We’ll show ’em all yet!

Congratulations to our condo promoters on their optimistic reports concerning its sales prospects.
Now after three days of “living it up” at my daughter’s wedding in Winnipeg, I’d say if we are ever going to learn to fit into Canadian city styles, we’ll have to adjust our attitude towards condominiums and all other upscale ideas coming along these days.
From high up in a revolving restaurant overlooking night-time Winnipeg at that wedding, with all the city’s millions of Christmas lights sparkling up at us, it was rather easy to believe I didn’t really belong in such a glorious setting.
But, hey! Back home we are now selling waterfront condos that would rank with living accommodations to be found anywhere. So don’t call me a bush leaguer anymore.
Mix in the Christmas atmosphere with one of the greatest weddings I’ve been privileged to attend (especially as an honoured guest) and you will have to forgive me if I start to flaunt any new-found delusions of grandeur!
So, if I have to wake up suddenly with empty pockets, well, it was worth it to learn to fly like rich folks and, as long as the money lasts, maybe even start into hallucinating about a condo!
Fort Frances, with its fresh commercial atmosphere and already peerless lifestyle, is probably starting down the fast track, too—and even seeking the right spot to locate our own revolving restaurant!
You think not? All we have to overcome, you know, are all those sad old Depression ways that struck this community and knocked us silly a whole lifetime ago!
And by now, we should expect to be well on our way towards rich living like other Canadians. Besides, what’s city living got that leaves us all looking so forlorn?
By putting our best feet forward, I’m sure those wanting to come here for more than the fishing soon will be delighted they joined us! Because, if you stop and consider local circumstances and conditions of all kinds, you’ll have to realize there is very little holding us back.
For instance, did you realize that Winnipeg was completely bare of snow? We had to drive all the way back here to find such fresh, clean scenery.
And when Winnipeggers want to hang Christmas lights on trees in their yards, there just aren’t any spruce or other evergreens around, so they have to decorate their defoliated poplars, ash, or oaks. Whereas our own evergreens are growing beautifully everywhere!
And what’s Christmas without the right trees. But if you can’t afford to decorate this year, why Fort Frances now owns condominiums!
We defy others to top that, especially with our international boundary location. And sometimes we can see 200-pound sturgeons jumping out of our river!
Then for sheer excitement, most cities fail to match our daily thrill of seeing tons of pulpwood logs rolling past their doors on wheels. This has helped make Fort Frances famous and prosperous!
So, you say the cities you know have many other things to brag about? Well, buddy, it’s many years since I last saw most of them, but I could not wait to return to Fort Frances!
And in those distant days, there were not even any condos built here yet.
Just think of the thrills awaiting others who decide to come back among us and you show them the condos they also could be occupying. Why this is fantasy land today!
If I’ve written anything to discourage our condo trend earlier, I must apologize and say right here and now that when Fort Frances decides to go in for anything, even our new fresh living accommodations, we always do it bigger and better! So hang the expense! Just stand back and watch us show off.
We’ll manage to keep on doing everything just right—regardless of costs!
• • •
Ken Salchert, who is 60, is one of four well-known district brothers and now acknowledged as the Canadian Navy’s most senior active member. He has now accumulated more service years than anyone, one of his brothers was proud to report.
• • •
George Tucker, now 82, is back from hospital in Carson, Col., having recovered from cancer. He expects to leave his home on Lobstick Island this year, however, after a lifetime on Rainy Lake.
He went to Carson both because of its great medical reputation and also the fact his daughter lives nearby.
• • •
Colin Russell, whose name was in my recent column concerning Mayor Bert Holmes, moved to Owen Sound, Ont. in the early years of the Second World War in order to continue building his steel boats that were in such strong demand in those times.
He took quite a number of his workmen and families with him. His company added a partner and became known as Russell-Hipwell (I think Hipwell supplied the boat engines).
I visited Owen Sound and the boatyard north of the city on Georgian Bay while we competed—but lost—our first Allan Cup hockey series in 1951. It was great to get around and renew acquaintances with the transplanted Fort Frances folks, including an old neighbour, Eric Oliver, and his wife, Ella.
She was a Farmer girl from Burriss with a sister down there who also had moved to Owen Sound with her husband, Bill O’Leary, a brother of Frank, who also was there.
Other names from our former boat-building crew and glad we went down included Norman Robertson, Mike Homeniuk, and Bill Ossachuk, who are all remembered by Nick Andrusco.
Nick’s daughter, Ruth, once played the church organ with choir-master Ralph Whetstone here. Nick, at 85, has a superb memory for almost all former names in this community!
• • •
So Nick and I keep wondering whether Bob Hamilton finally will make good on his snow-sliding business out near the landfill site—it sure seems promising this week!
• • •
Eva Fleurie, a retired high school teacher, recalls when travel by boat was required for her first teaching position, which was on Lake of the Woods. Eva also promises to fill us in on some good ol’ stories from those days.
Another reader, and former teachers here, is Mary Cathcart, who has sent along another long letter concerning our district’s fur trappers who sold their furs to her husband, Neil, who was very well-acquainted here.
Mary is still hoping someday to be offered another good meal like she knew from visiting the trappers’ homes. A Windsor, Ont. resident, she reports “the meals had a certain similarity, fried potatoes and walleye, homemade bread or bannock, followed by canned blueberries or blueberry pie. . . . Now I would give my eye teeth for such a meal, such good stuff being almost unobtainable in Windsor.”
She contributes many names, both non-native and native, that she knew so well, and then offers to contribute a story about a pet mink she saw with the Langfords at the Cascades (the Langfords I knew lived near Kettle Falls).
• • •
From all I can make out concerning the demise of our popular old town band, it seems its revival is not being contemplated. The main hope is for the high school student band to hit the streets for parades.
Members of two prominent former band families, the Andruscos and Dicks (Duecks), were among our busiest bandsmen for many years, but they are not optimistic of continuing that long-standing tradition.
Nick Andrusco gives the Simmons family, and a brother of the old leader, Harper, as well as a nephew, the credit from starting up our half-a-century of great music.
This was considered a German-type band until the Second World War, when its Dutch side was emphasized.
Meanwhile, Paul Bunyan (tall Len Costley of International Falls) continued to march ahead of the outfit and wearing those six-inch spikes on his shoes!

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