‘The legend lives on!’

District legend has it there will be another bad flooding before long!
Stratton and North Branch oldtimers, including Birtle Kozachenko and Raymond Brown, know this legend too well!
When their Piney River fails to crest for two-consecutive springtimes, there will come a monstrous crest later. This happened last June 10—bringing washed-out fields and drowned cattle.
The crest that occurs then is serious overflowing as the result of the heaviest rains that go on for days and even weeks. Such a crest is at least twice as high as normal, while ruinous damages are inflicted on to farms and homes by the surging water.
Last year, some farmers had to use their boats to rescue livestock as the old legend once more proved too true.
While there is no official total on all the losses incurred—and many farmers don’t buy insurance, except possibly for their homes—the legend grows.
In addition to the farm losses, there also were problems in town. Burned-out hot water tanks in badly-flooded basements and pot-holed streets were frequent.
After all, that record rainfall last June measured at least a full seven inches!
Even a one-incher is quite rare here. That storm lasted more than two days, non-stop!
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Jon and Paul Pohanka come from Czechoslovakia and manage to visit there occasionally, and recommend their home country for sightseeing. “It’s so pretty there!” they say.
But they also warn you it may be necessary to watch your step and avoid money deals during your visit!
A woman approached Helen on their last visit, offering to buy a piece of clothing. She wanted to deal so badly that Helen almost accepted the offer before she backed of!
Apparently, that would have been against the law and she could have gone to jail over it.
As a tourist, sales by her would have been illegal. She suspected the would-be customers were employed by some branch of the Czech government, possibly Customs!
As for something to get in on if you go there, Mrs. Pohanka urges everyone to try the Czech mud packs for the complexion.
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If someone phones to notify you your phone number is being changed, just don’t panic. Checking with the phone operators should be done quickly in case the call is not merely a prank, which we found out our call must have been.
But that’s a trick that could upset your day!
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Worse than that, though, is your scare after you seem to have lost your wallet! Even if it’s empty of all cash, as mine usually is, this is a sick feeling because there are all of your credit cards and that driver’s licence.
I’m happy to report my wallet turned up once we looked in the right place, but whew!
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For anyone wanting to talk large-scale ranching, well, just find Allan Peterson of Emo, who can keep you going on the subject for hours because of his Saskatchewan background.
Allan might have stepped straight out of a Zane Grey novel. And having considerable experience with cattle myself, I listen! But his early career with western ranching bore little resemblance to the way we farm our beef cattle in this district!
His uncle pastured 900 head of cattle over several townships, or 21 sections (a section of land is 640 acres—and you can do the math here. That’s over 13,000 acres!)
He kept his Hereford and Angus cattle near the Wood and Fur mountains. Moose Jaw was the nearest city.
If you want to change the subject, Allan still can hold your interest by discussing how longevity runs in his family—and on both sides! His father lived to be 94 and an uncle 99 years and nine months! His mother died at 98, and an aunt at 96.
Consequently, Allan, at almost 78, has little immediate fear of dying of natural causes.
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Then there’s Don Eldridge, just 30, who came here four years ago to manage the Lee Garden Restaurant on Scott Street so successfully and enjoys helping sponsor the upcoming bass tournament.
Don knows eastern Ontario from his former homes at Brockville and Ottawa. This may have given him an appreciation for local history—as well as some sadness over the loss of our historic buildings at Pither’s Point Park, such as Fort St. Pierre, and the first Fort Frances school.
Like others, he wonders whether the lookout tower and the “Hallett” may be next to disappear.
More positive and permanent planning is probably indicated for future enjoyment of our history.
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The old songs listed here could have included “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain,” “Beautiful Katy,” or “The Man on the Flying Trapeze,” not to mention a Gracie Fields favourite from the Second World War, “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.”

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