Something to think about!

Look here, Danny-boy, I’ve known many mayors in my time, but judging from how quickly you’ve fallen into this current garbage bag mess, not many before you have been so easily influenced—or so quickly thrown off course.
You’ll be finding out there are six or eight others around you who wouldn’t want to be wearing your shoes right now! But most want to hide behind the mayor—and let him take all the blame for any bad decisions coming down from town council.
I’m reminded of another new mayor who left his name with us for arranging to tear down the old town hall. Many could not see much wrong with that brick building, but Allan Avis decided a new town hall was wanted although he could not be blamed for that entirely.
So we lost its upstairs auditorium and with it, eventually, our great old town band which entertained us there every Sunday, summer and winter! That auditorium also served many other purposes, so it was not long before the new auditorium had to be added to the old high school, which also went down.
The old town hall held our fire and police departments, plus a score of municipal offices. All these had to find new quarters, but hey, we’ve got the money, so why not let ’er go!
Such is the town tax story as you, Danny, will be continuing to discover if you keep on listening to all those eager consultants around you. Allan Avis is long gone now, with others who also listened to the wrong people at times.
Now, I knew your dad, Tommy, who probably raised you right and did his own thing always. Remember Danny: it’s frequently easier to accept the bad advice you are offered by those who serve with you—but don’t have the nerve to stick out their own necks!
They may be wanting a “fall guy!”
And whether the garbage crisis ever straightens out or not, it always will be remembered as your baby, come what may! You might hate to be remembered for nothing more important than that!
Whatever happens on this issue, though, your whole town is pulling for you. We want you to know that, too: “Oh, Danny-boy, we love you so!” (as the old Scots song goes)!
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We were lucky to crash Don Hammond’s birthday party out on his riverside Harbourage restaurant deck a week ago Thursday—for about the first time this spring that weather permitted such outdoor events.
The party came complete with a very large chocolate cake holding enough candles to make you believe the youthful looking Don may be either 82 or 83 as he claims (one son says “only” 81!)
• • •
One remarkable line from “Lone Star” on TV’s Channel 3: “If you get shot, remember to look good dying!”
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As the American tourists and fishermen stream in over our bridges, not all are arriving completely unarmed—especially if they come from Florida, which has very liberal gun laws by our standards.
Art Pattison, retired after 32 years with Canada Customs here, can tell of some “amusing” experiences in that connection, where supposedly empty guns have proved just the opposite.
Invited to fire off his “empty” pistol, one tourist blew a hole into a concrete sidewalk after the bullet had drilled a box.
Over the years, other officers at the bridge have learned to look under beds in vans and trailers for concealed weapons after visitors had insisted they were not carrying guns.
Beds have proved favourite hiding places for rifles and shotguns.
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As our district truckers park for lunch among Hamburger Alley, the other day I met Billy Derendorf for our first conversation in years. His father, Ron, was a well-known taxi operator here who married into the Wilson family near my former farm on the river.
Billy has performed a lot of rescues with his tow truck.
And that reminds me of how many years Mike Dokuchie drove a tow truck after losing both legs but managing to hobble along on artificial limbs. One time I saw Mike wade through over a foot of snow to hook his cable to a car stranded way out in a field.
Among the truckers coming along there was the Devlin cement truck driver of Witherspoon’s wheeling the largest drum you ever saw!
• • •
Among our American visitors last week was Glenn Hanson, 83, a journalist from Urbana, Ill. that I happened to meet before discovering we had similar backgrounds in newspapering and universities.
He had heard about my own old college, Carleton U. at Ottawa, which I helped pioneer right after the Second World War.
• • •
I asked a pair of little lads (age six and seven) whether they enjoyed hockey and quickly learned I had hit on a favourite topic. Then their mother told me they are grandsons of the late NHL’er Danny Johnson, who settled here after his playing days ended and took over Brennan’s Jewellery store near the Toronto Dominion Bank.
Danny became one of the more popular fellows around and I’d say his grandsons, who live at Emo, are unmistakably related to him. Their last name is Winik.
• • •
Florence Gray, the widow of Woody, a popular hydro retiree, is back now from her winter home in Arizona and probably again keen on helping out at Rainycrest. She still has that friendliest handshake.
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We miss all the old singers like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como, even Gene Autry and Wil Carter, not to mention Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald, who teamed up in memorable movies.
And even the magnificent Caruso, whose voice could make chandeliers tinkle.
But above all, for me, our local singers, too! Just picture John Munn, nearly seven feet tall, sided by Nick Andrusco, almost two feet shorter. As the long and short of this topic, they were indeed memorable!
But our Legion gatherings were greater for the singing of such as Connie Thompson, another big man, Ray Carlson, Glenn Steele, and Jim Burnett, who made a top group.
Our women singers also were tremendous, as when Marge Urquhart performed with a mic on a parade float to sing all the way across town.
Other local singers well remembered were Mrs. Bruce Lloyd, Clayton Procter, Charlie McWatt, Norma Law, and Grace McGregor. And how we wish they were all back with us!
• • •
Betty Colfer is tackling a very ambitious horticultural project in attempting to revive the fruit growing, even maybe the grapes, that formerly occupied her gardens beside the CN subway.
She followed an Italian named Gino Francioli, who must have thought he was still in Italy because his trees and vines were loaded with fruit. My own family lived next door, and my dad also grew grapes and lots of raspberries and rhubarb for his wine.

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