Buju Nichie (Good day, friend!)

The come among us more and more, and I admire their poise and spirit.
Of course they belong here, too, but the native population impresses me with their quiet ways. And I’m sure their character and abilities can make an increasingly stronger impression on Canada unless we turn them away, God forbid!
So far we probably have become acquainted mostly with those among us whose ancestors married the white immigrants—and showed very little impatience with us and our ways.
I can remember my father at Mine Centre making a casual friendship with a middle-aged native who walked past our small log home regularly between the village and the lake. He was around my dad’s age, I guess, and his name was John Willie.
They could carry on early-morning conversations at the roadway and sometimes exchange gifts of food—my dad being an Italian chef and his friend bringing along some wild meat or fish for us.
Now my father’s English would never be mistaken for the king’s own! He could communicate with anyone in his own style—learned after leaving the boat at 16 when he had no previous schooling of any kind. My mother taught him to read and write some.
Maybe his new friend was no better off, but they enjoyed each other’s company and, if you can believe this, rarely asked the other to repeat any statement.
So Buju Nichie, which the native might say, eventually was translated as friendship grew between them. Maybe John Willie learned to like English with an Italian flavour!
So nowadays in this community, we mix more and more with our predecessors of this continent. And if there is any serious animosity being demonstrated, I haven’t notices that around here.
The native youngsters are merging more and more with our teenagers in high school, and their girls are as much into long hair as our own kids.
If there seems less and less division of styles and ideas, I believe it’s probably because basically all the youngsters want to enjoy each other—just as my dad, Tony, and John Willie got along so well.
• • •
That murderous weather east of here a week ago was highly reminiscent of a warning issued recently that disasters of nature, such as hurricanes and volcanoes, are quite possible forerunners of another year like 1909.
A bland winter as enjoyed earlier this year also preceded the same ugly pattern of that long ago year when catastrophes piled onto calamities as never before or since experienced.
But so many serious car pileups because of icy roads, with several deaths included, made this definitely a very terrible time. Although car traffic had no bearing on the 1909 story, there was a similarity in the magnitude of accidents.
Seemingly, the facts were in effect equally devastating.
There is a long way to go until this year is ended but if such events continue to multiply, there will be historians continuing to expect sad and brutal times ahead.
Who ever heard of a freight train being blown off the tracks before?
• • •
With Johnny Cash gone now, will someone please hand me a guitar.
Yes, I knew how to handle one once, although nobody called me a musician. I had a liking for the old bum or hobo songs about the time that Gene Autry and cowboy songs came along to steal my audiences.
Few will remember “Hallelujah I’m a bum, Hallelujah bum again, Give us a hand-out to revive us again.” Also the “Big Rock Candy Mountain” where “They hung the Turk who invented work” and “There are lakes of stew and whiskey, too” and “The jails are made of tin, So you walk right out again as soon as you walk in.”
Johnny Cash definitely did not do many bum songs, although he was “locked in Folsom prison,” where he “ain’t had no lovin’ since I don’t remember when.”
No, I simply can’t wait to get my hands on that “geetar,” either “begged, borrowed, or stolen.”
Guitars here were once hung up in corners everywhere you turned when a fellow named Clarkson taught downtown and would contribute a free guitar for one year of lessons.
Almost everyone played guitars here after that, and several still do. But few had the courage to go on stage like I did regularly in the Moose Lodge across the river with Melvin Bylund—Melvin on the melody with his Hawaiian guitar and me with my big Spanish guitar (singing was never requested!)
For some strange reason, I was never coaxed to sing anywhere or I might have turned professional. I never turned anyone away, but I never got that chance. Nobody wants an empty hall, so I settled for playing in our high school band.
But now with much time elapsed, I’m waiting impatiently to persuade everyone to put at least a dime in my hat whenever I put my show on the he road. Of course, if I really needed money, I wouldn’t be doing this.
But, “Barnacle Bill” anyone? Or I could give you “the Strawberry Roan” for which I have a ready-made fan who permits me to entertain regularly.
Just pass me that git-fiddle, as we used to call it, and don’t feel you have to hang around to listen. I’ve been away too darn long, I guess!
• • •
In my regular state of confusion, I committed an error last week. Lydia Ferguson never worked at the town hall, as was reported, and could not have known how much money was given to the men accepting town relief back in those terrible Depression days I described.
And if I don’t brighten up myself, I could be looking for handouts next. But please stop giving me wrong information!
• • •
Another talented and busy lady has been recommended to me as Connie Woods, who does ceramics and also is involved in Special Olympics.
But our Special Olympics winner in snowshoeing last year, Joyce Gosselin, or Miss Fort Frances, was told there is no age category for her this year.
• • •
Having exhausted my own limited library, a neighbour, Margaret Solomon, hopes to continue reading books by district authors and I’m told there are several more.
One titled “Between the Petals” is by a Barwick author and, hopefully, this is still available.
• • •
It’s too soon to tell but my first session with any chiropractor (in this case Dr. Neil Cooper) did not discourage me from return visits to determine whether my walking will benefit.
My son urged it on me after his recent car accident and all the pills he received did not help him nearly so much. Not that I have been suffering, except for my pride in being compelled to use two canes to get around.
All I hear about chiropractors has been very good and I admire the able assurance of my new friend. I hope to continue with him.

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