Billy wasn’t looking forward to Christmas. His Dad was far away on a Navy warship and his Mum was always busy taking care of the baby, his new little sister. Bad enough having a big sister! Enid spent all her time nowadays trying out new make-up. Billy told her that when he wanted to paint he used paper, not his face. Girls! He’d never understand them.... Read
There isn’t much left of the old ferry dock anymore, except the overgrown remains of the gravel river road and the slightly cleared rocky patch that used to be the landing for the old “Mad Dash” ferry. Still, just standing here brings back memories.
Everyday, when we came down that river road to take the ferry to school, Tanner Cook, the cheerful old ferryman, would be waiting for us right there, where that clump of raspberry bushes is growing now... Read More
It is odd that I remember so few details of that experience. It must have been my anxiety, with, however, more than a touch of excitement for the challenge that confronted me, that erased them from my mind.
Saturdays had a flavour all their own. No morning rush to get ready for school. No homework in the evenings... Read More
I drove past the Vancouver Island Agricultural Heritage Museum last Monday and had a look at all the historical machinery displayed there, the steam driven threshers and the horse drawn mowers and it made me wonder what a display of this sort was doing on Vancouver Island. Then suddenly I saw something vaguely familiar. It looked like the Red River Cart I remember which is standing by the roadside near the town of Selkirk, Manitoba. That Selkirk Red River Cart is definitely not a working model, it’s a tourist attraction since it has wheels ten feet tall and is painted bright red. The Red River Cart here on the island in the museum however is an authentic cart. I wondered about its history.... Read More
My first encounter with Cragmont Tissle was on a crisp clear September morning in 1973. Actually, the starting morning of my first teaching position.
His stooped form pushing the wide gray janitor’s broom startled me so that I almost lost control of the pyramid of spelling texts I was so artfully trying to balance. Slowly he raised his long sagging face to reveal dark fluid fish-like eyes, made even more eerie by the milky film of beginning cataracts. Giving me a deliberate nod he resumed his position and continued down the hall... Read More
Evelyn had just stated the obvious for the fourth time during our magical mystery tour of Temiscaming.
I had arrived in Rouyn-Noranda shortly before, after an eight-hour bus trip. Forewarned, I had whiled away my time with music on my Walkman and reading a tear-jerker novel - hey, on a bus no-one knows you and you can sob to your heart’s content. Fortified by a mixture of granola bars and pudding on top of two turkey sandwiches and a fruit cup, I had relaxed, sipping my designer water, enjoying the luxury of having two whole seats to myself. At the time, I was unaware I was destined for a surprise tour of several farms and a couple of logging trails in a fruitless search for the location of a furniture auction...
A long long time ago there lived on this island, I’m told, a fisherman whose name was Clam. His wife’s name was Pearl, and their three children were called Sea Urchin, Sea Star, and little Sea Anemone.
Every morning Clam put out to sea in his wooden boat (weather) and in evening returned home with his catch... Read More
As I remember them, the winters of the southern Alberta prairies in the 1930’s, although long and often severe, were punctuated from time to time by Chinook winds, which, flowing over the Rockies from the southwest, sometimes raised the temperature as much as thirty or forty degrees in a matter of hours. Their warm caress, laid briefly on the snow, could be withdrawn as quickly as it had appeared however, plunging
the land once more into icy winter.
But as surely as taxes and death, there would come a day... Read More
My father, Gerhard Nikolai Janzen, immigrated into Canada in 1927 landing in St. John, New Brunswick on January 2 having spent Christmas crossing the Atlantic on a CPR boat called the S.S. Montcalm. He traveled to Winnipeg and thence to Gretna, a small town in southern Manitoba where a Mennonite High School had recently opened. Its prime objective was to turn out teachers for the schools in the new Mennonite settlements in Manitoba. Gerhard managed to learn the English language and pass the exams for Grade XI within one year, promptly moving on to the Normal School in Manitou, Manitoba the following year.
Gerhard was born in Russia in 1905 in an area now known as the Ukraine, of German Mennonite farmers who lived a comfortable life along the Molotchna River in a village called Lindenau.... Read More
Our father turned off the ‘49 Merc, and we tumbled out into the lumber camp that was to be our new home. Delighted to be out of the backseat with the lurching, jolting journey behind us, we stood rooted in awe at the whine of the sawmill and the roar of the logging trucks. My older sister, Lois, took a deep breath, sucking her nostrils together once, then again.
“Smell it, Elaine,” she said. “It’s like a million Christmas trees being ground.”... Read More
I know not who I am, what I am, nor where I am going. The world is a maze spinning round and round and round in my mind.
I need help.
I am alone in the darkness that devours me. I need a direction, a purpose - something to believe in. In my stumbling, I come across a stairwell rising forever towards the sky. Where it leads I do not know. As I look around, I notice other stairwells of the same make growing upwards towards the same infinite Mystery. Which one should I choose? Is there a right one? Is there a wrong one?... Read More
I’ve wanted a dog of my own since 1 was seventeen. My mom bought a miniature poodle the day before my prom. My mom and sister named him Caramel because of his light brown fur. I didn’t get a say on his name because I was at work all day. I was excited to have a puppy even though he wasn’t really mine. I wanted him to sleep in my room. Mom agreed on the condition that I sleep on the floor because my bed was three feet off the floor, and she was afraid the puppy would fall out of bed... Read More
We were looking upon the face of God, they had told me, but all I wanted was to drive with my hand caressed by the wind.
We had spent all day watching, searching for meaning in the carved stones built up over the centuries. Human hands had toiled, their sweat and blood pressed into the rocks, burrowed in the dust. Now, the work was revered. Every day, hundreds of fascinated eyes scanned the landscape, dived longingly past the imprints, beyond where their thoughts were allowed to roam. Each wanted to find the key, the secret, the reason why the world still turned the same each morning despite the clouds... Read More
They first had to remove the body of the red-headed girl, originally found rolled inside a carpet and thrown out on the street with a crowd of enthralled spectators on the corner of Prince and Grafton watching as her fire-engine pigtails were neatly tucked inside the body bag before she was carted off. Who killed her was the main question, followed by: How did she die?... Read More
Vol.9, No.48, 2006 The Salmon King - A Fish Tale From B.C. By Elizabeth Symon A long time ago in a castle under a faraway sea lived a king, a salmon king, King Chinook, a widower who had one daughter, the beautiful Princess Raun... Read More
Vol.9, No.47, 2006 Misplaced By Eleanor Long The uncanny part of this affair was he knew exactly where he had put it. After using it, care was taken to hook the secured ring onto a bottom loop of this coat rack. Among the half dozen hooks in a row attached to the board, search after search beneath shirts, coats, caps and scarfs, he could not find it. What a mystery this is! No one else was in this house to ever need it. That woman would put the thing right back where she got it, if the blasted thing had been used. Of this he was most certain. Because many years of being reminded to bring things right back to where they belonged, she would DO just that... Read More
Vol.9, No.47, 2006 Popcorn By Wm. Manley Nobles Years ago when I was just a boy, before you asked a girl to go out with you, you had to have at least a dollar to treat her. In those days when you were working for 50 cents a day, that seemed a lot of money. But since I was a big spender I ventured out... Read More
Vol.9, No.47, 2006 The Modern Trap By Billy Lambert In olden times as a man came by
If the lady wanted to catch his eye
She knew for the moment she’d have him stopped
If a bit of embroidery she dropped... Read More