Vintage, industrial, local and beautiful – a real find!

Westclox clock I cannot tell you how happy I am about the latest vintage object that I have added to the Manse’s decor. I’ve been just bursting to tell you about it, people! It’s the Westclox wall clock that you see in this photo. I purchased it a week ago at Country Treasures in Madoc, and it now hangs in a prime spot in the Manse’s kitchen: the wall against which the lovely old Findlay wood stove that warmed our family in my childhood used to stand.

Is that clock not a fine piece of midcentury industrial design? And it works perfectly! The red second hand sweeps proudly around – a little quickly, it seems when you first watch it, but the clock keeps bang-on time so all must be well. It’s got a nicely patina-ed (I just made that verb up) metal rim. The face is big and easy to read, even when you get out of bed in the dark middle of the night and head downstairs to use the facilities – the Manse’s only bathroom being oddly, and inconveniently, located on the ground floor right inside the front door.

I adore this clock. I even adore the retro touch of it being electric, which means that wherever it hangs there must of necessity be an electrical cord hanging down to the nearest outlet, for all the world to see:

Clock with electrical cord

This clock comes with a cord! (And as you can see, where it’s plugged in is the section of our kitchen wall where we uncovered the turquoise-painted original plaster when we first bought the house. Someday, if we ever get the renovations done and the old painted-over “wood” panelling ripped off, all the walls in the kitchen will be that great colour again…)

The biggest reason why I love this clock is not, however, its great industrial style; it’s because it comes from the Westclox (Western Clock Co. Limited) factory of not-far-away Peterborough, Ont., as you can see from the etching on the works mechanism on the back of the clock:

Western Clock Co.

In other words, not only is it a great design piece; it’s a great locally made design piece.

Westclox factory postcard

A postcard illustration of the Westclox factory in its prime. (Photo from clockhistory.com)

Westclox (the Western Clock Co. Limited) was a mainstay of the industrial scene in the small city of Peterborough through the years when things were still made in Canada. In 1969, during the period when I was kid growing up here in Queensborough at the Manse, my grandparents moved from Toronto to Peterborough, so my family often went to visit them there. The best part of the trip, I always thought, was driving through the narrow one-lane concrete tunnel through the famous Peterborough Lift Lock. And high atop the hill on Hunter Street that you drove up right after that tunnel was the Westclox factory, where workers proudly turned out well-built clocks of all shapes and sizes, from big wall-mounted affairs to those small square folding travel-alarm clocks that we all used to have.

Westclox factory today

The renovated Westclox factory as it is today, much of its elegant industrial style sadly gone. (Photo from clockhistory.com)

(You can read an excellent and informative history of the Westclox factory here, at the website of the Canadian Clock Museum.)

The Westclox building still stands atop that hill, but it now houses offices and condos, and exterior renovations have, sadly, removed much of its great industrial style. The factory closed in the early 1980s, and you know, that was just too bad. I miss the days when things were made in Canada.

At the time of the factory’s closing there was a big selloff of its contents, which my dad attended. He bought a whole bunch of small tables, all with strong metal frames and wooden-slat tops, that workers had used at their individual stations in their watch- and clock-building work. It was a brilliant stroke on his part to get them; I imagine he was thinking in terms of using them to pile tools on and whatnot. (Dad had a lot of tools, and jars of nails and screws, and all that kind of stuff that clutters up workbenches, basements, machine sheds and garages.) I nabbed a couple of those tables, which are, like the clock, well-built and beautiful in an industrial way, and I have happily used them over the years as side tables and coffee tables. I’ve always loved having them as reminders of the Westclox factory.

And now I have an actual made-in-Peterborough Westclox clock as well! And not just any Westclox clock: it is one that was used somewhere – locally, I imagine – at a Department of Public Works facility. How do I know this? Because of the sticker and stencil on the back of my clock:

Clock DPW

Because I love industrial style, it tickles my fancy to think that my clock probably hung for years in a nondescript office/workshop, telling the city or town or township workers driving the snowplows in winter, or the big municipal dump trucks in summer, when it was coffee-break time or when they could finally punch their cards and head home for the day.

Basically, as I think you can readily tell by now, there is nothing I don’t love about this clock.

Isn’t it nice when a lucky find can be so meaningful, and bring you so much joy?

We failed to buy this hi-fi. Was that a terrible mistake?

The hi-fi we failed to buy

This restored 1970s Electrohome hi-fi, complete with totally unnecessary wooden cabinet, was practically the first thing I clapped eyes on during my latest excursion to an antique warehouse. We didn’t by it. Should we have?

Remember how yesterday I directed you (thanks to having been steered that way myself by reader Bob McKeown) to a Facebook group about growing up in Peterborough, Ont., in the 1970s (and, less importantly in my view, the 1980s)? Well, if you’ve forgotten, or didn’t see that post, it’s here. And if you check it out, or remember from when you did, you’ll know that one of the cool photos I found on the Facebook feed was of a vintage hi-fi set. You know – the kind with the tinny electronic apparatus built into a great big (and utterly unnecessary, as we learned in the later 1970s when we freed ourselves from such units) wooden cabinet that housed the large but tinny speakers. Every household had one, once upon a time.

Including, of course, the Manse! I wrote here (with a trace of nostalgia) about the Sedgwick family’s midcentury stereo, which as it happens was purchased from Pigden Electronics of downtown Madoc.

Well. Just think what Raymond and I came across for sale not long ago! Yes, you guessed it: it’s the hi-fi unit that you see in the photo at the top of this post. It was practically the first thing I found on our latest foray (we tend to get there at least once a year) to the wonderful Stratford Antique Warehouse in Stratford, Ont. My jaw dropped, not only with happy recognition but also at the price: a mere $150 for the unit in full working condition!

Hi-fi interior

Does that bring back memories or what?

Still: did we need it? Of course not. Would it be incredibly awkward, maybe impossible, to get home in our little Toyota? Indeed. We decided to take a pass. We left the store.

And went for lunch. And got talking about it. And then got talking some more. With the result that after lunch, we headed back to the Stratford Antique Warehouse.

Hi-fi label

A Deilcraft cabinet for the Electrohome stereo – I am 99.9% certain that that’s the same make as the hi-fi my family had at the Manse back in my childhood. Gulp.

You know, we got as far as measuring the hi-fi, and calculating ways to get it into, or on top of, the car. Raymond was even in the process of sorting through his impressive collection of bungee cords. But in the end, something stopped us.

It wasn’t the transportation problem. It wasn’t the price. (Lord knows $150 seems pretty reasonable for a piece like that.) It was the fact that something seemed a little bit off with the metal cylinder over which you place the hole in the record. Remember how those cylinders were maybe four or five inches high, and you could stack a whole pile of record on them, and they’d drop and play one at a time? That was how you did party music in those days – the 1960s/’70s equivalent of the iPod playlist. Man, I hadn’t thought of that in years and years!

But now that I had, I wanted the ability to re-create that vintage entertainment setup in my own home (which would be the Manse). And on this hi-fi, the cylinder was just a little thing that barely poked up above the turntable. No loading up of multiple records on that baby.

And that’s all it took. We came to our senses, and once again left the store without the hifi.

Am I sorry?

Yeah, a little bit. But I did take the card of the chap who was selling it… So stay tuned.

In my love for funky old things, I am not alone

Spirograph

Do you know instantly what this is? If so, you might be as interested as I am in the Facebook group I grew up in Peterborough Ontario (70’s and 80’s). This picture of some awesome Spirograph work was posted there by Michelle Walke Swan. Thanks for the memories, Michelle!

A big shoutout tonight to reader Bob McKeown of beautiful Stirling, who recently put me on to a Facebook group that – well, maybe it won’t change my life, but it sure makes me feel like I am not alone when it comes to a fondness for relics from midcentury central/south/eastern Ontario, where I grew up.

The Facebook group is called I grew up in Peterborough Ontario (70’s and 80’s) and you can find it here. (There is a separate group called I Grew Up In Peterborough Ontario 50s and 60s, which is, let us say, also not irrelevant to my past.) Now, I didn’t grow up in Peterborough (and neither did Bob), but my maternal grandparents moved there from Toronto in 1969, and over the years I spent a lot of time in that pleasant little city that’s only about an hour away from Queensborough. And, as Bob pointed out in his email to me, you don’t need to have grown up in Peterborough to appreciate the site’s posts harking back to fun stuff from the past, and the comments on them.

Rather than going into great detail, I’ll let those who are interested check out the Facebook groups for themselves. But perhaps I can whet your appetite with a few photos from the ’70s/’80s group, all of them posted by Kirb Scott, who clearly has a great eye for timeless stuff:

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Hey, if those don’t take you back, you must have grown up in a galaxy far, far away from mine!

Building Highway 7

Highway 7 under construction in 1932

It looks a lot different from the nicely paved Highway 7 we know today, doesn’t it? This is the well-known east-west highway under construction in 1932. Keith Millard, who graciously supplied the photo, says it was probably taken near Flinton Road, which is just east of where the buses now stop at Actinolite. (Photo courtesy of Keith Millard)

My new cross-country pal Keith Millard – who discovered Meanwhile, at the Manse while researching the history of his family, the Kleinsteubers, who established the German Settlement in Elzevir Township in the mid-19th century – recently sent me a couple of very cool photos that I thought you folks would be interested in. They show Highway 7 in the Actinolite area when it was under construction, in 1932. These days one takes Highway 7 – part of the Central Ontario Route of the Trans-Canada Highway – so much for granted; it’s smooth and wide and nicely paved (especially after last year’s construction work on it; Raymond and I thought it was very thoughtful of the construction folks to redo Highway 7 just as we started using it regularly to travel between Montreal and the Manse in Queensborough), and it’s just there. And useful. But once upon a time it wasn’t there, and it had to be built. And what a project that must have been! Given that Keith’s photos are from 1932, in the Great Depression, I had guessed that the construction was a job-creation project, and that turns out to be correct. According to an excellent history of the highway here, the section between Peterborough and Perth was built in the ’30s to provide work (and thus income) to many labourers in those terrible times.

We know that these photos were taken in Elzevir Township because they come via two chaps named Art Robinson and Peter Forbes, who are seen in the picture I’m about to show you and who, Keith tells me, had homes in Elzevir’s German Settlement. Here’s another shot of the highway construction showing the two men:

Another view of Highway 7 under construction, this one showing Peter Forbes and Art Robinson, who lived in that part of Elzevir Township. (Photo courtesy of Keith Millard)

Another view of Highway 7 when it was under construction, this one showing Peter Forbes and Art Robinson, who lived in that part of Elzevir Township. (Photo courtesy of Keith Millard)

Really, it is quite something to be taken back in time by great old photos like these. And to be reminded of what a huge undertaking it must have been to blast through the rock of the Canadian Shield and build a stretch of road that nowadays we zoom over without thinking about it. Thanks for the history lesson, Keith!

The LCBO strike, and The Midnight Ride of Red Dog Ray

So I gather that even as I type this, much of Ontario is aghast at the prospect of a strike by workers at the LCBO (the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the odd – when you think about it – name for the provincial-government-owned chain of stores selling wine and liquor). There are news reports of crazy lineups at liquor stores as people stock up for the long weekend, fearing that today is their last chance. (The deadline for the contract talks is midnight tonight, I believe.)

As I was reporting all this to Raymond while following the news on Twitter during our commute home from work tonight, I pointed out that should the strike kick in tomorrow, we will be in the fortunate position of starting our long weekend (to be spent at the Manse in Queensborough) here in Montreal. Which means we can buy a long weekend’s worth of red and white wine before we leave the province. (Don’t tell the Ontario Provincial Police, by the way. I think it’s still, quaintly, technically illegal to transport alcohol across provincial boundaries.)

Anyway, it all reminded me of a funny song that a legendary Peterborough, Ont., band named Reverend Ken and the Lost Followers used to perform back in their heyday. (Reverend Ken subsequently left the band and it morphed into Hank and the Honkers, the new leader being a legend in his own right, Washboard Hank. Hank played – and continues to play – not just washboard [and guitar, trombone, etc.] but also the kitchen sink. Really.)

But back to the song. It was inspired by what the lyrics fittingly call “The Great Ontario Beer Strike,” which an internet search tells me happened in 1985. Employees at the province’s Beer Stores and breweries struck for quite a long time, as I vaguely recall; since I’m not much of a beer drinker, it didn’t have a large impact on me. (Besides, I think one could still buy imported beer at LCBO stores. But many Ontarians turned up their noses at Heineken and Tuborg [remember Tuborg?], considering Molson Export and Labatt’s Blue infinitely superior.)

The bar where Revend Ken and the Lost Followers played most frequently was Peterborough’s famous Red Dog, a dingy-but-cool place frequented by both your typical beer-parlour crowd and the young people who attend Trent University. I think it was the latter set that favoured the band. (And how do I know all this? People, I confess that I have darkened the door of the Red Dog once or twice. Or, you know, maybe more.)

So apparently – or so the song would have it – the proprietor of the Red Dog, a chap named Ray McGregor (whose death in 2001 prompted many tributes from the Peterborough community – and who, according to his obituary, was born in St. Thomas, Ont., not Scotland as the song suggests) decided to make a daring run across the border into Quebec to acquire some domestic beer for the bar’s regulars (who in the song have the nickname “chubbies” – perhaps someone who knows the Red Dog [you know who you are] can explain that to me), who were suffering mightily because of the strike. (Doubtless Ray was sufferering too. Financially.) Since, as I’ve already mentioned, it’s illegal to transport booze across provincial borders, Ray was engaging in risky behaviour.

But it all turned out all right in the end, as you’ll hear from the song. Have a listen to the video (is there anything one can’t find on the internet?) – and just in case you have trouble making out the lyrics, I am going to helpfully provide them for you. Hooray for Red Dog Ray!

The Midnight Ride of Red Dog Ray

Well the Great Ontario Beer Strike was in its 21st day
And all the Red Dog’s chubbies were fadin’ clear away
For weeks they’d been denied the drink they loved so dear
So they turned to Red Dog Ray and said, “Could you get us some more beer?”

Well Red Dog Ray he swore, “By gosh by gum by heck
I’ll get my chubbies beer if I have to go to old Quebec!”
So Percy the French waiter, he told him what to say –
And thus began the famous midnight ride of Red Dog Ray.

‘Twas the midnight ride of Red Dog Ray
‘Twas the midnight ride of Red Dog Ray

He drove down Highway 7 to our nation’s capital
And he slipped across the river to the town that’s known as Hull
And he tried hard to remember the words he had to say:
“Pardonnez-moi, mon dieu mon frère, I need some beer today.”

Well René Lévesque gave him some but still he wanted more.
Said, “What the heck? I’m in Quebec! I’ll go to the corner store!”
He filled his station wagon till the springs were sagging low
And he headed down the highway to thirsty Ontario.

‘Twas the midnight ride of Red Dog Ray
‘Twas the midnight ride of Red Dog Ray

[Bridge featuring highland-fling-type music]

He was singing a song about Scotland, the homeland of his birth
When the cops they pulled him over just the other side of Perth
And ever so politely Ray asked was there anything wrong
And the cop said, “Roll your window up if you’re gonna sing that song!”

Well the OPP he turned away, his fingers in his ears
He didn’t even notice that carload full of beers
So Ray just kept on singin’ until he reached his bar
And the chubbies shouted out for joy when they saw the beer-filled car.

‘Twas the midnight ride of Red Dog Ray
Well Red Dog Ray, he saved the day
And you can hear the chubbies say,
“Hip, hip, hooray for Red Dog Ray!”

“Incite art. Create community.” (And suspenseful movie moments.)

The Stonington Opera House, a venue for theatre, music and movies in the beautiful Downeast Maine town of Stonington. (Photo by Annie Seikonia via flickr.com)

Edge-of-your-seat stuff: The new Mrs. Captain von Trapp keeps Gretl quiet as the Nazis try to find the fleeing singing family.

Do you remember the very first time you saw The Sound of Music? And do you remember how you absolutely stopped breathing and were perched on the edge of your seat during that scene when the von Trapps were hiding behind the tombstones in the convent as the Nazis were desperately trying to track them down? How one peep out of little Gretl (or any other of that mob of kids) would have given them away, and how the brave newlyweds, the Captain and Maria, huddled with them and shushed them and dodged the searchlights and you were just dying of fear that they would be found out?

Oh, man, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, the movie (first released in 1965) was in re-release, and my siblings (or some of us, anyway) were taken to see it at the movies in Peterborough, Ont., by my grandparents (my Buh and Didi, whom I wrote about in a recent post), who had just retired there after a lifetime in Toronto. Despite the thrillingly happy ending of The Sound of Music, I remember still being weak at the knees as I walked out of the theatre because of how terrified I’d been during that hiding-from-the-Nazis scene.

What does that have to do with “Incite art. Create community”? Or Queensborough, or the Manse? Bear with me.

Raymond and I are in Stonington, Maine, one of our favourite places in the world and a place that I have in the past compared to Queensborough – in the sense that they both have something a little magical about them, and they both seem to attract the interest of people who are, well, interesting.

We’ve been here many times before, always at this time of year when the tourists are nowhere to be seen and it’s just us and the local people (many of whom are lobstermen; Stonington is one of the most important lobster-fishing centres on the east coast of North America) and the books we’ve brought to read. Over the course of those visits we’ve seen and done a goodly percentage of the many things there are to see and do on Deer Isle, the island that Stonington anchors on the very southern tip. But one thing we had never done until last night was to attend an event at the grandly named Stonington Opera House.

The Stonington Opera House as art: this is a painting by George Lee Crosby (bluehillartist.com), and you can see (and buy) this and more of his Maine paintings here.

You can read the history of this funky building here; the short version is that it was built as a dance hall in the late 19th century and has served the small community well as an arts centre (and occasional basketball court and even rollerskating rink) in most of the years since. These days, arts-minded people in Stonington, and Deer Isle generally, have made it their mission to see that it continues as a venue for the arts. This island is a place where you see bumper-stickers that say “Incite art. Create community” (offered for sale at the Stonington Opera House). It is a place that over the years has attracted all sorts of artists: painters, photographers, potters, performers and more have been drawn here by the beauty and, I think, the creative spirit of the area. And of course the more creative people who come, the livelier and healthier – including in an economic sense – the arts scene is. As the bumper-sticker says, the arts, and a commitment to promoting them, can and do help build a healthy and interesting community.

Our home away from home.

Throughout the year the Opera House plays host to live theatre, musical performances, community events – and on most weekends, movie nights. First-run films are shown on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Often on our past visits to Stonington Raymond and I have talked about taking in one of those movies, but have in the end decided instead to go out to dinner or just stay in for the evening – which is a very strong temptation when you’ve got a cozy little nest (the American Eagle suite at the Inn on the Harbor, a pretty and friendly place that I cannot recommend highly enough) that looks out on the ocean, and there is a lively fire burning in the fireplace. And you have lots of good books to read.

The restored 1930s theatre seats.

But last night we actually did it, and were delighted with what we found: a warm, brightly lit place on a dark, cold, blustery night. A friendly chap at the ticket booth, and an awesome concession stand with a vintage (original to the house) popcorn maker (and organic popcorn), homemade ice cream and other great snacks, funky soft drinks and beer and wine (and merchandise, including T-shirts and the aforementioned bumper stickers). Beautifully restored wooden seats (with cushions) from the 1930s. And a good crowd of people (some of whom we’d met in church yesterday morning) out to see a good movie and socialize a bit with friends, neighbours and even two strangers from Montreal.

The movie in question was Argo, the Ben Affleck film about the 1980 “Canadian Caper” in which Ken Taylor, Canada’s ambassador in Iran, helped spirit six Americans (who’d escaped the besieged U.S. embassy in Tehran) out of the country in the midst of that long-ago hostage crisis. (Even I, ancient as I am, have to work a bit to remember those events.) What the film showed – not entirely accurately, as you can read here, but very dramatically – was that, while the Canadians did indeed play an important part, the friendly folks at the CIA in their extremely covert way – so covert that the operation was kept secret for many years after it was all over – were the ones who got the job done.

The suspense level gets really, really high toward the end of the film: will Affleck, coolly playing CIA agent Tony Mendez, get those six terrified people out before it’s discovered they’re not really Canadians, or won’t he? (Spoiler alert! Don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you intend to see the movie.) Just like in The Sound of Music there’s a happy ending (complete with a film clip of good old Flora MacDonald, long-ago MP for Kingston and the Islands and the Minister of External Affairs in Joe Clark‘s short-lived government – and I just have to say that it’s not every day you see Flora MacDonald in a Hollywood movie); but like on that long-ago night in faraway Peterborough, Ont., I was absolutely drained and shaky as we walked out of the theatre and back to the inn, still wired from all the suspense that had immediately preceded the denouement.

Okay, so Argo may not be high art, but it’s entertainment and it was shown in a great arts venue and the cash we all paid for our tickets helps keep that venue – and the arts in general in Stonington – going. And as far as I can see, a community with a healthy arts community is a healthy community period. (Kind of like the period at the end of the words “Opera House” on the opera house’s sign – have another look at the photo at the top of this post. Cool, non?)

Which brings me back – surely you knew I’d get there eventually – to Queensborough and area. In the months since Raymond and I have been spending time there thanks to our purchase of the Manse, we’ve discovered that a lot of artistically-minded people also call it home: painters and photographers and potters and musicians and filmmakers and more, just like here in Stonington. Drawn by the natural beauty (and probably the peace and quiet) of the place. And by the presence of like-minded souls.

The Queensborough Community Centre could certainly play host to arts-oriented events.

Now, Queensborough doesn’t and never did have an opera house. But it has the Queensborough Community Centre, the former one-room village schoolhouse where youth dances and community dinners and yoga classes and let’s-talk-history sessions take place now. (And that several of us think could be a great place to host artists and artisans during one of the studio tours that happen in the central Hastings County area through the year.)

The Orange Lodge building. Let’s dream big: could it be a venue for the performing arts?

Queensborough also has (though privately owned) a great big old hall, the onetime Loyal Orange Lodge. I haven’t been in that building since I accompanied my parents there one election day (it was often used as a polling place) way back in the 1960s, so I don’t recall for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has a stage. And even if it doesn’t, I bet it has acoustics. Just think: musical performances, open-mike nights, short- or long-form theatre – and maybe even movies! Wouldn’t that be something?

I think we should start with The Sound of Music. Take it away, Julie:

Buying local

Main Street, Tweed, Ont., courtesy of wikipedia.org: the more we patronize stores and other business in this and other small towns, the healthier our rural areas will be. But you knew that.

Well first of all, good readers, thank you so much for all your excellent suggestions in answer to the question in my most recent post about where to find old-fashioned window shades. You guys are a mine of information! Thanks to your suggestions, the websites of Rona, Home Depot and Sears got quite a few visits from me tonight, and our friend Phyllis also reminded me of a funky store in Montreal that should have them.

A nice view of downtown Madoc, again courtesy of wikipedia.org: a beautiful 19th-century streetscape, worth a shopping excursion!

But while it looks like online shopping (or a visit to a Sears, Rona or Home Depot store) will resolve our current need for a couple of window shades, I do feel badly that our best efforts to buy them locally (i.e. in the nearest towns, Madoc and Tweed) came to naught. We did, as you will see if you read yesterday’s post, give it our best effort, in both towns, in person and by phone. We do try to buy as much as we can for the Manse in the immediate area, and at the risk of sounding lecture-y (or like Charlie Brown’s teacher), I wish more rural residents would do the same.

Because, people, when you drive to Belleville or Peterborough or Oshawa (or the urban equivalent of wherever you may live in a rural area) to buy your groceries or your hardware or whatever, you not only burn costly fossil fuel to save maybe a few bucks, but you hurt the livelihood of people trying to make a go in business right where you live. You limit opportunities for local jobs for your neighbours. Basically, you hurt the very place where you live.

On a visit to the Manse a month or two ago, Raymond and I were in Tweed at lunchtime and decided to go eat at a restaurant we’d visited once before and quite liked, called Murphy’s Bistro – right on the main street. We were shocked and disappointed to find, when we approached the front door, a sign saying that it had closed and thanking past patrons for the their business. As we stood there in disbelief, a woman who worked at a nearby business, who was outside having a smoke, struck up a conversation. “Sad, isn’t it?” she asked. “And you know, people complain when they see empty stores on the main street, but then they drive to Wal-Mart in Belleville to buy stuff.” She made an excellent point. If we want to have healthy communities, we have to support them financially!

On our last visit, in the midst of our unsuccessful quest for window shades (and believe me, we exhausted all local options) we also stopped in at the Tweed News, which is (as the name suggests) a local (weekly) newspaper, but is also a great old-fashioned stationery store on Tweed’s main street. I am a total sucker for stationery stores and pretty much bought one of everything, and when I went to pay was delighted to find out that the guy behind the counter was none other than Tweed News publisher and editor-in-chief Rodger Hanna. (I reccognized him from photos in the local papers that week, when the Tweed News had been named co-winner of a local tourism-business award.) I was happy to introduce myself and tell him what fans Raymond and I are of his newspaper. But my goodness, the poor man doubtless works long hours all through the week to get that paper out, and there he was also manning the stationery store on Saturday morning. I am so glad we were able to give him some business and support the enterprise.

Back in September, Rodger’s newspaper ran an editorial by one of the staffers there, Lacy Meeks, on this same subject, and I liked it so much that I tore it out and kept it. It says, in part:

“I like shopping locally. I like knowing the people I’m doing business with. I enjoy chatting with store owners and their employees about their kids and where they are going to school and what sports teams they belong to. I like sharing stories about the success of local events and the plans for future ones. I like knowing that I can ask for advice on merchandise and … I will receive an honest answer …

“When you make a purchase from local stores, you are supporting businesses that in turn support the sports teams, local theatre groups, community clubs, health organizations, schools and so much more in your area. Your dollar has supported a business that employs local people. Your dollar helped make your community a better place to live, a better place to work, a better place to call home.”

You said it, Lacy! Now will someone in Madoc or Tweed please sell us some window shades?