Of Santa Claus, cucumber squirrels, and our old janitor!

As the annual Santa Claus parade comes under new management this year, the disbanded Rotary Club cannot be accused of having abandoned the annual extravanganza because Bill Badiuk is staunchly continuing his support.
As a long-time leader of the project, Bill reports the Santa Claus float always will be welcomed in storage at the Ford tractor dealership he established long ago on the highway in Crozier.
From there, it will sally forth as usual on the last Saturday in November with the best wishes of all his former Rotary mates who made it so important to the community.
This year, though, the local Business Improvement Association (BIA) will be welcoming ol’ St. Nick Its new representative, Laurie Beadle, reports preparations are already underway.
She has mailed out invitations for all organizations and businesses to participate. Tom Duchnicki also is busy with BIA.
Laurie steps into the shoes of the popular volunteer Gordon McBride. Gordie, along with the Rotary gang, has gone on to fresh pastures and they’ll all be sorely missed.
Laurie can be reached at 274-4343.
On the other hand, I doubt whether that live-wire Bill Badiuk has his own hands entirely filled because for so many years he and the Rotarians have been called on for just about everything at every opportunity.
So anyone looking for extra help would be wise to remember Bill is usually available—and I’m sure he will appreciate not being overlooked.
You’re welcome to all this help, Bill, and I owe it to you because you and your farm machinery expertise were largely responsible for my farming career!
My farming covered most of 40 years and Bill and his crew always had another expensive new haying machine coming on for me. But we all managed to survive somehow!
• • •
The changes keep on coming up in every line and the Ministry of Transportation is no exception because they have let go of those blue cards for windshields that allow handicapped motorists to park in those designated zones.
The cards from now on will be issued at the same place as you renew your car licence—providing a doctor approves!
• • •
Harvey Hudson of the Little Bear Marina claims his curling is not the most expert, but I doubt if he is lacking in strength when he reports having to move 36 floating docks right now around his place near Windy Point.
That’s a lot ot work with pike poles, considering the sizes. And the rafts have to be anchored safely where the winds can’t throw them around.
The town also looks after a lot of the floaters and other equipment on both river and lake.
You couldn’t call us exactly Maritimers maybe but as I often reminded our female Times reporters from Newfoundland and New Brunswick, we have to deal with our own share of nautical topics and problems!
• • •
Someone suggested our part-time southerners already were rolling out but Nick Andrusco says his Florida dwelling can wait a while yet.
Although it’s understood Doug Judson may soon head to Arizona.
• • •
You might meet Ted Martens and wife quite regularly at the Sister Kennedy Centre when they are not in some distant part of the world, oh say anywhere between Africa and the South Seas unless they are in England or Europe.
The other day she was suggesting a son might be putting Barbados property up for sale. That’s in a neighbourhood well-known to Charlie Watt!
• • •
I feel honoured to have just received a letter from Irene Doty at Carlyle, Sask., and formerly of La Vallee, where she grew up as a daughter of George and Mary Hnatiuk.
Irene has been away from here for 45 years while she applied herself to the Air Cadets, whom she calls the best youth organization in Canada.
A casual mention of there being a Fort Frances branch starting up here attracted her attention to me because she has been a member for 30 years and eventually became its national president in 1986.
Before leaving here, she was high school secretary following the term of my late wife, Emily.
• • •
Now they’ve taken to calling those big grey squirrels “cucumber squirrels” because of their fondness for that vegetable when the pests are not being knocked off electrical lines.
You probably have noticed them dead on the roads because linemen will tell you the grey squirrel is costing them lots of work and lost service.
Not native to this area for very many years, grey squirrels are familiar down east and southward, where there are also even large black squirrels to be found. Fortunately those are not here yet.
Perhaps because of the grey squirrel, it seems our red ones are not nearly so numerous nowadays.
• • •
They called him “Maggie” Gordon, our most senior janitor who went from Robert Moore to the high school along with us kids, and we could look up every morning after Hallowe’en to see Maggie’s coal scuttle, wheelbarrow, and brooms hanging from the school flagpole.
Maggie had the most even temper you ever met—cranky all the time—and the boys would remember him every year at this time!

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