Saturday, May 15, 2010

Serendipity at Play in Pokiok

A roughshod rendering of the dictionary's definition of serendipity would be " coming across or finding something highly delightful when one least expects it"...... and thus it was for me yesterday morning when I took a short drive up Pokiok way. It was a beautiful day so I parked the car and walked around a bit looking fondly up the burner hill where we kids would gleefully slide down the last lap of our long trip .... starting at the top of Big Hill and vying with one another to see who could go the farthest past Lester Hovey's house before our sleds or pinders "ran out of steam". Should anyone of us reach Mick Bourque's place ... then he or she automatically got bragging rights for the whole year ! Then I looked at the Cunningham home .... reminiscing about how kind and gentle the "old" couple seemed to me as a young boy .... and their daughter , Ruth along with her husband , Roy Meade , who lived in the bottom flat and their two children , Kenny and Linda. We folks up the hill well remember Roy and his delivery wagon as being an important link in our daily foodchain for many years..... he was well-loved by everyone.

Before getting back into the car I took a peek down the old road that wound down behind the old burner. It was cluttered with dead underbrush and debris so I decided not to try going down for a look just yet... maybe some other time. Manys an hour I spent down there in my youth swimming off the rocks between the burner and Welch's Cove where my friend Gerry Sherwood lived with his family and grandparents , the Walsh's. There were two houses down there back then. As a kid I could never figure out why the place was called Welch's Cove while his grandfather 's surname was Walsh ? Maybe I'll finally find my answer as this wee project advances.

A few minutes later I was back in the car slowly making my way towards Belleview Avenue .... past Arbo's and Lindsay's ..... then I gazed over to my left and saw a gentleman sitting on the front verandah where Marguerite Post used to live .... so I wheeled into the driveway and parked. I politely asked him whether I might ask him a few questions .... to which he replied in the affirmative ...... graciously and generously inviting me up onto the porch. Since I was disguised in summerwear ..... T-shirt and shorts ..... maybe he figured I was not a travelling salesman or door-to-door peddlar .... therefore not too bothersome ! Anyways it was extremely kind of him. I immediately introduced myself with full credentials and pedigree ...... a kind of prodigal Pokioker back home after a 55 to 59-year absence. He told me his name was Harry Thompson and that he had lived in that house for the last 50 years or so....... and that he was married to Joanie Sherwood. Well , blow me down ! There was a name I had not thought of in years , except for my childhood friend ,Gerry  from Welch's Cove whom I have just spoken of in the last paragraph. However , Joanie and Gerry were not related.

Probably hearing the chatter on the front porch Joanie came out and we renewed old aquaintances and memories ... including reminiscing about neighbours of yesteryear... Micky Bourque , Fred Plint , the Arbos , Lindsays , Oogles , Higgins , McCormicks , etc ..... and my parents' dear friends , Annie and Oakie Gould. My Dad and Oakie could spend hours talking about their gardening interests. Harry likewise told me that Bucky was deceased but that Eugene was still alive and living uptown.We also honoured Doc Day and Connie Carle's memory by recalling their salmon-fishing exploits with their fixed nets above Welch's Cove and their hours spent patiently rowing in a half-circle with a driftnet in hopes of netting a couple of big ones.

Not wishing to wear out my welcome mat I was about to leave when out came Joanie's sister , Shirley.... whom I hadn't seen since I can't remember when !! She said she had recently had important heart surgery and was just getting her old health back to normal again.She looked just fine to me so I can only wish her a speedy recovery. She recalled our dancing days in Mary Marguerite Buchan's house .... and we laughed and laughed ! Just then Harry broke in , saying .... " You'll never guess who she married ?!"........ and added , " Bunker Wallace !" Now that was the frosting on the cake. I had not thought of Bunker in all those years away from Saint John so I simply blurted out , " Now , there's a name I haven't heard in eons !".... and out he came. We shook hands and exchanged a few more memories and chuckles ...... Bunker reminding me that he had gone all the way through Vocational School with nobody ever knowing his real name..... just Bunker !

A few minutes later I was in my car thinking how generous these warm-hearted folks had been towards me.... opening their hearts and minds .... sharing their thoughts and memories with me after so many years. I am already looking forward to our next get-together.

P.S. Whoever you may be , Pokioker or passer by , please feel free to comment should you so desire.

Have you read the above link About Pokiok ?


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