Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | December 7, 2017

The Cats’ Christmas shopping expedition, Cornwall, part II

In 1953 Mary Ross-Ross (Lancaster) wrote:

One cold day about the middle of December Laddie (the dog) and the cats were warming themselves  around the kitchen stove.  Suddenly Laddie jumped up and said, “Good gracious, do you realize Christmas is nearly here and we haven’t done our shopping.”

Remember Christmas seals?   These examples are dated 1936.

“That’s right,” said Stop (cat).  “I’d better hurry and arrange about getting a school bus.”

“I’ve got a better idea,” said Laddie.  “That new car we got is much bigger  than the old one and I think I can persuade Mary to drive us all to Cornwall in it.”

“Hurray!” shouted all the cats, that will give us lots more money to spend.”

“Hurry!” said Pedal Pusher, “I’ll be able to ride on that bicycle at Mrs. Hall’s.”  And he raced round and round the kitchen squeaking “Ping, ping.”

Pedal Pusher, aged six.

Laddie arranged with Mary and away they went.  The cats all got in the back seat and Laddie sat in the front to show Mary the way.  When they got to Cornwall they drove into the lane beside Mrs. Hall’s shop.

Mary got out and went inside to ask if it would be convenient if she left the car there, and when she mentioned the dogs and cats were all up for their Christmas shopping, Ed went out to the car and brought them all in.

Alex Watson, Ed Primeau, Louis Primeau, Joe Dupuis and Ed Dupuis, Hall’s Cornwall, 1950s.

Salt and pepper held Pedal Pusher’s paw firmly because he was jumping up and down shouting, “Where’s the red tricycle, I want to ride the red tricycle.”

Salt and Pepper, aged six.

“Oh no you don’t,” said Stop.  “You came to do your Christmas shopping and that is what you are going to do first.”

So he was marched right through the shop, protesting at every step, and out of the door and up the street to Zellers.  After standing by to see that he did his shopping, which consisted of some lovely red handkerchiefs, the others left him and went on their errands.  Stop did his shopping in Zellers where he purchased a brown purse he intended to fill with gold coins.

Laddie hurried up the street to buy Philip a cushion for the car.  He complained that Philip always took his red pillow away from him to put behind his back when he was driving.

Salt went to Webers and bought Philip a calendar.1953 “Toronto Star” postcard calendar.

Jackie window shopped, as he had already done his shopping by mail, ordering lovely tweezers with a magnifying glass attached.

Pepper also strolled about looking in the windows waiting to return to Mrs. Hall’s to buy his present.

When they were all finished they hurried back to Mrs Hall’s to meet Mary.  Pedal Pusher had rushed back as quickly as he could and was riding round and round the store, his yellow headlight eye’s blazing, and shouting, “Red handkerchiefs, red handkerchiefs.”

Child’s “penny farthing” bicycle, made in the workshop owned by Alex Ross, circa 1900, donated by Miss Kathleen Alguire in 1958.

The customers had all taken refuge behind the counters and Gabe was running behind Pedal Pusher trying to catch him and save his red tricycle from disaster.

Salt and Pepper took in the situation in a moment and rushing forward they grabbed  the brooms from a display stand and threw up a barrier.

Pedal Pusher rushed into the barrier, somersaulted through it and landed in the window on a car of an electric train, which raced him round and round faster than ever.

“Toot! Toot!” he shouted.  “I’m an Engineer!”  This is a wonderful shop, it has everything!”  He contentedly rode round and round, while envious children gathered to watch him.

Order restored, Pepper asked Ed for the biggest waster paper basket he could find.

“Philip has a small one,: he explained, “but his aim is not very good, so I want one he can’t miss.”

Ed went back and found Pepper an extra large basket.  Completing his purchase he looked around for the others.

Alex had taken Laddie to the back of the store and was showing him some stories in a hardware magazine.

The staff at Hall’s Hardware.  Mrs. Hall, Alex Watson, Christina MacCrimmon, Edmund Dupuis and Ronnie Lagden.

Stop was snoozing on a chair and the others were purring at Mrs. Hall, so Pepper sidled up to Christina and starting making up to her.  Stout Feller caught sight of him and ran over and pushed him aside, saying, “Don’t take any notice of Pepper, he just wants petting,” and then he rubbed his own head against Christina’s arms so she had to pet both of them.

Just then Marry arrived, taking that as their cue to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, the animals scrambled back into the car.

“I’ll sit in the front again,” said Laddie, “and show Mary the way back home.”

And so another Christmas expedition was over.

YOU ARE INVITED TO A CHRISTMAS SING-ALONG complete with Mr. and Mrs. S. Claus and hot cider at the Cornwall Community Museum from 1 pm to 4 pm, Saturday December 16th.

Admission is free.

PS   If you are looking for a gift for local history buffs, the museum has a good selection of out of print histories, plus our recently published biography of Mary Mack, and THE LIVING RIVER – Secrets of the St. Lawrence, available at a discount this day only!

Info.  613 936-0280;





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