This was prompted by Tobacco Brunette’s post. When I was a little girl, maybe 8, I think, our parents took us 3 girls to a cottage for a long weekend (I’m guessing on this part). Maybe it was somewhere in the Muskokas, that was the place most Torontonians seemed to want to have a cottage.
This only happened once, we didn’t have a lot of money for extras so it was a big occasion for us. I don’t really remember all the details but I have a few snapshots still left in my head. His friend of many years, Tony (he owned an antique/second-hand store) invited us over to his summer cottage. He was Portuguese, and as we had lived in a Portuguese neighbourhood when we came to Toronto, I remember how nice our neighbours were to us. We had a neighbour who must have had a port wine birthmark on his face because I called him Blue John and he raised rabbits (to eat of course, but I didn’t know that). That explains why I’ve always had an affection for Portuguese people.
Tony’s summer home was a lot bigger than the little cabin we stayed in. It was all wood and glass and it was perched high on a hill. And it didn’t smell like, well, an old cabin. His daughter made us JiffyPop popcorn on the stove. It was like a miracle to me and my younger sister. We thought they were millionaires, who else could have such a miraculous space age way of making popcorn?
Our mum used to make us popcorn in a rounded steel pot, pouring the kernels into hot oil and then putting a heavy plate on top and there were always a faint burnt taste. It was such a dangerous thing that we couldn’t really make it ourselves for fear of being burnt with splattering oil, something that did happen to mum from time to time. I remember the anticipation to wait and wait through all the shaking – would we disappointed, but wait – something is popping! I remember the amazement to see the silver foil package grow and expand, the smell, the glorious smell of popcorn. It was the best thing ever. I think perhaps, just perhaps, that was also the first occasion we tasted roasted marshmallow. Oddly, I’ve had a thing for marshmallows for years, roasted or not. But only Kraft marshmallows, the generic don’t taste the same. I’m pretty sure they had Kraft.
I remember my dad rowing us in a rowboat on the lake. Boring compared to the powerboat Tony’s daughter took us out on. We squealed and squealed with delight! We couldn’t go fast enough! Dad seemed content to just row his canoe. I wonder if he ever felt a pang of envy or jealousy? Who knows, maybe it was just his speed. I remember learning how to fish. Was it my dad who taught me? Not sure. The barb got caught in my hand. It was okay though, I was pretty cool about it.
I remember feeling a little let down every night as we went back down to our little shack with the shack smell. I realized then the difference between those who had money and those who did not. Still, my mum was grateful that we had a little holiday and she would never complain. I’m sure it cost my dad a lot to get us all there, and I’m sure my mum really pushed to get us to take a family holiday. I rarely feel grateful for anything my dad did for us, but I have to give him credit for that.
Mmmm, I wonder what my sisters remember?