Connie needed all those long hours!

The snowy-haired lady who presided over much of our community for so many years has gone now. She is still discussed for her long working hours, and because she carried such a great load of responsibility for only one person!
Connie Holland viewed downtown Scott Street from her upstairs office whenever she found the time to turn away from her insurance practice that took a small part of her day.
Altogether, though, her multitudinous duties must have left little time for sleep!
Consider being the perennial secretary of the town school board, clerk of the district court, secretary of a busy church (Anglican) and the local Legion, bookkeeper to several merchants, and a popular social columnist for a daily newspaper across the river.
Then there were all the favours Connie would constantly look after because of her cheerful nature and the respect accorded her in all corners. The old saying—“If you really want something done, just ask a busy person”—must have been coined about Connie.
And if Mrs. Holland thought well of you, she would be depended on for personal loans, too. Many were the friends who needed whatever other help she could spare, such as for serving tea at social functions.
Amazingly, nobody ever knew her to be unavailable.
Right into her 80s, she maintained her unpretentious knack of being everywhere at once!
Although long widowed, she ran her own home and shared it with her very aged parents. The family came here from Regina, Sask., where her father had been a newspaper editor and a great golfer.
Major Gordon served as secretary of the Rainy Lake Golf and Country Club right to the day it folded. His influence no doubt could be credited for his daughter’s work ethics. There were two other daughters, one a U.S. university teacher.
Connie was a friend of my own family among so many others and, as time went on, there seemed no slowing down in her efforts. But then, there definitely would be no one around to match her tireless performance and proficiency.
Connie had never even considered retirement. Her good health was legendary!
One night, her office light across from the post office was not turned on—after it seemed to have shone every night forever.
It must have taken at least a dozen people to replace her and the new appointments would have taken a while because there were few on hand to step into all those office roles.
She had rarely needed any helpers, which seems incredible today. Someone once called her a “one-woman army” in tribute!
My understanding of her self-sacrificing career came about because my late wife, Emily, occasionally was invited to help Connie. Once a visitor from Revenue Canada unintentionally insulted Connie merely by asking to check her books as a formality.
“What for?”
“Well, I wanted to see if you had made any mistakes,” the Revenue guy said, jokingly. “I don’t make mistakes,” Connie snapped back sternly for once in her kindly lifetime.
Later, when she had left the office, the visitor finished his examination and told Emily before leaving, “Mrs. Holland is quite right! She doesn’t make mistakes.”
Not just a glutton for long hours of toil, Connie had a reputation far and wide for getting everything done properly. Even if it sometimes seemed her office light was left on all night!
• • •
If it seemed in a recent column that there is only one drug store delivery man in town, that’s not right because other local pharmacies have been carrying on that service right along.
I was referring to businesses that also once extended door-to-door courtesy, which is now largely a thing of the past!
• • •
Another medical reference here. The nurses at the diabetes clinic next to the hospital are among the more sensible people you’ll meet, whether diabetic yourself or wondering about it!
They’ll test you for that much-feared malady and also contribute a free blood pressure test.
Importance of diet and explanation of equipment like glucose meters are subjects of vital benefit they deal with, thank goodness!
• • •
Nick Andrusco is full of memories about local musicians, including his old Dutch band that used to parade behind the giant “Paul Bunyan” (Len Costley) about our border on Labour Day.
Nick is the sole survivor of that popular outfit, which had only five members, including two brother who strangely enough spelled their names differently, as either “Dueck” or “Dick.”
The former was nicknamed “OOmpah” from playing his giant trombone. This group was the toast of International Falls.
• • •
The first chilly breezes Saturday were accompanied by a big flock of mallards, probably the young ones, and it appears duck hunting will be great. At least 50 ducks came in off the river at the east end of Scott Street—and those birds were big!
The indication here is for mallards by the millions!
• • •
Whoever believed this town would be playing around quite casually this year with a budget of $19 million? Half of that goes into community services, as you’d suspect, and education here costs more than $3 million.
Taxes are expected to bring in $7 million this year.
• • •
Life membership pins were conferred Sunday at Knox United Church on Ruth McHarg, Fern Pochailo, and Kay Buffington.
• • •
And here comes Andrew Doucette, almost 91, on his new three-wheeler after a lifetime on his old farm tractor. Yes, he also drove a pickup.
• • •
Roy Burrell and parents were probably the last to leave the J.A. Mathieu sawmill village 75 years ago, he believes. Roy worked in the mill office during the company heyday as well as for one year at logging.
Dick Lyons was born at the old mill.
And someone from Norway who married a Mathieu man was being sought by the Norwegian royal family about a dozen years ago, I was notified. But we never learned whether she was ever contacted.
Such incidents always have added glamour to our northern experience.

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