How’s your own yodeling!

A pair of our boyhood heroes returned for the past two weeks on TV’s Lonestar channel as yodeling, strumming, first-swinging, and gun-toting Gene Autry and Roy Rogers took over in turn and brought back our pre-war experiences when I took Spanish guitar lessons largely because of their inspiration!
They had us going with a smaller version of Autry’s guitar that came with 52 lessons at a $1 each—and we must have kept half this town awake. I and others on Hawaiian guitar played in the high school band, then directed by teacher Almo Alderson (later Mrs. Bert Hendry).
No, I never was offered a radio contract and was nowhere nearly as good enough for that, but having obtained a larger, professional guitar about the time my musical interest was waning (after school, and with the armed services beckoning), my guitar stayed in its case for years.
But I never gave up on cowboy songs, which became less popular after our heroes had both retired. Later, having bought a farm, possibly influenced partly by those cowboy stars, I could go ahead and practice yodeling and western singing while putting a tractor on my fields which substituted for the prairies our heroes know so well.
And I acquired riding ponies for the kids!
When Gene came back on TV to give us “Red River Valley” again recently, and Roy began rounding up the cattle rustlers last week, I’m sure many of our local bushwhackers and haymakers were made happy again.
And whenever I pass the old Rexall Drugstore corner (Scott and Portage), I may look back to see whether there is a guitar displayed in the corner window, back where Clarkson gave guitar lessons while forgetting that we needed to learn to sing also!
I was offered singing lessons once by popular Marge Urquhart, who would sing while riding a float during a cross-town parade on celebration days. I had told her I was not able to hold a tune very well, in my opinion, so she offered to help me.
But I never got to her home for lessons.
When you are young, it can seem there is just too much trying to happen all at once! My old heroes never had much to worry about from my competition, sorry to say!
• • •
Aside from his portrait on the side wall of the CIBC, the name Backus has almost passed from memory although the company that founded our papermill, Backus and Brooks, was accorded respect during my youth.
That was before the three mills, including Kenora and International Falls, became the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company Ltd. (the “O and M” here and “Mando” in Minnesota).
Since the mid-’60s, however, the name has undergone no fewer than eight changes: Boise Cascade, Boise Cascade Canada Ltd., Rainy River Forest Products, and then “Stone,” preceding Stone Consolidated, Abitibi, and Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., and, for the past two years, Abitibi Consolidated Inc. of Canada.
Now that distinguished record seems to be coming apart with the departure of the Kenora mill reportedly imminent while the future of the border plants here are threatened by the lesser availability of the pulpwood tree stands and their increasing distance from the mills.
• • •
It was a treat to meet a young lady named Jasmine, who has been visiting with my grandson, Jordon, who is home from Winnipeg. Both are students at the University of Manitoba.
They joined almost our entire family for supper one evening. Jasmine comes from Kentucky, where her father is a college professor.
• • •
Dave and Marion Allison, also here for the weekend, plan to purchase a home in Des Moine, Iowa, where he is the first coach of a new professional hockey team in the American Hockey League.
Their home on Scott Street is being sold.
• • •
I’ll never live this one down! On meeting a friend of my daughter, Sara, the name came out recently in this column as “Moser” rather than “Mose.” This is a daughter of Jean and Eloise Camirand.
Thanks for the correction, Eloise, but I’m blaming our proof-reader, of course!
I knew a number of Mose families quite well, but the only Moser I can think of is Ken, the popular former Canadian Tire manager here.
• • •
Marylou Beaulieu, a popular worker at McDonald’s Restaurant here, was ready to hit out for Moncton, N.B. on June 21 to attend her old high school’s centennial at Riverside Consolidated School.
No, Marylou has not been around all that long! She graduated there in 1964.
• • •
Personally, I’m quite proud of having graduated from old FFHS here at only 16, back in 1941, when almost all boys soon had to acquire a uniform.
And for the next two years, until I was 18, but big for my years, everyone with boys already in the armed services was wondering why I could avoid enlistment—and mentioning this to my offended parents.
My air force training began in 1943, after most of my friends had gone.
• • •
All along, I have been admiring old friend Allan Kielczewski’s contributions to our paper in the form of letters to the editor, mostly concerning fish and fishing, and I will defend his right to give us his opinions and ideas because Allan is closer to the subject than most.
His father and older brothers were commercial fishermen at the eastern end of Rainy Lake and Allan set out nets himself until almost 80 years old!
Recently widowed, he has been long considered among our most knowledgeable outdoorsmen, and I was delighted to notice his personal setbacks have not reduced his enthusiasm to protect one of our greatest natural assets—the fish that he and neighbours around the lake have depended on for generations while hoping to continue their way of life.
I’m sure Allan’s view and experience are valuable to our entire district and let’s not knock him for them!
• • •
So a bear and her two cubs last week invaded Fort Frances, but that would have been welcome news years ago at Mine Centre! There, when a bear was shot, the invitation would go out in springtime regularly to “bring you knives.”
Bear steak there was often popular.
• • •
No, Irene Haver is not operating a game farm or using chickens and vegetables for bait.
She hasn’t caught the eagle that made off with at least three chickens, but a mink might wish too late it had never started on her flock and the groundhog raiding her vegetable garden also went down for the last time!
• • •
During my visits east on Rainy Lake years ago, I met an older man named John Kulikowski. He would walk out on his dock at Brule Narrows sometimes and I admired that location, which I might have tried to buy only he seemed to have moved away later.
Not everyone travelling the lake sees that boundary spot, but Capt. Billy Martin and the “Hallett” could tow log booms through—narrow as it was! Most local travellers now head more up the north arm.

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