The Tribune loved us

Beginning about right now, we would open our annual sales campaign that resulted in sending a Fort Frances boy or girl away for a week on a Christmas trip to a U.S. city. And believe me, this got exciting here back in the ’50s!
As agent then for the Winnipeg Tribune for more than 22 years, this also was probably the best and busiest time of my life. There were 42 carriers on strength all over town and someone would be travelling for sure.
With hundreds of new readers to serve and sales soaring as the kids pounded on doors, we were building circulation rapidly here—and reaping the rewards!
From around 1,000 customers, we were going for over 400 more (full saturation) as Tribune appreciation became the talk of the town. Of course, the Winnipeg Free Press had its own campaigns underway but we never gave them a serious look-in. This was a Tribune town like none other.
That fine newspaper eventually folded about 20 years ago, but there are still some old customers standing ready to renew their subscriptions. Apparently that won’t happen.
The Trib was our darling and generous towards the Fort—both in news coverage and the sports pages.
I stumbled into all this soon after college while our senior hockey Canadians were Allan Cup-bound. Nobody talked about much else while the Tribune, although aware that Manitoba teams stood in our way in spring playoffs, fed us its headlines year after year.
The Trib couldn’t make us mad at it even when it tried, as in the year when its sports editor, Tony Allan, panned us for our “whiskey specials”—describing a cheerful parade by our celebrating fans across downtown Winnipeg from the CNR station.
Later, Tony was invited to come here as our guest anyway, something he did very amiably as did his successor, Vince Leah.
Christmastime and hockey and our beloved Tribune all got along together like ham and eggs with strawberry jam on your toast. And all this was our winter-long treat back in the days of our natural ice rink on Church Street.
Those great years come to mind every Christmas. Something that brings them up may be me finding a Tribune paper bag, which occurred last week, or an old photo of a paperboy such as Brian Webb, who would stroll his pet skunk on a leash around his route on Phair Avenue.
No, I don’t think Brian won any Christmas trips for popularity, but his deliveries were always right on time!
While I’m at it, I should mention that in those days I was a freelance reporter like that young Montrealer just released from an Afghan prison, only I had more newspapers, including most within telegraphing distance (which is how I came to know the Tribune and the start of a quite adventurous career).
• • •
Speaking of Afghan things, surely it’s time for the Americans to start looking closer to home for Osama Bin Ladin. With his imagination, I expect it eventually will turn out that he has been touring the hot spots of Europe, or possibly Las Vegas.
Give this guy a shave, and haircut and a business suit, and he even may turn up in Hollywood, using his bankroll to produce war movies!
• • •
I had to congratulate Dede Egan the other day for cheering our winter downtown with her bright red coat. At that point, the snow had stopped after a very full week and, although driving stayed rotten, we seemed to be gradually coming into an enjoyable winter.
However, reading the thermometer too fast and mistaking the C degrees for F’s, I put on heavier clothing by accident. I’ll learn someday!
• • •
Blair (Mr. Christmas) Lowey went out to the West End intersection and moved his big concrete flowerpots with a loader Saturday. Meanwhile, the snow removal there went ahead with help of detour signs, which our motorists had hoped no longer would be needed since the highway paving ended with summer.
Somehow, someday, we’ll learn how to work better with the weather.
• • •
Now that the papermill people appear to have run out of space along Church Street for future expansion, can’t they get together with the town and school board to consider making use of our abandoned high school and other good brick schools to be emptied in the name of progress?
That would be more popular than continuing to grab off attractive river frontage right across town—if there is any more left to be grabbed!
• • •
Those “re-inventors” we have here should be remembering our most miserable problem is probably the continued monopolizing of our streets and highways by those huge trucks getting in our way everywhere we turn, especially as the streets stay icy.
I have not noticed any meetings planning to deal with the trucks which, especially since the snow came, seem to be everywhere except parked around the town hall!
(Something else to squawk about here would be the light use of gravel for safety).
• • •
And oh yes! TV! While the mail is full of requests for your co-operation on surveys concerning TV content, it must be the case that too few of us are watching through all the dead hours filled with not much more than porn and commercials.
Used to be that the kids were considered in need of some protection, at least on the airwaves, but don’t look for that any more!
• • •
Did you ever meet such a crabby guy before? Blame the weather.

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