It all started with my wanting to photograph something for a Facebook Thanksgiving card. I grabbed my camera and went out to explore in my yard. Then I saw it, lying on the ground face up. The light was hitting it just right. The perfect maple leaf. And, then the memories flooded back to me of days gone by: my Canadian childhood in a pulp and paper mill town in northern New Brunswick, Canada where maple trees adorned the streets everywhere. It’s what brings me back home to a care-free time, a time that was innocent, fun and adventuresome. Some would say we were poor, some would say we were rich, but all would say we had a fabulous life growing up on a street that welcomed so many kids. It was just before the television era so we made up our own entertainment as we went along. We played Cowboy and Indians in the local wood, we spent summers riding our bikes to the local river where we swam for hours and hours and we made mud pies from the banks of the creek that ran behind our houses. We stayed out until it was dark and heard our parents calling out for us to retreat to the safety of our home and the hot suppers that awaited us all.
When I see the glorious colors of the maple leaf, I am always reminded of how my favorite season was upon us and my next favorite season was soon to follow with the promise of cold days and lots of ice skating at the local lagoon and later an outdoor rink within walking distance of where I grew up. Whenever I smell a wood-burning stove, I am always reminded of the little hut where we gathered to thaw out our frozen fingers and toes.
We never wanted for friends. They were always there whenever they needed someone to hang out with. We all knew each other’s families; we visited each other’s homes often. We knew who made the best donuts, the best pies, and the best candy apples and had the best garden to steal a carrot or two. Our parents treated each of us like their own. We looked out for each other. We felt safe, we felt loved, we felt nurtured. We had little, but we had so much. We were so rich.
So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I thank my family, my Chaleur St gang, (you know who you are!) my friends’ parents..all who helped shape me into the person I am today and to say “Thank You” for the memories that I treasure with me all the days of my life!