Iceland can surprise you!

Ever meet a glacier while you are driving up a mountain highway–or tried swimming in hot water only four feet deep?
Before you try backing carefully down that mountain, remember you are in Iceland which is full of the unexpected–but boasts a police record second to no other country. There hasn’t been a murder there in over 20 years!
Orville Eylofson returned last week full of such facts about the land of his forefathers. He never saw it before accompanying his son, Brian, to Iceland.
Brian, a Chicago lawyer, was competing in a marathon there. He placed sixth among 80 runners in the internationally famous competition on behalf of the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Orville, who has been known to drive trucks, also discovered Iceland has embarked on a big scale reforestation because all of its trees have been cleared away.
A popular saying over there is “If you get lost in any forest, all you have to do is stand up!” Their trees are still that tiny!
But snow removal problems are unknown because of hot water-heated sidewalks everywhere thanks to geysers supplying free hot water.
Now back to that marathon and Brian’s contribution of $5,500 from the Canadian Diabetes Association. An Emo woman of 79 years walked in a marathon to help raise that figure, it was learned.
With a nearby geyser ejecting water heated to 100 C or boiling, it had to be roped off for the running event. The marathon winner, incidentally, came from Kenya. His time was one hour and ten minutes.
Meanwhile, Orville stayed fascinated by so many other wonders around—and probably wondering why his grandfather ever left iceland to move his family into Gimli, Man., in 1898.
Quite a contrast to Reykjavik, the Iceland capital, where a festival involving 100,000 people went on all night—without darkness up there! Orville reports the entire population of Iceland today is only about 300,000.
I could see he is thinking about seeing Italy for next year’s diabetes convention–and maybe wondering about any surprises that await him over there!
• • •
School opening again brings up the memories when my parents enrolled me in Robert Moore at five and I was happy to meet my friendly kindergarten teacher, Miss Penwarden, who is so well remembered here.
Eventually I got used to the stern-looking men teachers carrying scary black leather straps in their back pockets.
Including Principal Fletcher Huffman, I became acquainted with men named Procter, Edgar and Washington and ladies named Beausworth (later Mrs. Don McLannan), Miss Taylor and the Miss McLannan, who taught music and “God Save the Queen” as a morning opener.
• • •
At Howard Hampton’s annual free pancake breakfast at the Sister Kennedy Centre on Saturday, folks attended from most corners of this district including Minahico, which translated from the Ojibway as “spruce tree,” according to DeLores Ross who arrived with her well-known husband, Don. He turned 86 on Tuesday.
Hubert Preston with counter in hand numbered 312 people accepting Howie’s invitation while his great smile never wavered and he stood up to a lot of hand-shaking.
Our provincial NDP leader told me he was grateful for his father, George, taking over some driving from Dryden after a strenuous week of meetings up there!
• • •
Anyone remember these popular names from the Sudbury Star feature “Fifty Years Ago Today” which Albert Carrier brought in: Joe Palooka, Superman, Buck Rogers, Li’l Abner, Alley Oop or Bugs Bunny? These were all on a long list of comics.
• • •
Few wives become as familiar with their husbands’ working careers as Mary Cathcart who has just sent me a lengthy and wonderful letter from her present home in Windsor, Ont.
Mary was the wife of Neil Cathcart, our popular fur buyer. She can still reel off the names of half a hundred district fur trappers whose homes she entered with him over the years, whites’ and Indians. (She refuses to say natives because they call each other Indians.)
So, she enjoyed eating in their homes and yearns for such meals again.
Travelling into every district corner, she knew Kettle Falls to the east end of Rainy Lake as well as the Manitou and other western reserves and all around Lake of the Woods.
So Mary, who types much more immaculate than I do, put it all down in her letter which arrived just as I was wondering what to do about this week’s column. I wish this space could hold that full letter and hope the editors can find room for it later.
• • •
As hockey talk starts coming on these days, it’s good to find someone with a memory of our best local players over the years, say the NHL’ers who kept us entertained even before Mike Allison got going with Gretzky and Los Angeles.
To talk about them all, there are former players like Tooly Kawulia and John Hazel from our own world-beating Canadians and their teammates.
But there are also the fans such as Les Howarth quick to bring up such names as Goalie Ray Fredericks of Detroit Red Wings, Sonny Johnson of New York Rangers whom fans there nicknamed “Ching” after a former great, and of course Ed Kryzanowski of Boston Bruins who kept their blueline neat. Others could be included here also, but in lots of places around the planet, hockey is spelled “Fort Frances” and after all our combined efforts that’s always nice to know.
• • •
The annual Kiwanis Sunny Cove miracle was repeated Monday as uncounted hundreds attended one gigantic fish fry. They included Americans as well as it seemed almost every senior in this whole area came on by!
The sportsmen never slackened their grilling out back and probably the full hundred pounds of whitefish as well as beans, fried potatoes and some great coleslaw were served to the lineup inside the huge hall that for the longest time never seemed to get any shorter.
The weather was so fine that many carried their plates outdoors to sit around on the rocks and benches there. There was some yummy cake for dessert also as the women servers made sure everyone was satisfied and the coffee supplies kept up to the crowd.
The Sunny Cove facilities were stretched to the limit, including which reached almost to the highway, about a full quarter mile, with probably at least a million dollars in transportation on view there.
This was indeed a spectacular Labour Day demonstration that must have tired many of the hosts and it was entirely free to the diners who had only a collection box available for those who wanted to use it for voluntary payment. The Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club offer this summer time feast as a tribute to the memory of a member, Alex Kapac Sr.

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