A year ago I wrote an article about longtime Fort Garry resident and senior citizen Henry Dueck, who keeps the west side of Buxton Road’s sidewalks immaculately cleared throughout the winter.
I also wrote about the ice lantern assembly on his back porch. This winter he’s taken his ice lantern production to another level. While some people may be complaining about the very cold and unpredictable weather this winter, the conditions are exactly what Mr. Dueck needs for his copious ice lantern creations.
I say copious because this year every house on Buxton Road in between Dowker Avenue and Crane Avenue has at least one or two ice lanterns on their front steps, all fashioned by Dueck, with the help of freezing winter temperatures, of course.
"We had colder weather than usual so I had extra ice lanterns so I realized I had enough to put two on virtually very front yard on our street. Most people were very receptive," he says with a laugh.
That is 46 houses, which equals 92 ice lanterns just on Buxton. But Henry did not stop at Buxton.
Although the ice lantern production on the back porch is predominantly Dueck’s initiative, his wife, Shirley, keeps track of the names and addresses where they have delivered ice lanterns. To date they have delivered 439 ice lanterns to neighbours, friends, and businesses they frequent.
"With the cold weather we’ve had, it takes an overnight to make an ice lantern and -20 below is perfect temperature." Henry says he makes about a dozen per night.
In the middle of one of those frequent frigid cold spells, a few neighbours initiated a low key Buxton Road event. An invitation in the mailbox invited everyone to honour and thank Henry for his generosity by lighting their lanterns on a Sunday evening, the customary time for Dueck to take a walk down the street.
With a chuckle , Henry says, "They [the ice lanterns] are environmentally friendly. People can put them on their flower beds and use them that way at the end of the winter."
Helen Lepp Friesen is a community correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org