Story-teller Tim was a character, too

That recent column on my father, “Tony” was well-received by those who remember him, and it has been suggested I should bring up other local characters from our past.
Here’s what I remember about an impressive figure from my boyhood, Tim Harley.
His wife, who was a Calder and aunt to most other Calders here, called him “Gar” for Garfield. We became well-acquainted with the Harleys as neighbours in the late 1930s at Mine Centre.
I was impressed first about Tim because he had an entire dog team tied up in his front yard for winter use on his trapline. He claimed some of his dogs had timber wolf breeding—and they looked it.
Once I met a large one running loose on the hillside trail behind his house, and I was careful not to startle it in any way before it finally passed.
That was some trail. We could use it for a ski slide—steep and icy as it became—and, as you reached bottom on the Harley side, his dog team was on view and barking.
They had more to bark at during “treaty day,” when natives went over that hill to receive their annual cheques from the mail. Once I met a native woman who believed I had thrown her snowshoes away after she stood them up besides the trail while going into the village.
Our post office those days was in the Bliss store by the railroad. Our hillside trail was south of that and next to a former jail that had windows with bars. Get the idea?
After coming from town here, all the Mine Centre facts made a very strong impression on my 10-year-old mind not previously acquainted with dogs or wolves, natives, and ski hills.
But Tim made me more comfortable as he would spin stories for me and his daughter, Hazel, all about his life around the lakes and forests, and his close calls (for instance, when his canoe tipped over and his dogs fell out).
I’d have to say Tim was a great story-teller and brightened my winters on our visits. His wife, Belle, knit me a sweater for Christmas. Our families stayed friendly even after moving back to town.
Tim also was quite a carpenter, and helped my father build two new houses. I’ll never forget the Harleys!
Later, Tim settled into this paper mill as a millwright. He died and daughter Hazel married twice, then moved to Detroit where her cousin, Gordie Calder, said her second husband operated a tavern business.
She and I were schoolmates in Mine Centre’s one-roomer.
The Harleys, I learned much later, were related to the local Richardsons, who had one son, Larry, who was helping boost the Great River Road years ago. In fact, his oldest brother also was named Harley.
Maybe that young Harley inherited the flair for imaginative conversation from Uncle Tim Harley because he would have done well as a promoter. And I hope he is still around to tell us some day how New Orleans is managing to conquer its hurricane disasters.
• • •
Bill Morrison very well recalls my old neighbourhood, Portage Avenue North, where I finished growing up before working at out-of-town jobs, enlisting in the RCAF, and later attending college before marriage.
And Bill brings up the names around us then. Among sons of a CN policeman, Ben Morrison, Bill recalls Jack Allan’s giant, long-haired, and black German Shepherd that was his constant companion.
Sometimes it grabbed a neighbour’s bulldog and shook it vigorously. The bulldog was owned by the next-door Chernaski family on the corner beside the ball park, which later became Sixth Street School.
Behind us and the Morrison were the Edgetts and Zamalinskis in those long-ago times. Jack Allan, a bachelor, was a paper mill guard who always helloed us.
• • •
Young Todd Richards, an up-and-coming young Barwick cattleman employed at West End Motors for Roy Avis here, stopped to discuss farming during our lunch hour.
And we discovered much in common because I also kept cattle and once sold cars for Allan Avis, our former mayor.
• • •
I gave Nelson Rogoza a well-deserved compliment in telling him there are few better dressed men around because everything he wears seems to go together just right.
I learn that his popular elderly mom is also going along very well, although I have not seen her lately. Put the Rogozas on my list of favourite people.
Nelson is a retired school teacher. Oh yes, his wife always looks great also. His dad, Matt Rogoza, the former hotel chef, was admired for his skills with a skillet.
• • •
A young mother comes along nonchalantly swinging her infant in a basket and I’ll bet in a few years he or she won’t believe it. Soon another basket will be needed because it seems the days of family car travel may be limited.
• • •
While space travel is being quietly considered by many westerners, others wonder whatever happened to all those old quilting bees?
• • •
At slack times like this, sometimes I give myself memory tests. For instance, how well do you remember your kindergarten classmates’ names?
Here are most of my earliest Robert Moore classmates who came to mind while meeting Connie Haugo (Ross).
Girls first, of course: Ruth Skreif, Doreen Cameron, Mildred Pearson, and Connie. Boys: Billy Berklund, Jim Alton, Gordon McTaggart, Johnny Madill, Don McLeod, and James Freeman, Calvin Muckle and George Calder.
If you should be included, let me know.
Our teacher was Miss Penwarden and our principal was F.H. Huffman, who wielded a tough leather strap despite his lame leg and the need for a cane.
• • •
Can you imagine 24,000 acres of forest land being burned in California? We used to think that the late J.A. Mathieu’s “Bonnieview” estate would be too much for walking around at 10,000 acres on the river in La Vallee.
Friends Leah and Rod Harrison enjoy their home there beside the river.

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