Sorrow, disappointment accompany our rainfalls

It keeps on raining the day after the sun shines—a pattern that persists this year. And the abundance of rain so far this spring has been very disturbing for those with loved ones buried in Riverview Cemetery here.
For instance, the other day a letter came to me that made me almost want to cry also. A distraught widow, eyeing a local cemetery brimming over with water so high it was over her shoes, had this to say:
“If I had wanted my husband to be buried at sea, I would have done so!”
Her unsigned letter referred to an area at the end of the east road in Riverview Cemetery. She writes “how disgraceful that particular area could not be built up. . . . You can imagine the grief that is felt when you know that your loved one is lying in water.”
Having my own parents and wife also buried in that cemetery, I could sympathize fully.
Lacking wheels, I sent my son out there to ascertain the problem and he agreed better drainage is certainly needed.
My correspondent added this paragraph, “What about those who have paid for perpetual care—no flowers can be planted under those circumstances.”
And there’s more bad news in this grey spring weather we’re experiencing. Many gardeners are finding the ground too wet for planting. And the golf course at Kitchen Creek had to close because of flooding!
But it’s early enough yet to allow for drying—if only the sun keeps shining.
• • •
Whatever happened to our popular old parties, the Liberals and PCs, and the members from those parties who served us for so many years, such as Bill Noden and Mel Newman, both also among our brightest business people for years?
Now we have the NDP taking over at all levels without apparently strong opposition from the old parties, who seem to have become complacent.
While we appreciate Howie Hampton as our hard-working NDP MPP (because to start with he is a district citizen), now we are being eyed by another NDP candidate from outside the district for our federal seat.
Whoever dreamed this could happen? Has the area gone completely asleep politically and completely disinterested in Ottawa?
A Thunder Bay member could not possibly have our district’s interests at heart. But don’t we care anymore?
I’m afraid that’s the answer, plus the fact local politicians are getting scarce and the Reid brothers have left.
• • •
Mike VanJura was never your typically timid small-towner. Mentioning his name today still will bring up plenty of stories about the character whose name lives on at VanJura Stadium at Pither’s Point and along the river where he toiled on the old pulpwood piles.
I had the pleasure of serving with Mike on the committee for the Fort Frances Canadians hockey team, where his humour was popular, if not always very polite.
Then I was up in the rink’s press box one time when Mike came running over from taking tickets to report he had “just thrown Santa Claus out” for non-payment of admission.
Santa being George Miner, who used to act the role in every Christmas parade. George, as a former Toronto policeman, could become quite insistent, but much smaller Mike was his match!
And the legend surrounding VanJura continues to mount because he always put extra life in all our proceedings.
• • •
Bill Adair certainly keeps busy at his Bear’s Pass resort and restaurant well-known for his breakfasts now for several years. He has added cabins since, being something of a carpenter as well as cook, and this summer has them filled with gold prospectors!
Yes, prospecting has made a comeback now although little heard of here since the 1930s.
The searchers for gold have been reported in other parts of this district, including Mine Centre, where they have to be careful not to tumble into abandoned shafts littering the bush since the days of our own gold rush.
The old shafts I saw around the Foley mine on Shoal Lake were ringed by barbed wire fences, which I discovered several years back when a prominent prospector from Texas was busy there.
• • •
Now Brian Eyolfson has competed in another marathon race, this time at Ottawa, his father reports. The 26-mile run took him about four hours.
Brian is a Toronto lawyer.
• • •
Disasters of nature keep on occurring, such as the loss of so many homes to landslides in California and ominous predictions about hurricanes repeating last year’s damage in Florida—or maybe worse.
Nick Andrusco’s winter home was a target there last year, but he still owns it and hopes for the best.
• • •
I’m told there are still two bagpipe bands available in this community where other bands have expired in recent years, much to all our disappointment.
The town’s great brass band and drum and bugle corps have all left the scene, but a resurgence is hoped for because our town badly misses them.
• • •
Even after 60 years, I remember we were not properly dressed, and sometimes punished, for appearing in public without our caps. Yet police, a man and woman, were seen hatless while in uniform Friday on Scott Street.
• • •
Wet basement floors are a familiar complaint after all that rain, but catch Don Cumming at the Times office for some skids to lay down for protection of basement storage.
• • •
And how did so many white cars, vans, and trucks suddenly get sold in this town? It’s almost as if everyone is driving for “Dial-a-Ride” or headed into a car wash.
Fashions keep changing, sure, but whatever happened to all the red, black, and blue vehicles we knew for so many years?
I owned a white wagon once myself, but I couldn’t keep washing one forever!
• • •
A new fad among high school boys is hair so long as to half hide the faces! Funny, but this was not nearly so noticeably last winner.
Now we can expect to see our girls in brush cuts.
• • •
Howard Pointer, the retired railroader worker, keeps on travelling around town aboard his go-cart, which gives him a big break on gasoline costs.
• • •
It would seem poor policy to be selling Sixth Street School right now when the province is urging smaller class sizes and this would imply a need for more schools, both here and everywhere in Ontario.
Taxpayers beware!

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