Harry Casey was one of the best C.P.R. Station Agent’s I worked for and with. When I started learning telegraphy under Steve Balanyk in Souris station, on September 7th, 1947, Harry told me a story that I never forgot. Harry’s experience affected my life.
When Harry was a young relief agent in the early 1900’s he was relieving at a small station. In those days they worked 10 or 12 hour shifts and only had Sundays for a day off. Anyway, on Saturday Harry was off duty at 18:00 O’clock (6:00 p.m.). It was 18:05 , he was still in the office, busy closing down.The wicket was closed. He had already put the cash and valuables in the safe and locked it. Someone knocked on the office door. Harry opened the door. In the waiting room was a farmer, who explained that he wanted to pick up an express shipment of implement repairs.
Harry being young and a bit cocky, with a good job, and thinking that money could get you anywhere in the world, and looking forward to having the rest of the weekend off with his girl friend, told the farmer the office was closed and he could come back Monday and get his repairs. So the farmer went to town, picked up some groceries, went to the hotel and had a few beers, and then went home very disappointed because he would have to miss half a days work on Monday to come back and get his repairs from the C.P.R. station.
The next day young Harry and his girl friend, (who later became his wife) were out for a Sunday drive in Harry’s new car. Harry had the world by the tail. Young, in love, good job, making a good living, new car, nice girl friend. He had it made. Roads in those days were only a couple of ruts down a road allowance.
Harry came to a large mud puddle across the road. There was no turning back. Through the mud puddle he went. But he got the car stuck. ‘Lo and behold, who should come along with a team of horses, was the same farmer Harry had turned away last night. The farmer walked through the mud hooked onto Harry’s car and pulled them out. Harry, still cocky, and thinking money got you everywhere, flashed a $10.00 bill and said to the farmer, “Will this be enough for your services?”, “No Sonny”, said the farmer, I don’t want your money, but someday I may want you to do me a favour”.
Harry said to me, ” Fergie, I could feel myself shrinking to about 6 inches in height “. I never forgot Harry Casey and his good advice. One relief Agent told my wife that I had all the people in town spoiled. That they would come for parcels anytime of the day and even on weekends. If I was there it didn’t hurt me to get off my butt. If I was away for the weekend, then it was too bad.
I still have a lot of friends………