Reconnecting and making memories
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.
I live and breathe politics and am what some people call a policy wonk. The impending federal election should have me feeling like a kid in a candy store. But I’m just not feeling it at the moment. After the last gazillion months of COVID, I’m feeling the need for a break. I just want to turn off Netflix, go out and reconnect with people and places.
If there’s one good thing about getting older and being a “lifer” here, it is that every place, street or corner has a memory attached. Of course, not all these memories are great: Suzie broke my heart on this Fenelon Falls corner; I received that bad news phone call in such-and-such store. Many of these memories end up encapsulating a mini history lesson: “This happened at that empty lot which used to be the Irish House which used to be the Central’” type of thing.
And sometimes the memories aren’t mine but have become part of me. I am connected to a certain place because an ancestor was. A recent walk down Kent Street brought one of those connections back.
Back in the day I had a great-uncle who was a bit of a legend in town. Sandy (not his real name) worked the hydro camps (the teams who were bringing hydro to more remote locations) as a cook. Sandy would be gone from late spring to early fall, returning to Lindsay with some cash which, allegedly, would be spent at any number of Lindsay’s bars. Like all good things, the money wouldn’t last.
So Sandy would go downtown, call the police and tell them, “I am going to throw a brick through Tangney’s window. I’ll be standing outside waiting for you.” (For those not as old as me, or newer to the area, Tangney’s was a huge furniture store located in Lindsay where A Buy and Sell Shop is now.)
The police would always say, “Don’t do it, Sandy.”
Sandy would always reply. “No, I’m doing it.”
After a night in the drunk tank, Sandy would be taken to the courthouse (now part of Kawartha Lakes City Hall). The judge would ask, “How long do you need this time, Sandy?” Sandy would reply, “Three months oughta do it.” Then it was off to the Lindsay jail (now the Olde Gaol Museum) where he was welcomed like a returning hero. Sandy would immediately become the main jail cook and the quality of the food, so the story goes, would drastically improve.
Are there sadder undertones to this story? Undoubtedly. Will I ever not think of this when I walk down what I call the bottom of Kent Street? Very unlikely.
So to everyone out reconnecting and making new memories I wish you a safe and fun month. And if you see someone laughing outside of the old Tangney’s, that just might be me.