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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

- Page 70

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 22, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta Our Street You tell me kids are smarter today and I'll tell you they dont know beans about sausages By James Qwg Illiatraliora by Don Anderson From time to lime, some of Canada's leading writers will recall aspects of their early years ior Weekend Magazine. This week, Junes Quig remembers the street where he grew up in Cornwall. IT WAS one of those very rare moments when even the little ones agreed there was nothing worth watch- ing on TV. But what would they do, they worried; couldn't they at least watch the commercials? We decided it couldn't be put off any longer. They knew about the birds and the bees, Richard Nixon and 24- hour all-over protection now, whether we liked it or not, they had to be told there was overwhelming evidence of life on Earth long before Mary Tyler Moore got her own show. But obviously we would have to be gentle so I started off with the man who didn't drink... The man who didn't drink always waited until dark to move his weekly case of beer from his car to his house; in the summertime that meant he couldn't make the switch much before and only then if he was sure nobody was watching. But we always watched; .that was the wonderful thing, I told them, about growing up on a street like ours in Cornwall, Ontario, way back there in the forties there was always so much to see and do. Prime time on our street was right after supper just like it is now, except that instead of sitting in front of the set we would all go out on the front veranda to watch the show. Ours was a short, dead-end street with a confectionery store at the top and a vacant field at the bottom the show was everything in between. The veranda was our very own Royal Box and there were never any warnings not to adjust the set. We were the stars of our own shows and the man who didn't drink was one of the headliners every 10- Wnkmd Ftfc. IMS Friday night, the night he bought his beer. After sup- per he would come out on his veranda like every- body else to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. As soon as it got dark and you couldn't see him any more, you knew he was just about ready to go for his beer. He was a fast mover, too; as soon as he thought the coast was clear he would dash down, grab the box out of his trunk and run mlo his kitchen. If somebody suddenly appeared on the sidewalk he would pretend to be checking his spare tire. We used to suddenly appear a lot just to keep him on his toes. As soon as he got into his kitchen he would franti- cally open a bottle of beer and down it and then he would open another. If you were standing on somebody's shoulders at his kitchen window you could see the whole thing as clear as anything. He was the fastest man on the street with a bottle of beer, and some of the fathers were pretty fast. We could never understand why he didn't show off his speed more instead of pretending he never touched the stuff. Anyway, it was the first time any of us had been exposed to the open-throat style of beer drink- ing and some of us were never the same again. Another of our feature players was the man who oid drink and he was even more fun. All the other fathers on the street were usually home from the factory by but not the man who drank. He liked to stop off for a few at Fred's on the way home and he always rode his bike onto centre stage with that big smile of his at a quarter to seven except on paydays when he stopped off for more than a few. Payday was the day he would do his no-hands trick on the bike and try to ride straight down the middle crack in the street; often the folks on the veranda would stand right up and applaud and cheer when he made it. Then there was the man who made wooden whistles. How many people today do you know who make beautiful wooden whistles for kids for free? He was about 35 and that's all he did carve wooden whistles. When there was nothing else going you could always go over to his place and get him to make you one. Some of his whistles were as small as your little finger, others as long as your arm, and they all made nice happy sounds and were terrific for calling dogs. He even took time to carve nice designs in the bark and there wasn't a kid in blocks who didn't have at least one in his pocket. Sometimes we would go over to the back door of the butcher shop and watch them make sausages. There was something about sausage-making that never got dull. Often the butcher would slice us off a piece of bologna and we never left without a free box of bones for the dog. Tell me kids are smaller today and .I'll tell you they don't know beans about sausages. On rainy nights we picked worms that was automatic. There was nothing like a good night on the grass tracking down nightcrawlers with a flash- light. We picked worms and loved it, especially if The Shadow wasn't on the prowl. The Shadow he who knew what evil lurked in the hearts of men lived on our street. Well, at least there was somebody there who thought he was The Shadow because he had the same sinister laugh as the real Shadow on the radio had and he used to hide in trees and dark comers and scare little kids and old ladies when they walked by. During times of slim pickings he also stole our Halloween candy and our worms. Some of the guys said he stole from the rich to give to the poor but we could never be sure we never found out his true identity. Ours was a bilingual street and there was always an ;