Today was the day the Freedom Riders were holding their annual Halloween Party. This is a big do for the club and Ken and Carole had opened their new home to the Club as the venue. But this was also the day that OPP Sr. Constable Shawn Rae's retirement from the OPP was being celebrated in Britt, a little town 60 miles south of Sudbury.
We met Shawn when we, volunteer snowmobilers of the Sudbury Trail Plan, joined forces with the provincial and municipal police services to try to improve safety on the local snowmobile trails back in 1992. This initiative turned into the province wide Snowmobile Trail Officer Patrol, and Shawn was one of the key individuals in making this happen. I spent many hours back in the day with Shawn on the trails, in snowmobile shows and other tasks making this happen. Now that he was calling an end to his career with the OPP, attendance was not an option.
A group of current and former STOP Officers from Sudbury decided we would attend the retirement party to show our appreciation of Shawn's long and honourable service. We met at Biker's house where he jumped in the Avalanche with Sandy and I, while Normie and retired OPP Constable Dave rode with Real. Dave was looking pretty good after his double lung transplant.
Biker and Normie waiting to depart for Britt
Sandy and Dave
We got to Britt and found than most of the good parking places near the church hall had been taken. We found a space across the road and jammed the truck in. The hall was full to overflowing, with music supplied by some local players. It was very country with a guitar, a fiddle and some fellow playing the spoons. The man of the hour was there with his family and I got to meet his first grandson. There should have been photos of all this but this is where problem number 2 kicked in.
We had a buffet supper and socialized. It was dark when the whole town lost power but this was Britt and nothing is a problem for long in a small town. The Fire Rescue truck arrived, large spotlights were placed in the hall and the generator was fired up.
Rescuing the party
After supper, there were a number of speakers presenting a cross between a toast and a roast. Shawn wound up by telling a few stories of his own, mostly on the funny side, although funny to a cop is often horrifying to a citizen. If Shawn ever offers you a hand, be very careful.
The OPP will be much the poorer now that Sr. Constable Rae is no longer on the roads and trails, but I expect he and Joan will be part of the Britt scene for quite some time to come.
After the speeches, Biker, Sandy and I got in the truck and drove back to Highway 69 in total darkness (remember that the power was out and the houses were dark). We headed back to Sudbury so we could put in an appearance at the Halloween Party.
The party was in full swing when we got to Ken's. It looked like everyone was having a great time. I discovered that I am not very good at guessing the weight of a pumpkin.
The Freedom Riders ladies
So we couldn't be in two places at once but we could, in this case, be in two places in rapid succession. And that's not too bad.