When I was a boy, my father would rent a station-wagon every summer and my five sisters, two brothers, my father and I would head to his hometown of Formosa, Ontario. My father was a World War Two veteran, who almost lost a leg at the battle of Ortona, Italy, so my oldest brother would do the driving.
Formosa was famous for their artesian well, which brought about a great brewery, which was extremely popular. Across from my Uncle Ivan and Aunt Mill’s farmhouse, with the great summer porch, and adult-sized frightening doll-house, was the mysterious General Store. This store, the only one in town, sold everything from winter galoshes, to bread-everything under the safe cover of dust.
Up the Great Hill, down which my brothers barreled on their wagon, was the massive stone Catholic Church, where my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather served as church organists for more than 50 years.
Driving back and forth to and from all my uncles’ and aunts’ and great-aunt’s homes, by brother would drive as fast as possible over the hilly gravel roads, and we would all be projected into the air, like on a roller-coaster, but with lots of dust.
The highlight of the trip, every summer, was waiting at the bottom of the Great Hill for the giant turnip truck to come! As the turnip truck bounced down the pot-holed hill, with brakes squealing and puffing, rock-hard turnips would bounce off, flying in every direction!
“Where did all these turnips come from?” I remember Aunt Mill asking.
Michael Gfroerer, originally from Toronto, is a Composer, Pianist, Teacher and Church Musician. He was also a journalist at the University of Toronto and Editor of Art & Culture at the Atkinsonian, York University.