by Louise Parker from Enfield, NS
Jun 18, 16
I never knew what to get my Dad for Fathers’ Day. In a way it didn’t matter. He liked whatever I chose. I remember the year I was six I bought him a blister pack of thumbtacks. He showed them around as if they were a gold watch. Then there was the case of Oh Henry bars - his favourite. He liked the economy of the case.
Dad had to be economical. You see, my Mom died the year I turned seven, leaving Dad with five kids ranging in age from five to fourteen.
I'm sure he would have bought our clothes by the bale if he could have. He had to be economical and he had to be creative.
In 1967 he put both economy and creativity to work.
It was the year of Expo '67. Dad decided he would take the three older siblings to the big fair in Montreal. My younger brother and I were relegated to stay home with our Aunt Nancy, placated by Dad's promise that he would take us on a big trip as soon as he got back. In fact, Dad said he was going to take us all the way to – Trurontario. We had never heard of this place before. We were excited and waited impatiently for two weeks for him to pull into the driveway in the station wagon and trailer. When he did, he unloaded the big kids and their stuff and immediately loaded up Danny, and me, and our stuff. We crawled into the back seat, thrilled to be, at last, on our way - the big trip to Trurontario. Dad jumped in, took the wheel and off we went. He drove and drove and drove and drove. He patiently fielded all the "are we there yet?" questions. It was such a long way to drive, Danny and I eventually fell asleep. But boy, when we woke up, we were there! In Trurontario. Dad parked the trailer and set up our spot for the week we would stay. It was an amazing place. It had a pool, a playground, a canteen, woods, trails, a brook and an amazing waterfall. There were lots of other kids to play with. We were - ecstatic. Dad spent the week relaxing and socializing with the other campers. He was exhausted, we figured, from the long drive. One day in the playground a boy asked us where we were from. We proudly boasted that we had driven all the way from Nova Scotia. He looked at us strangely and then said. “We're IN Nova Scotia!" Danny and I ran back to the trailer and repeated this blasphemy to Dad. Dad said we shouldn't be associating with a kid like that. And we agreed. We didn't play with that boy again. Soon our vacation in magical Trurontario was over. It was time to pack up and face the long drive home. Dad sighed as he packed. Not looking forward to the long drive we assumed. Danny and I were anxious to get home and share our stories of adventure, but we couldn't stay awake. Once again, tilted over in the station wagon’s big back seat, we fell asleep. We slept and Dad drove. He woke us gently when we were back in our yard in Enfield.
I figure my Dad must have paid off the entire family. Because it wasn't until I was in my late teens that I found out the truth. Dad had left our yard with me and Danny and just drove around until we fell asleep. When we did, he pulled into Victoria Park, in Truro, Nova Scotia – 40 minutes down the road from our place. After a week of fun in “Trurontario” he reversed his route until we fell asleep. When we did, he just pulled into our yard. I miss my Dad. I miss watching him in the Remembrance Day parade. I miss the way he looked for me in the crowd. I miss his big, loving smile. He was so much fun. But there is a special place called Trurontario that binds me to him, to all of us. It is a wonderful family memory.