Thrilled—and thanks!

I was thrilled to have my last column on the old songs received so well, and everyone congratulatory on my memories.
Phone calls started the next morning with retired teacher Joe Kliner saying the piece containing western tunes was “frosting on the cake” for him because he read it right after returning from horseback riding out at Joyce Young’s farm north of Devlin.
Everyone I met was tuned in on the same subject. Ken Munn wanted to know if I had remembered to include “The Red River Valley” and “They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree” . . . “to make a coffin of pine, for that baby of mine.” (well yes, I missed a few).
Others that might have been included were “Frankie and Johnny” or maybe “Hutset brawla suet inna lillatree.” This could be from Sweden or Holland, but it was on the go as a love song years ago with a translation! “Hutset is a boy and girl and brawla is their dream.”
A peppy little jingle. Remember?
Also from a foreign country (Russia), we had “Ivan Skuvinski Skivar!”
“The sons of the prophet are many and bold
and quite unaccustomed to fear.
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Czar
was Abdul A-Bul-Bul Ameer.
All night they did fight by the light of the moon,
and the din it was heard from afar,
and multitudes came, for great was the fame
of Abdul and Ivan Skivar!”
All right then, I’ll quit this stuff if you will!
• • •
It was great to be visited by Henry and Thea Kaemingh of Devlin the day before their popular Christian Reformed Church in Emo observed its 50th anniversary on Sunday.
Our district gained much from the arrival of so many Dutch immigrants following the Second World War, bringing their church with them.
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One reader is calling for a flashback on our old fish hatchery which was operated by Don Galbraith’s father, Neil. He had men with nets extracting spawn from walleye of Rainy Lake and bringing the eggs to Fort Frances for years.
The hatchery stood next to our library until it was moved to Kenora around 1955.
• • •
Mario Venerus wants it known he stands ready to revive those wonderful Italian suppers again with enough response in April. Kim DelZotto has offered assistance.
• • •
Vergil Stinson has a granddaughter employed at Lee Gardens here, who says both Buck and Jean Riley of International Falls have gone blind. Buck was an Allan Cup referee here and former resident who had opened a popular sports store across the river.
• • •
While I miss too many funerals, the passing of Agnes Strain (nee Kerr) caught the attention of so many who loved this lifelong resident and member of the large Irish family. She was the last of Barney Kerr’s five daughters and her only living brother, Jack, was here from Edmonton as the last of five brothers.
Barney, with his two brothers, Pat and Charley, once operated a hotel on the river below La Vallee.
• • •
Safeway staff probably stand unrivalled in the cheerfulness department, and any future competitor here should meet either Maureen Bunnell or Tyler Reinson to get the idea.
Both have the kind of smiles that light up a whole store, and both veterans might be expected to appear less contented in that busy scene.
Any employer could hire them for their hospitality alone. Tyler has been in the green goods for 30 years now, keeping everyone happy around him, while Maureen must have made just as many friends as a cheery checker!
• • •
How hardy do you have to be to look after the snowy playground north of Eighth Street during a winter like we had? Well, Betty Colfer reports her husband, Art, goes out to work there, day after day, and Art is 80 this year!
Conscientiously, he and others make sure the snowmobile and ski trails are always passable. Most pilots, which was Art’s career, would not care to wade around in snow for months!
• • •
Our curlers are remembering some great playoffs, including the Fort Frances high school rink that went to Prince Edward Island in the national schoolboy finals as representatives of Manitoba which, much to its disappointment, lost in Winnipeg to our upstarts from Ontario.
Rink members included Peter McLeod as skip, Ralph Grattan, Art Bergman, and Leonard McQuarrie. I remember their old coach as Art Whiddon, a very senior curler.
Jim McQuarrie found their names, and their photo still hangs in our curling club.
• • •
Meanwhile, a lady curler has identified another great rink in our junior curling annuals. Eva Costello reports our Northern Ontario entry in Dominion schoolboy competition included Don Leishman, Ken Roach, Al Veidbak, and Bob Booren.
The curling club gave them wallets in “Port Arthur,” now part of Thunder Bay, and the year was 1967.
• • •
Claude and Ethel “Penny” McFarland are accepting congratulations on observance of their 60th wedding anniversary—quite a rarity here!
Claude is my cousin and grew up with me through much of our boyhood. Neither of us had any brothers or sisters.
He met Penny in Edinburgh while stationed in Scotland with our locally-recruited 17th Forestry Corps. Penny brought their first of four children here to live with my parents before the Second World War ended and Claude could come home.
• • •
The first outdoor diners were spotted Sunday on the patio at La Place Rendez-Vous—and with that weather, no wonder!
• • •
Calvin (Brush) Christiansen, home from Anchorage, Alaska, says trees moving with no wind probably indicate an earthquake—with which he has plenty of experience!
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Shopping talk is everywhere with new stores soon to open, and some popular old stores are being remembered. One of those still doing business is Einar’s, where a very strong and willing girl clerk insisted on loading our truck after helping bag more than 50 pounds of food stuffs.
Einar’s is about the same size as a pair of well-liked groceries beside the railroad on McKenzie Avenue, run by John Drunyk and Tony Buyar, who both later moved to Vancouver and have been sorely missed.

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