February 1 1941


February 1 1941

UNLIKE some communities we wot of, Vancouver isn’t the least bit touchy about its chief meteorological eccentricity, fog. Instead, the Vancouverites have fun in their fogs. 

For several days earlier in this winter the Pacific Coast metropolis was thickly enshrouded in a clammy blanket of impenetrable mists. From the bemusing experience many odd incidents developed, and one of our operatives—living in New Westminster, if you must know—forwards clippings reciting a number of the more exciting mischances. A man driving an automobile bearing a California license and clearly not knowing where he was going or how to get there, hit upon the expedient of following a tram he could hear ahead of him but could not see. He pursued the street car for miles and wound up in an interurban trolley barn far, far away. Another motorist, crossing Burrard Bridge, jammed on his brakes just in time to avoid running over a deserted army motorcycle, complete with side car. He got out, fearing the worst, but could discover no trace of the cyclist, alive or dead, until after some minutes he heard a disembodied voice profanely demanding to be told where in soanso was that suchansuch motorcycle. The soldier, lost, had dismounted to try to find out where he was, then had been unable to fumble his way back to the place where he had left the machine. Yet another driver parked his car—as he thought—alongside a big red truck. He had to wait until the fog lifted before he found it again, snuggled up to a box-car in the C.P.R. freight yard. And for days and days Vancouver epicures had to get along without fresh shrimps. Fishermen catch shrimps off Point Atkinson, and Point Atkinson is spang in the middle of the steamship lanes, no place to be in a small boat when you can’t see beyond the tip of your nose.

It was, of course, mere coincidence that inspectors should have praised highly the Consolidated Elementary School at Duncan, B.C., just as Mr. Alastair Grant, a member of the staff, was moving to another post, and we regard it as distinctly unfriendly for the Cowichan Leader to head its report on these happenings in this manner:

Elementary School

In Splendid Shape;

Teacher Is Leaving

From Halifax one of our agents writes, with some bitterness of soul, to tell about a newspaper report on certain changes in the construction plans for an Amherst, N.S.. establishment manufacturing aircraft parts. The alterations, the account said, had been suggested by the general manager of the company concerned, and accepted by Ralph P. Bell, Director of Aircraft Operations in Canada. Our man thinks that ought to have been sufficient, and he feels that it was unnecessarily smug for the news story to add that the variations for the original plans had also been approved by (a) the Town Council (unanimously); and (b) the local member of the Dominion Parliament.

The week of Christmas and the New Year, sometimes referred to as the festive season, offers propitious opportunity for family reunions, rivalling in this pleasant purpose such anniversaries as patriarchal birthdays, silver and golden weddings or, for that matter, plain ordinary weddings. Word of one such foregathering comes to this department from Penhold, Alta., by way of the Penhold correspondent of the Red Deer Advocate, and we feel that this mobilization of a branch of the Fraser clan merits a larger audience.

The party got into the news when Mr. R. C. Fraser, of Penhold, took his family to Calgary to meet his three aunts, Mrs. Robert McAllister, aged eighty-seven: Mrs. Alexander Robertson, who is eighty-one, and Mrs. Hugh McAllister, eighty, practically a sub-deb among the Frasers. All three of the ladies live in Vancouver. They paused at Calgary on their way back to the coast from a transcontinental tour covering around 7,000 miles, just seeing the country. Along the route they stopped off for a visit with their sister, Mrs. William Fraser, of Dutton, Ont. Mrs. William Fraser is Mr. R. C. Fraser’s mother. She is eighty-five. All the sisters are in excellent health, and all of them are very busy these days knitting and making comforts for servicemen. Mrs. Fraser holds the family knitting championship for 1940. She completed eighty pairs of socks for the Red Cross during the year.

Our scout, forwarding this sprightly bit of gossip, wishes to say, “Pooh-pooh!” to Mr. Walter Pitkin, who wrote a best-seller of a few seasons back. Life, she insists, doesn’t begin at forty. For the Frasers, at least, it begins at eighty.

From the Help Wanted columns of the Montreal Daily Star:

GENERAL MOUSEMAID, for couple, sleep out. 4745 Queen Mary, Apt. 31.

What you want, folks, is a good lively cat.

On a certain Sunday not long ago, the temperature in Calgary was recorded at a maximum of thirty-six. This is close to being torrid for wintertime Calgary, was, in fact, the second highest in Canada on that particular Sunday; but the rising mercury was accompanied by chill driving winds, so that citizens were not as comfortable as their thermometers said they should be. The Calgary Herald met this contradictory situation boldly, printing above its weather story the revealing headline:

City Cold, But Warm

Well, that takes care of everything nicely.

An exiled reader of this magazine now residing in Havana, Cuba, sends us a page from the Havana Post, published in English, but, he explains, produced entirely by Spanish-speaking printers, many of whom have only the sketchiest sort of a nodding acquaintance with the English language. This comes about because under Cuban law only native workers may be employed, except in jobs requiring expert technical knowledge, and the government does not classify the production of an English-language newspaper as either technical or expert. So it came about that the heading over an article describing the splendid efforts of the American Volunteer Unit, a women’s organization occupied with the Bundles for Britain enterprise, passed through the hands of two or three Cuban compositors and a Cuban make-up man who speak no English at all, to emerge at the top of a column in this disguise:

American Volunteer Unite 

Has Quantities of Bodies 

For Shipment to Britain

About seventeen miles north of The Pas, Man., a park was cleared last summer beside the beach on Clearwater Lake. On the property there is an old well, now dry, and the authorities thought up the bright idea of using this hole in the ground as a receptacle for sandwich wrappings, empty cigarette packages and similar picnic debris. Beside the well, they set up this sign:


Where do you have to go to accept?