Stratton hosted great party

It was a happy 100th birthday celebration last weekend in Stratton. We went there Saturday in my daughter’s car, my truck having been rendered “hor de combat,” as they used to say, by an ignition problem.
Stratton was receiving torrents of rain during the peppy local music program going on in the same huge tent used for the bass derby in Fort
Frances last month.
Stratton has always been a lively place and many relatives were there for the centennial weekend. Included was Ken Olson from Edmonton, who confirmed how bad it is for all Alberta while the U.S. and other countries refuse to buy Canadian beef.
There’s talk of destroying thousands of cattle during this crisis.
Stratton area fields were also full of cattle as well as many giant hay bales which indicated enough rain earlier this spring, unlike very dry
conditions in June hereabouts.
Another report on Alberta’s cattle scene came from a Calgary visitor I met earlier, who seemed almost in tears. While the beef cattle business seemed
like slow money to many of us here, out there with milder winters and a shorter feeding season, they managed to turn cattle into a real successful
industry—until now!
• • •
The Stratton entertainers included La Vallee’s Belamy brothers, who are as close to country music professionals as we’ve got around anymore.
While the rains came down, we shook hands with any number of familiar folk intent on enjoying a memorable event, with crowds everywhere!
Charlie Morken, who with the Pollard brothers, has acquired old Fort Frances High School, is expecting to start tearing into the old brick
building on First Street East almost any day now.
Joe Paldio and Ross Anderson also helped fill in my time while those Belamys were giving us that “Good Old Mountain Dew” tune! So along came Gladys Martin from town here, who grew up with four sisters and a brother at Stratton.
Many stayed for supper afterwards and the outdoor cooking, they say, was terrific! A parade and other events were held before we arrived.
• • •
Mike Allison, our newest member of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in Thunder Bay, had to be seen in playoff action to be fully
appreciated. With the L.A. Kings on Wayne Gretzky’s line one night, I saw Mike on TV get a never-to-be forgotten goal while he was falling and
It was a nearly suicidal play, and Mike said afterwards that was what sewed up his contract for good.
It was also known that Gretzky has asked for Mike to be signed because he understood Mike’s determined attitude and wanted him on his own line.
Earlier, with a daughter then living in Toronto, we went into Maple Leaf Gardens to see Mike in a game. I noticed the Gardens looked as old, and
faded, as the first time I ever went there during the Second World War years earlier.
While stationed at Toronto, we air force trainees were given free tickets for the Gardens.
But, anyway, congratulations Mike, you really showed us!
All the Allison men were hockey stars and Mike’s brother, Dave, coaches our local Junior ‘A’ team (the Borderland Thunder). Their father, Bill, the
retired high school teacher, also was a great player with the Brandon Wheat Kings as a junior.
Mike is now becoming a veteran Canada Customs officer at the international bridge here.
• • •
Then there’s Terry Johnson and his summertime dog teams cruising east end streets with his four-wheeled bicycle invention—possibly the first of its
kind, or at least around here.
Terry, a son of famous woodsman Eli of J.A. Mathieu legends, has been known as resourceful before this, but be sure to catch this act! His two
dogs pull side by side and just keep going on command.
Maybe Terry got tired of waiting for snow to keep his sleigh dogs in shape! His bikes are just right for dog power!
• • •
Walk into the CIBC here and shake hands with the youngest and maybe most immediately likable bank manager you’ve ever met!
Ken Barber is a recent arrival who doesn’t rush through his handshakes and I was impressed. Young Ken makes you forget that bank managers are supposed to be all grey-haired and austere personages who seem as if they cannot afford to be bothered by you.
That could well become his attitude towards me, too, when he learns how little I contribute towards his career here!

Posted in Uncategorized