We hadn't seen them since Father's Day and my parents never mind us inviting ourselves down for a visit. They had the most delicious tender roast beef, whipped potatoes, and carrots. I thought it must be Sunday as that's what they always have....gosh, what will they have today?! (Sunday)
My parents had just had my sister and her family for a big meal the two nights previous. Both of them sure love to cook for people and even with us, family, they are always such gracious, classy hosts. (Somehow, I didn't get that gene!)
The visit was fun and interesting, and my mom didn't show any memory lapses at all. (She's had a few in the past year which makes us wonder if Alzheimer's is developing.) My dad got into stories of his grandfather and he really got going! Wish I'd had a tape recorder. I've never heard any of these before which is always neat.
His grandfather apparently went fishing and hunting with his best friend, Zane Grey, the famous writer of many westerns. Even I had heard of him and some of the movies too! I think that was a pseudonym and many people thought he was an American, living in the west. My dad doesn't remember his grandfather being terribly fond of him and it's no wonder when my dad revealed some more stories.
Dad's memory is so sharply focused as he was describing antics of his being a young rowdy kid at the General Store up at his cottage. They owned 3 cottages on different lakes, a few being in Quebec, and all were fairly remote! I think they got rid of them and he laments this a great deal.
He spent every summer up at these. No wonder he always wanted to have a cottage and loves the fishing cabins we still have.
He was telling us how people used to buy their meat, bread, milk/cream, from different farmers and trucks. His dad would bring up all the unsold vegetables from the Sat. market after he had counted up the money and put it in the safe, and then drove up in one of the few vehicles people had. Most took the train.
His dad and Uncle owned a huge market garden farm in Ottawa, called, Rideau Gardens, all along that river. (Such prime land which is now a whole subdivision..one street was named after my sister!) They owned 5 teams of work horses (Clydesdale) to haul ice from the river and work the fields. Their vegetable cool storage was a fan blowing over the block of ice! They had 3 different kinds of veggies with each meal, not counting potatoes. My dad's an original Cabbage Patch Kid!
One of his stories about his shenanigans was just a hoot. I can so picture him doing this as a rambunctious 10 year-old! With a friend, he was regularly sneaking out at night from sleeping on the porch, going to the general store where this old shopkeeper who lived there used to sleep under the counter. They'd pussyfoot into the store, take the end of the huge ball of twine they used to use to wrap all packages with, hanging high above the counter, and run down the street with it. The guy would wake up, go after them with a big axe and cut the string since he could never catch them. The poor man could be seen waving this axe at them long after they had disappeared!
I love this story! Isn't it a scene right out of Little House On The Prairie?!
I should really bring a tape recorder next time.
Labels: Dad's childhood stories, old general stores