Larry and Goo
I remember the day my brother got sick very vividly. When I went to the hospital to see him, I cried but my mother told me not to. This was the beginning of an emotional shut down. I saw no one in my family cry, so I stuffed my feelings whenever I could, from here on in.
The doctors told my parents my brother would benefit from country life so we moved to a small village in Southern Ontario called, Caledon. It was picture perfect, the opposite of our lives.
Dad was gone most of the time, working on the road he was a driver examiner now. Drinking more heavily, much of which I think he tried to hide. I was afraid of him when he was hungover. But life went on and there were a lot of wonderful things about this little place.
We lived in the Church manse, a big old country house, with fireplaces in just about every room, they were boarded over. The country church was across the street. My mother she played the organ every Sunday and I attended Sunday school faithfully for a whole year. There was a horse across the street too, which I would like to have been friendly with but he was a biter, not friendly, so I left him alone.
Betty, my very best friend, we'd raid Gary and Lou's garden . My brother and me, always called them Larry and Goo. I mistakenly called them that one day, so we just liked those names better because it made us laugh. They were two bachelor brothers, that lived together and they had the most wonderful garden. You didn't want to get caught raiding their garden because they'd be furious. All we wanted were a few cucumbers boys, give us a break! We'd sit by the hour eating cucumbers with our paring knives and salt shaker. That was the life. We'd hang out down at the feed mill, sitting on bags of grain and watch the older kids smoke. The smell of that grain was so sweet. You could pick gooseberries by the bucket. We hang out down by the creek. I took piano lessons with Mrs Bean.
I did some crazy things, having too much time on my hands alone. One day, I shaved my eyebrow off. My mother wasn't impressed. I thought maybe if I put a band aid over the spot where my eyebrow was, she wouldn't notice. No, I thought I'd better put two band aids on both spots. I bravely came downstairs, with no band aids, ready to face the music. I knew I had to tell her I'd shaved my eyebrow off. After I calmly announced to her what I did, I ran upstairs throwing myself onto my bed, whaling my head off, pleading that she not tell my father. She threatened to if I didn't shut up. I shut up.
Another time I stuck my finger into the holes above an old hand pump out in our yard. My dad told me we'd have to have the fire department to get that off or I'd be dragging a pump around from my hand, for the rest of my life.
Life can be sweet when you enjoy the simple things, even the things that get you into trouble. That's the way it is when you're a kid, getting pleasure from the simple things. I don't ever want to loose that ability.