Miles away Tom Gillis boarded the stage bound for Kievers Creek. Dust followed the loaded coach as Tom opened his portfolio. He glanced over the papers and closed the case, satisfied with the contents. Occupying himself with the passing scenery, he gazed out the window, visualizing railroad tracks running east to west. A small herd of buffalo in the distance rumbled along.
A smallish man sat in the corner of the coach. Holding a pad of paper he wrote as he looked up with a blank look in his eyes.
Tom looked over at the man.
“What brings you out this way?” he asked.
He looked up, and put his pen down.
“Adventure. Stories. Real people. Not the city type of struggles, real struggles. Man against nature, man against outlaw. Stories.” he replied.
Tom looked around, the scenery flew past the stagecoach window
“I know what you mean. The railroad brings me here. My name is Tom Gillis, and yours is?”
“Paul Newman, writer. Pleased to meet you.”
At the Kievers Creek Full Gospel Church (doubling as the Town hall) pastor Pat Buttram walked around the hall. Gaily decorated banners filled the walls, and the front stage was filled with bright flowers and musical instruments the Sons of the Pioneers had left there earlier in the day. The ladies auxiliary was busy preparing a pot luck, and the Sons of the Pioneers munched a light snack between practicing.
Pat looked at the wide array of good before him. He reached out to sample one of the cakes.
“Pat, put that back.” Doc Mix warned. “Caught you Pastor Pat. Remember your diet. No sweets, and lots of exercise.”
“Ahh Doc, just one. I’ve been doing my exercise like you told me” Pat implored.
Doc Mix walked over to the pudgy pastor.
“Now Pat, I told you it’ll be hard in the beginning, and easier later.”
Pat looked down longingly at the smorgasbord of sweets.
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one being stared down by these home made goodies. Could I have one now, and a couple later?” he asked,.
Doc eyed the pastor up.
“Do what you want today, for tomorrow, back on the diet!”
Pastor Buttram smiled and quickly gobbled an apple square.
“Thanks Doc. Thanks, this is my last day of treats. I promise.”
Doc Mix grinned and turned back to putting up the last banner.
“For this week” he said under his breath. “Pastor, keeping you on a diet is more work than keeping the whole town healthy.”
Pat smiled and laughed.
“I take that as a compliment Doc. Now, let me help you finish putting up the banner. Now I need the exercise. Besides, people will start coming in about half an hour.”
The sun carried on its trek, lighting up the sky with florescent glory. Blue turned to orange, and orange to red. Soon, before long, the stars would light the heavens, and the moon would again rise to cast its eerie light upon the earth beneath.
As the sun began its final arc to the horizon, the people filtered in. The hall filled up quickly as word spread like wildfire that the outlaw gang was captured! Freedom was again present in Kievers Creek and area, it was time to celebrate. From as far away as Laramie, people came, to say thanks.
Beaming faces filled the crowd, smiling families overflowed the dance floor, children zoomed in and out, and squirted between legs. Young adults talked amongst themselves, and the adults, those who had their dreams stilled, now felt their passion for the future renewed.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto mingled uneasily with the crowd. Grateful ranchers offered their thanks and in one case, a daughter in marriage. The Ranger politely refused. Soon they found Gene Autry in conversation with with Reverend Buttram, apple pie in hand.
Pat finished the last bite of pie.
“Thanks Gene, and thanks Lone Ranger and Tonto. If it weren’t for your help, shucks, you know what I’m saying. Thanks Tonto” he said shaking Tonto’s hand enthusiastically. “ Thanks Ranger.”
“You’re welcome Reverend Buttram. We did what anyone else would have done in the same circumstance” the Ranger replied.
At the end of the hall, the Sons of the Pioneers stepped on stage. Nearby sheriff Roy and Dale stood beside them. Bob Nolan put his hands up in the air.
“Ladies and gentlemen” he started to say. “The town council has asked me to welcome Roy Rogers officially, even though it’s a little late. “
Cheering came from the crowd.
“We’d also like to officially nominate him as Sheriff, if he’d accept it” he continued.
Roy stepped up to the front. He spoke.
“I accept your nomination for the job of sheriff of Kievers Creek!” he exclaimed.
The people of Kievers Creek cheered again. They laughed, yelled, and hollered their appreciation.
“All those in favor of Roy being sheriff, say aye!” he said.
Every hand in the hall went up.
Bob Nolan turned to Roy. He offered his hand to him. They shook.
“Welcome, Sheriff Roy Rogers, to Kievers Creek! Yee Ha!”
“Speech” Gabby yelled.
The crowd chanted.
“Speech! Speech! Speech!”
Dale pushed Roy closer to the edge. She whispered to him.
“Well, thanks for your support. It’s been a busy couple of days. Haven’t really settled in yet. I’ve been shot at more times than I’ve eaten here” he stated.
The crowd laughed.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto waited in the back of the hall. Tom Gillis, and Paul Newman walked into the back door.
“Where can I find the Sheriff Bill Stockton?” he asked briefcase in hand.
Tonto pointed to the front of the hall.
“Him there, beside woman.”
Tom Gillis took a step ahead, then turned back.
“Do you own land around here?” he asked. “I’m with the railroad.”
“No sir, we don’t. But the good people of Kievers Creek do. And they’re ready for you.” the Ranger said.
Tom Gillis looked at the pair of men.
“Do you ride a silver stallion?” he asked.
“Yes, I do.” the Ranger replied.
Tom held out his hand, and smiled.
“Then I guess you’re the Lone Ranger and Tonto, aren’t you?” he said.
The Lone Ranger nodded.
“Yes, we are.” he admitted.
“I’m mighty proud to meet you. I’ve heard stories about you I found hard to believe. Someday, you’ll be a legend. Excuse me Lone Ranger, I’ve got some papers to deliver to the Sheriff.”
Paul Newman stopped beside the Lone ranger and Tonto. He held out his hand.
“I’m Paul Newman, pleased to meet you two. I’ve also heard many stories about you. Would you mind if I wrote them. “
The Ranger and Tonto shook the writers hand.
“Mr Newman. It’s a free country. If the stories inspire men to do what’s right, please do so.” he replied.
“Remember Mr Newman, we are a people with dignity” Tonto added.
“Yes, I will Tonto. Thanks thanks a lot” he said excitedly.
Tom Gillis walked to the front, the people parted before him.
“Sheriff Bill Stockton?” Tom asked.
“No, Sheriff Roy Rogers” he replied smiling.
Tom Gillis looked confused.
“I’ll explain it to you later. Now, how can we help you?” he asked.
“My name is Tom Gillis, and I represent the railroad” he said matter of factly. “I have been charged to buy land for the coming railway. By this time next year, the sound of train whistles will be a common sound in Kievers Creek.”
The crowd milled around Mr Gillis and yelled excitedly. In a few minutes, they calmed down.
“Tomorrow, we’ll talk. It seems that you’re celebrating. And I think I’ll join you.”
Pat Buttram spoke up.
“You’re welcome to, as folks will be real happy to talk to you. By the way, do you like home baking?” Pat said.
Roy started to speak again.
“As a final thanks. We’d like to ask the Lone Ranger and Tonto up to the front and thank them properly. Can you come to the front men?” Roy asked.
“They’re gone. Left a couple of ….”
“Hi Yo Silver Away!” the Ranger shouted.
“God bless’em both.” Pat Buttram said.
In the distance, the Lone Ranger and Tonto paused for a moment. They both turned back and listened to the townspeople joining together in song. A thoughtful moment passed between them. Reining Silver and Scout around, they galloped off into the annals of the early western United States.
The Lone Ranger rides again!
Postlude: Peace, then What?
“Wow, that was some adventure Tom” Eddie said breathless.
“I guess Gene, Roy, the Lone Ranger and Tonto could work together” Bill added.
And it was a grand adventure. We, in our alter egos, had triumphed over villainy and made the streets safe for women and children. Life could go on again in Kievers Creek. The Lone Ranger and Tonto rode off into the Western United States to take on the League of the Black Arrow, Roy Rogers got Dale, again. Gene Autry stayed on as head of the Cattlemen’s Association. The railroad successfully transformed another town.
My mother yelled out the back door.
I jumped up with excitement.
“All right, guys. I got to choose supper tonight. Bye guys. Don’t forget to close the door when you leave” I said as I left the fort and ran in for supper.
Ed, Bill and Tom waited for a few minutes. Their suppers were later. Bill looked at Tom.
“Scissors, Stones, Paper” Bill said.
The three boys played. Bill lost.
“See you later Tonto, Gene” he said as he left the fort.
Ed picked a number between zero and ten.
“Five” Tom guessed.
“No, eight! I win. Your turn to leave.”
Tom left the fort.
“See you Gene.”
“Adios amigo” Eddie replied.
He crawled out the door, and closed it.
The fort was empty now. The pictures of their heroes yelled out.
“Thanks. Adios. Hi Yo Silver Away. Until we meet again.”
Eddie closed the door of the fort, his spurs jangled. He turned towards home, and ran.
Inside the fort, the pages of the comic books began to turn. They stopped, and…
DEFINITELY NOT THE END!
Thanks for reading folks….if you want this whole story in print form, let me know at [email protected]!
Click here to read more of Tim’s stories, along with the rest of this book.
City to experiment with Winter Outdoor Patio
From the City of Red Deer
Ross Street Patio to remain open for winter pilot program
“We know downtown businesses are struggling as a result of the pandemic and we want to continue our support to help them mitigate the negative affects of COVID-19,” said Bobby-Jo Stannard, Community Development Superintendent. “Extra space provided by the patio allows nearby food and beverage businesses to expand and increase their capacity, while adhering to safety guidelines and restrictions.”
The winter patio pilot project in Red Deer follows decisions by both Calgary and Edmonton to extend their seasonal patio programs amid COVID-19. The project involves a partnership with these businesses that includes maintenance, snow and ice control, litter collection, and programming.
Downtown businesses with seasonal summer patios will be contacted by City staff regarding the option to renew their permit for the winter months.
A comprehensive evaluation will be completed in the spring to evaluate the success of the program and to determine the viability of retaining the patio as a year round amenity.
The Ross Street Patio – A Summer to Remember
“If you wish to make a space safe and vibrant you must occupy that space.”
If you happened to visit the Ross Street Patio installation over the summer, you likely would have seen just that; a vibrancy that was created through positive, collaborative engagement.
The Ross Street Patio installation has been a mainstay in Red Deer’s downtown for close to a decade. The area, located on the north lanes of Ross Street adjacent to the Cenotaph Park offers beautiful greenery in the form of planters, flowers and trees as well as patio tables with umbrellas and benches. Each year the City of Red Deer with the support of the Downtown Business Association create this lovely space for citizens to gather and enjoy a coffee or snack, enjoy programming in the form of live music and other entertainment, and take in the sights and sounds of a more bustling city centre.
The summer of 2020 saw a massive increase in foot traffic to the area, possibly more than any summers in the past. The spring was a time of uncertainty for many of the businesses in the area, and the restaurants in the area were making preparations to open their doors to the public after being closed for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Restaurants and bars were given the green light to reopen their doors in late May and by early June most had.
Over the course of the following few weeks, these businesses began setting up their own patios within the boundaries of the Ross St. Patio. Tribe, Tacoloft, Occam’s Razor, and The Velvet Olive Lounge/Capitol Package Store are all very different food and beverage joints with one thing in common: they were all neighbors sharing the same uncertainty.
And then, it happened. What began as a conversation on the patio with Kyle Key, owner of the Olive and the Capitol Package Store, and musician Paeton Cameron, and a few others, became what would be remembered as one of the greatest summers on the Ross Street Patio to date.
The Velvet Olive had previously been “the spot” for live music downtown. With open mic nights for musicians to have space to show off their talents, and other live music events weekly. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic these live music venues were prohibited from showcasing live music inside their establishments, leaving musicians with essentially nowhere to play, and left music lovers longing to hear live music again.
“Let’s do it outside.”
It was a thought, then a conversation, and then it was happening. On a warm Thursday night, Kyle, Paeton, and friends put up a tent directly in front of the restaurants, plugged in a couple speakers, and invited musicians to sign up for the first ever “Open Mic Night” – outdoors, on the Ross Street Patio. It didn’t take long before the people began to gather, safely and respectfully, to listen to the live music they had been starved of for months. And it didn’t take long for the other businesses to see the benefits and reap the rewards. By the following Thursday, Tribe, Tacoloft, and Occam’s Razor all offered to support the live music by pitching in on costs, promotions, and maintaining the space. Before long there were up to 3 live music events per week that were programmed by the businesses. This was in addition to the programming created by the DBA and made the Ross Street Patio the most popular space in town. And the businesses all reported a remarkable increase in foot traffic and sales as a result of its popularity. Over the next few months the area had garnered such attention that photographers and film crews began attending to document the successes, and the citizens of Red Deer were calling to make reservations at the establishments, sometimes weeks in advance.
One of the last great events to take place on the “Ross Street Stage” was a collaboration between the 4 businesses, four breweries, and 11 local musicians. The “Save Our Stages – Originals Open Mic” night on Sept 18 was broadcast live over the internet. Each of the 11 musicians was invited to play 3 songs, all originals, to the excited crowd that filled the seats of the businesses’ patios and the Ross Street Patio seating. Filmed and broadcast by the team at Hot Shoe Studio the event was a huge success, culminating in a show of support by the local RCMP. As the sun set, approx 10-12 RCMP patrol vehicles slowly passed the Ross Street Patio with lights flashing and sirens sounding as a salute to the citizens of Red Deer and the businesses for doing their part to make the downtown safe and vibrant, by occupying that space. The cheers were deafening, and the tears of joy were real. What a summer, and what a city.
Thanks to the City of Red Deer for providing the space. Thanks to the Downtown Business Association for the support and additional programming. Thanks to the businesses for breaking down their silos and working together for the greater cause. And thanks to the citizens of Red Deer for showing up, supporting local, and being generally good in the world.
I’ve never been more proud to be a Red Deerian, and I can’t wait for next summer.
To watch the full Originals Open Mic video click here: https://youtu.be/8fzMIT8pIyE
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