Although I’ve worked for Loram since 2010 at the main office in Hamel, Minnesota — Minnesota isn’t my home. I grew up in rural Western New York, just a stone’s throw from scenic Niagara Falls.
Besides visiting “the Falls” and other regional attractions, my early experience with Canada came from my family’s yearly summer fishing trips into the Province of Ontario beginning in the early 1970’s. Each summer we met many natives and vacationers – all were friendly and welcoming. I never got used to the colloquial ‘eh?’ that seemed to end nearly every sentence… “Beautiful sunrise this morning, eh?” Of course, there were other subtle differences, but that stood out as unique and something that no one from the States would ever say — in the two minutes it took to cross the Rainbow Bridge we had entered into an entirely different culture!
My father was an avid walleye fisherman or as I learned to call them ‘pickerel’. Before the days of electronic fish finders, he was content to sit for hours in a rented aluminum boat drifting with the wind and hoping to run into a school.
God, how I hated walleye fishing! Memory is a tricky thing, but the sensation felt like something that vacillated between impatiently waiting seeing how long it took to drown a night crawler and occasionally reeling in a fish that had about as much fight as a waterlogged stick.
Luckily, as I we got older, my father felt my older siblings and I should be able to go off on our own; after all, 6 people fishing off the side of a small boat was more than any of us could stand for too long. One afternoon I found myself in a borrowed canoe. It may not sound like much, but it changed how I felt about fishing. Paddling leisurely around some small islands, I was able to lob a Hula Popper into the shallows under some overhanging tree limbs. There was a pause, a huge swirl, and a hugely disappointing miss! On the next cast a few seconds later my first 5-lb large-mouth bass surged to the surface, shook his head and then dove for cover. It was a heck of a fight for 12 year old with a fiberglass rod and a Zebco 202 reel; it seemed to make time stand still. I landed that fish – but looking back, I think that single fish is what keeps me on the water today entering in local bass tournaments with my Loram fishing partner.
When my mind goes back to growing up, summer days, and family trips; I think Canada.
Chris P – Loram Maintenance of Way