When I was in Grade 7 and Kevin in Grade 5 at Lakeview School in Grimsby, Mom and Dad bought a 53-acre parcel of land in West Lincoln. After years of renting, they would build their own home and have a large base upon which to base their company, which involved big trucks and equipment, not to mention piles of railroad ties. We finished out our school years and got to pick our room colours as the house came to life. As you may have read here previously, I went trendy and Osmondy, with several shades of purple.
Now some 40 years later, that house is about to belong to someone else’s family. Dad’s gone and Mom is moving. Most of the furniture that won’t go with her has been cleared out, donated or sold. The huge shop is pretty much empty and the remaining equipment has new owners. To everything there is a season.
This aerial photo was taken years ago, when some of the trees were still pretty young. The birch trees in front of the house eventually died and the garage partially collapsed and was brought down last year. The huge shop is still there, though, and my brother has spent a lot of time in it, tinkering and fixing things. Our family dogs are buried by the pond – it’s one of three on the property. You can’t even see the back field or the woods. We used to have ducks in a pond out of the shot, behind the shop. It was typical to see deer as dawn broke.
Each of us will miss something different about that place. Memories of Baron, our Golden Retriever, running toward the house with a frog’s legs dangling out of his mouth, the frog still alive and about to become a curiosity for the dog’s wet nose and big eyes. My Border Collie Lee Roy, a city dog, almost turning his head 180 degrees as my Dad walked toward the woods clapping his hands and trying to get him to come along. Lee Roy wouldn’t, though, unless I had said the magic word, “okay!” But he wouldn’t take his eyes off Dad, either. The parties we had. The skating and snowmobiling we did. The time we snowshoed to the nearly empty Winslow variety store a couple of km away during the blizzard of ’77. Finally getting to be a senior and ride in the back seat of the high school bus. A lifetime of memories and millions of them involving my Dad.
I love the memories but the place itself isn’t what it once was. Mammoth wind turbines ruin the view in every direction. The fields are full of ticks and I no longer even want to go for a walk because of them. Deer and other animals were scared off long ago by illegal hunters. Neighbours are getting older and preparing to move soon. And some of the more recent memories, less enjoyable ones made during Dad’s decline, are tied to that place, too. So, I’m not going to linger on nostalgia. So long old friend. Thanks for the growing up and everything, but you don’t mean all that much to me anymore.