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I got a phone call a couple of days ago from Margaret. Her and her husband James were visiting my parents. Our two families have a long history. My parents’ first job in Canada was picking apples on Margaret’s parent’s farm. Then years later my parents would visit with their young children in tow. I loved those trips to the farm.

mapleconopyAs long as I can remember I have loved horses, so whenever we were heading out to the farm in Franklin, Quebec, I was beside myself with joy.

I can still remember those country roads from the backseat of Dad’s Mercury. The way the sun blinded me like an intense strobe light caused by the forward motion of the car and the canopy of trees.

You knew you were in farm country when the smell of horse manure began to waft through the windows. I didn’t care. While my family gagged at the smell, I breathed it in – it brought with it the promise of horses.

Uncle Andre, Tante Martha and their kids Christian, Margaret and Karen lived on a hundred acres that included an apple orchard and grazing land for cattle, a little Shetland pony and Poopsie, a Pinto mare.

It was in those years that Margaret taught me a German poem that I practiced over and over until it stuck, and to this day I still remember it. Let’s see if any of you can translate it!

Denke nie gedachts zu haben. Denn das denken der gedanken ist einen gedankenlosses denken. Wenn Du denkst, Du denkst denkst Du nicht Du denkst, Denn Du denkst gendankenloss zu sein.

On each trip to the farm, the moment we arrived, I wanted to head out on the land, but Mom insisted on good manners and so hurriedly I shouted hello to our hosts before running down that familiar path past the barn, into the orchard and beyond.

I can still remember the sweet taste of Macintosh apples plucked right from the tree. No apple since has ever tasted like that. There was the day my brother Mike and I pretended to be wolves and chased the cows up until we came upon the bull – then it was us who turned on our heels and ran for our lives toward the fence. And those glorious times I rode the pony, or Poopsie – I even rode a cow once!

Galloping_Pinto_by_furikakeruAhh the years visiting that farm are some of my happiest childhood memories.

And when it was time to leave and Dad’s Mercury headed down the long driveway to head back home, Margaret sat sans saddle on Poopsie and waited down below.

As our car turned right onto the country road, the pair galloped alongside us until they could keep up no more.


What is your favourite childhood memory?