Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Past the slough...memories and stained glass sun catchers

Search Bees in the Western Art Glass Etsy shop

Once upon a time, I was twelve years old and riding the train from Minneapolis to Winnipeg by myself. This was the summer, upon returning, that I discovered ham on rye. Little did I know that this would be the happiest time of my life. An entire summer with my grandparents to myself in a small town in Saskatchewan. My grandfather was the high school custodian. His claim to fame? after he retired, and they built a new school in the town, they named it after him...I enjoy the cosmic juxtaposition. Meanwhile, my grandmother nurtured my best behavior...something my authoritarian father was unable to do with thick leather belt spankings...and canoe paddle whacks!  A glorious summer....

Past the winged black birds dive bombing...the old elementary school and the skating rink where his mother curled. In the back lane the lads were digging a tunnel, while Buckshot Davis explained the birds and the bees...tenuous and mystery shrouded. Retracing steps...stories from the abandoned shell...footsteps and clarinet.

...while a squirrel nervous tail fidget stutter step like some kind of Pistol Pete...sudden memory of accompanying my grandpa into the dim cafe owned by Chinese immigrants in small town prairie town. wooden sidewalks. smoke hung from the pressed tin ceiling like cumulonimbus clouds. Dominoes and bell shaped glasses of dark amber beer. and outside the heady aroma of Spring seeping from emergent photosynthesis. and eventually my sixth grade teacher, Miss Fink, aroused an unknown sense of perfume and nylons. Drawing little cartoons...intoxicated.

The back lane behind the sheds (one converted into a bedroom for me) of my grandparents house...dirt and rutted brought you to Buckshot Davis' Pops petrol station. Directly on the other side of the lane...the Langenburg Museum. A giant garage...neglected for years, had allowed the gang of twelve year-olds from town to get inside. We discovered a trapdoor into a bare room with a couch and chair. This became our clubhouse. Many hours were whiled away with squirreled comic books, soda pop and potato chips.