by Kristy LeBlanc
Rug Created by Karen McIlwaine
By Karen McIlwaine
It is a humid night; cloying and clinging. The air conditioner is barely taking the edge off the heat that lingers in the air. It is a good time for a car ride, maybe the rush of wind through the windows will cool us down.
Frankie the pug agrees, excited yips and dancing in circles making it absurdly difficult to attach his collar and lead. He is so animated that I have difficulty keeping up with him. We finally reach the car and he mostly settles in his seat; tongue lolling and excited eyes searching all around him.
A quick stop through the Timmies drive thru finds a very lively pug in my lap, eager for a Timbit, demanding and begging cutely from the attendant. It disappears before Frankie can fully taste the small morsel. It takes a moment to get him back into his own seat before we can continue.
It seems fitting to head out along the river, so we head towards downtown Sarnia and out past the chemical plants to drive alongside the river, it is there that moonlight glitters off the water running beside the car. Its eddies and currents rush past in a subdued roar, only the open windows of the car allow the sound to carry over the hissing tires. Frankie looks out at the scenery flowing past, master of all he surveys. In his mind, he is Emperor Frankie, Prince of Pugs and he owns all he sees.
Out on the river, occasional shapes appear in the darkness – drifting boats fishing in the dimness of the night, large freighters bearing down mercilessly as they traverse their course, and of headlights glaring towards my jittery old vehicle as it rumbles along.
We’ve been driving for quite some time; I begin to look for a place to stop and stretch. Up ahead is a small park so I pull in and park the car. Frankie is excited to be able to explore and have a pee. He wanders up and down the parking lot, sniffing and scratching as he sees fit. When distant thunder rumbles, I realize we need to head back to the car.
After we head back to road, the rain begins to softly fall, mixing with the scent of the river, turning the ride into a mystic journey. Lightening flashes in the distance, highlighting the road and its perils, the rumble of thunder sounds with a loud crack. The rivers runs on, uninterrupted, its swells and whorls catching the torrent of water from the sky, blending them into one slippery entity that carries on. Slowly the rain tappers off, and the lights of the car gleam on the shinny road.
The smell of water, fresh and clean, billows through the car, clearing out the humidity and leaving a refreshing coolness in its wake. It transforms the sound of the radio softly humming in the background and makes the car ride seem endless, magical, and serene but remote, as if on an empty tarmac, far from civilization.
Frankie is snoozing in his seat, his soft snores blending with the other sounds in the night and contentment flows through me as I chance a gaze at the river next to us. It is just us – my pug and I, in this weary world.
She came from the north,
she came at night.
Her world seemed,
all black and white.
She is slowly walking,
in the freezing rain.
She feels so empty,
she’s in so much pain.
The tears fall,
as she quietly cries.
She feels so alone,
as they pass her by.
She wants her family,
they’re so far away.
Will they have missed her,
will they want her to stay?
The morning has come,
the sun appears.
Her family all waits,
she had nothing to fear.
They thought of her often,
She didn’t know,
she was not forgotten.
They just didn’t know,
if or when,
They’d ever see,
their child again.
The knock on the door,
Her family is there
Now she knows,
how much they cared
She’s home by Peggy Shand
Submitted by Shauna Carr (not an igloo under the Blue water Bridge Pt. Edward)
Memories and Music at Canatara Beach by Nadine Wark
Born and raised in Sarnia-Lambton, I have been fortunate to have access to a number of sandy beaches to enjoy. My favourites have always been Canatara, Bright’s Grove and Ipperwash. Growing up in Corunna, there were 3 small beaches downriver in Courtright/Sombra areas which became known as ‘The Willows’ and those destinations also conjure up fond memories.
Back in the 70’s, a couple of good friends of mine and myself would gather up our beach paraphernalia (beach totes, towels, sunhats, sunscreen and lunches) and head for Canatara, usually on a Saturday. We all worked at busy jobs at a downtown Sarnia mortgage company and this time of relaxation and hanging out was welcomed and anticipated.
We had made our swimsuit purchases earlier at Pacesetters, Sarnia’s best shop for swimwear. Knowing a good friend would be honest, we would ask “do I look ok in this suit?” or later at the beach, “do I look as if I am getting tanned?” (now, that was long before the warnings of getting too much sun was dangerous and made everyone sit up and take serious notice). As we later learned, vanity means little in the big picture called life.
Some Sarnians say “the lake is never warm enough till about August” which is true, however, we would take a dip in Lake Huron as early as June, no matter the temperature. Canatara Beach was always such a pretty spot and we were within walking distance of the washrooms and snack bar. Memories take me back to my friends and I relaxing on our beach towels, the smell of suntan lotion wafting through the air as we listened to the music of the 70’s from one of our transistor radios…”Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind.” (from the song Summer Breeze, by the duo Seals & Crofts). Of course, a Beach Boy tune would only make sense and add a happy element to our afternoon at the beach…”round round, get around I Get Around” or “do you love me, do you Surfer Girl”…
Looking out over the lake, there was a mixture of water craft and sailboats, also steamships off in the distance. Seagulls hovered above us, waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and grab a tasty morsel or two. The lifeguards on duty gave us a sense of security, especially with the ever-present undertow. Everyone growing up in the area knew about the dreaded undertow and how important it was to respect the waters of Lake Huron.
People-watching both on the sand and in the water added to our summer’s afternoon at Canatara Beach. Observing my friend’s 3 year old daughter playing in the sand at water’s edge with pail and shovel, reminded us of the simple joys of a child, her blond pigtails blowing in the breeze. Parents would join their children, making sand castles or wading in the shallow end for some splash time. Sometimes children running by would result in sand making its’ way into our territory but that was just kids being kids. Our main concern was sand getting into our ‘loaded’ egg salad and tuna sandwiches! A teenage girl and boy would stroll by hand-in-hand, oblivious to everything and everyone around them. They would stop and write their initials in the sand, smile and walk on. Of course, this scene was depicted well in Pat Boone’s ‘Love Letters in the Sand’. Funny, with the passing of time, some things never change.
As the sun got closer to the horizon and the beach-goers were few and far between, we knew it was time for us to pack up and end our afternoon, with a promise to return again soon.
The beautiful waters at Canatara Beach are still lapping the shores as generations have come and gone, providing memories that will be with them throughout their lives. It might be a summer breeze, the haunting melody of a summer song, a fleeting moment from the past that will stir a long-forgotten memory. “and when the rain beats against my windowpane, I’ll think of summer days again and dream of you”…Chad & Jeremy’s A Summer Song.
One of my friends is no longer with me; after 45 years of friendship, I cherish those long-ago afternoons of our carefree youth when time was on our side at Canatara Beach.