Memories of Johnny Cash linger in La Ronge

A movie biography of Johnny Cash is up for some Oscars and people in one northern Saskatchewan town couldn't be happier.

A movie biography of Johnny Cash is up for some Oscars and people in one northern Saskatchewan town couldn't be happier.

Cash and his five-piece band played in La Ronge, about 250 kilometres north of Prince Albert, in 1983.

"La Ronge is just about the end of the last road going north," Cash said in a 1983 interview. "I think some of the people feel like they're kind of cut off … but they make me feel so welcome, every time I've been here."

Stories from that concert and several other visits from Cash are remembered warmly by people like Ron and Evelyn Mackay.

A fishing enthusiast, Cash and his wife June Carter Cash frequently visited the town of 2,700 and a fishing camp at nearby Costigan Lake.

The Mackays had the Cashes as guests on their property on several occasions and considered them friends.

"He liked La Ronge, he liked the people," said Ron Mackay, who recalled down-to-earth chats with Cash, in which he spoke about his pride in his Scottish and Indian roots.

Evelyn Mackay said she'll never forget the day she answered a knock at her door and was met by a friendly woman with curlers in her hair.

"There was June Carter Cash," she said. "'I came to borrow a half a cup of sugar … would that be OK?' I thought that was just wonderful."

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash died four months apart in 2003.

When the Oscar finalists were announced Tuesday morning, a Cash bio-pic, Walk the Line, received nominations in the best actor and best actress categories.

Ron Mackay said he and his wife haven't seen the film yet – La Ronge doesn't have a movie theatre – but they're looking forward to doing so.