You are here

Rainy River is such a great place!

Letter to the Editor,
When you visit a place like Rainy River you really appreciate how wonderful it is to grow up in a small town with a sense of pride, history and hospitality.
July 21st and 22nd, my wife ,two daughters, and five grandchildren made the trip from New Liskeard, another small town on the Quebec border, a journey of about one thousand miles. We came to attend the interment ceremony for my mother, Doris Katona, who passed away in October, 2011. What was a poignant and emotional experience was also a delightful bonding time for my family.
I was so proud to have them see my hometown in all its summer glory. Railroad Daze was winding down on Sunday afternoon when we arrived just in time to be caught up in the excitement of the cardboard boat races. We had never seen anything like it. What a hoot! Within a few minutes chatting with one of the organizers, we established that my father had bought his grandfather’s farm back in the early 40’s. I got to shake hands with a former mayor who remembered my family. Our grandchildren were quickly welcomed into a group of kids swimming at the dock. They loved it! Then three really great guys came along with a boat and very hospitably offered to take the kids for a tube ride along the river. If screaming means you’re having fun, they really had fun!
On Monday I headed to the bake-shop/cafe where I knew I’d catch up with my cousins to make sure they felt welcome to come to the ceremony. I drove the streets for awhile and was struck with the sense of how, although some things change, the feeling of continuity and permanence pervades a small town , underlying it’s character and making it truly feel like it is still home.
I took my daughters to our homestead farm to collect a little container of soil to be included in my mother’s burial service. We met the former neighbour who had purchased our farm in Gameland. He showed us around the buildings that have been erected on that site. The place looks great. I was so amazed that a field of yellow trefoil that I planted forty-five years ago is still yielding a good crop and has never been plowed under.
The minister who took the service was a close family friend of my mother’s sister which made her participation very special to us. She not only knew how to incorporate the things our family wanted to do and say in the service, she also knew just when to pause between prayers because the train was going to blow its whistle at a certain precise time. What a secure feeling reidents must have knowing they can set their watches by the afternoon train.
The hardest part of the whole experience was trying to pry the kids away from their newfound swimming buddies at the dock when we left late Monday afternoon. Our son had to catch his flight back to Waterloo via Winnipeg, so, although there was really no reason to stay, it was hard to leave this beautiful little town I once called home and I am so proud to be from.
–Jerry Katona
New Liskeard, Ont.