Meet our Christmas twins

When you eventually find your way to Celebration City—that’s up in Christmas Country, you know—you soon will bump into a pair of our most cheerful citizens.
Just call them our Christmas twins—and the reasons are pretty obvious.
Ron and Bob are not actually related, but both have snowy white hair to set off their bright smiles.
Their nearly identical resemblance continues with similar, modest statures but what catches attention first is all that laughter. It is constantly conspicuous and continuous, and not merely during Christmas season!
This is one delightful duo.
Ron Kloosterman is a retired district dairy farmer while Bob Ward was a railroad office worker here. Both held apartments in Shevlin Towers, where Ron was a popular caretaker at Shevlin Towers. Bob and his wife, Elsie, now maintain our local mortuary, where his winning smile helps dispel the sombre mood.
Come Sunday, they usually can be found in their favourite coffee haunt, where it became my good fortune to learn to laugh with them. For instance, I can kid Ron about his farming career from having spent many years in beef farming and summers at haying myself.
I know Bob Ward as a member of one of our largest town families. He has, in fact, a twin brother, Les, a Parkinson’s victim, although undeterred in showing off the famous family humour.
It can make your day to meet and be around our popular funsters, who someday deserve to be awarded their own statue right up next to Santa Claus if he ever receives that honour here—as they all should!
Because these must be recognized among our leading citizens. Surely as the year turns into our centennial anniversary in January, someone will remember our fun times were always famous and this created Celebration City! We always boast on the basis of being able to point to happy citizens like Ron and Bob.
Their smiles are even wider these days because Celebration City has come into its own with wintry weather and everyone singing “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.”
While Bob and Ron stroll out for their coffee every morning in their toques and polar finery still laughing.
• • •
It’s not all that long since Larry Syrovy came from Czechoslovakia and purchased the Rainy Lake Hotel here, so he has no memory of its Christmas tradition when for years our O&M (later Boise) presided there on a Saturday as Christmas host for the whole town.
Manager Fred MacKellar, assisted by his top people like Albert McKelvie and Gordon Baldwin, would help him as Fred Shook hands and carved the turkey for all comers as the crowd grew.
This was a Christmas event to remember.
I told Larry about it and we decided to mention it to the mill people early next year—and who knows!
• • •
I didn’t mail many Christmas cards this year, merely replying to the few I received. But I did not forget an old Carleton College correspondent. It’s been half-a-century now since I left there (Ottawa), but Prue Malcolmson of Florida has done a great job of keeping everyone in touch as co-ordinator.
Our editor here, Mike Behan, is a much more modern Carleton alumnus, but he has plenty of patience for this old-timer.
• • •
Joe Puszynski almost apologized for accusing me of losing his precious information on Fort Frances’ presence in Canada’s wartime navy, but it all got back to him from the Times office where I had left it months ago.
Joe worked hard at compiling those papers for his book!
• • •
Claude DeBenedet, who grew up literally in the shadow of our old Nelson Street arena, also wanted to check on my memory. His father, Angelo, had owned three homes there, across from the old town hall.
One home, rented for years by the Tim Callaghan family, had carpenter Harry Christiansen as a sub-tenant briefly, and Claude wanted it known that his father, Angelo, and not Tim, was the owner those days.
• • •
Our local weather announcers seem to be trying to scare us almost daily with their storm forecasts, but the snows have been so light, if frequent, that we are avoiding any hardship as long as we know the streets and driving are staying dangerous.
• • •
And oh yes! I lost my first Christmas gift early (an expensive pair of gloves) more than a week ago. Having no replacements, I got back to McTaggarts where the young clerk, Brian Kosowick, took time to make sure I bought identical gloves.
Only these cost considerably less. Brian explained his store already was holding a Christmas sale. So my timing was terrific—especially after my first gloves were returned to me only an hour later.
Your Christmas stories can be strange, too, so let me hear them.
• • •
Incidentally, Brian, above, is the grandson of Mike Kosowick, so being a merchant is in the family tradition. Mike had the Esquire men’s store here after many years at La Vallee in Johnny Canuck’s, the name Mike brought back from the war.
• • •
Now, go ahead and make it as merry as you can—but safely.

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