The Grayson Chronicles: Part II

Written by Harold McNeill on August 30th, 2012. Posted in Adventure


Photo (Web)  Downtown overlooking Marina.  My Uncle Frank and Auntie Louise Yochim along with their seven children operated this Marina for over 30 years.  On Uncle Frank retiring from the business, my cousin Lorin, the second youngest son, took over the business for several years.  My Grandpa and Nana, spent many summers with their children lazing around this Marian.  Cold Lake, of course, was my Grandpa’s hometown about which he has written many stories in the Family 1940-1965 series. (Grayson)  

14. Visiting Auntie Louise and Uncle Frank (Grayson)

Link Here for Part 1 of the Grayson Chronicles

Link Here for Part III of the Grayson Chronicles

Link Here for Part IV of the Grayson Chronicles

We had barely backed in at my Aunties place, when I heard the sound of a police car approaching from somewhere in the yard.  A first I wondered what my Grandpa might have done wrong this time as he seem’s to draw a lot of heat, but, as it turned out, it was one of my cousin’s rushing out to greet me in ‘his’ police car. Man, his car comes equipped with all the bells and whistles that Grandpa said he used to have on his police car.

Cousin Paxton opened the door, asked me to jump in and we were off and running. I like that kid (he just turned four) as he can handle the car like a real pro.  I bet if we hit the street we could meet some chicks just like my Grandpa did when he had his own police care.

Even Grandpa who was no slouch behind the wheel, was in awe. Pax and I, traveling flat out, headed for the park while dodging people, plants, trees and sundrey items in my Aunties back yard. This was a really good start to the Cold Lake part of our adventure.

Photo: I suppose I may look a little apprehensive, but, believe me, from the moment I jumped in, for Pax was petal to the metal.

I love visiting my Aunties place as I find it is like being in the middle of hurricane sized Bed and Breakfast, Coffee Shop, Day Care and Nursery that, when one family, child or friend is just leaving, another has just arrived on the doorstep to fill that momentary vacancy.  Each fall, about the end of September, I have heard that my Auntie starts suffering from withdrawal symptoms when things tape r off.  She has even taken a job as a teaching assistant just to use up some of her excess energy. 

Grandpa said that in the fifty-one years his sister and brother-in-law have been living in the house, first raising seven children, then umpteen grandchildren and now an onslaught of great grandchildren (including Paxton who was my official greeter today), no one has ever heard of anything other than a momentary summer vacancy. With five bedrooms and two driveways, there never seems to be any shortage of space for just one more. If an overbooking should occur their is always more space at Auntie Charlene’s place (Jay’s favourite).

Photo: Two of my Aunties and a bunch of Cousins playing games at Aunties kitchen table.

Actually, it is not really fair to refer to Aunties as a B&B, as it also includes lunch, dinner, snacks and coffee in between. No wonder Uncle Frank won’t leave his humongously comfortable, lazy boy in the living room. If he dared move for ten seconds, someone would lay claim and likely hold it as their bed for the night.  The few times he did chance to move, he ended up sleeping on his boat in the driveway..

We were lucky we were able to park our trailer parked in the driveway and Grandpa was careful to lock the doors whenever we went out, because he knew from past experience that an open trailer with four unattended beds was an open invitation when things became hectic in the house. The rule of “first come, first serve” was the watch words for beds, meals, treats, for a place in a game and just about everything else.

At meals you had to be very diligent in protecting your food. Grandpa told me it was like life on the farm when he was growing up – the kid’s and more than a few adults at breakfast, lunch and dinner would lick their toast or bread after it was buttered or covered with jam, just to stop other people from stealing it.  Grandpa assured me he would never take part in such silly little games.

Another thing that happened at Aunties is that not just one family or visitor shows up, it often included the rest of the town. One day when we were ‘slack lining” (see my next entry) in the park behind the house, several friends and neighbors began showing up to see what was happening. Of course, that was not surprising as everyone in a small town likes to know what everyone else is doing, that’s what makes small towns so much fun – everyone can freely talk about everyone else without fear of creating offence.  In the city we call this gossiping or just being plain nosey, but in a small town it is called being “neighbourly”. 

On this particular day everyone showed up as it was my cousin Skyler’s birthday. Because birthdays are always a big deal in our families, more people were also arriving from cities as distant as Edmonton, Calgary, Phoenix and, of course, we interlopers from Victoria and Kamloops.

While we were all hooting and hollering on the slack line, well not quite everyone, as some preferred the safety of the kids swings, we could see this humongous thunderstorm building in the north over the waters of Cold Lake.

At first we thought it might skip town, but as the winds started to build and the sky darkened, it seemed certain it would make a direct hit on the park and Auntie Louise’s. Uncle Jay, who had warned us of the approaching storm (having vivid memories of the one in Hinton, he was now watching from the safety of the kitchen window. It was not long before he was joined by the park full of people when the storm struck.

Now, if you stick forty or fifty people in Aunties house, it begins to feel just a tad crowded. Of course, that did not make one iota of difference as the board games came out, coffee was made and treats served as the lightening, thunder, wind, rain and hail did its thing for about 30 minutes.

About five minutes into the rain Uncle Jay, who was now looking out the front window, ask one the men, Shaun Hartzell (Photo right), a recently retired CF-18 pilot, why he had not closed the sun roof on his vehicle? Well, CF-18 pilots being the forgetful souls they are, had in fact forgotten and by the time he had it closed, there was about two inches of rain and hail inside the vehicle.

When a shamefaced Shaun, came back in, Uncle Jay asked, in the innocent way only Uncle Jay can ask: “Shaun, did you ever forget to close the canopy on your CF-18?”  Well, that question caught the young pilot flat footed and when no answer was forthcoming and his face turned a slightly deeper shade of red, we were all left to ask the age old question: “Did he or didn’t he?”

Anyway, a few minutes later the sky cleared, the sun came back and we continued the party as if nothing had ever happened. Grandpa said it was much the same as happened at the family farm when the roar of a fighter jet taking off and passing low over the farmhouse, overwhelmed ever other sound. Everyone would all stop talking for about fifteen seconds until the jet passed, then pick up the conversation as if nothing had happened.

Photo: After we all went back outside and started slack lining again, Shaun was still being kidded about leaving his canopy open. His response: “Who me? Never!”

As far as staying at Aunties house, it is really great that Grandpa knows the locations of all the best Bed and Breakfast’s (and lunches and dinners and snacks) in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Link here to more photo’s from our trip: LINK HERE

Link to Grandpa’s FB posts of seasonal scenes around Cold Lake and Northern Alberta: LINK HERE

15. The Slack Lines (Grayson)

It seems everywhere I go in my life, I find kids making up games and having fun without any technology and without adult supervision.  My Grandpa told me that some people, often older people, seem to think that kids can’t do anything for themselves any more, that they have to be entertained by someone or sit in front of a TV or video game or, worst, spend all their time texting rather than talking face to face. While I must admit that I like all those things – well I don’t yet have a phone, so I don’t text – but all others I have and use but they certainly do not define my life. I will provide a few examples.

While in Cold Lake, some of my cousins from Phoenix hooked up a slack line between two trees in the park behind my Aunties home.  The sport comes from New Zealand where one of Aunties grandchildren, Skyler, had been living for year or so after graduating from High School in Pheonix. He stayed at his Mom’s sisters home (Link to Gisborn: Living a Dream). When he came to Cold Lake to work for the summer, he brought a couple of the lines with him. Everyone loved it.

The slack line is like a tight rope but, instead of a rope or cable, uses a flat piece of belt, about 5 cm. wide, stretched between two posts or trees. Walking along a slack line may look easy, but believe me, it’s not. First, it has a lot of stretch and bounce, which more experienced competitors use to do all kinds of aerial tricks. Second, it sways from side to side, again, providing competitors with the motion to perform other tricks.

After a few tries with someone holding my hand, I was finally able to walk a short distance without falling. Grandpa and some of the old farts also did pretty good.  Even that CF-18 pilot was willing to try, but a few others preferred to keep their feet a little closer to ground by standing around watching or sitting on the kid’s swings which were nearby.

Many of my cousins and their friends were very good on the line as they jumped, turned, sat, kneeled and did all sorts of neat tricks. I think it was Skyler who told me that in New Zealand, serious slack liners even perform a “Slacka Haka Haka Dance” as they try to intimidate other competitors into making a mistake. Or was that Grandpa who passed along that little tidbit to me?

I have never seen one of these slack lines around Kamloops but I think if people knew about them, they would become very popular.  Perhaps Grandpa and I can become experts on the slack line and start selling them.

Anyway, back to kids and their activities.  As you may have noted in the pictures (more links provided below) the kids of all ages that you see, from teeny weeny ones all the way through their teens, liked playing games with other kids of all ages.  From the pictures you can also see that when it was to wet outside to play, everyone went inside and either played games or just sat around and talked. While some of the older kids would occasionally text to a friend, this was not something they did all the time while sitting alone in a back room.

I think that people who think kids today cannot make up games and have fun without technology of some sort, are just plain wrong, or, perhaps, the those people are just jealous of all the new and exciting things there are to be found in the world today compared with when they were young.

Photo: During the storm we all gathered in the basement and Skyler initiated a discussion on the “Socialzation Aspects of the Slacka Haka Haka Dance in New Zealand.” Very few people in the group did any texting during that intense discussion. Oh, that’s me in the lower centre with the red shirt and Paxton is just above me.   

A little later I will tell you another story about an unsupervised Zip Line in a small town in Saskatchewan that Grandpa and I found and on which we had a ton of fun. Can you imagine, a ‘zip line’ on which children could play at their leisure without having to sign some kind of ‘release’ and being able to use line without adult supervision. Unbelievable!

Photo’s of Slack Lining: LINK HERE

16. The Cold Lake Air Force Base (Grayson)

Photo: Uncle Greg and I walk under a CF-104 Starfighter that flew from the base when Grandpa was a Crash Rescue Fireman working for the US Air Force.

Grandpa, Bjorn and Uncle Greg took me to the Cold Lake Airbase today to see where Grandpa used to work when he was in High School and then later when he was a fireman at the USAF SAC site. (Link to Firewalkers: A Nuclear Challenge)

Photo: Crest from Grandpa’s bomber jacket.

All around Cold Lake and at the airbase they have many amazing aircraft on display and, later, while sitting beside the main runway, we watched as CF-18 fighters taking off and landing.  Grandpa told me that he and his cousin Gary Schirrmacker, worked on these runways when they were being built.

Still later when Grandpa was with the Fire Department, he and the men he worked with used to set the barrier cables near the end of runway so that when one of the CF-104’s (the old Canadian Fighter Jets) came in ‘hot’ (which they often did) the arrester cable would catch the tail hook on the airplane and pull it to a stop before it ran off the end of the runway. The cable system used was very similar to that used on aircraft carriers.

Later, while we were all having lunch at the base cafeteria, I spied a young pilot sitting with his wife and son, a boy who was about my age.  Grandpa went over, introduced himself and then waved me over.  The man first introduced his wife and son, then when I asked why his uniform was different from the others, he told me he was with the German Air Force on assignment in Cold Lake for six months. He told me he was training with a new unmanned Aircraft the German Air Force had just purchased, a high tech craft called the Global Hawk. 

Grandpa later told me that in a new movie, The Bourne Legacy, that a drone, perhaps a Global Hawk, plays a prominent role during the first ten minutes as it is was used to try and track down and kill two men hiding in the mountains somewhere in Alaska. He told me the pilots of that drone could be sitting on the other side of the world. Amazing, eh?

Also earlier, when talking to Shaun the CF-18 pilot, he told us that the air force had all kinds of drones disguised as various types of birds and bugs.  One looked like the dragon fly pictured below.

We also learned that as the RCAF was short of airplanes and the government would not buy new ones, the air force people just build a bunch of plywood airplaines. These mock airplane looked just like the CF-18s and other aircraft types.  They would park these all over the tarmac so that in aerial photo, they looked exactly like real CF-18s.

Apparently this was meant to lead our enemies into believing we had thousands more fighter airplanes than we actually have.  I wonder how many flying hours Shaun had on those mock CF-18s. It only seems reasonable to me that the CF-18 pilots would need to list flying hours in these airplanes just to further confuse the enemy. In the photos below is one of a mock CF-18s.

Later that day, Auntie Louise took us to the new Cold Lake City and Air Force Museum that was developed within the old Radar Dome that comprised part of Canada’s Defence System back in the 1950s and 60s.  In the Museum we found all kinds of displays taking us from the early years of Cold Lake, the Air Force base and up to the present day oil boom.  I have attached a few photos of our explorations.

Pictures of Cold Lake Air Base: LINK HERE
Pictures of Air Base of Cold Lake History Museum : LINK HERE
Stories of Grandpa’s years as a Crash Rescue Firefighter: LINK HERE.
Story of the Big Kinosoo (Chapter 1): LINK HERE
Story of History of Cold Lake (Chapter 2) LINK HERE

Photo Below (from Web) Global Hawk of type used by German Air Force

Photo: Mockup of CF-18 Fighter Jet at CFB Cold Lake

17. Bowling with Auntie Charlene (Grayson)

Auntie Charlene…oh, first I have to explain about the Cousin and Auntie thing. Charlene is actually my cousin, but because I have so many cousins in Alberta and Saskatchewan, I had to divide them a little differently. I call the older of my thousand and one cousins, Aunties and Uncles, while I call their thousand and one children and grand children, my cousins. It just simplifies things for me, but Poor Grandpa, he is always confused. He just calls everybody “young lady or young man”. I guess that’s because almost everybody is younger than him.

Photo: A few of the decorations that Auntie Charlene and her family made to spruce up the bowling alley.

Anyway, back to the story. Charlene runs this very cool eight lane bowling alley, which she and other family members have been redecorating over the past few weeks. She asked us down one afternoon to bowl a few games, but it seems I have a lot to learn about bowling. Grandpa, on the other had, even thought he is old, has the luck of the Irish. No matter how he throws the ball, it seems to turn out OK.  Oh well, give me a little time and I will show him a thing or two.  At least I remained competitive with Auntie Louise and Bjorn.

Part of the fun of going to a bowling alley when no one else is around is getting to see what happens behind the scenes.  Auntie Charlene took me down where the automatic pin setters do their thing.  We could stand on a walk-way above the pins and watch as the balls came flying by then watch as the pin setter did its thing. The balls I threw were sometimes so slow, I could run to the end of the alley, climb the scaffold and watch my ball drop out the gutter. Just so I didn’t get skunked I shook the strings on the pins and several fell over.  My score started improving until Auntie Louise and Bjorn told me I was cheating.

Photo: Here I am inspecting the pinsetting machine just as a bowling ball came flying through.

Auntie Louise told me that in the old day’s they used to hire kids as ‘pin setters’ to do the work of resetting the pins and Bjorn told me that one of his jobs as a young man was doing just that in a bowling alley Whalley, BC. That was the city to which he and his family moved leaving Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  Bjorn said that bowling alley in Whalley still uses the manual setting technique as the owners firmly believe that the old ways are always best. Hmm……

Link here for more photos from the Bowling Alley: LINK HERE

18. Off to the Chucks (Grayson)

Grandpa had originally tried to get tickets for the Calgary Stampede but found out they were not only very expensive, but also the viewing options very poor.  He decided we would be way better off at a few smaller events – chuck wagon races and rodeos – that rotate all around Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Sure enough when we arrived in Cold Lake we learned there would be CRHA Championship races the following evening.  When we arrived at the races with Auntie Louise, Uncle Jay, Bjorn and Grandpa we found the prices were reasonable ($10 per adult, kids free) and our seats at centre stage provided a close view of the start finish line. Before the races kicked off they had a couple of championship stunt motorcyclists from British Columbia performing on the track right in front of the grandstand (see the attached pictures).

On checking out the program, Grandpa noted that several of the championship racing wagons from the Calgary Stampede were in the line up.  That included a wagon owned by cousins we would meet later in Saskatchewan, the Rusway Construction team.

As the evening was mild, the view from the grandstands with the sun at our backs, was ideal. It was no hassle parking and we were chauffeured the stands in a small tractor pulling a wagon. In every way it seemed much better than Calgary considering the horror stories we heard about the chucks in Calgary. We were glad we took this option.

With four wagons per race it was all very exciting as you can see in the lead photo where all four wagons and outriders head into the home stretch. The Rusway Construction team is not in that photo but came second in their heat which seemed to be a good start to the three day event. In the attached photos you will see pictures of the team and driver. A few of the photos were taken two years earlier in Battleford during races which Jay and Grandpa attended.

As we were moving on the following day toward Saskatchewan, we would only take in this one particular evening of racing.  It was too bad that Grandpa has not yet been able to find me a cowboy hat.  Oh well, I will just keep bugging him and he said we would keep looking. Come to think of it, I might also ask him for a pair of cowboy boots, hmmm and maybe a shirt?

LINK HERE for more photos of chuck wagon races.

19. Louis Riel, Frog Lake and Beyond (Grayson)

OMG, would you believe it. For the second time today, Grandpa and Bjorn have gotten us lost and this time we can’t even see the road. No sun and we can hardly tell whether it is day or night as there is nothing but dust.  Although we have not see a sign welcoming us, Grandpa, assures us we must be in Saskatchewan because Alberta does not have this many gravel roads left since they found oil and decided to pave over the Province. He thinks that if the Alberta Government continue paving at the present rate, Alberta will soon become one big paved and lined parking lot.

The nightmare we are presently in started right after leaving Cold Lake on Highway 28, then east for a short distance on Hyw. 55, then south on 897 towards the Elizabeth Colony, a Métis Settlement.  In all the years living in Cold Lake Grandpa had never driven by the Colony and wanted to take a peak.  Well, after a half hour, Grandpa says we are traveling West instead of south and east. I’ll bet a dollar to a donut we are lost.  After another hour we see a sign telling us we are a short distance from Frog Lake. Holly cow, we have been lost for an hour and a half. Grandpa say’s, don’t worry, I can now show you where some of our distant relatives used to live and only a short distance from where I lived when I first started in Grade 1 in Harlan, Saskatchewan (Link to Harlan Series) (Note: Chapter 2 provides our family history)

Bjorn got all excited as he has a great interest in all things historical. A short time later we arrived at the National Historical Site at Frog Lake. It was around this area many of Grandpa’s relatives lived, with some were even connected to the Riel Rebellion and the uprising that took place at Frog Lake.  Buried at the gravesite was one setter by the name of John Delaney (grave marker pictured left) who was among eight white settlers killed and who was the Great Grandfather of Grandpa’s Aunt Hazel Wheeler (Martineau) who was the wife of Grandpa’s mom’s brother, Melvin Wheeler. Grandpa told me he has written about this in another story (LINK HERE)–-chapter-2-of-6

We spent a couple of hours checking out the site and Grandpa told Bjorn a lot of work has been done since he and Uncle Jay visited her two years earlier. I have attached several pictures of the site  LINK HERE

While at the site and Grandpa was taking pictures, we ran into a group of six sisters on a tour of the same sights we intended to see. They were also looking at their family history.  Being who I am and my strong need to chat with people, it was not long before these ladies were ready to adopt me.  Is that not neat?  Anyway they had to satisfy themselves with a few pictures as a memory of our meeting.

After bidding our farewells we are off and running, heading into Saskatchewan along a rather rough gravel roads leading to the Onion Lake Territory. Wrong!

It was not long before the roads became very bad with wash board so rippled that Grandpa had to slow down to about 10 km/hour just to keep from shaking the trailer loose from the car. We entered a small native community and managed to get some general directions that would take us in the general direction of Frenchman’s Butte (another Riel Rebellion National Historical Site not far Fort Pitt, which was another National Historical Site that Grandpa had visited a couple of years earlier with Uncle Jay.

It was not long before the road totally disappeared in a cloud of dust.  Grandpa said not to worry as during his flying years he had had some instrument flying training and could handle these low visibility conditions. Big deal, I don’t know how that will help when we are on the ground driving on roads that barely exist. Perhaps we will ‘land’ in water filled ditch or pond. That would surely break our descent!

After thirty minutes of feeling his way along the road, Grandpa, in frustration, pulled off to wait for someone coming by who might help. After a few minutes a young man, driving a truck that was many years older than him, stopped and asked if we needed help. Grandpa said something like: “No shit son, we have been lost for the past two days and our food and water is running out. Does this dust ever clear?” Well, the young laughed, said, “Not in Saskatchewan” then gave us some pretty good directions through the maze towards Frenchman’s Butte. A half hour later we were in Frenchman’s and sitting in a wonderful little coffee shop, museum run by a number of senior citizens from the surrounding area.

Buying lunch in this shop was by donation as the women put out a selection of delicious sandwiches, cookies and cakes as well as a bottomless coffee pot. We sat with an old timer in a cowboy who had lived in the area for nearly 85 years and had only recently stopped cattle ranching.  His wife and her friends were running this little coffee shop while they quilted upstairs.

Next door was the museum which they also maintained with loving care but, sadly, the writing was on the wall. Unless the Federal Government stepped in to maintain this facility, within a very few years the community of Frenchman’s Butte would be all but abandoned.  For the better part of 100 years this was a thriving community that served several dozen farms and Indian bands, many which traced directly back to the years of the Riel Rebellion.  With the passing of this last group of early settler’s and as their children gravitated to the larger cities and towns, Frenchman’s Butte would soon become a ghost town filled with only tumbleweeds and crumbling buildings as the only reminder of it’s once vibrant past.

As we pulled out of the Butte, Grandpa told us that when he first started school back in the 1940s, he lived not far from here in a place called Harlan. The old school house in which he first studied with Auntie Louise, his sister and Auntie Betty (Dewan), is still standing. The story of those years was linked above.

As we climbed back in to finish the trip to Uncle Leonard and Auntie Helen’s farm, I made a vow to myself that when I grew up I wanted to travel just like Grandpa – just pick a path, any path and see where it leads you. As he has said time and time again, “if you are willing to just explore without overthinking things to much, things always have a way of working out and you will learn a lot along the way.”

Grayson Edward Walker (2012)

Link Here for Part ii of the Grayson Chronicles

Link here to photo’s of Frog Lake adventure: LINK HERE

September 19, 2012.  The following information was plucked from a Genealogy site:

Also note by Phylis Wicker.Glicker

Hazel Martineau [Wheeler] daughter of Adrien Louis Napoleon Martineau b. Oct. 18, 1875 St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada and Margaret Delaney b. Nov. 30, 1885 Frog Lake, Alberta, Canada. Adrien is the son of Hermin Martineau b. Brittany France mar. (1) Annie Macbeth (2) Angeline LaBelle. Hermin Martineau is the son of Ovit Martineau b. Brittany, France.
I have just begun researching the Delaneys and Martineau”s so I don’t have much. But I would love to hear from you and share what I have. I was married once to Frank Martineau, grandson of Adrien Louis Napoleon Martineau and would love to learn about Margaret Delaney’s family for me and my childrens sake.


Harold Comment:  I am not sure if this is correct, but it seems to fit with the details I have previously researched.


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Comments (1)

  • Harold McNeill
    August 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm |

    Hi Frank,

    Cannot see that we have any friends in common on linked in. Hard to tell these days what is spam and what is sincere. If you pick this up send me something on Linkedin. Cheers, Harold

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  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email:

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.