This collection of short stories had me re living parts of my own childhood way back when. All of the stories are based in Sand Hills, Saskatchewan,that where you could say that life, and living that life the values and people are different then other places. In small towns, everyone knows everyone, and at times knows all of everyone else’s business as well. Living in these towns on the prairies were tough – living, working and eking out an existence if you were a farmer. Jacqueline gives us a glimpse as to how people living in these small prairie towns dealt with all of the circumstances and how simple and the no intrusions from other things that we come into contact now with living in a larger city or town.
Being the baby of a large family which roots are Ukranian / Czech, it sent me back to my own childhood living in a small northern ontario town after moving from the Niagara Region. Where the smells of canning peaches, pears, cherries, plums, making pickled beets, relishes, dill pickles, and the ever so coveted mother’s famous strawberry freezer jam, to hold us over the winter without having to buy those canned items in the grocery store.
To the times where I would watch my mother making pies, cookies and cakes from scratch, never anything processed, or making dinner from scratch every night, sometimes making perogies starting first thing in the morning (since we had such a large family) only to have a few dozen left over for breakfast on Sunday’s. The way families would stay in close proximity of one another, coming together for family celebrations, and of course deaths, and other celebrations such as Canada Day, or Labour Day celebrations with driving to a larger town where the carnival or fair would be the best treat with all the sights and smells that accompany those sorts of things. The backyard bonfires, the simplicity of life, not like it is now with everyone being connected, and rushing around trying to do so much in the span of a day. Just the remembrances of just being bored on a hot summer day, hanging out at the beach, sitting on the dock with your friends jumping off the end into the cool water of Lake Huron all day, nearly everyday. Reading on the porch in the evenings, while at my parents were in the HUGE garden, weeding and picking fresh vegetables to be used in the next night’s dinner.
It also has that simplicity of how husbands and wife’s connected with one another. While most were married, there were very few that were divorced, and widowed, trying to eek out an existence sometimes in these small towns, but being forced to move away to larger centres to be able to provide a better life for themselves and their children. There were also the families that had storied pasts, that were gossiped about in the small family owned grocery stores of these small towns, every time you went in there was always some sort of gossip about this and that.
** This is the first book I have read for the Summer is Short, Read A Story Book Challenge by HarperCollins.