Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘beer

Has It Occurred to You . . .

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. . . that beer

is cheaper than gas so,

drink, don’t drive.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 27, 2022 at 3:00 am

Two types of people piss me off …

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… umpires and politicians.


At least I can have a beer with an umpire because they admit making mistakes

Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 1, 2017 at 8:43 am

When in Drought . . .

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. . . as in California, drink the beer ! ! !

— Cecil Scaglione


Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 13, 2015 at 6:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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Confessions of a Newspaperboy Book IV

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School was never my best subject. My real education is rooted in my time peddling papers on the streets of North Bay. It branched in earnest about a decade later when I became a young reporter asking everyone and Boy_Smokinganyone question after question after question.

While I only sold papers for about three years, what I saw and heard shaped me into a pavement kid and honed survival instincts that served me well during my eight-plus decades. Among the memorable moments was a piece of advice given me by Nate Rivelis, owner of a Main Street ladies’-wear shop, one of the many Jewish merchants lining the  ‘Bay’s eight-block commercial core. He became one of my first regular customers along that commercial strip. He told me later it was because I was reliable. That is, I always used to enter his store about the same time of day every day and ask him if he wanted to buy a paper. None of the other paperboys had done that before. It taught me to ask for the business. It served me well in picking up several other downtown customers.

(An aside:  It also helped me as a reporter, too, because I would drop by regularly to talk with the police chief and city clerk and desk-duty sergeant and mayor on my rounds because, for whatever reason, most other reporters didn’t take the time for such a nicety. As a result, I established reliable upper-level contacts and sources.)

Anyhow, among the memories that pop into mind when I picture Mr. Rivelis is a question he tossed at me one afternoon. “How much money do you have in your pocket, Cecil?” I told him I had about 20 cents. He shook his said and said, “No, no, exactly how much money do you have in your pocket.” I said I didn’t know. And he said: “Cecil, if you don’t know how much money you have in your pocket, you’ll never be rich.” Well, I never became rich but, to this day, I always know how much cash I have in my pocket.

Shortly after retiring from selling papers on the street, I launched my Main Street shoeshine venture. I quit peddling papers because we moved to the east end of town, which put me several blocks farther from the Nugget that was at the west end of downtown and I would have wound up getting my papers after most of the prime selling section was saturated by a swarm of two to three dozen other paperboys. And home delivery was beginning to take hold.

There were a few shoeshine shops in dry cleaners and pool rooms and barber shops along the main drag but I could under-price them because my overhead was low: no employees, no rent to pay, no equipment to maintain. I carried three cans of shoe polish – black, brown and oxblood – two brushes and several soft rags in an empty wooden butter box that also served as a foot stand so I could burnish the brogues. My competition was a half-dozen or so other street shoeshine boys cluttering the entrances and exits of the handful of beer parlors sprinkled around the commercial core.

Pubs were divided back then: men on one side and another side for women. Men could only enter the women’s doors accompanied by a female. They opened at noon, closed at 5:30 (to make sure men went home for supper), reopened at 7 p.m. and closed at 1 a.m. weekdays and 11:30 p.m. Saturdays. All those blue laws crumbled in the late ‘50s. The best shoe-shining times were payday, Friday and Saturday afternoons and early evenings because we’d catch guys going into the pubs – especially if they were with a lady – and coming out to head for a night on the town. I kept a copy of the Nugget for the customers to read while standing there getting his – or her, because a few women did stop now and then — shoes buffed. I also had a half-dozen papers to sell to shoeshine customers. I always stopped to ask Mr. Rivelis if he wanted a paper and I’d pick up one for him.

On these stops early on, I noticed people would look into the windows of his store and nearby shoe stores and then glance at their shoes to see if they looked as nice as the ones in the window. A lot of the times, a guy would wait outside while his wife or girlfriend was shopping in Mr. Rivelis’ store. So I set up my sidewalk shoeshine shop in front of his shop.  Business boomed. While foot traffic was good at the beer parlors, many of the guys were usually in a hurry to get in for a couple of cool ones or rushing out to get somewhere and didn’t take time for a shine.

When my father saw that I was heading downtown regularly to make a few nickels, he made me a compact wooden shoe-shine box. It was about the size of a lunch pail. He fashioned a couple of blocks of wood to look like a footprint where the customer placed his (or her) foot while its shoe was being shined. Very professional. And he added a shoulder strap so I could carry it more easily.

One day, Mr. Rivelis, who used to get his shoes shined regularly, looked at me and said, “Cecil, if you’re going to keep on coming back here, why don’t you leave your shoe-shine box in the store.” And that’s how I got to maintain a downtown shoeshine venture for another couple of years that grew out of networking while I was selling papers on the street. On the way downtown, I would put together a couple of bunches of radishes or onions or beets from our garden and knock on a few doors to sell them before I got to my shoeshine stand. There were also mornings when I rode with the local milkman and his horse-drawn wagon or the bread man on his route to earn a buck or two before attending to my downtown business.

Other gigs garnered during my shoe-shining career included part-time phone-answerer and dispatcher for a cab stand, a parking-lot attendant (I just sat in the entry/exit booth to hand out tickets when cars arrived and collect money when they departed) and a behind-the-counter server at a downtown diner. The folks would come to my shoeshine stand to get me when they needed me. I kept the shoeshine business going for a couple of years until I reached my mid-teens and was old enough to get summertime work on the railroad. I broke away from hard labor after a couple of summers when I got a full-time job as day manager for a lunch counter followed by a lucrative summer as a hotel bellhop. These all stemmed from my stint as a newspaperboy.


Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm

When I wanted to loosen up …

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… in the good ol’ days,

I’d just go out and get tight.

— Cecil Scaglione

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Posted in A Musing

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Ease Up in Belgium’s Mechelen

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Margaret of Austria ruled the Netherlands from this palace in Mechelen, Belgium. 

Story and photo by  

Sandy Katz

MECHELEN, Belgium —- Perched on the Dijle River in the relative shadows of both Brussels and Antwerp,  this town glistened when Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, made it her capital from 1506 to 1530.

Taking advantage of Ludwig van Beethoven’s family roots, it has honored the famous composer
with an elegant statue even though he was born and raised in Bonn. The Mechelen connection
stems from Beethoven’s grandfather, who worked here as a baker, and great-grandfather, who ran a painting business.

The best way to take a look around this center for lace, baroque woodwork and drapery tapestry that’s but a an 11-minute train ride from Brussels Airport is on foot or by bicycle. There are trendy shops, friendly terraces, galleries, museums, and recreational areas for sailing, fishing, mini-golf and windsurfing.

The symbol of Mechelen is the imposing St. Rumbold’s Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site completed in 1536 in late Gothic style. If you can negotiate the stairs to the skywalk atop the tower, you are rewarded with a magnificent panoramic view. Eight historic churches fill the city center and each displays religious treasures.

The spectacular Renaissance  facade of the Palace f Margaret of Austria frontage features
her coat of arms. The building still houses the law courts but you can still enjoy some quiet and tranquility in  charming gardens. For another pleasant pastime, you can take the footpath along the back of picturesque old houses lining the Dijle.

The Kazerne Dossin is a special place of remembrance for Belgium. This center keeps alive the memory of the Holocaust and it gives a face to 19,000 of the departed.

Mechelen is just what you need for rest and respite after dashing around nearby Antwerp. Widely known as a global center for the diamond trade, Antwerp also has long been the capital of Belgium’s fashion industry. It’s also the birthplace of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens.

And it’s the home of the Red Star Line Museum that traces the late-19th- and early-20th-century immigration of Eastern Europeans through Antwerp to the United States and Canada.
Between 1873 and 1934, the Belgium shipping company Red Star Line transported approximately 2 million migrants from Antwerp to New York. What makes the Red Star Line’s passenger lists different is that it transported Eastern Europeans of Jewish origin mainly, including Irving Berlin and Albert Einstein, who were fleeing persecutions by the Czar of Russia and Hitler.

This museum is in a restored warehouse of the Red Star shipping company and mirrors the American-arrival story housed in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Not everyone who hoped for passage through Antwerp was allowed to leave on the 10-day transatlantic voyage. Everyone had to pass a medical examination first.

Between visits to the many historical gems around this country, you can sample its tasty specialties along the way. Belgium Waffles, which were introduced to America at New York’s 1964 World’s Fair, are available from street vendors and in gourmet restaurants. They’re usually served warm and dusted with confectioner’s sugar or topped with whipped cream, soft fruit or chocolate.

Potato fries – French Fries – are part of Belgium’s culinary cultural heritage. They are often eaten with mayo or served with mussels or Flemish stew. There are more than 50 dipping sauces to choose from.

Belgium endive is a popular vegetable, as are Brussels sprouts. And Belgian beer is featured in a number of recipes. Beer Central, which offers 300 types of bottled beers and has 20 beers on tap, is the perfect bar to jump into the Belgium beer culture. Connoisseurs favor Belgian beer for its variety, flavor and character. It has enjoyed the unparalleled reputation for its specialty beers since the Middle Ages.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2015

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 15, 2015 at 11:33 am

Want Beer? Go to the Source.

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What better way to get our Canadian-beer fix than to head to where it’s brewed. So we blew into the Steam Whistle facility in the Roundhouse at the foot of the CN Tower. Got a bottle and glass of fine pilsener (and a souvenir tasting glass) before heading out into the reconstructed station and pump house and locomotive roundhouse that was a loud and major working railway yard about a century ago. With appetites whetted, we headed west on the Queensway to Prego where Lou reviewed memories with owner (and chef) Angelo before we feasted on one of the house specialities — roasted rabbit. Sun’s out but wind off the lake still has teeth in it…

Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

Posted in Canada, Travel

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