COLUMN: Perry Bergson — April 14, 2014

Perry Bergson
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My former house in Brandon had a gravel backlane behind it that started on the west side and followed my fenceline to the north side.

Having a backlane wrapping around two sides of my property to the street was seldom a problem, aside from the occasional hooligan driving a little too quickly.

Since some of the neighbours parked back there, the snow was blown into large piles that grew as the winter went on.

Since the street was the low point, the water ran down the north part of the lane to the drain located nearby.

Every spring I would put on my rubber boots and head out to dry the lane by creating tiny ditches for the water to run into.

This was a job I had first done on the farm with my grandpa decades before. Drainage was always important on the farmyard so we would run the water into the low spots, away from the cattle and buildings.

As a result, I’ve always loved seeing water head where we want it to, instead of where it wants to go.

Like clockwork, every spring I would head to the backlane and get the water moving. Since our garbage and recycle bins were back there, the quicker it was dry, the better it was for our shoes.

Without fail, my neighbour on the other side of the lane would see me out there with my shovel and in my boots and shake his head, never understanding the impulse.

One year during the melt, we had one of those bright, beautiful spring days where it shot up into the high teens.

When I got out for a little bit of drainage work in the afternoon before I headed to my job, the huge snowbank in the corner behind us was disappearing quickly.

The water was pooling quickly and actually up against my neighbour’s house. I knew he was out of town on business.

It took a while to dam the spot where it was going through onto his property and then to get my little drainage ditch moving the water.

But before I went to work that day, his problem was solved.

I never did tell him how close he came to having a wet basement or that his guardian angel wore rubber boots.

The house changed hands a few times in the next two decades and each of the new owners watched me working in the backlane without ever offering to lend a hand.

When we had some warm days last week, I started thinking about that spot and hoped that the buddy who bought my house in Brandon likes drainage projects too.

His neighbours might be depending on him without ever knowing it.

And you might be depending on your neighbour.


• • •


I had a chance to shoot a lot of hockey recently when the AAA Midget Western Regional Championships were in Prince Albert.

A picture that I took of a massive hit at centre ice that had a Mintos player flying in the air was a big favourite around the rink but I like the one the next day a lot better.

There’s a little back story, as there always is with my column.

Prior to the tournament starting, I spent time with sports reporters Dave Leaderhouse and Andrew Schopp dividing up who would do what for each game. Every game would have a story and as many good pictures as we could take.

Andrew was photographing the Notre Dame Argos tilt with the Thunder Bay Kings on Friday, and I was shooting the late game between the Mintos and the Winnipeg Wild.

I went to the rink a bit early, arriving with five minutes left in the first game. I set my camera up to shoot in the rink and decided to wander down to the far corner where the Zamboni comes out.

There was about two minutes left in the game when I took my first shot. A penalty was called shortly after, with the Argos killing a penalty in my end.

As the Kings skated in, I was shooting the puck carrier. When he stopped to shoot, I whipped the camera back toward the goaltender, with my finger on the trigger.

My camera takes about four shots per second, which is far slower than it sounds. It’s easy to miss the puck on a shot to the net because it travels a long way in a quarter of a second.

In a three-second span, I snapped eight shots. The puck stayed out of the net but I had no clue how at the time.

Only when I looked at my pictures later did I realize that Argos goalie Matt Kustra had made the save of a lifetime, knocking the puck of the air with the paddle of his stick in the final minute of a tied game.

The resulting shots are the best pictures I’ve ever taken.

This might be giving away some kind of photographers’ secret that will get me kicked out of a club that I didn’t know I belonged to, but it was utter and complete luck.

This old goalie gives a whole lot more credit to Matt for doing the seemingly impossible.



Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at


Organizations: Kings, Winnipeg Wild, Daily Herald

Geographic location: Brandon, Prince Albert, Notre Dame

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