We dealt in ‘hot lead’ a lot!

When they frequently say “hot lead” for bullets on TV’s Lone Star shoot-’em-up movies, my first thoughts may leave the cowboy flick I’m watching. I may go back to the days when I first entered the Times workplace!
Here a fundamental product was molten hot lead used in creating print.
The linotype with its lead has gone out of style now, having been replaced by computers, but I still think of the danger of handling all the melted lead required to provide print for our newspaper pages.
The linotype operator would get burned occasionally, but his job usually was safer than that of the man I dreaded to watch. He was one of the Times’ owners, James Cumming Sr., or Jake as we all called him—first of three Cumming generations here.
With his partner, Russ Larson, Jake had moved here from Saskatchewan and taken over the hot lead end of our operation. Larson was the front man salesman, office manager, and writer until he could find others.
Then C.F. (Carl or Firmin) Schubring came out of university in Minnesota to serve as editor, writer, compositor, and Times salesman for years while Russ ran the business end of things with, I imagine, tremendous relief!
When I came here after college, where I helped pioneer journalism studies for what later became justly famed as Carleton University at Ottawa, I tried to start working again around my home town here.
But either because Larson was satisfied with the way things were going already, or the firm had decided there was no cash for reporters at that time, there was no job offer.
So then I was taken on at the Daily Journal across the river as a space writer and soon started with several large dailies on space rates and called a “stringer.”
Schubring, however, persuaded Larson that I was needed after all, so I settled down here and later, not long after Schubring’s departure, I became editor (I recently met a Larson grandson as a North Air driver).
But first another American editor from International Falls had intervened. This was Rich Glennie, who encouraged me to start this column many years ago. Rich also suggested its name (“Just Passing By”).
I haven’t seen him more than once since then, but he is among my good memories of this old place—which “hot lead” never was!
• • •
Every time I meet Herb Snow, I remember Eric Ericson and Eric’s Lund—one of our town’s foremost show places which Herb has been fond of keeping up or grooming since buying it several years ago.
I never asked Herb whether he also acquired the visitors’ registry, which must have contained hundreds of names of tourists from all over, admiring Eric’s gardens, birds, and creek.
• • •
Herb told me that his brother-in-law, Arthur Albert, became a resident of Upsala since selling Bull Moose Lodge not long ago. That was the Sioux Narrows tourist resort formerly owned by popular Bill Arch, a black American who, it’s said, might have U.S. gangsters among his guests!
Anyway, I’ve known Albert since he sold me my first boat, a plywood skiff he made, and let me take it for only $25! I enjoyed using it on the lower river around my home in McIrvine and used it to help move us to my second riverside address in Crozier, where it was stolen!
• • •
Not exactly a Christmas topic here, but almost everyone is asking if I finally crashed my old blue truck because I’m riding the North Air service here. Yes, my driver’s licence has been suspended with no driving problems connected whatsoever, merely through a doctor’s suggestion!
Hopefully another doctor can help revive my driving because I have never had an accident in 60 years, and not even received a ticket for speeding or anything else!
• • •
Meeting Glenn Witherspoon and wife, Judy, I had to inquire on how many years he had put into public service. The answer was 12 years as mayor and also two terms as a town councillor.
And yet, to many of us Glenn still seems younger than so many elected officials. All his hockey years must have helped
• • •
An in-law relative of Bill Fichuk stopped to correct me concerning his family about a statement I obtained from his cousin recently. He said that Bill’s family is all gone now but not “vanished” because both twins, Bill and Peter, left children, including two sons each, and there are others still around.
The Fichuk brothers were among my best friends while we were growing up.
• • •
The Borger brothers, who came to Emo from Holland since the Second World War, remembered how heavily German planes bombed the English channel to discourage the Dutch farmers from shipping potatoes to England.
• • •
Jim Lowey will try growing corn again next summer on his Vanderhorst farm beside the river at the west end of town. Corn was a very poor crop last year.
• • •
Christmas was always such a happy time in our old high school with the late Alma Alderson (later Mrs. George Henry) as music teacher and band conductor.
And now John Dutton is earning appreciation in that role. And the boys like we were are happy today where there are lots of guitars, I’m told when the students lunch in McDonald’s
• • •
Mildred Brockie phoned to tell me the sad news that our old baseball catcher, Hap Clark, who was pitcher David Brockie’s partner up in our old Sixth Street ballpark, died last week out west, where he lived since leaving the grocery wholesale business here.
• • •
I had confessed to forgetting the name of the operator at the Beanery in the old CN station, but Mildred remembered this was Jim Moore, who also managed our baseball team in the days when we had famed U.S. road teams arriving here for some great games.
I especially remember the “House of David” visitors for their beards and also a black team or two.
• • •
Something else from Mildred: There is local need for a seniors’ retirement home. At 88 now, she resides at Shevlin Towers while her husband, Dave, is in Rainycrest.
She has learned of retirement homes in several area communities. Apparently, this is a popular idea with couples not ready to enter Rainycrest-type dwellings and preferring to remain together.
Maybe local MPP Howie Hampton could help here, Mildred suggests.

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