lundi 13 juillet 2009


Yesterday the wife and I had lunch with my very first fiancée and her husband. Back then, she was in grade 8 or 9 and I was 7 or 8 years of age. We were vacationing in Maxville, Glengarry county, Ontario where she lived at her uncle and mine. We were cousins several times removed. My childish heart was maddly thumping in her presence. That day we had gone to George's Ice Cream Parlour owned by her best girl friend's father. I had found the most beautifull engagement ring in a Cracker Jack box and I decided that it would be perfect for her and asked her to marry me. Of course nothing came out of it and Thérèse was not a bit jealous when we lunched with Madeleine and Marcel.
In 1939 Maxville was a nice sleepy village where life was regulated my the morning trains from Montreal and Ottawa and the afternoon trains from the same cities. The whole village was at the station each time then proceeded to the post office to get their mail. While the mail was sorted people would sit outside the post office and we kids would listen to old folks telling about the olden times. Two stood out, Mr MacPherson, the former blacksmith whose business had gone the way of the dodo bird and Mr Dupuis a former Montreal horse drawn tramway conductor. How Dupuis got to Maxville we never learned but he was a fantatastic story teller as was MacPherson.
Now above the post office there was the Masonic Lodge. We kids were fascinated by that place...and the legend that should a non mason go into the premises that person would die in the next 24 hours. One fine and awfully hot August day a window was opened above a low shed behind the post office. We managed to hoist ourselves up unto that roof and through the window. What a disappointment. The room was bare save for chairs with small metal plaques reading: in memory of our dear departed brother so and so and a picture of the king. We climbed back out...awaiting our death...and, at least, I am still waiting. Of course I have no idea what has become of the others.
About 4 years ago I rented a minivan and took the whole family, daughter-in-law and grandson included, and drove to Maxville. It was still the sleepy village I had known. Long dead Uncle Fred's house had burned down and the lot stood vacant. the train station had been torn down and replaced by a wooden shelter a bit down the tracks, Maxville had become a whistle stop. The post office had moved to a smaller building and lawyers offices replaced it...and the Masonic Lodge. The school. opposite uncle Fred's place was still there and the playground and the curling rink...but no one was around. I was a bit dejected driving back to Montreal.
Nowadays Maxville seems to wake up once a year at the beginning of August for the Highland Games disputed there over the last 10 years, if I'm not mistaken.
But the village still lives in my memory as it was in Fred's and Dupuis's and MacPherson's time along wit the 4 trains , the post office and that tantalizing Masonic lodge. If you ever drive that way, be very attentive, you may drive right through the village without even noticing it.

2 commentaires:

  1. What a sweet walk down memory lane. Thanks for your generous commentary on my blog.