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Prairie Dreams - Memories (standard:other, 838 words)
Author: drksideofthemoonAdded: Jul 28 2007Views/Reads: 1788/874Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Memories of growing up in a small town on the Alberta prairies.
 



drksideofthemoon© 2007 

I grew up in a small town on the Alberta prairie. The Welcome To and
Come Back Soon signs were on the same post. They rolled the sidewalks 
up promptly at six, noon on Wednesdays. Friday night was late night 
shopping, the stores stayed open until nine. It was almost a social 
event. Sundays, everything was closed, except for the Chinese 
restaurant. He stayed open seven days a week. 

Nothing much ever happened. Time seemed to revolve around the four
seasons. Spring was planting. Summer was lazy. Fall was harvest. 
Winter, it was hockey and curling. That's how the year was measured. 

Summer meant out of school. It was adventure. Big plans made at night,
whispering in bed, the light of a flashlight powered by Ray O' Vacs 
glowing from under the covers. 

The week's activities were generally centered on the Saturday Matinee at
the Rio Theatre. Admission was a dime. If a kid was lucky, they got a 
quarter. Ten cents to get in, a nickel for popcorn, a nickel for a 
drink, and maybe a nickel to use at the Chinaman's store where candy 
was measured three for a penny, two for a penny and packaged in little 
paper bags. 

War movies were always a favorite. We'd spend the next week crawling
around the bushes behind the house reenacting the movie. Westerns were 
always a big hit. The most exotic were Tarzan movies; nothing raised 
more excitement than seeing the King of the Jungle. 

The worst was when the hero kissed the girl. Oh, how we would moan and
groan. "Whose idea was it to put a dame in the movie?" 

We'd cover our eyes and wait for the mushy stuff to end. Oh, if we only
knew! 

Days were spent gathering beer bottles to sell to Dickering Del for a
penny apiece, or fifteen cents for a dozen if you had the case they 
came in. Fifteen cents was a chunk of change. It meant two popsicles, 
or the newest comic book. 

Every day at noon the whistle at the refinery would blow. Kids all over
the town knew it was time to head home for lunch. If the whistle blew 
at any other time, everything stopped. People would race outdoors and 
gaze towards the Husky Oil refinery, it meant something had happened. A 
fire would certainly be disastrous. Sighs of relief sounded all over 
town when the whistle stopped. Life returned to the hum drum normal. 

We spent afternoons reading and rereading comics. The most avid of the
collectors would keep their comics sorted by title and issue. Any time 
you went to someone else's house, you would check out their collection 
of comics. We were connoisseurs of pulp. Long discussions would be held 
on which issue was the best. Which character was the ultimate hero? 

The Woolworth's store had a lunch counter. With stools. It was our
saloon. We'd sally up to the counter, order a root beer from the 
bartender, well, waitress. We thought she was pretty old, probably 
twenty-two or so. She'd wink at us and say, "What'll ya have, boys." 

We'd be feeling our oats and reply, "Beer!" And then giggle. 

Our bicycles were our steeds, supersonic jets, and motorcycles, whatever
the day called for. Miles and miles were ridden each day, riding here, 
riding there. Important missions were run, secret messages delivered. 

There could be a war on between different factions. Cheap telescopes dug
out for spying missions. Elaborate codes and passwords developed. 
Serious glances exchanged. It was time to go into battle. Ammo was 
gathered for the raid. A lookout screamed. We were under attack before 
we could mount our own offensive. Missiles rained down, overripe 
crabapples, tomatoes, old potatoes. Garbage can lids served as shields. 


At the end of the battle no one would remember what the war was about.
Laughter was exchanged and friendships renewed. 



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