You are here

Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

We cannot forget them

My uncle Ron posted a picture of Private Ronard Kleven of the 78th Battalion, Winnipeg Grenadiers, taken in November, 1918 on Facebook this past week.

Ronard was my mother’s father. My grandfather, James Alexander, whose family had immigrated to Canada at the turn of the 20th century, was a medic in the Great War.

It was my uncle’s way of remembering his father’s commitment to his new country, Canada.

My father was a navigator with the Canadian Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

Our life histories being recorded

What do we know about ourselves?

Even before we are born, medical records are being created about our well-being. Our earliest pictures are ultrasounds, which excited moms and dads post on Facebook.

From scrapes and fractures to colds, sniffles, and tonsils, everything goes into our files. As adults, pregnancies, weight, and other afflictions are added, along with X-rays, CT scans, and surgeries.

Should feds help with child care?

Will it be one, two, or three children?

My wife and I have brought up two sons, and I can’t ever think of a time that we might have considered how much it would cost to raise each one.

When they were babies, neither my wife nor I gave any thought to costs associated with competitive swimming or gymnastics or hockey. We never gave much thought to extra school activity costs.

We found a caregiver who would come to our house to look after our sons until they were both in school full-time.

‘Great River Road’ enjoyed

When I was young, I met many delegates to the Mississippi Parkway through good friends of the family, Kate and Bill Noden, who were my third set of grandparents.

For many years, Fort Frances and area promoted crossing the border and proceeding north to Dryden as an extension of the “Great River Road.”

My wife and I always have thought that travelling the Great River Road south to its outlet would be fascinating and so we took on the road trip over the past two weeks.

Thanksgiving traditions abound

This coming Monday, families across Canada will celebrate Thanksgiving.

By the second Monday of October, most crops already are harvested and are stored. The corn, wheat, oats, and barley have been tilled back into the ground.

The last of the squash and pumpkins have been taken in, the onions have been dried to have firm skins, and potatoes have been dug, as have the carrots, parsnips, and turnips.

South of us, much of the corn across southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois is just beginning to be harvested. Soybeans are still green in many fields.

Region is historic crossroads

National Geographic has labelled this area, and south into Iowa, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota, as the centre of the continent.

If one examines the crest of Rainy River First Nations, they, too, mark this area as the centre of North America.

Archeologists who have dug at and researched into the Laurel Mounds (Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung), a World Heritage site, have discovered trade items, including shells from the Gulf Coast, items from Eastern Canada and the U.S., and still others from the western area of Canada and the U.S.

Enjoy our fall season

I was a fishing guide on Rainy Lake this past weekend when my brother-in-law, Tom, and his two sons, Kyle and Ben, made their annual pilgrimage to our cabin.

They hail from Waterloo and Tom also has a cottage on Healy Lake, just south of Parry Sound.

There are fish in Healy, but nothing to match the variety and quality of the fishery of Rainy. And Rainy Lake did not disappoint them again this year.

A day without electricity

There was no Internet. There was no Sunday afternoon opening weekend NFL football. There was no lazy Sunday morning breakfast.

There was no “Sunday Morning” television and CBC was absent from the airwaves. My cellphone became intermittent and our land lines at the lake were silent.

We almost were pulled back into the 19th century.

Across the district, gassing up your car was almost impossible. The traffic control lights throughout the community went black. Stores that normally open on Sundays gave their staff a day off. The streets were almost deserted.

Fishing friendships treasured

From Wikipedia: “Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of friendship.

“Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend.”

Fun being the sidewalk super

Since the first week of July, I’ve been a sidewalk superintendent.

I began learning to be a sidewalk superintendent watching homes being built on Third Street when I was four. There were no sidewalks on that street back then.

My wife likes to kid me that I have outgrown “Tonka” toys but that my enjoyment of big machines remains fast.

I watched as Makkinga Contracting ripped up Second Street East from Central Avenue to Mowat, and then Mowat from Second to Third Street East.