Let’s hear it for Marvin Hale!

Marvin Hale, who at 91 still has the vim, vigour, and charm to capture my telephone for more than an hour the other night, has promised us a monthly dance at the on CN station starting on March 15. Lacking his musicianship and great experience, this community might seem very flat! Because for a town that once thrived happily for many years on its local music (its town band and regular dances to the tunes of Don Law or Norman Fagerdahl), it has seemed flat and empty a lot lately. Now Marvin, with many years of dance entertainment behind him along both sides of the border, wants to turn all that around this spring. He’s certainly “been around” in his long lifetime, including Italy during the Second World War, where he reports finding the “best musicians in the world.” An accordianist himself, he can name several here and abroad, and expects to present many talented performers here soon. His dances will go ahead on the second Thursday monthly, he expects. All those facts come out of this musician rapidly and making Marvin’s hearers glad they are present—and I am convinced of a very welcome reaction to his dance programs! After all, local music of all kinds has been lacking here since the Saturday night dances at Pither’s Point Park and the Rainy Lake Hotel. Bob Wepruk still has his great little band going, though! Now hope the town band led so brilliantly by Walter Andrusco, with the help of two brothers, Walter and Nick, will inspire more downtown performances with their veterans. All that music, including our dance bands, has been much missed but no longer, as Marvin Hale announced.
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Is there anything in a suggestion to remove Robert Moore School? But let’s do something first about the Rainy Lake Hotel.
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Firemen and police from both sides of the border are said to have joined forces last week to rescue an unfortunate fellow who had fallen through a hole in the river ice.
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One man was in a hurry to cover many miles, driving first to Dryden for replacement parts for a grader, and then deliver them to his son at Thunder Bay before returning to Fort Frances. That all adds up to much driving in one day.
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I continue meeting old friends who recall my father, Tony, who still is praised for his cement work and dependable floors that never cracked. He frequently was busy night and day to produce one of his reliable efforts, including that of our first artificial ice arena and, with contractor Paul A. Laurence, all around the paper mill.
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Our first serious snowfall had quite an impact on our business places! For instance, usually busy McDonald’s restaurant was almost empty on Sunday while snow shovellers violated the Sabbath. And tractors were everywhere!
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My youngest daughter, Carolyn, returned safely from Iowa on Monday after that state had experienced a complete power failure. Otherwise, she reported little to worry about concerning her two sisters’ careers. Son-in-law Dave Allison seems still in the running with his American Hockey League team at Des Moines while my eldest daughter stays in touch with us from Sioux City. Iowans usually get the same weather conditions as we do, so our snowstorm reached them also.
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Dave Irvine reports having worn his beard since he was 17, roughly half-a-century, although obviously he keeps it well-trimmed!
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With renovations coming for the Portage Avenue subway, I think back many years to the times my mother would bring groceries home before CN gave us that underpass. She never knew the luxury of a car before I returned here, and would crawl between boxcars safely to reach her home only four doors to the north. Proximity to the railroad sometimes was a benefit, especially for young men headed out of town when climbing a freight train was the most efficient way to travel!
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Meeting elderly Russell Kennett of Burriss, I learned his sister-in-law, Florence Kennett, who attended church with my late wife, has been gone “a while now,” along with a whole group of other members we knew well from attending a June convention in Emo that attracted hundreds from both sides of the border.
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It’s been tough explaining to my chum, “Nutty,” why he got the bottom spot in this column. We have a rather odd way of communicating. I taught my small associate that all he needed was remembering to nod correctly. One nod was for the question: “How are you today? Two nods and “I’m okay, I guess, as long as we don’t run out of peanuts!” Four nods indicate, “Thanks, and I’ll be back!” `Several fast winks from Nutty mean “Get ready for trouble when you miss mealtime, you cheapskate, because my wife blames me for everything when it’s usually your fault!” At this point, Nutty is ready to throw a fit because his wife, Bridey, stands right behind him, ready to leave after she kicks him out of their tree (I warned him never to get married, but he simply doesn’t listen well!)

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