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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

Success can create failure

Sometimes success creates failure.

Here in Fort Frances, as more people have turned to filling blue boxes, the volume of garbage at the landfill site declined. Revenue, in turn, declined.

In order to maintain the site, Fort Frances has had to increase tipping fees. The success of the blue box program has created funding problems for the landfill site.

Wishing for a short winter

The blue-white cold of Saturday and Sunday mornings heralded that winter was in its full delightful white dress.

Hoar frost clung to the trees. Ice crystals hanging in the air created giant rainbows. The sidewalk snow squealed under the crunch of footsteps.

Winter cold was penetrating everywhere.

Winter has come fast to our area of the world. But it has come with equal speed and ferocity to most of North America.

Squirrels are a nuisance

Those grey things running around neighborhoods, and using the power and telephone lines to cross streets, are a nuisance.

There are always three in my yard and the mother kicks the young out of her nest in the early fall. Her nest is in a hollow of a tree near our back door, but four metres up.

This year, the mother died in early May and her kits played in the yard until they reached full size. One managed to knock the power out by somehow crossing the wires that run down Victoria Avenue (we receive one power outage a year from a squirrel that tries to defy electricity).

Common sense missing

Do you fist bump or shake someone’s hand when you meet them.

In sports, you often see players bumping each other’s hands with a closed fist on a successful play or goal. They are not getting ready to fight.

Michelle and Barack Obama bumped fists in Minneapolis and now regularly exchange bumps all around the meetings they attend.

With leaders from around the world, Barack opens his hand to shake a hand. But what is safer—a closed fist bump or an open hand greeting?

Snow can be beautiful

There are times when I really enjoy snow.

In the darkness of night, fat snowflakes drifting through the streetlights and covering the ground with a blanket of soft white wool is a beautiful sight.

Wet snow falling through the black branches and clinging to the naked trees also is really pretty. And in the sunlight of the day following the snowfall, the trees blossom with a spectacular beauty.

I look forward to those snowy winter days and enjoy the beauty of those winter sights.

A magical time for children

The snow sits firmly frozen to the ground. The temperature did not even reach the melting point yesterday.

Stores have begun the changeover to the Christmas season, with local retailers planning special Christmas promotions across Rainy River District.

My neighbours down the street, the Carlsons, already have their white lights up and shining in the trees surrounding their home.

More lights will be added to homes across the district in the next few weeks as preparations are made for the holiday season.

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.