I grew up in a small town, name of Grandview, Manitoba.
Grandview is known as the “Gateway to the Duck Mountains.” Formerly the town’s sign read, “In the way of the Duck Mountains.” Everyone agrees the new sign is better.
Grandview’s other claim to fame is it’s fairly close to another town. Dauphin, Man., sits about 50 kilometres east of Grandview. As a child, we’d sometimes go to Dauphin for shoes. Dauphin has shoes.
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In the car, on our way to shoes, I was often struck by Dauphin’s sign. Yes, they also have a sign. There’s reads “Dauphin: City of Sunshine.”
Really Dauphin, that’s what makes you special, THE SUN. Now, I haven’t been many places, but every place I’ve ever been has the sun. Never have I been in a place and asked somebody “Hey, where’s the sun?”
“Well, if you want the sun, you’ll have to go 60 clicks west to Russell. They have the sun. We don’t have the sun. Haven’t for some time.”
In addition to the sun, Dauphin also has an AM radio station, 730 CKDM or “The Voice of the Parkland.” Mostly they play country music, the new, non-threatening, not good variety. However, when the station isn’t spinning Brooks and/or Dunn, there’s a couple unique features that make it a must listen.
First, 730 does birthday announcements. Not celebrities mind you, just people in the town. However, they also do funeral announcements. Usually there’s some space between the two but I swear I once heard them back to back.
DJ: “Happy birthday to little Jenny Tycholeschuk. Jenny is four years old today. Jenny will be spending her B-day with her mom and dad, her grandma and grandpa and her brother Billy. The following people have died.”
730 does this other great thing called the “Bargain Bin”, a call-in buy/sell show.
In addition to being the most riveting hour of radio anywhere between Dauphin and Grandview, the Bargain Bin works. Really well. It’s like Kijiji for rednecks.
Items range from truck tires for a ¾ ton to a harness for a miniature horse, only once used. Every day an angry parent calls in with a kid for sale. Comedy gold, every time.
But the most interesting calls are not from the sellers, but the buyers. I swear one time I heard the following call:
“Hi Bargain Bin, this is Frank Tycholeschuk. I’m looking for a mitt. I lost a mitt. It’s a left. Just the one, not looking for the set. I’d prefer a Hot Paws, but I’ll take a Kodiak.”
Now, you might think that sounds stupid, but small town people are generous people and Frank got his mitt not two minutes later.
Elderly woman: “Hello, is this the radio? Hi, it’s Fran Tycholeschuk. I just heard Frank’s looking for a mitt. No, no relation. I have a whole box of mitts. Yes, they’re all left. See, my husband George, shush George, I’m talking to the radio. See, my husband lost his arm in the Great War (George yells ‘It was a combine accident!”) Oh yes, I mean it was a combine accident. I don’t know. I’m old.”
Dauphin also has a weekly paper – The Dauphin Herald – and in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the city had IMTV, a TV station that contained a daily news broadcast called The Parkland Pulse. Fun fact: TSN’s Darren Dutchyshen is an alumna. A little starter for your next Dauphin conversation.
During the holiday season, IMTV would run commercials from local businesses, ads that were mostly in Ukrainian. Dauphin is home to a lot of Ukrainians and Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival. Thanks to these ads, I can speak fluent Ukrainian. For example, this is how you say Merry Christmas:
“Kristos Razdayetsya, from all your friends at Sammy’s Farm Supplies.”
Besides being a media hotbed, Dauphin is known for a water-born outbreak of giardiasis, a parasitic disease popularly known as “beaver fever.”
Yes, beaver fever. As most men know, as well as a few women, beaver fever is a life-long condition.
I kid of course. Beaver fever can be treated with antibiotics, which is great because 26 Dauphinites were diagnosed with the disease and it’s estimated as many as 2000 people were made ill in the outbreak.
But that’s not the worst part. The most unfortunate aspect of this situation was the fence at the Dauphin Brewers baseball diamond. See, the fence contained a sign that read “Brewer’s baseball, catch the fever!” Subsequently, every time a Brewer goes yard, Dauphin ball fans get a strange urge to do the Pepto Bismol dance.
Now, I’m not trying to disparage Dauphin. It’s a great town with some great things, like Countryfest, the aforementioned Ukrainian Festival and a 7/11 that serves fried chicken and taters. Nothing caps off a drunk night at The Bully like chicken and taters. Wash it all down with a Slurpee, now giardia-free.
Also, did I mention Dauphin has the sun?
Jared Story is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. Yes, it’s a pen name. His real name is Dave, Dave Story. Follow him on Twitter at @jrockarolla.