I guess it is Karma. Growing up I lived in my parent’s three-bedroom bungalow in the Westfort area of Thunder Bay. My parents were both immigrants from Italy, and they retained many of the Old World traditions when they came here. As such, our city sized yard only had grass in front of the house; the backyard consisted of patio and garden. Lots of garden. So, where I am I going with this? Well, despite the pathetically small amount of grass that we actually had, I hated cutting the grass. My dad would always yell at me for not cutting it, even though it took about 10 minutes to do it.
When my (at the time) fiancée and I were deciding where to live, we decided we wanted a bit more space than a city lot offered. So we bought property in South Neebing, and our house now sits on 1.5 acres of land. Although some of it is still treed and not landscaped, it still takes me over 3 hours to cut all the grass in the yard. I often curse at how much time it takes to cut the grass, edge, rake, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live, but I swear I can hear my Dad looking down at me and laughing. The 10 minute job doesn’t seem so bad now. So Karma has bitten me in the posterior!
We’ve now reached the midway point of May and the time is flying by! This weekend is the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, which usually marks the beginning of the summer season. We might make a trip to my in-laws camp for the day, which is located about 65 km east of our home. Speaking of camp, it is interesting how people in Canada refer to “camp” by many different names. I have cousins in Toronto, and their first reaction to the word camp was “what?” Isn’t camp like summer camp? You see, people in southern Ontario refer to it as the “cottage.” Sounds too citified for us up here in the north; camp is so much more outdoorsy. I’ve heard that in Manitoba they call it the “lake.” Anyway, whatever you call it, enjoy this weekend in the outdoors!
Since we’re on the topic of the outdoors, I’m getting even more excited about the hiking season. This week I decided it was time to post more videos from my archives to YouTube. It was really a response to a request on the Facebook page for information about communication on the railway, such as telegraph lines, etc. I had footage from my 1997 trip to North-Gunflint Lakes that contained a few old telegraph poles that I found on Little North Lake, so I decided to upload a video. While I was at it, I put together a bunch of other videos from that ’97 footage; I will be posting them over the next few weeks, but I did put a second video up. This one is of the “Gunflint Cross.”
The Gunflint Cross is one of the most interesting legacies of the railway. It is a small cross, approximately 18
inches high, carved into the south side of a rock cut along Gunflint Lake near the 84 mile marker. The cross was created in 1892 as a memorial to a tragic accident that occurred during the construction of the railway. On October 8th, crews were blasting rock for the right of way when one of the charges failed to detonate. After waiting about 20 minutes, workers began removing rock to investigate the cause of the “hang fire” when the explosives went off; Joseph Montegia was struck and killed by the force of the blast. He would be buried in Port Arthur at St. Andrew’s Cemetery and some of his fellow workers carved the cross in his memory. So after 120 years it still remains in its spot, a mute testimonial to the men who built the railway.
The cross makes me think about Gunflint, and today I came across a reminder that I will make my first presentation in years this summer. I’ve mentioned this event in previous posts, but today I found a reference to it on the net. I’m excited about this lecture, I titled it “The Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway and the Paulson Mine: Hopes and Failures in a Border Wilderness.” It is going to be very different from anything I’ve done in the past as it will be outdoors. From my experience as a teacher, I’m sort of used to an indoor environment with a projector and a Smartboard. I guess I will have to explain things very thoroughly since I have no visuals to accompany my information. Let’s hope it is a nice day and a good turn out!
Anyway, enough for this week. Until then…