Reflections of Ponoka: The Dickau twins were our community treasures

Over the past month and a half our community has been saddened by the deaths of those popular and diminutive twins

Arthur and Allen Dickau

Arthur and Allen Dickau

Over the past month and a half our community has been saddened by the deaths of those popular and diminutive twins, Allen and Arthur Dickau, who enjoyed life to the fullest during their very active 90 years living here in Ponoka, and made a whole lot of friends and memories along the way.

Fred and Louise Dickau were married on Dec. 26, 1913 and lived and farmed on homesteads west of Ponoka with Fred’s family until 1916 when they sold their farms and the saw mill and moved into town.

They established their new spacious home in the area where the Red Brick School now stands and worked in several jobs around town. Fred and his brothers also enjoyed threshing in the fall, after which he and Sam went into the water well drilling business in 1928. Over the next nine years Fred and Louise welcomed their sons, Howard in 1919, twins Arthur and Allen in 1922, and Gordon in 1926. While growing up on the acreage, Arthur and Allen loved going to school and assisting with the chores, as well as working with brothers Howard and Gordon drilling wells and building homes, businesses and churches in the then rapidly growing Town of Ponoka.

The boys later moved into their own small home on 52nd Avenue, where they would spend many happy decades, becoming those always jovial ambassadors of our community, as well as willingly and faithfully assisting and befriending generations of citizens young and old, wherever they travelled. Arthur and Allen also became ardent and generous supporters of countless community events and fundraisers, whether by a kindly donation, by pitching in and helping out, or by making an appearance dressed in their delightful two-piece suits.

For decades they were great and caring neighbours for Frank and Marg Mickey, and Red and Dianne Cheney, while never missing the opportunity to extend a warm welcome to every new family who moved into the neighbourhoods. For countless years, even on the coldest of winter days, they would be seen out there shovelling sidewalks for those who were unable, then after a hot bowl of soup they would likely venture around town or up to the hospital to visit a sick friend or pop into a nursing home and entertain the patients and staff.

Arthur and Allen were faithful and dedicated Christians and lifelong members of the Ponoka First Baptist Church, and as long as they were able they attended countless funerals, dressed neatly in their suits, occasionally arriving a little late but always staying after to pay their heartfelt respects to the family and enjoy the lunch.

Like so many of you from in and around Ponoka, my family will always have so many fond memories of Arthur and Allen as two amazing and beloved community characters. I can claim with all sincerity that by having the pleasure of making their acquaintance it certainly helped me and countess others to become better and more understanding people, as well as to realize the great importance of sincere trust, kindness and true friendships, as well as sharing joy and care with others. We saw them on most days riding their classic balloon tire bikes around town, with their groceries in one basket, and their chubby puppy, Trixie, in the other, pausing many times to visit or to holler a happy “Hi” by your first name, because they knew just about everyone.

Throughout their lives Arthur and Allen were blessed with those mischievous smiles and absolutely contagious laughs, had an amazing sense of humour and were always coming up with all sorts of little tricks and treats. Remember those old caps that they wore and loved to swap? They declared in big letters: “I’m Arthur — He’s Allen.” Somehow they never forgot a birthday and if they were unable to drop in and pass on their greetings personally, they would phone you up and share their wishes in a singing duet. When I started working as a cub reporter at the Ponoka Herald, the twins would always help me with my stories, and had an amazing wealth of mementos as well as information as to where everyone lived and worked all the way back into the early and colorful history of our community.

During the 10 years that I had the great privilege of working at the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House, Arthur and Allen had become a delightful and always welcome part of our extended family of members and staff. From the moment they entered that friendly premises, the big-hearted and smiling twins always brought joy and peace to everyone, staying to chat, to play games or do jigsaw puzzles, as well as staying to help with the chores after a special event. Every Tuesday evening they came down for the karaoke session, anxious to sing their favourite old songs or to get into a lively dance with anyone who was willing, and then at Christmas they were front row tenors in our annual choir.

Arthur and Allen also really enjoyed being a part of the long-standing community work program at the Club House, excelling at leaf raking and painting, as long as they could chat while they worked. Along with their amazing appetites, we will never forget their uncanny ability of sharing conversation, with one starting the sentence and the other finishing it. I can say I never saw Arthur or Allen really lose their temper but when they wanted to express a point, they would raise their voices just a little and everyone would pay attention. In their later years they slowed down just a little, with failing health requiring them to move into the Rimoka Lodge and later the Northcott Care Centre but through it all they never lost their keen sense of humour or the precious gift of making instant friends.

It was always said over those many enjoyable years just about everyone had the wonderful privilege of knowing and sharing quality time and laughs with Arthur and Allen Dickau. They were two peas in a pod who were inseparable. Allen passed away on Dec. 19, 2012 and Arthur on Feb. 10, 2013.

Now they are together again and may God continue to cherish them both as we have for so many magic years.