Go for the gold!

With the price of gold now holding at $525 per ounce, our tall prospector, Don McEachern, has been working hard around Mine Centre in hopes of discovering the legendary “mother lode.”
When I lived there as a boy and talked to earlier prospectors, the price was being controlled at only $40 per ounce!
Don, whose home is on Second Street near the old high school, and his wife, the former Colleen Langstaff, were dining Saturday at The Harbourage, where I also found several of my old River Road neighbours I had not seen recently, including the Koski and Lahti families, both of which have lost their husbands and fathers recently.
• • •
On the subject of gold, a lady riding on Dial-a-Ride told about a mining camp in northern Manitoba named Musselwaite where there are now 250 miners employed.
They may be thirsty around Christmas, though, because liquor is strictly forbidden there.
• • •
Meanwhile, our local Métis leader, Gordie Calder, reports a very successful supper, seating more than 200, was held last weekend in the new Métis hall here (formerly the Polish Hall).
• • •
Every time the LaBelle name comes up, it receives my full attention!
The giant Emo trucker across the table at lunch turned out to be a LaBelle in-law, his wife being a survivor of the tragic Dance fire. The worst human disaster ever to occur in this district cost 18 lives in 1938—and that story returns regularly.
I had a first-hand experience with a surviving relative many years later. This was a girl attending Rainy River High School when that horrifying event took almost all of her living relatives.
The Dance fire came in from the forest surrounding their sawmill and the presence of a nearby creek was no help when the LaBelles clustered close to it and waited.
The creek was full of high, dry grass that would have made it suicidal to enter.
The LaBelle girl who accompanied my wife and I to that awful spot also wanted us to see her home because noon dishes were still on their table—left there suddenly when her parents ran from the fire!
I’ll never forget her story and such a staggering loss of life.
My noon companion said his wife was another close relative. And the LaBelle name is remembered in other parts of Canada, as I learned during the Second World War.
• • •
Thanks to Meals on Wheels for an early Christmas gift of those goodies!
The lady who delivered it recognized me for having sold her their only dog. I sold Irish Setter pups many years ago (though not exactly the 50 as she remembered).
My pups went all around Canada, coast to coast, after Kornel Fritz, our local brewery manager and my River Road neighbour, asked me to accept the sire, a handsome male named “Chico,” when he moved away.
A Thunder Bay lady sent me three young females and I suddenly was in business. And it’s great to be remembered for something pleasant occasionally!
That lady did not want her name used here, and this is not uncommon.
• • •
Remote and secluded Aspen House, where I am pleased to reside now, has no single owner, I’ve learned, but rather an Ontario company. This is a familiar arrangement for modern apartments.
Maybe I should invest but I’m afraid that would require more than I am worth!
• • •
If you ever catch Bordertown on TV’s “Lonestar” program, you may be impressed by its difference from our own border community. Although that town was located on the U.S. border of Alberta, a certain resemblance emerged allowing for earlier times.
For instance, the law is represented by a U.S. marshal in partnership with an RCMP officer, more or less same as here. On TV, there is a good-looking female doctor also who would make going to the doctor more enjoyable!
Then there is the constant threat of an Indian attack—that being in the last century.
But that is cowboy country, whereas our cattle herds have been diminished by U.S. laws against importing our beef lately.
Something else, there is probably a big wage difference considering the clothing worn on TV. That bordertown lacks a papermill, and paved streets, but seems rich in horses, which may be returning here someday because of car and gasoline shortages.
But I doubt if our town ever looked that run down and primitive. TV’s town offers bars as its main business but no shortage of handguns, as we will learn about soon under the new laws.
• • •
Now Nutty is back, his small jaws clenched around the largest piece of toast I’ve yet seen him carrying! But he also manifests a kind of answer on his little face.
Now I’ve had enough from this food bandit, so I give a long overdue blast. After all, he came to me five or six mornings in a row before he disappeared and I had to investigate the neighbourhood before I learned he was mooching from a lady I know.
“Nutty,” I tell him sternly, “this has got to stop. Either you have breakfast with me or we’re through!”
“I know you have been monopolizing the time of a certain lady I would prefer to have cooking for me. And if you don’t change your ways, don’t expect any further friendship from me.”
At this point, Nutty turns tail and does his Skidoo act. I don’t expect to see him again for another week, but I refuse to feed him until he changes his ways. Such treachery, I refuse to tolerate!
How would Nutty feel if I started feeding his chickadee friends and they flew at him whenever he returns? But he simply does not deserve my cooking—bad as it is!

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