Saluting a brave soldier

As Canada sends our soldiers to war again, I’d recommend that they should be given opportunity to meet Albert Carrier, a great Fort Frances fighter.
Coffeeing with Albert here a week ago, I gained fresh respect for him as a survivor as well as a very unique personality. Know anyone else who can smile at the prospect of a complete lung transplant sometime soon?
“They said I wasn’t quite ready yet,” he reported. This is related as calmly as if discussing his way through one of the many computer tests Albert must have taken during his technical career in our schools.
These days, Albert comes and goes from clinics at Thunder Bay and Toronto with regularity since contracting a dreaded forest disease that was discovered here only last summer.
Called blastomycosis, it has received previous publicity in this space as well as in medical journals.
The fact that blastomaycosis has not yet achieved the top headlines or newscasts like anthrax possibly has to do with it not being believed to originate in the hands of the Afghan terrorists.
Last I heard, “blasto” was know only in the Northwestern Ontario or Iowan bush, where it has destroyed a number of dogs this past summer, including some from Fort Frances, and made several people ill both here and at Rainy River.
Albert’s doctors took it seriously, first by equipping him with portable oxygen tanks and then deciding the tanks were not always necessary so that you can meet him unencumbered at times.
If you don’t recognize that infectious grin which is Albert’s trademark, though, you might know him from his “ham radio” hobby. He can take his mind off himself by staying in touch with fellow clubbers who are known to have arranged rescues and saved lives in this region.
Or, call on Albert whenever you wonder about something to do with computers—his passion of long standing. He also is remembered for his TV Bingo calling.
Just look for a youngest fellow wearing glasses and a jacket covered with a colourful variety of military and police crests.
Adorned from his travels during the ’90s, this jacket sets him apart with its RCMP coat-of-arms from trips to Regina and Fort McLeod, Alta., a Coast Guard badge from Sarnia, an F-18 badge from air shows with the Snowbirds at Moosejaw, and a large USS Forrestal (aircraft carrier) crest from a museum after World War Two.
This is one jacket that certainly stands out—and Albert’s got a separate story for each souvenir!
As you’ve gathered by now, our Mr. Carrier is not the fellow to dwell on his problems when he could be discussing other things. That engaging personality keeps rising above his afflictions.
He’s as much at war with his disease, though, as any other fighter in the forefront of battle and, you’d have to bet on Albert smiling his way through!
• • •
The Hallowe’eners are out tonight and there are many among us wishing we had another opportunity to go knocking on doors, too, and seeing if we could round up a free tonnage of enough treats to keep us going until Christmas.
One duffle bag or sugar sack or pillow case might do it, but better take along a spare sack just in case. Then if some big bully grabs your loot, you can always start over again.
But what was the name of that very kind oldster we all called the “good lady” who, year after year, made sure to fill her Portage Avenue verandah with great snacks and make us all feel so welcome?
Her philanthropic efforts brightened our dark ’30s—and yet made us feel sorry for her not having kids of her own to send out with us.
After all that generous free-loading, most of us never got around to the “trick” part of our annual routine. Besides, that was supposed to occur on “Gate Night” when, aside from moving a few backyard biffies off their bases, not a lot of bad stuff went on.
But can anyone else remember how the high school flagpole would be decorated with janitors’ overalls believed to be Maggie Gordon’s? And a wheelbarrow or two hanging halfway up next morning?
I can imagine we were mostly so satisfied with our Hallowe’en plunderings we forgot to do the bad aide of the annual event.
Besides, in our day, there was always the formidable presence of policeman Sid Wall to worry about.
Cst. Sid was our bogeyman who never let us forget him, and I sometimes believe he managed to keep much of the young town honest through sheer fear of his motorcycle and big boots!
• • •
Anyway, cheer up! Those serious snowfalls we were warned about last week when police were stopping traffic both east and west of here never did arrive. So once again, we proved full of the same old magic here in Atlantis while so many others got early-season training in shovelling!
So along comes John Wickstrom with his report on a 53-inch snowfall six or seven years ago while he visited Hinkley, Mn! Leave the scare stories for “Jack.” He’s good at them!
• • •
Mix-ups continue on our hunting season dates, especially for geese! Just check with one of our most regular gunners, Alex Markowski.
• • •
At 95, Walter Andrusco, who has done it all now, has retired as president of the Ukrainian men’s club that meets Tuesday mornings at Chez Rendez-Vous.
The new leader is Steve Melnychuk, the renowned senior golfer and curler!

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