The Japanese missed me twice

Twice during the Second World War, I managed to evade the clutches of the Japanese! But if this sounds at all heroic, these escapes were both somewhat imaginary, or at least quite peculiar.
Right after high school, I took a welding course during the winter of 1941 in Winnipeg, then returned home to apply for a job through the new employment office where “Gib” Turgeon was our first manager.
Immediately, he told me there was a railroad ticket here for me to travel to Vancouver and join in on building of the Alaska Highway!
Only no ticket had arrived, so I missed my first opportunity to help thwart the Japanese who wanted to attack the U.S. at Alaska after Pearl Harbor.
Then again, after watching the tough, 1,500-mile construction project through muskeg and mosquitoes, severe cold, and devilish conditions shown on TV’s History channel only about a week ago, I was happy to see what I had missed.
The Americans pushed it through without my help, thank goodness.
My second attempt at tackling the Japanese in war came up after I put on an RCAF uniform and spent a year at Kingston, Ont., learning to intercept their wireless code with ear phones and typewriter in order to be posted to Australia.
Here again, all my excitement was in vain because the U.S. won their battle against Japan in August of 1945—just as my telegraph team was completing its course.
So I was never subjected to all the sad and ugly treatment for prisoners of war, such as seen in the movies concerning the “River Kwai” and elsewhere, received from Japanese captors!
Of course, we Canadians never expected to become prisoners of war but those cruel conditions were awaiting us.
• • •
While Chantal Louisy goes about her daily activities here as a Safeway clerk, her friends and relatives back home in the Caribbean are being menaced by the largest hurricane—Ivan—ever to visit their region.
Her home island, St. Lucia, was expected to become a target near Jamaica.
Ivan is a Category 5 storm, and larger than both Charley and Frances which battered Florida recently.
• • •
Why do so many American anglers keep on passing through here to go fishing around Dryden? Those lakes to the north are believed to offer more variety of game fish.
• • •
Mark and Gwenda Jodoin are teachers from Pinewood I met shopping for groceries here while I sniffed out district items for this corner.
• • •
Everyone who complains about a shortage of summer or hot days here should be rejoicing instead over our safe distance from those hurricanes.
• • •
“Buzz” Minnielly wants to remind us that this Saturday brings the annual Giant Pumpkin Festival to Rainy River, with the annual Rainy River Walleye Tournament going there the following weekend (Sept. 25-26).
• • •
There has been snow seen in Alberta already, but don’t believe we are too far behind. I know this could be our longest winter following what everyone insists has been our shortest summer! Patience, please.
• • •
Stopping for a bite at Emo’s “Circle D” cafe on Friday, I learned the Emo Fair was somewhat “flat” this year with nothing special going on.
But the district can look forward to two auction sales at least, with Ken McDonald doing his sale this Saturday (Sept. 18) in Stratton’s old curling club and Marlene Crozier’s offering in the Barwick Hall at 10 a.m. on Sept. 25.
• • •
While taxpayers continue to build new schools around this district, there should be someone hollering “whoa”—or at least keeping the rest of us informed beforehand instead of demonstrating ignorance of real needs, such as how to cope with our declining school enrolment.
This represents a loss of 250 or more students of all ages by last week’s report. Reasons are not well understood, nor are next year’s figures.
Maybe we should try renting space for classrooms until we learn whether more construction is advisable—or better yet we sell some space!
• • •
After hearing both U.S. presidential campaigns “ad nauseum” I’m convinced that Democrat John Kerry would be my choice for president! I couldn’t stand expectations of losing another 1,000 or more boys in another foreign war with George Bush at the helm.
• • •
Will we be content with the Pither’s Point Park remaining as dull a place as it has been lately after all the exciting summers it gave us in by-gone years?
And does nobody here want to bring back the popular dances we knew in our old pavilion? Or appreciate old Fort St. Pierre and our first town schoolhouse that have been removed?
• • •
John Plichta stopped to shake hands. Formerly with Modern Plumbers, John would like to get in more golfing, but has both walking and back ailments nowadays.
And if you need to write to Dave Craven (as we always spell his name), well the proper spelling includes another “e” to make it Creaven.
• • •
So along comes Arthur “Doc” Johnson who, in one of his best games, might have won the Allan Cup single-handed! No fooling, our little Doc was almost that good some nights.
• • •
And Walter Horban, the retired teacher, will still serve as a supply teacher although he’s just as happy yet as a painter.
• • •
Our cadets of all kinds are still active, I learned from one in uniform. The sea cadets are headquartered at Emo while the air cadets are here again where so many of their parents came home after the Second World War.

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