Ghost to ride beaver in R.R. centennial?

I’ve missed meeting John and Jessie Bodnarchuk around town since they moved to Rainy River, which most of our district railroaders know so well—and yet John is the only one I have heard recently discussing the ghost in their railroad station.
John learned of it first in a book entitled “Ghosts of Canada.” Then his dog kept on barking all night and making him wonder until he decided, because he had located beside a creek, that there probably were wild animals prowling around.
He talked of reading about that ghost, though—and then someone else said he had seen a very old man upstairs in the station a few nights, and wondered if the story grew from that. Apparently this unknown oldster was extremely white of hair and beard.
So now the situation has begun bothering John!
He and Jessie will be remembered here as among our most useful citizens. While she was our ceramics queen, having produced many beautiful art objects, John, a former CN expressman here, made himself useful with sidelines.
He would trap and remove live skunks that were bothering gardens, and attend to this chore cheaply, being content merely to make more friends at it.
Of course, combining the facts that he is an experienced trapper with the Rainy River centennial celebration scheduled there this summer, John has been pondering the possibilities of introducing the ghost of Rainy River, now a literary figure, in the centennial parade.
He believes he has time enough to become well acquainted with the spectre, but putting it on display will require careful planning.
If the spook will not step forth willingly to wave at folks along the parade route, will it be possible to snare it with a rope or at least offer sufficient enticement to bring it along? What about using some sort of cage, but this may sound equally absurd.
Once long ago, a Fort Frances parade featured our local stuntman, Tony Bolzan, as “The Wild Man from Borneo”—an event few will remember. But then, Tony was a born show-off and looked good in a wild animal skin!
This ghost, however, may not share such enthusiasm for exhibitions.
In considering all this, you must remember that Rainy River already holds a reputation for oddities, with writer Jack Elliot bragging about the “Great Beaver” that roams around those parts.
What about John and Jack getting together to have that fantastic beaver serve as a steed for the ghost? Even if John has to go around all neighbouring farms to find enough grain (logs?) to feed that beaver while his knock-out act is being rehearsed.
There will be compensation for the rehearsal time and effort when John’s great story goes on television later. Maybe there’ll be a Hollywood movie or two such as would make all previous wildlife or animal films seem very dull!
With the Rainy River celebration rolling in July, there would seem lots of time for adventure preparation. It’s merely a matter of having all parties following the same script.
For instance, when the parade reaches the bridge, it won’t do for the “Great Beaver” to decide to go swimming, because a bedraggled, water-drenched ghost won’t be appropriate (the Rainy River centennial committee is already arranging for the beaver to appear at great expense, I’ve learned!)
Meanwhile, though, will someone please check further into the background of the railroad station ghost? It’s best that his identity become established because this may well be some very respected ancestor of a present railroad worker there—or even John Bodnarchuk’s granddad because John mentioned having relatives working at Rainy River before him.
Everyone knowing John and Jessie can expect a classy affair when the Rainy River ghost hits the headline clean across the country. And John will never have to go trapping skunks again ever while Jack Elliot will be honoured for life for contributing his “Great Beaver.”
Of course, the whole world will want to be in on this spectacle. So the community had better start expanding its capacity for visitors—unless the CNR wants to spot a long string of boxcars there for weekend accommodations.
Because, inevitably, the railroad brass will want to take a hand in proceedings since the ghost comes out of their own station.
Almost everyone will suspect its real identity. Some may be willing to name him as a railroading relative, possibly even a former Bodnarchuk who lived there years ago.
• • •
In all this time of doing this column, I have been lucky to hear from satisfied readers, especially those who have found errors in it quite regularly. These readers rushed to tell me every time I wrote something incorrect, but this proves at the same time that they are reading—and perhaps enjoy my mistakes most of all.
I may start to contribute a serious error every week. And if you find more than one, you can buy my coffee while I hear about it.
• • •
Our favourite window washer for years is named Maurice Betournay. Besides doing all the store and business windows around town, he will do your house windows, too.
He wants to tackle glass wherever he can find it.
• • •
Get our old friend, Smokey Kawulia, discussing his cousins, Pete and Toolie Kawulia, and learn about their great athletic backgrounds. Pete was formerly quite a popular boxer while Toolie played professional hockey for years before he came home to join our Canadians.
He would camp in front of an opposing goalie until he scored. Smokey recalls how much our centreman, Mike Pearson, used to depend on Toolie.
Pete’s boxing, meanwhile, got him featured in a book as a famous featherweight.
• • •
Cal Marvin, the industrial leader of Warroad, is a friend from our senior hockey era who sponsored a rival team and even employed some of our players at times.
So, when I met a young Warroad couple, Scott and Jamie Carlson, they promised to tell Cal, who still operates his window factory, that I remember him because Cal always saw us down there.
He usually could be found at the Dairy Queen, which he managed.
• • •
When I taught high school during the time of Principal John McNeil, he visited my classroom and commented that I put something extra into history classes concerning such incidents as Admiral Nelson’s sea battles by making them resemble a cowboy shootout.
• • •
Doing a recent column on our Japanese code training, I left out the fact that an actor who regularly appeared later with comedians Wayne and Schuster was with us on our RCAF course, and still can be seen on TV flashbacks.
His name was Kleffman.

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