Archive for June, 2010


Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I’m staying in Fort McMurray to do some wine sales at the liquor stores. It has gone well and I enjoy talking to the people managing the liquor stores. For the most part they are friendly but good business men and women. Fortunately for me most of them enjoying drinking wine as well.

A few decades ago I spent the summer in Fort McMurray working for Canadian Utilities at their power plant. The plant, small by almost any standards, supplied power for the town other that the tar sandsĀ (it had less than 5000 people in those days- now it has close to 70,000). The power plant used old ship generators to provide the power. One had the nickname of “Old Wobble”, given because how much it shook while operating.

So I returned to where the power plant used to sit. Now it is a flat piece of ground with a fence protecting the empty lot. I also traveled down Franklin Avenue, the main road in those days. I remembered the Peter Pond Hotel where I went to drink a few beers and also the slightly wilder Oil Can Hotel where fights occurred, strippers danced and bad country music played.

The Peter Pond has been torn down and made into a shopping mall. The Oil Can is still there. I’m not sure about the fights there but they do have a metal detector at the entrance. The strippers- yes they are still there (hopefully not the same ones) and the country music still plays there. I understand that has improved.

So what do I make out of all this? Power plants come and go but strippers will always be with us? Well, that might be true. But really, take a look around you. What seems so permanent can disappear so easily, so take a mental snapshot what is important to you. It’s worth it to remember.