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Gold Mine was not a junkyard

There is no date on this photo. But Orville’s junkyard is burning and that 1952 Olds Rocket “88” shown trying to escape never made it to the exit. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Paye Kent)

Well, I got everything ask-backward last week. The headline was about Orville Paye’s junkyard under a photo of his Gold Mine on the Bloomingdale Road. Now I want to talk a bit more about the Gold Mine, not the junkyard, but wait — I know, the photo today is about the junkyard.

The Gold Mine was full of treasures, a fun place to visit, where Orville loved to haggle over the price. Orville followed me home one day after I bought an old metal wheelbarrow with a solid rubber wheel, which we later used as a flower bed.

The kid working there, by mistake, gave me a better wheelbarrow than the one I paid for, although the one we bought was the one we wanted.

According to Orville, the cheaper wheelbarrow, which apparently is the one I had actually paid for, was five bucks less than the one I received. I had to pay Orville, who drove the 5 miles to my house from the Gold Mine, the extra five bucks. So glad we cleared that up.

One more thing about Orville … I mentioned last week that he won a Golden Gloves boxing championship at age 16.

Orville Paye (Photo courtesy of Barbara Paye Kent, Orville’s niece)

Bill Madden and I were driving down to Bloomingdale one summer evening in Bill’s new Ford to check out the crowd at a square dance at the St. Armand Town Hall. There was quite a bit of excitement going on out in the parking lot when we arrived.

Orville had very bad eyesight and wore glasses that looked like the proverbial Coke bottle bottoms. I was never quite sure what happened because we got there after the fight, if one could call it that.

Here is a secondhand version of the one-punch “fight.” Perhaps Orville went to defend someone who was being bullied; he was never the kind to pick a fight. But he was challenged to “step outside” and supposedly said to his challenger, “Let me remove my glasses,” and when he reached up with his right hand to remove the glasses, that right hand shot out and punched the fellow who, they say, landed somewhere near Vermontville.

The moral of that story: Maybe Orville sucker-punched the guy, but one should not pick on a guy wearing thick glasses.

Bill turned to me and said, “Let’s head back to town,” and we did.

The railroad and the carousel

On Saturday, Sept. 12, this space covered the economic loss of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and the impact it had on local businesses — especially the Adirondack Carousel in the park next to the railroad station with its beautiful, 20 hand-carved critters.

The carousel lost a lot of business when the Scenic Railroad train was shot down, I mean shut down.

The carousel held its grand opening on May 26, 2012, and Enterprise ace reporter and photographer Chris Knight ran a full page in color of all 20 of those critters.

What is so great about that page is, underneath each photo is the official name of the carving. For example, the red squirrel has the official name of Red Storm, sponsored by the Saranac Lake High School graduating Class of 1961. Carver: Thomas Holzinger of Roanoke, Indiana.

What a great keepsake for the carousel history book. My favorite is the raccoon, named Ranger. Roni the raccoon was the official mascot of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid. Ranger was sponsored by Stewart’s Shops and carved by Carl Borst of Schenectady.

There is some corny stuff in the Carousel names, which is the stuff I am full of. The leaping whitetail deer has the official name John … get it? John Deer? So if you don’t get it, just ask Ron or Beth Edgley; they are John Deere experts.

Which reminds me of the name of one of my favorite country-and-western songs: “My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart.” I warned you.

Here are the other official critters: Spencer the skunk, Moonlight the bobcat, Wiggly the salamander, Soarin’ the eagle, Paws the black bear, Shelly the turtle, Bug-Eye the black fly, Twitter the hermit thursh, Oliver the otter, Spike the porcupine, Flipper the bass, Lucy the loon, Beethoven the moose, Flames the fox, Chuck the beaver, Harry the hare, Thunder the horse and Buck the toad.

So my pal Chris Knight has gone the way of other journalists and is now the PR guy for North Country Community College. Our loss is their gain. A reporter’s role can look quite exciting from afar, and often times it is just that. But what one does not see are the night meetings to be covered, the weekend events to be covered, the unscheduled (that is why they are called) accidents to be covered, and still having time for the family … and Chris is doing a great job for NCCC.

A note from an Enterprise clipping about the railroad

An unnamed spokesperson for the railroad:

“‘We will probably double the number of coaches from three to six so it can carry 400 passengers. Plans are to begin passenger service May 1, 2001. The train will make four round trips a day (Saranac Lake-Lake Placid) instead of three and will run five days a week instead of four.’

“Adirondack Antiques co-owner Beth Norton also noticed more customers after ever train stop. To capitalize on this, her store began to stock more train memorabilia. Kate Mountain Pottery proprietor Mary Lou Reid said, ‘We had a really good fall because of train passengers.’ She was particularly pleased when one group told her they took the ride specifically to visit her shop, which they had seen in Adirondack Life magazine.

“Around Berkeley Green, the Blue Line Sport Shop, White Pine Designs and Goody Goody’s toy store also all reported seeing train people as customers in their stores.”

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