INTERESTING sidelights on literary tastes in the wide open spaces are supplied by Mrs. C. B. Elliott, library convener for the I.O.D.E., at remote Rocky Mountain House in northern Alberta. Among the regular patrons of Mrs. Elliott’s library, where an investment of twenty-five cents entitles a card-holder to read 225 hooks, are sheep herders and Indians. The sheep herders, living a solitary sort of existence, take out as many as fifteen books at a time, then retire to commune with their grazing flocks, wellcontent. Indians, Mrs. Elliott say, hoot at love stories, considering them silly, but revel in tales of the legendary Wild West. For a while the Indians displayed enthusiasm for tales by Pearl Buck, possibly under the impression that the lady had something to do with the Wild West. But word got around that the author wrote exclusively about life in China, and the demand fell off sharply. The Indians like a good whodunit mystery, even as you and I.
Two examples of things advertisers didn’t really mean to say. From the Hamilton Spectator:
BLOWER WITH THERMOSTAT and silver fox collar. Cheap for quick sale.
From the Vancouver Daily Province:
New Six-Room House, 0000 West 58th Ave. $5700 $2700 cash, balance
$20.43 every day except Sunday.
Announcement of the retirement of A. W. Shatford, proprietor of the Gainsborough Hotel at Hubbards Cove, N.S., after fifty-seven years of catering to U.S. and Canadian tourists, has recalled to many of his friends Mr. Shatford’s startling appearances in the headlines back in depression days. The Halifax Mail ran an eight-column “banner”: “Hubbards man has grave prepared to relieve village unemployment problem.” Mr. Shatford did order his own grave built, with a solid concrete lining, giving temporary employment to several villagers. Later, in showing a young lady visitor about the Cove, he led the way to the Shatford family cemetery, a restful spot surmounting a hill and overlooking the water. Pointing out his grave he asked her what she thought of it. Taken aback, the guest stuttered, “Well, all I can say is you’re going to have a lovely view !”
No disrespect toward Saskatchewan’s provincial Government is intended by this department’s bewilderment over a paragraph contained in a recent official Tourist Bureau bulletin reporting on the state of Saskatchewan’s roads. Thus: “Lipton to Elfros closed; Elfros to Lipton, fair to good.”
Going our way?
When George Hillson, caretaker of the Florence Nightingale Home at Agincourt, Ont., was called away from the chesterfield repair job he was working on to carry the mail to the railway station, he
just left things as they were, planning to finish the chore on his return. This he did, sewing the coverings back into place stoutly. “That’s a neat job of upholstering, even if I do say it myself,” George said, and went on to the next task. A few minutes later one of the boys in the Home dropped onto the newly-repaired chesterfield for a nap. He got up again in a hurry and ran to the matron in much alarm, vowing that the couch was making funny noises. It was, too. Investigation revealed Nutsy, the Home’s pet cat, tucked away among the springs, and very much annoyed about the whole silly business.
In Vancouver a rookie constable in a police prowl car found an automobile parked far beyond the legal limit, promptly slapped a ticket on the windshield. Next day the indignant owner showed up at headquarters flourishing the ticket. If the police knew where his car was well enough to ticket it, why hadn’t they returned it to him eight hours sooner than they did at the time shown on the ticket? The embarrassed rookie discovered then that the auto had been reported stolen many hours before he located it, and that he was carrying the license number with him when he tagged it for overstaying the parking time.
The West’s firmly-held conviction that Easterners are abysmally ignorant of affairs beyond Ontario’s western boundary seems to be substantiated by the Montreal Daily Star’s announcement that the Rev. DeCourcy H. Rayner, who was scheduled to talk about British Guiana at a Kiwanis luncheon, would “give an illustrated address on ‘A Canadian Looks at British Columbia.’ ”
In Stettler, Alta., a schoolteacher was wrestling over the Christmas season with a deluge of problems. Among them was an outbreak of chickenpox, report cards, entertainment for her class, term returns, overseas parcels, seasonable letters to relatives, shopping, and the distribution of some sixty greeting cards. The lady craves pardon and understanding for having addressed and mailed one of her envelopes to:
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Boswell 41 Mill Street Dec. 16/41 ♦
A firm of Toronto patent attorneys received in February a letter dated October 25, 1941, from a Japanese patent agent, informing them that he was handling foreign correspondence from his Shanghai office, because “foreign mails to and from Japan are now meeting with serious inconvenience.” The letter went on: “Such manner of managing my business in connection with Japanese and Manchoukuan patent and trademark matters will be continued till the international situation will be improved remarkably when I will again inform you with my circular letter.”
There’s still room for remarkable improvement.
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