by Otto Ringle
Stop the presses! I had this column all written for this week’s edition; however something wonderful happened today, which we just have to write about. I’m so excited and elated, I can’t even hit the right keys on the computer keyboard! For the first time in Walker’s 124 year history, a woman has been elected to serve as our mayor. And perhaps more importantly, the desire of the majority of Walker voters satisfied Pat McGarry’s suggestion when he very intelligently advised the residents of our new little town, “If Walker is going to succeed as a new village, we must learn to have a good relationship with our neighboring native nation.”
Ironically, October’s edition of the “Debahjimon” quoted Faron Jackson, LLBO Chairman, when he said, “We’re not all expected to paddle the canoe down the same river, but we must all paddle together in unity.”
That viewpoint has rung the bell of the name McMurrin for many years of Walker’s history. Glen and Cornette McMurrin came to Walker in 1929. Glen was from Ireland, Cornette from Norway, and rumor has it they met on an immigration ship to America. Their relationship became so close that they were debating where to go together when they arrived in America.
Of course Glen, being a good Irishman, wanted to set up a little pub in Marine Park of New York City and, as all good Irishmen of those days did, join the New York City Police Department. However Cornette was immediately attracted by the beauty and climate of northern Minnesota, since it was much like her homeland of Norway. Lucky for us, they found their way to Walker. And to make Glen happy, Cornette compromised their original dilemma as to where to go when together, and they set up a little pub on the south side of main street. And wouldn’t ya know, Glen joined the Walker Police Department.
In 1932 Glen passed away Cornette replaced the beer in their little pub with coffee and called the place the Home Cafe. However it was not long before Cornette became known as”Babe,” and the Home Cafe became known as Babe’s Cafe.
The best thing about Babe’s Cafe was Babe’s Teenage Canteen, which was located in the basement. Every kid in town could be found there after a sporting event and on Saturday afternoon, listening to the Gophers or dancing to Babe’s jukebox. The place was decorated with paraphernalia depicting the Walker Warriors, as one of those Warriors was a scatback by the name of Larry McMurrin, one of Babe’s two boys.
The record books would never show this, but Larry had more rushing yards from his halfback position than any football player in Warrior/Wolf history. The only problem was, Larry’s yardage was always back and forth along the line of scrimmage, never running toward the goal line. The only time Larry ever scored a touchdown was when big Teenus Carlson picked up Larry and literally threw him into the goal. Teenus went on to play football for Coach Bernie Bierman’s Golden Gophers, while Larry quit school and joined the service during the Cold War. When Larry was discharged, he graduated with me and our infamous Class of 1949.
Larry had a brother Neil, who was also a good football player. As an underclassman, I was never able to get in the game until we were either way ahead or way behind, as Neil and I played the same fullback position. Neil and Larry also had a sister, and everybody in town knew June McMurrin. Junie was a spirited, vivacious and full of life individual, the type of person you could not help but like. The type of person who, if you were on one side of main street and Junie was on the other side, walking in opposite directions, she would cross the busy street, throw kisses at the drivers of the oncoming, very busy summertime traffic, and greet you with her joke of the day. Her jokes were especially funny and entertaining because Junie always used a local, well-known person as the principal for her witticism. For example, “Did you hear about the football player who ran for 400 yards in one game but never scored a touchdown? His name was Larry McMurrin!” Junie would laugh hilariously and you couldn’t help but laugh also.
So Larry married another local gal named Norma Frazer and together, they had a daughter named Ann. Ann McMurrin also graduated from Walker and has lived here all her life. Today she works for Thrifty White Drug Store, but in the past, she had a little business of her own in town. She has served on the city council and today, she is our mayor. Remember, her name is McMurrin, who cannot help but do a great job.