Wheelbarrows Full of Fun
Bob Reaman with Suzie, the youngest of his five Reamans.
After you read the next sentence, and for the rest of your life, you will remember the postal code for the southwestern Ontario village of Wingham because among other things, Wingham is noted for having only one postal code and it is N0G 2W0.
Translated, that’s: No 0ne Goes 2 Wingham, Ontario.
Told you it’d be memorable.
Only thing is, it’s wrong.
And after you read the next part of this story, I’m thinking you will be like me and want to visit Wingham.
Here’s the thing: Wingham’s pretty enough but for me? That’s not enough.
What I like in towns is people, and Wingham’s lousy with fun-loving, warm-hearted, interesting characters. The kind of people who talk about wheelbarrows full of booze. To them I’ll get in a minute.
But Wingham’s famous, besides.
I’ve known since I was a kid that Radio Station 920am out of Wingham has long been a terrific source for C&W music. In fact, it used to broadcast a weekly barn dance, live.
According to John Marshall, the CKNX program director, locals and visitors lined up outside the old station to peer through the windows to watch the performers. An historian named Ross Hamilton actually wrote a book about CKNX.
You should also know that on March 2, there’s going to be a fundraiser in the Wingham Columbus Centre to help the family of a local owner-operator named Bob Reaman.
Until December, 2011, Reaman was working for the agricultural hauler WSC Transport. Then one day, he felt sick, found out he had one of the worst diseases ever, Lou Gehrig’s, and he had to quit work.
Julie Pettapiece is the controller at WSC.
She and another friend of the family named Maryanne McCormick put together the March 2 event because, well, because that’s what people do.
Human beings like to help each other.
As a journalist, I know that if I call somebody looking for information, 99 percent of the time if the person who answers the phone can’t help me directly they’ll try to think of at least three others who might.
When I phone one person for help, it’s like phoning four. (This four-for-one rule is suspended when dealing with certain institutions, just individuals. With institutions it’s every man for himself.)
But back to Wingham.
Bob’s son Tim’s longtime girlfriend Lauren McGirr phoned me this morning asking for help. She wanted to publicize the fundraiser.
“Today’s Trucking,” she smartly added, “is one of Bob’s favorite magazines.”
That said, what Bob wants Bob should get.
Sadly, Bob’s desires are fairly meager these days. According to Lauren, “Bob is on a ventilator 24/7, can no longer eat or speak on his own, and requires specialized care. He hasn't been home in over a year and has only been out of the hospital once since his diagnosis. Bob is married to Donna and they have five kids and four grandkids.
“Funds raised will not only help the family cover medical costs but also enable them to hire the specialized care and transport Bob needs to have day trips outside of the hospital.”
The dance starts at 9: 00 p.m. and will feature a live band. They’re now accepting donations for the silent auction and you can find out by checking out their Facebook page here.
Donations can also be deposited at any CIBC branch to the Reaman Family Benefit in Trust (Transit -02652/11-88739).
But then when Julie and I were talking about the fundraiser she mentioned the wheelbarrow full of booze.
As a reporter in small towns and big cities across Canada, I’ve covered more community events than TransForce has trucks. I’ve seen 50:50 draws, celebrity dunk tanks and demolition derbies. I’ve covered danceathons, marathons and smileathons. Bachelor auctions.
But until today, I hadn’t heard of a wheelbarrow-full-of-booze thing.
It’s going to be part of the silent auction. Not only will the winner wind up with a really well-stocked bar; he or she will be able to work off some of the booze by doing garden chores. It’s brilliant.
Furthermore. In no way am I advocating heavy drinking, but if you have something heavy, wheelbarrows — among mankind’s greatest inventions — are designed to help. (My advice? Your wheelbarrow: Don’t heave loam without it.)
I think we should petition Canada Post to change that town’s postal code to EOG 2W0.
The E will stand for Every.