‘Ivan Skivar’ Olson now has own road

Reminiscing is certainly enjoyable, and there’s a familiar visitor and former homebuilder coming here to help keep you well-entertained. You may have met Leonard Olson, the older man who carries that “seeing eye cane” mentioned before. He’s a former resident who now has a road named after him outside Thunder Bay because residents around there give their names to replace concession numbers. So he now resides on Olson Road, but he visits here regularly and may sometimes even sing a few bars of “Ivan, Skivinski Skivar”—a real oldie! I knew that song, which goes like this: “All night they did fight neath the pale yellow moon, and the din it was heard from afar. And multitudes came for great was the fame, of Abdul and Ivan Skivar!” • • • Our Harbourage restaurant was so jammed with diners Saturday evening that customers were being turned away. For the first nice weather of the season, everyone wanted to eat by the river! • • • My friend, author James Andrews of Devlin, is gradually making a comeback from his recent stroke, reports his wife, Jan, who only occasionally can be caught by phone since she’s spending so much time with Jim at the hospital. • • • You might suspect this is “over-hill” when no fewer than three OPP constables are sent to stand together on a downtown street to check drivers for seatbelts (I can hear old Louie Camirand laugh!) • • • The tourist camps have started staffing with district helpers. Sandra Ogier of La Vallee reports starting Monday at a Sioux Narrows resort. • • • When a group of our leading citizens was flown free to Estevan, Sask. some years ago in an Ottawa attempt to encourage inter-community visits (and we had a very good weekend), that was the last we ever heard of that program. It had been expected to have become an annual event. • • • With leaves sprouting on trees here since April 20, I had expected to find Sand Bay entirely free of ice last Tuesday. But the Pither’ Point Park area was still covered, although open around the shoreline earlier. Apparently the ice had drifted into shore just to remind us lake travel was still not safe! Nor will that occur very soon as water levels continue to drop. • • • Jerry Galusha and wife, now residents of Sleeman, popped into town last Wednesday for lunch and fooled me on his identity because a white moustache can be quite a disguise. Jerry is still a pulp cutter. • • • Our coffee chum, Mary Lou Beaulieu, has added care of her large west-end yard to her two other jobs as cashier at Tim Hortons and floor manager at McDonald’s. • • • Last Wednesday evening took us back to Rainycrest for another monthly concert and dance with Bob Wepruk’s band and found Jackie Grynol in top form with her tremendous vocal talent providing such great singing! Jackie’s range simply cannot be topped, although Bob and his guitar fill in capably on all the country hits. The dancers shed their years with some lively stepping. • • • Jean Bolen bestowed a couple of kisses on me for mentioning here that her 80th birthday party comes to our Legion at 4 p.m. on June 1. There will be a dinner, followed by country music at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $17 and there will be a cash bar, but definitely no gifts needed! • • • It occurs to me, as I glance around our community, that the time frame of 70 years no longer is considered a normal lifespan because being at or above 80 has become quite general lately. Without looking for the eldest among us, I’d guess that coffee time holds as much appeal for many at 80-plus as for any cross-section of younger citizens. Around McDonald’s, for instance, I spotted Bill Badiuk seated with Merdo Krawchuk and Ernie Brunetta, and others of the same vintage here and there. And that’s without daring to consider ages of several women around us. Then there’s our Allan Cup centre, Walter Christiansen, whom you can meet most evenings at the Harbourage. And you can point to a few others over 90 and still driving their own cars! • • • Ages were not reported but here’s how the birthdays went at Rainycrest during April: Donald Cameron (April 2), Mary Banner (April 3), John Advent (April 4), Irene Meades (April 6), Isabel Roste (April 8), Robert Fryer (April 9), William McQuaker (April 10), Herman Guimond (April 13), Violet Hands (April 13), Genevieve Gunderson (April 17), Cam Smith (April 20), Helen Sinclair (April 20), Beryle Boyd (April 20), Ethel Khober (April 24), Lillian Paesel (April 27), and Elsa Derkson (April 28). • • • When we think about our “old town,” now that most of our former businesses have abandoned us, leaving only the banks and memories of the Royal Theatre and Rainy Lake Hotel, we are inclined to forget how important Scott Street used to be—even after dark when our stores all closed! As a young guy, it was not necessary to cross the river for enjoyment every evening because we used to enjoy a series of poolrooms to while away our time, either daytime or evening. I won’t forget Tom Cherwinski’s close to the “RL,” where you could always get a game. And scattered around were about four other poolrooms, where sometimes there were “P-ball” and money games and more spectators than players. Most of the fun after dark along Old Scott left with the poolrooms. Strangely enough, the poolrooms locked up during the same era passenger trains quit running through here! And maybe other amusements also departed—other pastimes we could bring back!

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