husband, Walter Radbourne, have a new island home up there since last year.
• • •
Gordie expects his Calder clan will hit our arena auditorium over 300 strong Dec. 7 and somehow manage to work in some horseshoe pitching as the reunion progresses. He also reports having obtained a Calder Web site recently.
The clan now numbers 1,688 direct descendants of John James Calder, the original chieftain in the Orkney Islands—Larark, Scotland to be precise.
Checking everything out personally, cousin Bobby Armit went over there and brought back a glowing report on Calder’s Cream Ale that seems to be fast gaining popularity.
• • •
While many kind readers have been wondering about my recovery from eye surgery, and I may be wearing sunglasses for a while yet, my prognosis seems favourable while my eyes are weeping as if this column has finally cost me my best friend!
• • •
And, oh yes, my old river farm has not found a new owner yet, which answers the second question I get asked a lot. After my family rallied around last weekend, I have to announce that we’ll sure miss the place.
• • •
On the subject of farms, can you believe Bell information cannot connect you with the provincial agricultural ministry office at Emo? Sure, Bell has access to the same ministry in other places, but I couldn’t argue them into giving me an Emo number!
• • •
The Pinewood river already was under ice Sunday when we attended a church service to see and hear Donna Mose, who has now been a missionary in Peru for 30 years, but I forgot to inquire about weather conditions down there.
Having been raised at Emo, though, she undoubtedly was expecting frost here.
Travellers are saying ponds and streams everywhere around us have now finally succumbed to winter while outdoors skating season is coming on fast.
Donna is a daughter of Mary and the late Clarence Mose.
• • •
But if it’s arthritis bothering you worse as the cold weather comes on, Peter Spuzak of Alberton claims a product he receives from Saskatchewan for his mother, Toni, gives instant relief!
So, I ordered some of his wheat germ spray for a friend in hopes it’s as good as they say. I’ll try to get you the results.
Hopefully nobody is affected as seriously as a Frog Creek resident, Ed Sivonen, who said not long before his recent death that he had surgery twice for most of his leg, hip, and shoulder joints.
Ed was a Legion member.
• • •
Having tucked away any number of great meals lately, including some giant family feeds, because eating season is upon us, I claim to be well qualified to express an opinion and this is hard to beat, both for quality and economy!
I mean those generous pancake breakfasts being served up at the Sister Kennedy Centre here, where they never seem to run out of volunteer workers, either!

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