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Niagara Falls
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Ross’s Ramblings: Mrs. Dove should be in Teachers Hall of Fame. But that culvert …
On a balmy Valentine’s Day, seven people attended a culvert summit at Simcoe and Johnson streets. Ross Robinson

‘Twas a joy to read the heartwarming and very personal story by NOTL athlete Wallace Wiens regarding the lifelong contribution that Mrs. Dove made to her quiet and humble life.

She writes so well, painting word pictures and developing relatable scenes that make her story seem like it happened right next door, just last year.

How many other school teachers have gone the extra mile, insightfully seeing the uniqueness of a student who didn’t fit the standard template, getting the highest marks or winning a bunch of ribbons at the annual field day?

Surely there are thousands of unsung educational heroes, all doing their best to do their best for their students and for our society.

In my life, there has been Mr. Dotton, Miss Walker, Mr. Bartlett, Miss Prior, Dean Beck and dozens of others who helped me out along the way. So many of my teachers were superstars, albeit just doing their jobs, and going the second mile.

Happily, my mom and dad never emphasized winning. They always encouraged us to prepare as well as possible and then put forth our best efforts on the day of the competition.

Learning sports and then continuing them into later life was a key and it seems Wallace Wiens is the poster child for this lifestyle.

Let me ramble a bit by saying that for several years I fought very hard, without success, to give every student at Parliament Oak Public School here in NOTL a field day participant ribbon.

It was a total no-brainer to me, but the other members of the school’s parent council voted me down year after year.  One year, shhh, I went to a trophy shop in St. Catharines and personally bought 200 purple and gold “participant” ribbons, one for each student who entered an event.

Not a popular move, but I just had to do it. And I would do it again, if I still had a child in elementary school.

Half a century after finishing secondary school, Wallace Wiens is still “healthy and active, hitting the pavement, heading down that road, running toward yet another goal.

She metaphorically tells us that Mrs. (never knew her first name) Dove is still remembered, “as unforgettable as fresh air and sunshine.”

We should all be so lucky, eh? Now, how can we get the book “Harriet the Spy” back to the proper library, for the enjoyment of students today?

The statute of limitations on theft may have run out, but it would be the right thing to do, and this simple act may change someone’s life. Just kidding, I think.

Keep exercising and running, Wallace Wiens. Your heartfelt and oh-so-personal story has touched my heart and just might get some other people out in the fresh air and sunshine.

Rambling now to Stephen Leacock and his habit of looking for the absurd in his hometown of Mariposa up by Orillia.

Methinks he would have chuckled at the story in last week’s issue of The Lake Report regarding the historic and endangered old stone culvert at the corner of Johnson and Simcoe streets.

Tell me it can’t be true that the Town of NOTL completed a stage one and stage two archeological assessment before construction began.

Friends, this is not in the vicinity of the Colosseum in Rome or the Parthenon in Athens, or even the log chute at the end of Ragged Lake in Algonquin Park.

Historical significance is a relative term, but surely we can agree that an old culvert does not justify an extraordinary amount of work by town staff. And the attendant expense.

The water-moving aqueducts constructed by brilliant Roman engineers, fashioned without huge machines and built by hand deserve our historical reverence and study.

I dropped by the culvert replacement construction site and there were seven, count ’em, people discussing the project. Were they clarifying Bernoulli’s principle of conservation of energy and how the water flow would affect the final outcome of the culvert?

How did we ever build the railway through the mighty Rocky Mountains in only a few years? (We know that many lives were tragically lost due to safety regulations that were lax or almost non-existent.)

And how about the railway lines down the sides of the Fraser Canyon at Hell’s Gate in British Columbia, just south of Boston Bar? That nation-building project had to get done fast and even today we can hardly believe the engineering marvel.

We can hopefully rest assured the town will not be “destroying a piece of its history,” as Lake Report architecture columnist Brian Marshall worried. Yes, we must respect and remember our historic infrastructure, but let’s continue to upgrade our water systems when feasible and financially prudent.

Just ramblin’.

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