Small boats made of popsicle sticks floated down the rainwater rivers beside the footpath of our street. Crouched down low, we positioned them just right. When they weren’t around we reverted to placing sticks and leaves in the streams and watching them float as far as they could. Down the road by the school we watched the bald eagles soar once. The murky ponds rimmed in cattails were the homes of ducks and geese in the summer and outdoor skating rinks in the winter.
I fell in love over and over again at the hockey rink. So many hockey players to choose from! Eventually I was banned from flirting beside the players bench. But it was under a towel covered picnic table at the local swimming pool where I found my childhood love.
I picked up chopsticks and learned to use them at the Tasty Mill. The options for eating out were Chinese, Chinese, Chinese or Pizza. The Shangri La, where I regularly ordered grilled cheese sandwiches, was reserved for Sunday lunch. The spooky, abandoned looking Chinese restaurant reportedly had the best in town. It still looks spooky and closed. It still is reputed to have the best in town.
Down by the reservoir we went canoeing once to spot the beavers the town was named after. There must have been 30 at least. My fear of swimming in wild places started there as I truly believed the rumours that piranhas had been let loose and were living there. Walking closer to the waters edge, my minds eye was filling in the sights and sounds of baptisms. Stories and confessions of faith from young and old. Water broken and dripping. Towel covered hugs. I have decided to follow Jesus.
Grandmothers in church taught me handcrafts. I blame my early pursuit of embroidery and crochet on them. If I hadn’t won all those first prize ribbons at the autumn fair I might not have kept on trying.
This town holds 1,000 innocent memories from my childhood. Each time I visit, they return to me again.