RCMP Lineman

by Pat Sarsfield from Victoria, BC

My mom and dad have been married for over 50 years. I thought you might be interested in how their marriage started. 

Courting was different back in the 1950s. Mom and dad lived in a mall Alberta town and gossip was the primary conveyance of all the town news including, of course, possible matches. 

When my mom Joyce arrived in Didsbury Alberta driving the heath unit car, the bachelor line went busy. It was good that she was attractive and pleasant. It was even better that she had access to a vehicle..for most in the small town didn’t. Mom was instantly popular but there were two fellows in particular who had their eyes on her. 

One was an RCMP officer. The other was a lineman for Calgary Power.  

While the lineman was favoured it seemed difficult to get a date with him. It wasn’t that the dates weren’t planned. It was that he was often on the trouble call shift and his shift seemed to have more than its fair share of trouble. The weather wasn’t the factor, in fact it was one of the nicest summers anyone could remember. The bulls and birds were both behaving – neither ramming into the power poles nor nesting on the wires. 

Something else was happening. The town’s party line was involved. 

The RCMP, of course, knew all the phone operators…and a certain RCMP officer had a standing request for a report whenever the lineman and Joyce planned a date. By some odd coincidence, breakers and insulators would be shot out just before the date was to begin and the trouble call would be placed to Calgary Power. Poor Joyce, stood up on another day as the lineman went into action, would accept the Mountie’s company. 

But fate prevailed; the lineman won her heart. 

There is, incidentally, a second shotgun in the story. The whole town knew when the lineman was about to propose because they saw him march into the jewellery store with his shotgun and a full load of ammunition. Object: an engagement ring. 

No shots were fired. The lineman, my dad, said

“I’ll trade you my shotgun for a ring. What’s the biggest diamond I can get for the gun and the ammo?”

Thus ended his hunting days.