Friday 3 June 2011

The Bubbles Still Tickle My Nose.

I don’t suppose that you can really appreciate anything until you can see yourself in the same situation. I knew that my grandmother liked me, but until I had a grandchild I didn’t realize the special bond she must have felt. I wasn’t her first grandchild, I think I was fifth or sixth and it is entirely possible that her feelings were somewhat watered down by the time I came along. Mind you, I am really cute. Well, I was. You will just have to take my word on it.

She used to call me solemn Kenny. I guess that I didn’t smile that much. It was the fifties and I had a mean older brother, what was there to smile about?

My uncle bought a farm with lakefront property and in order to help out her daughter and son-in-law she bought one of the subdivided lots. This worked in another way, it allowed my brother and I to get the country experience that as city boys we were missing. Not to mention it gave her something to do when she retired shortly afterwards. She had a cottage built and most weekends were spent on Lake Eugina while I was growing up. It was very cool.

We were pretty young so there wasn’t too much work around the place that we kids could do, so my brother and I and the other cottage kids spent our time in kid heaven.  There was swimming and boating (we had a row boat), forests and miles and miles of dirt roads to walk. Some days we would walk the five or six miles to “the causeway” where there was a gas station/marina/general store.

God, it would take forever! We were sidetracked so very easily, any bit of open water was an invitation to see who could skip a rock the farthest. Whenever we came to a culvert there were frogs and tadpoles and rumour had it that Art Fry had seen a turtle there once. Man, to see a turtle would have been the best. Depending on the time of year there was a good chance that one of us would have some fire crackers which spelt trouble for any ant hills that we came across. Of course we had matches and every now and then we would have a fire just because we could.

There were always cars that went by from time to time that would quite literally coat us with grey road dust. That is how I learned to swear so well, trying to describe the drivers and their car. I am sure that they would try to make as much dust as possible. After we would scale “The Hill” we were out of the lake/swamp area and into farmland. Sometimes there were cows and we would dare each other to climb the fence and touch them. Somehow, we thought they were vicious animals that given half the chance would tear us into little pieces and drink our blood.

In the early fall there were cornfields that would go on forever and we would play tag and chase each other through the tall corn rows. Once we were chased by the farmer who of course didn’t stand a chance of catching us, but he did put the fear of God in us. I don’t remember eating any of the corn, but I think that was because there were so many wild apple trees just begging to be tasted. Did you know that every apple tree has different tasting apples? All Granny Smith apples come from grafts taken from a single tree. Well, I think it’s interesting.

What was our reward for this day long trek? We would get to the causeway and buy a Coke from the machine. To this day I can still hear the sound of the ice cold bottle dropping down. I would lift the door and grab that greenish bottle and use the bottle opener that was on the front of the machine. I would raise the bottle to my mouth and I could see and smell the bubbles just before I took that first mouthful. If there is a heaven, I am sure there will be a Coke machine there. We would go to the dock and dangle our feet in the water and enjoy that Coke, making it last for what seemed like hours.

Of course we would eventually finish and you would put the bottle in the empty rack. I can’t remember if we got a deposit back or whether that came in later years. Sometimes I would ask for the bottle caps and the guy at the station would usually give them to me. I had visions of making things with them like a scrapper to take the mud off of your shoes, or maybe use them to make a bottle cap person. I would mostly just play with them and eventually they would disappear. I guess mom or dad would toss them. The walk back would be uneventful and all we could think of was getting our trunks on and swimming when we got back.

This trip back was when the arguments and accusations would happen. Someone would start singing “Purple People Eater” and another person would either hate that song or get mad because the first person didn’t know the words. Someone would bet that you couldn’t hit a tree with a stone and when you did they would say that isn’t the right tree. I hated those return trips! I guess we were learning about life and how everything good has a cost. I can’t complain about my memories.

The bubbles still tickle my nose. Thanks Gram, I still love you.

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