Current conditions cataclysmic?

With word now that Pither’s Point Park dock is being so badly neglected, along with the Rainy Lake Hotel, the former Royal Theatre, and so many other long important aspects of our community, everybody has been wondering what next? Amidst all our rules and regulations, is there nothing that insists important features of this community must be preserved “come hell or high water,” which seems to have been the proper attitude before our recent “go for broke” trend came along. All right, never mind the Pither’s Point area where, there is a certain confusion regarding native rights that allowed our pavilion and Fort St. Pierre to be thrown away—merely the most popular point features now trashed. But is our entire community eventually condemned to become litter as time goes by? You’d expect an overdue demonstration of pride for the past if not our future considerations to control the mess being created wherever we turn! Who’s in charge here anyhow, or does it not matter anymore?
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On the light side, would you permit “Nutty,” my small companion, to run up and down your screen door—presumably just to prove his daring and agility. Nutty only started this during the current heat wave and now I’m begining to understand. His favourite screen door is located next to my TV set and Nutty usually does his stuff only when either Queen Elizabeth II or Tony Blair, her prime minister, come on. Evidently, Nutty is proving to be a loyal Britisher. He never moves a muscle towards his own screen for George Bush or any U.S. dignitaries!
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I can remember the late Gordon Matheson and brother, Ike, as boys because I knew their half-brothers, the Hogans (Eddy, Paul, Reg, and Leo), who were friendly with another Irish Catholic family, the Callaghans, for whom my aunt was a long-term housekeeper. I remember where they lived on the lower river bank, where we boys skied and tobogganed in wintertime, and Gordon’s father was a papermill officer. There was a small hut there containing a full human skeleton! Those bones were sent to the Toronto museum by W.G. Noden, our former MPP, because that skeleton was considered historic.
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As a youngster, I was always fascinated by trains and we depended so much on passenger trains, no longer running in this district now that we have more highways. Yet Mine Centre continues to beckon to me because of the trains—the noon “Local” and the late night “Speed,” which ran all the way between Winnipeg and Fort William. That was before the name of “Thunder Bay” joined that Fort and its twin, Port Arthur. I believe only $2.50 was required to travel to Mine Centre by “Local,” and it brought our groceries from Safeway here so many yeas ago! Recently, I learned our two-bedroom log cabin there was sold. Built after the one-room cabin where we “squatted” on the road to Bad Vermilion Lake, we were proud of the second one and had hoped to use it again someday!
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Get George Mylenchuk recalling our former recreation director, Joe Murray, and be prepared to listen! Because Joe, who was very busy here in the 1940s, meant much to all our hockey players, including George, who revered his memory. Joe served us with help of Pat Alton as secretary, and it could be said they helped us win the Allan Cup and also build the 1951 Memorial Arena. Their office was in our previous rink building on Nelson Street. Joe was tall, with a sociable but businesslike manner, and always accessible!
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Meeting a short lady from Ottawa this week reminded me of a reunion for Carleton College alumni this month that I won’t be attending as much as I enjoyed Ottawa. Hopefully, we will meet again to bring more up to date on changes in our nation’s capital.
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Leonard Olson phoned from Thunder Bay to thank me for the column concerning him. Few others deserved mention more!
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Quick, get into the bicycle business which is bound to enjoy unbelievable sales volumes with such crazy gasoline prices coming at us. Who will pay $5 per gallon—or can manage to continue rolling in cars? And here I am with springtime upon us wondering not merely whether but when I can buy my next car or pickup. Most of us grew up on bikes anyway, which are plain okay for much of the year. And try and find a four-wheeled band wagon to pull around like most mothers used to own.
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Here’s a symptom of old age I am beginning to discover. In your own hometown, you suddenly can find yourself among mostly strangers. But as I watched Glen Roste emerge with his wife from Rainycrest and descend carefully to the driveway where their car was parked, I was amazed to be told that Glen, the popular baker, curler, and all-around fellow, is now 93! (There’s still hope for the rest of us at that rate)!
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As I await my morning ride to coffee while peering down the block for that big white handi-van, I always am wondering how many white vehicles we have on our streets, (trucks, trailers, vans, pick-ups, wagons, and cars). It’s become probably our best-liked colour. Only once did I “go white” and that was for a station wagon back in the 1960s which I do not remember washing too often to keep it white. Darker colours always took more time! But watching down the road for that ride can fool me too often now that white vehicles have become so popular!

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