want to salute one of mine. We met at University of Manitoba in
Saluting friendship A
s we age we begin to appreciate and understand what real friendship means to us. Some of us have friends that have lasted well over fifty years and I
1964 and were introduced by a mutual friend. I thought she was very attractive and yet somewhat aloof but that was not an issue. So I decided to take a chance and ask her out on a date. To tell the truth the date was not going well. Conversa- tion was strained and awkward. It was the middle of February and bitterly cold month that year. The chill on the date matched the weather.
In an attempt at gallantry I told her to
wait at the entrance to the venue and went to warm up the car and bring it around. I pulled the car up in front and hopped out leaving the music playing and went to open her door. When I reached the door handle, I soon realized that I had forgotten to unlock the door from the inside (remember this was 1965 and no automatic door opening). As soon as I realized it, I col- lapsed with laughter as it was such a grand gesture and it fell completely flat. I was leaning against the car laughing at myself and she was standing there laughing, too. So I went around and opened the door. As we were about to drive away she said, “You have completely redeemed yourself with that laughter,” and went on to say that she thought I was really okay if I could laugh at myself. That was the beginning of a truly deep and beautiful
friendship that has endured and sustained us over the years. We helped one another through various romantic escapades with other people issuing advice and support
when needed. Often on a weekend neither of us felt the need for a date and would take off to a movie together, which was another mutual passion that we shared. One weekend we had gone to see a movie that we wanted to discuss and dissect. She invited me in to have coffee at her par- ents’ home. When we got into the kitchen there was a lemon pie on the counter that her mother had made that day. She decid- ed that we should have a piece with our coffee. Her mother made a particularly good lemon pie, too. After our first piece and more talk we decided to have another. And slowly but surely we had demolished the entire pie and talked until 5 a.m. about life, love and all things that mattered to us. When we were done we decided to wash the dishes and put the glass pie plate away as well.
When her mother woke in the morn-
ing she came down to the kitchen. She proceeded to make another lemon pie. When my friend came to the kitchen for coffee, her mother said, “I must be losing it. I was sure I had made a lemon pie yesterday.” My friend was afraid to tell her that we had demolished the pie. That evening I was invited to dinner at her home with
her parents and her aunt and uncle. When the lemon pie was served we almost choked with laughter and had to finally confess our transgression at the table to gales of laughter from the family. We have shared so many things in our lifetime and
one of them was child rearing as both of us adopted our families at a very close time frame. We still share anec- dotes and discuss our kids when we talk as in doing so
uesday night was a sacred eve- ning in my childhood. Tuesdays were the night that my mother and her friends held their weekly bridge club. When it was our turn to host, we would come home from school, have an early din- ner and start to transform our house into the Bridge Club HQ. Furniture was moved, card tables were set up. All the decadent candies
and drinks we
were not allowed to keep in our house would mi- raculously appear, set out in fancy crystal bowls that we only use on special oc- casions.
My dad would immedi-
ately head to the basement and work on whatever project he currently had on the go and the kids got early baths and sent to bed so that the bridge game was not interrupted. My mother and her group have con-
Nancy Cooke On the Hustings
Bridge – cards and life lessons T
tinued this ritual for over 40 years, still on Tuesdays. These nights and the mys- tery of the game they played and the camaraderie they enjoyed are some of my favorite memories of childhood. As an adult with chil-
dren of my own, I am able to look back on this group of women who have stuck together in this weekly card game with a sense of awe. There are so few things in life that inspire that level of commitment and loyalty for a group of people. Long before the days of political correctness, one of the husbands dubbed them the “Bridge Bags.”
None of them were offended; they wore the name as a badge of honour for their secret club. The group con- sisted of eight players but, depending on the schedules of the regulars, there were coveted “sub” spots that became
20, 1919, Roy Allen opened the first root beer stand in Lodi California. The first A&W promotion was giving away Root Beer to soldiers returning from World War 1. Frank Wright, an employee, soon became Allen's busi- ness partner. Their last initials were A and W.
A&W turns 100 T
his year is the Centennial for a restaurant chain with many ties to the Winnipeg area. On June
In 1956, Richard Bolte, and Orval Helwege opened the first Canadian A &W Drive Inn on Portage Avenue in the municipality of Assiniboia. It was located beside the Park Gasoteria. A&W, with various renovations, re- mained at the site until March 2015. They have moved slightly east to 3011 Portage Avenue. During the 1960s, most A&W's were
we learn a lot about our own children. We were lucky also to have met people who understand our friendship and are comfortable with it. Her husband and my wife have had to endure many a boring conversation as we get caught up on mutual acquaintances, but now they are just as active participants in the melee. When she was getting married she called me and said ‘find me a wedding dress’, and I knew exactly what she meant as I knew her taste to a tee. Being in the fash- ion business at the time I had very good entree to find her what she wanted to wear. I even had the headpiece made to go with it. The amazing thing was she loved it and it fit her perfectly. To make things even sweeter, she then asked me to give the toast to the bride for which I was deeply honored. We talk frequently on email and on the phone and every time it seems like we are picking up the threads from the last conversation. When we see one another it’s like time rolls away and we are still exploring the depths of our relationship. My wife Barbra always says that if the time had been different I would have asked this friend to be my “best person” at our wedding. But I had no need to have done that for she will eternally be my “best person”, someone I love and respect for so many qualities and attributes including her ability to cut through B.S. I hope she and I will continue to enjoy the fruits of
our friendship for another fifty years. As we are closing in on her birthday in March, this is a salute to her. Such friendship is not given to everyone in life and I treasure it daily. I am indeed a very fortunate person to have had her in my life all these many years. Jim has a regular show on CJNU 93.7 FM, “A class act
with Jim Pappas”. It airs Mondays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
available from time to time, allowing new players a glimpse into this group, with the hope that one day they might be able to become a regular. There are only a couple of ways to become a reg- ular… someone has to move or become unable to play. Over 40 years, only rarely did some-
one move away. When someone be- came physically unable to play, these ladies would take the group to the member who could not travel out, if not to play cards then to just visit and support each other. Despite the relatively small size of the
group, their history reflects the evolu- tion of women from the early 1970s to today. Women in the group included educated, professional women, and part and full-time stay-at-home moms. They were teachers, social workers and nurses and they were all married. There were only a couple of divorces and sad- ly one case of domestic abuse that was so well hidden, members did not know until she divorced her husband and got a restraining order. Sadly, she was ul-
timately killed by her ex-husband. The ladies tried to help her and they stuck together through that shocking tragedy. As they advance in age, there have
been other illnesses and deaths but they have turned to each other for support I realize now what a gift this experi-
ence has been for me throughout my life to see this amazing circle of women come together and stay together over 40 years. I have many good friends that I have made over the years and I make an effort to see them on a regular basis but nothing as organized as the Bridge Bags.
The game of bridge remains filled with mystery to me as to this day I have never learned how to play, but it will always have a special place in my heart.
My friend John Hindle teaches a
one-day program called Learn How To Play Bridge. Maybe I will have to en- roll one of these times! You can reach Nancy Cooke to comment on this article at nancycooke11@gmail. com.
drive-ins. By the early 1990s, the drive- ins had been phased out and replaced by indoor restaurants with drive- throughs and shopping mall locations. The last Winnipeg drive-in was located at 104 Chrystal in St. Vital. The new- est indoor concept includes a sink in the customer area, and many different types of seating. These seating options include booths, stools, handicapped tables, and outdoor seating. A&W has recently opened two new
restaurants at 1616 King Edward, and 1450 Plessis Road. The December 18, 2018, opening of a restaurant at 1616 King Edward marks a return to the St. James industrial area. A&W once had a prominent presence in and around this areas in St. James. In 1959, A&W opened a root beer
stand at 1866 Ellice. They celebrated their opening by giving away free root beer with a burger purchase. In 1970, a location at 1075 Notre Dame opened at the former site of Eastern Sales.
These locations serviced a significant lunch hour demand for the St. James industrial area. During the late 1960s, the A&W Canadian Head Office was actually located in this neighborhood at 1666 Dublin before moving to Van- couver. Winnipeg regional offices have been located at 1313 Border and 435 Berry Street. By 1999, A&W had en- tirely disappeared from the St. James Industrial area. Welcome back. While working in Transcona, be-
tween 1988 and 2012, I noticed that many businesses seemed reluctant to locate right in Transcona. Businesses preferred to be in and around Kildonan Place. On December 28, 2018, A&W opened a new store at 1450 Plessis Road as part of the Park City Com- mons development. It is conveniently located for most Transcona residents. The root beer with a special secret
recipe continues to be the corner- stone menu item. A&W has evolved with various additions to the menu.
These include the 1961 Teen Burger, the 1980s Mazda Burger, freshly made in store onion rings, various chicken items, and breakfast items. The be- yond-meat-100%-plant-protein Burg- er is the current exciting innovation. Winnipeg can look forward to many
more decades of the good food of A&W. The current major fundraiser for A&W is raising money for MS by donating a portion of one day of teen burger sales to MS research. In the past decade more than $11 million have been raised.
During the 1970s, I worked at sever- al A&W's. My favourite was Main and Inkster right in the heart of the North End. On Sunday February 10, 2019, the current restaurant at Main and Ink- ster was destroyed by fire. There were no injuries. I hope that A&W rebuilds on this site. Fred Morris describes himself as a politi- cal activist and sometime political candi- date.
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