The Way It Was
Mom’s siblings made sure summer holidays were full of mirth and merriment
My grandfather loved to tease. It must have been his Irish heritage—although he was born in India, he was the youngest son of an Irish father who was serving in her Majesty’s 39th Regiment as a sergeant in India. Grandfather would speak Hindi, which we didn’t understand of course, but would “interpret” into the wildest of tales.
I must say, though, the most fun came from my mom’s siblings, my Aunt Mary and my Uncle Ron. Aunt Mary lived a rural life on B.C.’S Cortes Island, where we enjoyed many summer holidays. Uncle Ron, the youngest of the clan, hosted family reunions at his home in Penticton, B.C. Both had lots of zany ideas to keep us kids busy. As we got older, the activities aged appropriately along with us, and always included the adults as well.
On Cortes, we would enjoy evenings of stoop tag, or a game of baseball on the cowpie-filled field, which necessitated some pretty fancy footwork. While sleeping up in the hayloft, we’d listen to the night sounds and let our imaginations run wild.
There were Saturday night dances, where a logging truck would pick us up and transport us across the island. As only three people could fit in the cab of the truck, heavy timbers, running the length of the truck bed, were secured to the bunkers that normally carried logs. We’d all sit back-to-back on each side of these “timber seats.” Placement was exact to make sure children who were accompanying their parents had a seat between two adults who could hold on to them. Once underway, the sing-along would start as we travelled the narrow road.
In Penticton at the family reunions, we’d enjoy lakeside activities at Skaha or Okanagan Lake, depending which way the wind blew.
Weiner roasts were held around the backyard fire pit, which allowed lots of time for reminiscing. The family reunions always wound up with a huge spaghetti feed—uncle Ron’s specialty.
Several years after our last family reunion, my husband and I travelled from Alberta and took our children camping along the Similkameen River. We invited Uncle Ron and family to join us. He suggested that he prepare a big spaghetti supper for us that could be reheated over our open campfire. We agreed and when everyone was ready to eat, Uncle Ron said he had to check the sauce one last time. As he bent over the fire, he popped his false teeth out and into his hand to better taste the sauce. Our kids had never seen such a thing and sat bugeyed until we all started laughing. That was a typical Uncle Ron joke.
We’re often told that laughter is the best medicine. I have a large store of happy moments to draw on for belly laughs when I recall fun times with family and friends.