Voice of the Kingfisher speaks out …from a different perspective
by Elinor Montgomery
The Lazy, Hazy Days of summer
April 15, 2008
Few, today, can remember the old victrolas with the label of The Master’s Voice, having a horn sound system, needles that needed constant changing, an insertable crank for winding and old records with grooves in which the needle would get stuck as the record continued to go around and around. My summers as a very young child were marked by the ‘tinny’ sound of music from the pre-war era mixed in with the occasional operatic aria, which broke through the summer sound of the grasshoppers on those hot, lazy, hazy days of summer.
I spent them at our cottage, which was commonly known as the Crow, for it was on the Crow River, just north of Belleville, Ontario. For my father and four older brothers, it was simply known as the fishing camp. But for me, as a child, it was a lifestyle that filled my early years with simple pleasures, which have become a part of my treasured memories of today.
The cottage was rustic, with an outhouse, an icehouse, washstands and chamber sets in the bedrooms, shutters that were raised over screens and lowered during rain and thunderstorms, and fishing gear, lining the outer walls of the country kitchen. A day rarely went by that there wasn’t the smell of fish frying. Almost every morning, around 4:30 A.M., my mother awakened me to take me ‘up the river’ fishing with her in our little two and one half horse-powered motor boat, where we fished until well after daybreak.
There was a very small community of about six cottage owners – the regulars, who spent their summers there. But in our midst was a rather eccentric Mrs. Boise, who had three rental cottages where the city people came to spend two or three weeks each summer. They were usually the same people who came every year, and so became part of the community of cottagers for a brief period, only to be gone again for another year. To my delight, years later, I reconnected with one of the city people whose wife and he became life-long friends.
In so far as our camp was worthy of the name ‘cottage’, having some sense of country decorum, the rentals were truly worthy only of the name of ‘fishing camps’. But those of us, who came together briefly every summer, cherished this uncomplicated, humble form of country cottage life, regardless of its limited facilities.
There were two farms nearby, which were known as the Simpson’s and the Dutton’s. When I got tired of flopping into the wild grass to stare up at the sky in reverie while listening to the sound of the grasshoppers, I would wander off to the Simpson’s where we were allowed to climb up into the barn’s rafters, and then jump down into the haystack. Each farm had its own corner on the market; it was our practice to buy eggs from the Dutton’s and milk from the Simpson’s.
Further on down the gravel road from the Simpson’s, lived an old man called Wallace Hubble. We all knew Wallace was crazy, whatever that meant, but he had a little garden where he grew fruit and vegetables, and my mother would send me down to his house to buy them from him. She never had to worry about getting her money’s worth, for he would only allow me to take the best of what was picked that day. I quite enjoyed talking to this funny old man who always wore the same old clothes; he knew all about the ways of the animals and how to garden. He didn’t seem to be that crazy at all, except it was strange how he talked to me about people as though they were alive, but my mother would say they were long dead.
Down the road in the other direction was an old white wooden bridge over the river with the date of the year when it was built inscribed on it. The noise of the cars and trucks crossing over it was like the faint rumble of thunder throughout the cottage area. On the other side of the bridge, there was an old sawmill called Allan’s Mills. It was a favorite pastime for us to go across the bridge to the mill and jump into the sawdust while looking for turtles’ eggs.
Occasionally, I would knock on Mrs. Allen’s door because I knew she would ask me to come in for some cookies and a visit with her. I think she had the frizziest hair I had ever seen, and she always wore a flowered dress with an apron. It seemed strange to me that anyone would wear a dress at the Crow for my mother and I never brought a dress from the city to the country. But then, her house was like a city house and not at all like the cottages.
If we felt really daring, we would jump off the old bridge into the deep water on the way home, though I was not allowed to do that alone, even though I was a good swimmer as a little girl. This was about the only limitation my mother enforced, for she had no fear of my roaming about, nor was there any perceived threat from strangers we might encounter along the roadside. They were merely interesting interlopers in our little, quiet summer space.
Every Wednesday, my father closed shop for the afternoon, like every other shop-owner in Belleville and he and a friend or two drove the thirty-two miles from the city to the cottage to fish for the afternoon and then stay over for dinner. This was the highlight of our week. My youngest brother Bill and I would wait for the sound of his car coming far away down the road on the other side of the river. Then we would race out the cottage lane to meet him at the bridge, so we could ride back on the running-board of the car.
Each summer, we arrived at the Crow with piles of comic books and a few library books with extended summer privileges. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in their space ships were the science fiction of our day, and we read them over and over again, along with Captain Marvel and Superman. Our own little cottage library included the Thornton Burgess books with Billy Possum, Reddy Fox and Peter Rabbit, who was always in trouble in the Briar Patch, becoming my best friends on some of those lonely, hot summer days. There was always a croquenot board set up for the times when the entire family was there with many people and friends roaming about.
The height of excitement was when the cottagers would have a wiener, corn or marshmallow roast down by the dock in the evening, on the shoreline where everyone gathered to swim in the daytime. It meant I could stay up late for this most wonderful social event of my summer. Occasionally, on the week-end the ice-cream churn was brought out and everyone had a hand in churning ice-cream. Nothing could quite equal the taste of our labor or the joy of creating such a delectable treat.
Then the August days would become perceptively cooler, and the wild blue corn flowers and the singing sounds of summer would disappear with the days growing shorter and the shadows growing longer. There was a sadness, which came with the realization that summer was drawing to a close. Yet, there was a certain excitement about returning back to city life, at the same time as my friends were returning from their summer ‘Crow’, wherever it might have been spent.
There were no Wallace Hubbles in the city as part of the community, nor were there any Mrs. Allens, always there and waiting with a cookie. But then there were lots of friends with whom I kept busy doing the things friends do together, being of the same age, of common interests and of common backgrounds.
I, like my friends, were seventh and eighth generation Canadians, who were taught every day in school to be proud of our hard-earned heritage left to us by our ancestors. They had often died while pioneering this land so that we might have a lifestyle such as we enjoyed with both a city and a summer ‘Crow’ experience, peacefully and in fear of no one. It was a time when Canadians and Americans reached their zenith of liberty and peace under God’s rule, in countries that honored Him and His Word.
So much of my perception of life was molded by those summer days at the Crow where I was safe in a community in which everyone had a place, whether they were simple or bright, crazy or not crazy. Our ancestors had laid a solid foundation for us to live in a country where we were protected from the wars raging in the rest of the world. The most I knew about war was the fact that my older brother, though still very young, joined the RCAF, but the war ended before he could go overseas.
Where have those days for our children gone? Few, if any, have a ‘Crow’ in their lives today. If one is fortunate enough to be among the elite financially, there might be a Muskoka or a Manitou, with city society simply moving north to the country. There the transported social register and planned programming leave no room or time in children’s lives for a Wallace Hubble or a Mrs. Allen amidst tennis lessons, golf lessons and computer games. What need have these children of friends like Billy Possum, Reddy Fox, and Peter Rabbit?
In the inner cities there are no city children heading off to their ‘Crow’. In fact, they are fortunate if there is a packed municipal pool nearby, which could well be the only water these children will see all summer. There are the dangers of the street, which leave them no freedom to roam about freely without facing a fairly high degree of risk by doing so. Worst of all, the dreams I had for the future, as I lay in the summer wild grass gazing at the sky, are not even a possibility for most of these young children. All they know is fear of terrorism or war coming to their homeland and their streets.
Our politicians, our judges, and our educators, are slowly robbing us of that great age of Canadian glory, which grew from the carefully planted seeds of our ancestors, to blossom into a beautiful flower. But it flourished and bloomed for such a short time, only long enough for our generation to see the bloom fade.
And what have we done that has allowed our heritage train to be derailed? In silence we permitted the foundation of our nation to be taken away and replaced by a counterfeit that moved into the vacancy left through the open doors of immigration. When the Bible went out, Satan moved his eastern cults in, and the West now looks no different from the East, with the threat of nuclear war at our very door. We told God to depart in no uncertain terms, so that we could make room for the pagan gods of the not-so-United Nations.
A few of us have watched the process painfully as eyes, once opened to the truth, have closed and are now blinded by the liberalism of Satan. The picture of the political crew fighting today for the office of president in the United States is so pathetic that it pains my heart to see how a once great nation has little hope for the future with leadership of the sort it is now producing.
The ‘Crow’ in the lives of our children has been replaced with force-fed early sexual instruction, which knows no moral boundaries. They see an adult world that has accepted moral depravity and sexual perversity as the example for young minds in their formative stages. How could we have done this terrible thing to our children?
How could we allow history to repeat itself after watching the results upon the nations of six millennia of man rejecting God? He gave the opportunity to repent and change the course of things, first to Adam and Eve, then to Israel and now to spiritual Israel in its homeland of America.
There is one hope, which comes when a nation under God returns to Him. He will bless the foolish and unwise, like ourselves, who have no idea what they are about to lose until they lose it.
It is more than evident that our starting point is to deal with the treason of the judiciary against our constitutional heritage rights under God, followed by the dismantling of that ridiculous commission, called the Human Rights Commission. It has nothing to do with preserving rights at all and everything to do with the dismantling of constitutional rights. Most Canadians are too asleep to know anything about judicial subversive activity.
Wake up, Canada, and step up to the platform! It is now or never when we shall take back that which the enemy has stolen. This is the day of decision to let your voice be heard. Is it a righteous society you want to leave for your children or an evil one? The choice belongs to you. If you don’t make it, the not-so-United Nations within our midst will make it for you.