Scott Street has was always good to me

Now I’ve known Scott Street quite well for most of its past century, and I even met an older citizen, Alex Scott of Wells’ Hardware, whose family name the street adopted.
He was a quiet friend of our late police chief, Louis Camirand, who took him fishing regularly.
I hope you can share my affection for all our main street means to me and always has—since long before it was choked by cars and horses could be seen there for various purposes, snow or garbage removal, or maybe pulling firewood saws in the days before the backyard woodpiles vanished.
I guess I’ll start with tobacconist Ray S. Holmes, brother of our former mayor, Bert Holmes, because it was probably Ray who started me into newspapering by giving me a bagful of comics to peddle down the street Saturday mornings at a nickel for the Sunday Mirror or a dime for the Toronto Star or Chicago Tribune.
And they sold well enough for me to go to the movies, where Tom Mix or Ken Maynard might be seen as cowboys or “good guys.”
Later, clothier Roy McTaggart told me he was saving me a black overcoat suitable for pallbearing whenever I was invited, and the price was definitely “right.”
Bill Noden, our MPP, made sure I took home a 30-foot extension ladder from his hardware store after he saw the farm I had bought with its tall buildings.
And Joe (“Van”) Vandershorst, the greens grocer, gave me a job on his vegetable farm where I laid our first irrigation pipes to water his crops from the river. This was my first summer employment and I found Mrs. Van’s cooking “tremendous.”
Then I almost went into business with Carl Gray at the Rainy Lake Hotel because he liked my idea of moonlight cruises aboard Dwight Smith’s big “Sara A” to give Carl’s American guests something to do with their evenings.
I had suggested taking them dancing at a boys’ camp on Rainy Lake, which had a dandy basketball floor.
Carl was game to try it, too, only his mother in Kenora called him back because his brother there had died.
Safeway hired me one summer at a previous location, and along with Gordon Watt, the barber’s son, and Howard Neely, the veterinarian’s son, we handled tons of flour, sugar, and potatoes whenever a truck entered the backroom.
We also found a giant spider—maybe a tarantula—on a big stalk of bananas.
Later, after college, I met Connie Hollands upstairs in the Masonic building because I had become a stringer for the Daily Journal over in International Falls, where she also had a social column, and I left my news to be picked up at her office every day.
I went to Bernardi’s grocery for my Dad’s tomato paste, which he needed for making spaghetti, and I guess I was in and out of most stores along Scott Street between learning to shoot pool and bowl along there.
Still in high school, I managed to grow a moustache in order to look older and be allowed to buy beer in the hotels at a dime a glass. Principal Townshend must have “caught on” because he ordered me to shave.
I almost forgot to include my service as a Wolf Cub, junior to the Boy Scouts, which also occurred on Scott Street—upstairs in the post office where Mr. and Mrs. Jack Keenahan, custodians there, would welcome us to their apartment.
We also had good times in the old restaurants such as Peek Inn Cafe, where you’d meet everybody and learn a lot to supplement your formal education.
Later, I used the Tichborne Insurance office rent-free Saturdays to collect from my Winnipeg Tribune carriers with full approval of partners Al Huber and Willis Anderson. They were pleased I could represent them, if necessary.
Later, after I bought my farm, the then CIBC manager Allan Tibbetts told me I did not need to pay the regular interest rate for my steady borrowing, which became considerable, because I was a farmer. So I borrowed more but eventually managed to pay it all off.
Joe Livingstone was our CN telegrapher near the east end of our main shopping street. He also was mayor here after Bert Holmes and they opposed each other in one election.
This caused Ray Holmes to take out an ad against Joe (who was escorting Ray’s oldest daughter). He made clear that Ray was not on Joe’s side in that battle!
I went into the telegraph office every night for years (just as Joe wanted to close it) because all our hockey games and public meetings ended at that time.
So Joe objected to all the overtime I gave his office to wire my news stories to several daily papers. He was kidded as our “Georgia Peach” because that state was his former home.
As you can tell here, Scott Street has been important to my own lifetime, and I’d hate to hear someday that it had gone out of business!
• • •
The day care providers brought their small army of three- and four-year-olds into McDonald’s for lunch last Tuesday and if you had told me that many kids taken together could be so well-behaved, I’d not have believed it.
Sure, there was plenty of chatter but not what you could call real noise, and either the four chaperones deserved much credit or all those tiny ones came from very well-behaved families.
• • •
It’s pleasant to be missed. When Mrs. Woodgate, operator of the Circle D restaurant in Emo, mentioned not having seen me out at her highway spot lately, I explained my lack of driving is getting me nowhere recently.
• • •
Grandson Jordan Vandetti reached his 19th birthday on Monday while his mother, grandmother, and aunts served up a roasted rib dinner to all available relatives out on River Road next door to my old farm, which I saw was almost ready for mowing hay.
Jordan cannot do much about that, having only a riding lawn mower I bought him, and he probably will never know the thrill of moving tons and tons of hay into my big old barn—instead of enjoying the family cabins his dad and I bought on Lobstick Island.
He will be back at the University of Manitoba again this fall.
• • •
Two of our best coffee drinkers, Joe Gray and Allan Bedard, should be considered for politics, both being great talkers. Both usually keep their conversations interesting, though.
• • •
Charlie Watt’s retirement from legal practice was a shocker because Charlie looked young compared to the aged lawyers we knew before him. He also was a neighbour to my farm.
• • •
The 100th anniversary of Scott Street blended in well with the high school graduation excitement and Canada Day. It’s doubtful if we’ll ever know another more memorable week—or warmer weather to set the stage.
And we got away from rainstorms for a couple days before they returned.

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