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Recounting Blessings

Chapter 9



Banknock Village – The Winter of 1947

The frosts, the snows, the thaws, the slush,

Par’lysed transport, lands in hush.


Late Forty-seven till Spring of eight

When most bairns they found things so great,

And slid and skated pavements, streets,

Playgrounds, iced-ponds, other treats.


Started November, Jack Frost at play

Folks slipped, crashed-down, lost their way,

Windows glittered, green grass hoary

Bairns .. all were in their glory

Slid and skated pavements, streets,

Playgrounds, iced-ponds, dare-devil feats.




Things got nasty, mercury lowered.

Schoolyard toilets, no flush poured.

Frozen pipes, stopped the flow,

Kept Cleaner, Maggie, on the go,

Dumping water hot from furnace.

Thawed things out so no disgrace.

Kept the school hygienic place,

Helped by Master’s resolution,

To get all bairns, a clean ablution.

From more water o’er from schoolhouse,

Needed to melt things with its dowse.




Glassy slides a good long way,

There for bairns, each ev’ry day.

‘No salt on them’, the Master said,

‘But watch the wall …. mind your head,

When down the bottom you fast reach,

Or diff’rent lesson it will teach.’





Cutting there near schoolhouse gate,

When snows they came at later date,

Filled right up, good ten feet high,

A drift so solid ‘neath grey sky.

Cave we sliced, no thought of falls,

When safe inside its iglooed walls.

So cosy there compared outside,

For fun and games, deep down to hide,

From parents’ eyes so much concerned,

That fatal lesson might be learned,

If cave-in came in wake of rise,

Of temp’rature as bad surprise.


But in event it all stayed fine,

Till danger of another line,

Caught attention to engage,

In sledging, then the rage,

Of other folks, not just our age.



The steepest field that had been found,

From many choices there around,

Was past distill’ry near canal,

Others being o’er much banal,

Lacking thrills that mounds could give,

Take-off chances, air-borne lift,

A sense of flying ne’er before,

Ever offered us explore.


The ‘runways’ headed down then up,

Steep inclines like a wide-brimmed cup,

Whose farther lip was not banal,

As edged it was to said canal,

With surface sev’ral inches thick,

To skate right over at great lick.

But if you turned your sledge just right,

You could then speed well out of sight,

West to lock as if on tide,

Or sail to Longcroft other side.


That Winter Was Just Great!

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