I was browsing through some old Ponoka Heralds the other day when I discovered that I have been writing the Hammer’s column on and off for over 30 years. After coming back to the newspaper after 10 great years at the new Ponoka arena complex, my editor suggested that I should start writing a weekly column just for fun about the great people, characters, and events of our community.
So how did it get the name? It was one of my nicknames that came from those wild and wonderful guys on my fastball and hockey teams. I usually bunted when I came up to bat, occasionally getting to swing and hammer the ball, but it hardly ever got out of the infield. Out on the old hockey rink, when I tried to hammer my blistering slap shot, it usually never made it to the net, and had the goaltender in stitches. My column in the paper usually got lots of comments, some good and some bad, just because I loved to have lots of fun with many of the super characters and celebrities that I got to know, as well as always taking a shot on some of the “hot and happy” issues that were always popping up in and around Ponoka.
While working at the Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse, I still penned the same column, and then upon retirement in 2003, I went to work with the Ponoka News, eventually becoming the editor. The great staff at the News have always encouraged and kindly allowed me to continue to write my column, as well as to introduce the “Reflections and Remember When?” weekly feature page. The main reason that I have been able to complete close to 1600 Hammer’s columns and 400 “Reflections/Remember When?” features is because of the amazing ongoing support and contributions of countless families, organizations, and individuals from our town and county over all those years. To put it plain and simple, I will always get by with a lot of help from my friends as well as just a little bit of BS along the way. Bottom line, please keep those great story ideas and photos coming in so that we can keep it going for you each week in your Ponoka News.
Someone jokingly suggested to me the other day that I should write an advice to the lovelorn or Mr. Fix-it column. While I quickly thought that I could call these gleanings ‘The Hammer’s Hot and Happy Hints for Happiness’ or ‘Fix it with the Hammer’, but I realized that I am no Stan Landers, I am a total klutz when it comes to fixing things, and it would likely never be approved by my editor.
What we ate in the fifties
In this exciting new generation, we, as seniors, have had to patiently adjust too many changes. One of the toughest adjustments has likely come at the dinner table, which is now not on a regular schedule and we have had to get used to eating out more, as well as fast food, take out, micro-wave and T.V. dinners, while constantly trying to keep up with the growing culinary culture of our new generation. Whatever the case, it was a lot easier in the fifties, and here are some of the reasons.
●Pasta had not been invented; Curry was a surname; and a takeaway was a mathematical problem.
●A pizza was something to do with a leaning tower; bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time; and all potato chips were plain, with the only choice being whether to add salt.
●Rice was only eaten as a milk pudding; a Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining; and brown bread was something only poor people ate.
●Oil was for lubricating; fat was for cooking: and tea was made in a tea-pot using leaves and was never green.
●Cubed sugar was regarded as posh; fish didn’t have fingers in those days; and eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi.
●None of us had ever heard of yoghurt; healthy food consisted of anything edible; and people who didn’t peel potatoes were called lazy.
●Indian restaurants were only found in India; cooking outside was called camping; and seaweed was not recognized as a food.
●’Kebab’ was not even a word, never mind a food; sugar enjoyed a good press in those days, and was regarded as being white gold.
●Prunes were medicinal; surprisingly, muesli was readily available and it was called cattle feed; and pineapples came in chunks in a tin and we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.
●In the 1950’s water came out of a tap, and if someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than gas for it, they would have become the laughing stock of the town.
●The one thing that we never ever had on our table in the fifties was our elbows.
Whatever the case, always eat hardy and healthy, and have a great get ready for spring week, all of you..