Canadians also suffered searching for Japanese

The 60th anniversary of D-Day earlier this month has sparked many Second World War stories as our veterans recall their service years, not always spent in Europe.
I heard Arnie Lahti, a former farm neighbour on River Road, telling about his experiences in the far north as a soldier in the Winnipeg Grenadiers—a famous Canadian regiment.
Sent with his companions to the Northwest Territories, Arnie—a well-known accordion player and cattleman today—found himself almost freezing in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska while helping search for invading Japanese soldiers.
The Americans, who owned Alaska, sent 30,000 men into that remote spot after learning the Japanese had 12,000 soldiers in that area.
The winds of winter were wild, Arnie recalls, vicious and far below normal for cold. The Canadians found they had to dig into the frozen ground and rocks to escape those blasts and survive.
Fortunately, the Aleutian Islands had at one time been ravaged by volcanos, which opened seven- or eight-feet deep pits (trenches that men could climb into to avoid much of the winds). Improving on these shelters with picks and shovels, they hung on to their cruel assignment but there were other problems.
The Japanese can resemble Eskimos, especially when all are wearing parkas and generally dressed alike. They were difficult to sort out and separate, and Canadians might not recognize either one.
Then there was a problem with food supplies, Arnie recalls. So much Canadian edibles came in one-gallon containers, frequently lacking labels and had to be opened first for identification. If fruit juice was expected, the contents might be sauerkraut!
It’s probably never been ascertained to what extent the Allies managed to root out the Japanese soldiers in the far north, but it seems to have been a successful effort.
Occasionally, it still comes out that some Japanese mingled so well with the Eskimos, they eventually became grandfathers and made their lives up there after the war.
• • •
While I seem to have known Dato Crowe all of his life, I was not able to help him when he phoned to find out whether I owned a picture of a dappled grey horse which his artistic daughter would copy in a painting for him.
Does anyone else remember it, or have such a picture?
Now I know that Dato lived on a highway farm in the west end and also that his grandparents also occupied a farm right downtown where the Bell and Legion buildings stand today, next to former Newman’s Garage on Church Street.
So which farm held that horse?
This is one of those old puzzles that may bother us until someone else solves it. Anyway, please notify Dato if you can.
• • •
While my only grandson enjoyed the high school prom the other night and his father, my only son, and his wife took us out for his birthday supper this week, I am left still wondering where all the time has gone.
Hopefully, that prom precedes a career of some accomplishment for young Jordan, who will head for Carleton University in Ottawa, where I graduated soon after the Second World War—and not leave him scrambling for sideline income like I did after earning my own degree.
Of course, nobody expects to get rich on journalism unless he inherits a newspaper empire, but hopefully he will not need to go farming to make ends meet, along with newspaper sales and high school teaching as well, like I did.
But I’m taking hope here because I never hear him talking about newspapering.
His sister, Alexis, also at Ottawa, is now heading into her final year of a nursing degree.
• • •
Perry and Joyce Rutledge from Iowa are back up at their Red Gut Bay cottage again, with problems while growing older at it.
They laughed when I mentioned my daughter married a Sioux City, Iowa husband, who had never before heard the song “Sioux City Sue.” My sister-in-law sang it for him.
• • •
But how much voting will we be reporting from the upcomimg federal election when all of the candidates are practically strangers here—and too many at that.
And if the polling officers continue such mistakes as sending me a notice which has my name and address both wrong, as well as naming a polling station I cannot find.
All this sounds like lots of fun.
• • •
George Herbert, now 84, stopped to say hello and remember when he raised his family alongside George Armstrong’s gravel pit. Another person who doesn’t waste chances for a good confab whenever we meet is Iza Gillon, who followed her sister, Penny McFarland, here from Edinburgh.
• • •
I don’t know how I could ever forget Joy Legaree’s first name because our mothers must have been both very happy when we were born, giving us both the same name.
She was the only girl in the Morrison family, my parents’ neighbours, while I was an only child, so both of us became a Joy (my middle name, but don’t yell it at me, please.)
• • •
William (Mo) Neilson of Stratton, at 85, has begun building a new home in Emo, his wife having decided at their ages to move closer to medical assistance. They are keeping their farm yet though.
What would you expect from a farmer who started hauling pulpwood loads at 19 and then carried milk for more than 20 years from district farms to Vacationland Co-op at Kenora.
I believe the only other Neilsons I knew earlier where two high school girls and Mo believes they were related to him.
He sold his milk hauling business to Derald McCool of Fort Frances, who was also into pulpwood.
Mo also reports that Thursday night was so cold at Stratton, there was ice the next morning on his four-wheeler as the temperature dipped to zero C.
• • •
With all of those tourist cars moving through, Fort Frances has forgotten its traditional good manners. For years formerly, the town set outdoor biffies alongside the highway going west and these were much appreciated.
This started when the old hotels at the west end of downtown Scott Street were overwhelmed and complaining to town council about it. For a while, the town even provided extra tissue paper to the hotels, then started providing outdoor facilities.
Now all of those old hotels are gone.
• • •
There never was a friendlier citizen than Bill Krokowski, our former town dog catcher. Bill’s grin brightens the room whenever he comes along and I never mention his former sideline.
There was one incident involving a large dog owned by the late George Armstrong I’ll never forget because our truck was the same model as the Armstrong pickup.
My wife was coming out of Safety with a girlfriend carrying a baby when the Armstrong dog jumped into our truck box by mistake and refused to leave. So she drove it to the police station and was told to take it to the dog catcher.
Eventually, it was driven to Armstrong’s office, where George’s wife complained the dog had been stolen.

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