A Dy-no-mite Story About Harold Kettles of Carleton Place

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harold

I always thought my grandfather and father were spinning yarns with their dynamite stories. It seemed like it was a different and simpler time back in their day. I also vaguely recall older people talk about buying dynamite for clearing stumps or large rocks on their farms.

Was there ever a point in time when the local hardware sold dynamite to the public? Did it come with an instruction manual? In fact, until the late 60s, you could probably go to any farm and feed and/or hardware store and simply purchase it. While some would limit who they would sell it to, many would look at the license, look at you, and then make the sale. They also kept terrible records, especially for cash sales and found many suppliers had no idea as to who they had sold dynamite to.

 

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Not Harold Kettles!

 

 

When we built the addition on Campbell Street we hit bedrock almost immediately. Ange decided we could either get a chipper in or maybe blasting through the rock would be faster. Harold Kettles was known as someone who could blast through any rough spot in Carleton Place while holding a beer in one hand and dynamite in the other. He was known as the master!

Each week for a month Harold and his wife Evelyn would drop in after supper and sit a spell in the living room while Harold told Ange what he was going to do and how he was going to go about it. His wife was a lovely lady and was related to the Neilson family on the Appleton Side Road, and never flinched an inch while he talked about dynamiting up part of the back yard.

The more I heard about the blasting, the more I began to think that we were going to come within a skinny half inch of blowing ourselves to crap—let alone all the neighbours all around us.

There was no doubt that dynamiting was cheaper than bringing in a chipper for a week, but the more Harold “layeth the facts smack down” I began to realize we might be about to make a Three Stooges movie. It didn’t take long for the neighbour behind us to hear all the talk about the pending blasting and immediately complained to the town building inspector. Harold was shut down as quick as you could say Molson Canadian, and was none too happy about it either. In the end a chipper was brought in and maybe saved the neighbourhood from blowing to kingdom come. But, we will never know will we?

 

The facts come out: Thank you Jim– 🙂 Like I said-The more I heard about the blasting, the more I began to think that we were going to come within a skinny half inch of blowing ourselves to crap—let alone all the neighbours all around us.

Linda,
Part of your story was true; however, there was a little more to it. Normally, companies involved in blasting operations, use blasting matts to cover their charges. Harold was rather unique, being from the old school, and used to doing most of his blasting in the country with no houses in the vicinity , he never had a concern for perifial damage. His idea of a blasting Matt was a bucket of sand. After a visit from Harold, in his somewhat normal state of semi inebriation, to check my foundation for cracks before he began his blasting operation ( I was the neighbour behind you ) I realized ,We,being all the neighbours , could be in big trouble , if his operation was to continue. I apealed to Ange ( to no avail) to stop the ” operation”. My next option was an apeal to the building inspector and eventually to mayor Melba Barker who had the foresight to realize the likely catastrophic possibilities. As a result, Harold’s operation was shut down, but not before a visit the next morning from Harold, in a full inebriated state, wanting me to come out on my front lawn and settle the problem like men. In the end, we all listened to a full week of the chipper.
Jim

 

 

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

5 responses »

  1. Linda,
    Part of your story was true; however, there was a little more to it. Normally, companies involved in blasting operations, use blasting matts to cover their charges. Harold was rather unique, being from the old school, and used to doing most of his blasting in the country with no houses in the vicinity , he never had a concern for perifial damage. His idea of a blasting Matt was a bucket of sand. After a visit from Harold, in his somewhat normal state of semi inebriation, to check my foundation for cracks before he began his blasting operation ( I was the neighbour behind you ) I realized ,We,being all the neighbours , could be in big trouble , if his operation was to continue. I apealed to Ange ( to no avail) to stop the ” operation”. My next option was an apeal to the building inspector and eventually to mayor Melba Barker who had the foresight to realize the likely catastrophic possibilities. As a result, Harold’s operation was shut down, but not before a visit the next morning from Harold, in a full inebriated state, wanting me to come out on my front lawn and settle the problem like men. In the end, we all listened to a full week of the chipper.
    Jim

    Liked by 1 person

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