MORE Reactions to Urry’s Grunthal Book

Continued from this post.

(I’d planned to immediately post this second part of my thoughts on James Urry’s book on Grunthal’s Russlaender history, On Stony Ground, but time escaped me. Whoops! I should’ve just included this in the whole first post but it was about 1000 words and Andrew tells me that is too long and I should break it up. But he also asked me what my point had been. I told him I didn’t have a point. I just read the book, took a few notes, then blathered about them. It’s not an essay! haha ANYWAY here’s the rest of my thoughts and notes.)

I have to take a moment to mention appreciation for learning a bit of Grunthal Bakery history. That bakery feels legendary… like, it just feels like it has history. And here I learn that “Friesen’s bakery opened in Grunthal in 1946. At first the bakery produced just six loaves a day…” Fascinating! I haven’t been to the community in a while, but I think and hope the bakery is still in that same little building near the Elim church…!

A Green & Gold ad for the Rainbow Inn had piqued my curiosity the other day. Urry calls it “a new service enterprise” which opened in 1959 and was “subsequently destroyed by fire in 1965.” Was it… arson? Is it bad to ask that question? What did the community think of the Rainbow Inn? Was it similar to Steinbach’s Tourist Hotel? (Where wives sat in cars waiting for their husbands to emerge.)

And then, bizarrely, a story about CKY, which to my mind is a Winnipeg-based television station, but in 1963 it was a radio station that ran a contest offering to bring great financial benefit to a community IF they would change their name to a phonetic version of CKY. Grunthal was all for it. Grunthal would be called CKY today if someone hadn’t realized this whole scheme wasn’t legal and shut it down. Urry sounds disappointed that the people of Grunthal would have given up their ethnic-sounding original village name to be named instead for a business, and frankly, I’m with him. (Good grief. CKY. I shake my head.)

I think we sometimes (always?) forget that the way things are now, today — the infrastructure and information we have — that wasn’t always here. I’m slowly learning/reconstructing the past in my mind. Books like this are a huge help.

Sorry this post is all over the place. I didn’t take very good notes and really just enjoyed reading the book and am not going to reproduce the book here for you or anything. I just wanted to let you know a little bit of what I thought about the book before I go and forget about it. (I am very forgetful; it is a problem.)

I have enjoyed having Grunthal on the brain. I’m grateful to James Urry for his many decades of research, and for finally hitting that publish button. I hear Grunthal Lumber has received a second shipment of the book since the first sold out so quickly. (I think buying the book from Grunthal Lumber would be a very cool story!) You can also pick it up at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, either in person or online.

(Feature ph0to: Joubert Creek at Grunthal Centennial Park!)