Tuesday 28 September 2021

Four Stories From McBride's Past

    The other evening we had some long-time friends over and of course our conversations soon turned to telling stories of the “good old days” in McBride.  Here are a few that were told:


    There were two hardware stores in McBride, the smaller one was called Fort Electric. The proprietor was a guy named Lyle, who could often be a really miserable person and a lot of people always avoided his store because of it.  He had a small TV by the counter which he watched all day and  Lyle got very irritated if someone came in and asked him a question while he was watching one of his favorite soap operas.

   When Jim, who grew up in the US, first moved to McBride, he needed a broom, so he went into Fort Electric to buy one.  Lyle was watching TV, so Jim went wandering around the store looking for brooms.  He found some brooms, but they were sort of strange looking and didn’t have a price tag on them.  He picked one out and headed to the counter to ask Lyle how much it was. 

   Lyle looked at the broom and said, “$40.00”.  Jim gulped at the price, thinking, “My god, where did we move to if a broom costs $40?”  

   He couldn’t believe a broom could cost $40, so asked, why it cost so much.  Lyle said it was a curling broom (a strange northern sport where players sweep the ice in front of a sliding “rock”).   Jim , who had never heard or experienced curling, then asked if Lyle had any regular household brooms.  He was then directed to another section of the store, and was greatly relieved once he saw the price of the regular brooms.


   Another time Jim needed some kind of cast iron part for something, so first he went to the bigger hardware store.  They didn’t have the part he needed so Jim then had to go to see if Lyle had one in his store.  He told Lyle what he needed and Lyle walked Jim to the back of the store (I guess there was nothing good was on TV).   Lyle pulled out a drawer with a few cast iron parts in it .  Jim found the exact piece he needed, (the only one like it in the drawer) and said he would take it.  

   Lyle told him, “You can’t have it, its the only one I have.  What if someone needs it?” 

   Jim told him, “I need it.”  

   Luckily, Lyle then relented and let Jim buy it.


   When I was working for the Forest Service, there was a forest fire that we were sending a small crew out to fight.  We had to supply them with fire fighting equipment and food.  We needed a styrofoam cooler for the food and didn’t have one in our warehouse, so I was sent to find one.  I checked the bigger hardware store first, but since they didn’t have one, I braced myself and headed over to Fort Electric to find one. 

   I got there, looked around for one while Lyle was watching TV, then I spotted one on a high shelf behind Lyle’s counter. I asked to see it and he reluctantly got it down.  It was covered with dust and must have been sitting up there for years.  I told him I would take it and to bill it to the Forest Service.  

   “Oh, I don’t want to sell it to the Forest Service,” Lyle said,  “it takes too long to get my money.”

    I shook my head and told him that the cooler must have been sitting up there unsold for years, at least now someone was buying it and he would eventually get some money for it.  Lyle did then decide to sell it to the Forest Service.


   There was a little second-hand store in McBride, Jim was looking around in it one day and happened upon a really nice looking suit that fit him (he is fairly tall).  He liked it so took it up to the elderly lady who was running the store and asked how much it was.  Mrs. Mummly looked at the suit and said, “Twenty-five cents.”

   Jim, who was astounded at the ridiculously low price, questioned, “Twenty-five cents?”

   Mrs. Mummly looked again at the suit and said, “Well, how about ten cents?”

You can view my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


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