Working a January 4 PM to midnight shift in rural Manitoba, one can expect little crime and few calls for service. An accident perhaps by someone rushing home on icy roads, late for supper or the six o’clock news. No cells phones or Internet in 1976, and the city paper came late in the morning on the first eastbound bus out of Winnipeg. So if one missed the television news, the next morning coffee-shop information exchange would tend to be pretty one-sided in discussing headline events. Continue reading “Night Shift”
December of 1979 was our first of two Christmases posted at Wabowden, Manitoba, a small community located 800 kilometres north of the Canada/USA border on the last major highway system before the North Pole. This is an exaggeration, perhaps, as the Nickel Mining Capital of Canada, Thompson, lies a further 100 kilometres north of Wabowden. There the oil and gravel hardtop road transitions to rough gravel and connects to the hydro-electric town of Gillam a further 100 kilometres north. Continue reading “Christmas Chorus”
In a staggered line we followed the dusty trail through bamboo fields. Those of us with partners walked side by side, a few bound hand in hand. Introverts made an extra effort to walk alone, rabidly avoiding the perception that they were bound to anyone. Most were quiet in anticipation of their final destination. A young couple chatted in exuberant anticipation of their long anticipated bucket list item. Continue reading “Bathing Gen Thong”
It’s 9:48 am on a bright sunny day in July, 1980 in the northern Manitoba town of Wabowden. Home to about 500 residents at that time, Wabowden was also the regional office of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the largest whistle stop for the Canadian National Railway travelling between The Pas and Thompson. Normally if I was patrolling in town, I would park my police car alongside the tracks as a train moved slowly into the station. I enjoyed watching the faces of tourists staring out of the train car windows, curious as to why this specific town was located in the middle of seemingly barren land. But today, I was a waiting passenger for the scheduled northbound stop at 9:52 am. Continue reading “Patrol Cabin Cookbook”
It was nine o’clock on an evening in late October and darkness had long since fallen on our normally sleepy town. Earlier, a full moon and thousands of stars had provided natural light to a section of town that comprised the business district; a car repair shop, the municipal hall, the post office, the bank, a general store and a car dealership. It was a mixture of private businesses and government institutions that were all considered valuable to the integrity of the town; indeed the region. Continue reading “Chasing Rabbits”
A noise woke him from his sleep. It was after midnight and the house was dark except for a shadow of a light somewhere downstairs. The noise was a shadow as well, of someone doing something in a quiet way, so as not to disturb. But this subtle noise was what woke the man, likely faster than a car horn blaring from blocks away. This was his house; he was attuned to its voice. Continue reading “CRUMBS”
His return was sudden and unexpected. I had been standing on the dock overlooking the calm waters of Dorothy Lake. It was quiet as I stood alone and reflected on the circumstances that had brought me here. The surface of the lake was flat like glass and the rising sun cast artificial colour on a surface that I knew in truth to be murky and cold.