Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rewarding Encounters at Reversing Falls


I have always felt at ease around the Reversing Falls. In my childhood I could see them from afar through my bedroom window atop Pokiok. Moreover three generations of my forbearers were all millmen at Murray's mill ...... great great grandfather , Owen..... great grandfather , James and grandfather , John Joseph. My Dad broke with tradition and became a longshoreman. As for myself ..... at age 74 ......I'm still undecided as to my true calling in life. Anyways I've always loved the Falls and since my return to Saint John last year we usually manage to drop by Falls View Lookout at least once a day ........ sometimes simply to gaze and enjoy ...... at other times hoping that Rebekah might get lucky and immortalize on film the ultimate moodswing of the Falls ... or maybe even a seadog bouncing a beachball on his snout .... or perhaps a helldiver trying to swallow a 10lb striped bass. I feel very comfortable in using the words seadog and helldiver around Saint John since these were the terms I grew up in my youth. My friend , Art McGuire, said to me just the other day , " Hell , Gerry, we didn't learn the words seal and cormorant until we were in high school!"
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So while Rebekah is capturing the many moods of the Falls and its web-footed denizens for posterity I usually lean up against the fence and reminisce ....... recharging my sentimental batteries. One day about two months ago I was standing there ... maybe daydreaming a bit .... when along came a fellow I had often seen up by the old Murray and Gregory Office whom I had taken for a watchman of sorts because he always had a walkie-talkie or scanner in his hand and seemed to be making his rounds. This gentleman ..... roughly my own age I guessed .... walked up to me and , probably thinking I was a tourist, immediately started explaining how the Falls worked. I broke into a wide grin and thanked him most kindly all the time pointing up towards Pokiok , saying , " I was born up there in Pokiok and grew up hereabouts. Thanks all the same".´The gentleman told me that he too was born and grew up in Pokiok..... so I asked him what his family name was. " McGouey", he replies...... to which I add , " Well , I only knew one guy named McGouey back then and his name was Billy!". " Hell , that's me !", he retorts, " and what's your name?", he queries. As soon as I reveal my name Mr McGouey lets out a " Holy **** ! , Gerry , I remember you........ you beat the living ******** out of me once, knocked me out , then carried me home on your back to my Mom. She thought you were a great guy!".

Since then Billy and I have renewed our old friendship ... he even invited us into his home to see his two cats and I never drive by without waving and shouting out a big hello to an old childhood playmate .... nowadays somewhat mellowed and aged by the passing years like myself !

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