Saturday, March 6, 2010

childish memories.

The full sense of adventure could only really be felt once you ducked under the fence that divided my step-father's property from Grandpa Vic's property.  I caught my shirt on the barbed wire all the time, but once free on the other side I crossed into a frontier and explored it with all the wonderment of a five year old. Which was a lot.

Tall grass carpeted all but the narrow path that twisted down to his house. Soaring strips of white birch reached towards the sky. Countless big black knot holes spied as I darted between the trees.  Once I reached the dirt drive that was when I usually spotted tiny chicks.  Like 10 baby chicks would be busy following close behind mother hen.  I remember thinking how impossibly small they were.  Every time thinking they must have been born yesterday and for sure the next day they would be fully grown and have chicks of their own. But if I was on the dirt drive that meant I was getting close to the mean goose. It was big. It was light gray.  And it was always mad. That goose struck a fear in me that whenever I saw it I started running in the other direction. That crazy goose, what was its problem?

Then past the grain shack. It was this creepy fragile shack, made with rusty wood, well if wood could rust it would have looked like this wood. If I could muster the courage sometimes I would stop and peer inside, pushing open the door just enough to see the mice scurrying away from the shaft of light. I would slam the door and take off for the house, smoke from the chimney would be curling up into the crisp canadian morning air. The valley rolled down from his house, you could see forever. Endless pasture would push up against the other side of the valley, then thick forrest, spread like moss on a mountainside until an inhospitable line separated green from the pale gray of rock.

Opening his front door was like Pandora's box. You could never guess what was going to happen. Inside it was always dimly lit. His dog "Licorice"was jet black and always happy. ALWAYS. Just like my Grandpa. I remember, he had the most amazing shirts, usually dirty but always full of color and crazy prints, western style but with crazy prints like pheasants, or cowboys on horses. And his house was full of shit. But good shit, like cowboys and indians stuff. I mean that guy never threw anything way. Stuff everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I would walk inside and he would be making tea. He would ask if I wanted tea, "sure" I said. "Go get more water from the well downstairs" he would say very chipper. Then the challenge was to find a clean coffee cup. Cups and dishes were all over the counter, used and never washed, just grab one and clean it and use it, that's how it worked.

When I grew old enough to understand chess, we would play. But if not chess we would walk around the property, feeding animals, or just putzing around like farmers do in the morning. And I remember when he needed to go check on the cows he would get on his beatup motorcycle, and then he would call out "LICORICE" and a few seconds later the dog would be seated on the gas tank in his lap.  Sometimes I would ride along, holding on tight behind Grandpa Vic.  If I didn't go I would stand in the dirt drive and watch as my grandpa and his dog would take off down into the valley.  I would start back up the path into the shade of the Birch trees full of wonderment.

A chill covers my skin. I miss that man and his land.

1 comment:

Tenshi Rising said...

Excellent portrait, Brad.

Search This Blog