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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

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.

Where are those planes going?

Have you ever wondered, when you see the vapour trails left by a jet in the sky, where it is going?

Or have heard the distant sound from a jet, without seeing it, and wondered where the sound was coming from and where the jet was headed?

Our imaginations allow us to run wild and imagine being on one of the those jets that are heading north or coming south across Rainy Lake, heading to or from a magical place.

The collecting of news is not free

Newspapers across North America are grappling with a decline in revenue and all major daily newspapers are suffering from a decline in the number of readers they reach. It is a troubling problem in the industry.

At the same time, studies are showing that more North American people are following news than ever before. They are choosing to use the web to gather their facts.

The issue for newspapers and magazines is how to keep those readers reading hard copy editions or get them to pay to read their information online.

Enjoying the simple pleasures

Sometimes you don’t realize how fortunate you are until someone shows you.

As I sat by our chimera on Sunday evening and the logs burned to red-hot coals, I had forgotten the pleasure a fire can bring in the waning daylight hours.

For those gathered around the fire, our next step was to slowly roast marshmallows and then squeeze them between two graham wafer crackers with a piece of milk chocolate wedged under the marshmallow.

“S’mores” are the perfect campfire snack. And one is never enough.

Lake level hard to control

Our dock at the cabin sits high and water only has flowed over the top once in my lifetime.

My father had eyeballed the high water mark to build the dock and reckoned he never would have to worry about putting barrels on it to keep it from floating away in high water.

We certainly have experienced low water, when we could walk under the stringers out to the far crib without getting wet.