Grimshaw, 16 miles west of
Peace River, is a quaint little town that I spent my first 7 years of life.
I remember very little
now, but some memorable moments include learning how to avoid getting my bottom spanked by twisting at the last moment
and "taking it on the hip", much to the consternation of my parents. I remember pulling on the local police German Shepherd's
tail - and being rewarded by a nice little bite on my thigh.
I vaguely remember my first
ride in an airplane, although I was kinda out of it as it was an Air Ambulance
taking me from
the Peace River Airport to Edmonton Municipal and the Royal Alex Hospital. I do not remember the actual events leading up
to it, however, it seems that I had literally inhaled a peanut or two into my lungs, and the doctors thought it prudent to get me
to a larger facility. I still love peanuts, however I have to watch my cholesterol these days.
1967. My first day of school.
My reputation preceded me - I suppose because my older brother and sister
warnings about my mischievous behaviour. It's a Catholic School. They recently had a large reunion. I don't remember
receiving an invitation. The Principle is a Priest and ALL the teachers were Nuns. (or so I seem to remember).
They gave us nice 12 inch wooden
rulers to put at the top of our desks. The Sisters had wooden yard
sticks and deadly
aim with chalk-brushes. My 6 year old fingers miraculously conjured up a quart-jar sealer rubber ring. Stretched to the limit
of my strength on the ruler and release! Right on target. Unfortunately, the Grade 1 teacher, rubbing her agonized bottom,
did not appreciate my little prank. First period was not even half-way over and yet I am meandering my way home with a
note in my pocket.
Flash forward to 1991 and my grandmothers funeral
in Edmonton at St. Joes Cathedral. Mom introduces me to a quiet,
slim and demure nun, still in her habit, maybe 75 or 80 years old. Her eyes light up when she sees me. "You have any sealing
rings in your pocket?" she quietly asks. I'm confused. Who is she? "Grimshaw" she says.
I can't help but give her a hug. The temptation
to pat her bottom, to sooth the ache I imagine she may still feel, is almost
overwhelming. Dare I?
We don't say much, just go together to a table, eat some finger foods and drink some wine. That was the last time I saw her.
I don't even remember her name.