Story by Norm Richards
Jack, Paddy and I were going to rehearse on July 1st week in preparation for our upcoming concert. Jack called me and said the band and studio equipment is moved to town for safe keeping. The Saskatchewan River is spilling over it's banks. Ralls Island residents are under threat of flooding. This is where we rehearse under normal circumstances. Sandbagging is at an all time high. In addition, Paddy may not be home until late August. "Plans are halted." Jack said. I wondered what my holidays might be like without making music. Oh well, better times will come. My prayers are with the residents of Ralls Island road and the Island people itself. I've always had a connection to the place. Archie Jackson and his family were the first people out there.
Mom and dad were friends with Archie and Babs. She was a Rall. I remember getting freaked out having to cross Rall Creek on a skiff, if you could call it that, to get over to the other side. You'd stand on the thing and pull yourself across by just a rope. Not bad enough, we got there by model T. Archie had the oldest car in town. But once we got over the creek it was great food and warm company. I always felt a bit detached from the experience. I preferred trips to the lake instead.
The Jackson kids were rough and tough types. Since I never had a brother in my daily life. I was gentle compared to them. I grew up with a big sister and her two room mates Olive and Lilian. My grandma took them in, loved and housed them. Their own family came from Moose Lake and Camperville. So rough housing with the Jackson's was a bit off my game. They loved music and that's what they shared with my folks. I loved that.
From the days of only Rall family living on that Island, today many modern homes are situated out there. Gary Joyal and my cousin Cathy live in a beautiful home out there. The river is so swift right now it's really scary. The authorities are building a major dike to protect residents. The Saskatchewan River will not crest until July 7th this year. Houses along the north side of town in The Pas are being sandbagged in unprecedented manner. Where once gravel and mud roads existed on Ralls Island, today two major streets hold modern homes of substantial size and value. Re-routing has changes the place where you wouldn't recognize the place. The strength of a river is massive. Those residents of Minot, North Dakota can attest to that. We pray no lives are taken in the swell.