Icon at a gas bar

It’s the sort of thing I do mindlessly. Pull up next to the pumps. Pop the gas tank cover lever next to my driver’s seat. Walk around to the pump. Pick up the nozzle. Press the self-serve request for gas. And fill my gas tank. Then, just as mindlessly, I walk into the gas bar booth to pay for my gas. Only this time, when I entered the booth, I was almost bowled over by the music blaring inside.

“There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run,” an unmistakable voice was singing from the booth speakers.

And I nodded my head so the booth attendant would realize I heartily approved. And then I asked him why that music, why that loud?

“Because this month is Canada’s 150th,” he said with a pinch of patriotism. “And after all, it IS the greatest Canadian song ever.”

Kindness of strangers

Marg Wright at her 90th birthday celebration in Winnipeg.
Marg Wright at her 90th birthday celebration in Winnipeg.

The project seemed daunting. On paper, it looked as if I could pull it off. I was young. I had ambition. I had no sense of my limitations. And yet, the idea of actually travelling across the Prairies in search of eyewitnesses to help me document a piece of Canadian history, was just that – an idea and little more. It needed somebody, anybody to give it a vote of confidence. That’s when a couple of business associates offered me a lifeline. They knew I planned to begin my research in Winnipeg.

“Well, if you’re going to spend any time in Winnipeg,” brothers Jim and Hal Sorrenti told me, “you have to stay with Auntie Marg.”