It’s fair to say that it is every kid’s dream to have their school burn down. For David “Scotty” Morris, that dream became a reality. While waiting for the bus one morning, one of his friend’s parents called out to them from their balcony to let them know of the news. Despite the fact that she was calling out from a home in the Swiss Village and Morris and his friends were waiting for the bus where Cats to Cattle is now, the kids had no trouble hearing her.
“We could hear her tell us that the school had burned down and that we should come home. That’s how quiet it used to be here, there was no industry, just some small mills,” he said.
Morris’ vacation from school didn’t last forever, of course, and the students took over the Civic Centre while repairs were made at Lady Grey.
Morris was born and raised in Golden on property at the end of Ottoson. It was a quiet childhood with most of his time spent playing with the few kids in the neighbourhood. Summers were spent hiking and exploring the surrounding countryside and the winters were spent on the small ski hill near his home.
“When I was a kid we had the local ski club. There would be an old car there and a rope tow. The department of highways would clean off half the field for a parking lot. We’d have 150-200 people up there on weekends to ski,” he said. “You’d pay 50 cents, enough to pay for the gas and turn the car on and away you went. We even had a string of lights up the hill so we could ski nights.”
In the summer he’d swim at a marsh in Moberley with his friends.
“You’d just have to pull the leaches off yourself afterwards,” he said, smiling at the memory.
As for his nickname, Morris earned it when he went on a three month trip to Scotland in his youth in order to attend his grandfather’s funeral and visit family. When he got back, his classmates began calling him Scotty and the nickname stuck.
Morris met his wife, Maxine, when she started working alongside his sister as a chambermaid at the Ponderosa Inn. Maxine was supposed to be here for just the summer but ended up moving here permanently from Edmonton. The couple has two children, four grandchildren and one great grandson.
Over the years, Morris has worked in the logging industry and as a delivery driver around town for Old Ham transport (later Byers Transport). He enjoyed the latter job throughly.
“It was great, you got to talk to different crews and different people every day. You went to all the stores. In those days we delivered beer, we delivered groceries, we delivered everything,” he said.
Today, Morris lives in a house right next to his childhood home, which is where his son lives with his wife and two kids. He has no desire to move on and live somewhere else, although he did enjoy travelling to Carcross in the Yukon on a few occasions to visit a high school friend. He works four days on and four days off for Trimac, which supplies fuel for trains at the CPR yard. He plans to retire within a few months, which will give him more time to ski and work in his garden.
While it would be easy for him to lament the ways in which the town has grown and changed, Morris prefers to embrace what tourism has brought to the town.
“It’s grown slow enough that you have to really stop and think about what used to there and nothing is really negative,” he said. “It brings a few more stores in and a few more things here that you don’t have to travel for.”