Saturday, March 06, 2010
Random Access Memory (mine)
The long stone slide in the small village of Ballincurra near where my father was brought up looked like a 100 feet high, smoothed to a glossy shine by all the bum-ridden flat rocks that had slid down it.
“Ah go on,” he said, putting five-year-old me on the large flat stone he had carried up the hill, “You’ll never forget the feeling going down the hill, I haven’t.”
And I never have. For all the hundreds of times I slid that afternoon, shrieking, giggling, squealing. And I never want to go back there. For if it hasn’t fallen a victim to urban sprawl, it would never be as long and as thrilling as I remember it.
The grandgirl and I were in Cavendish on Prince Edward Island, she armed with a day pass to the fairgrounds, me with my knitting. She was just tall enough for her first roller coaster ride.
“How many times?” she asked me, clutching the miracle of the unlimited access to the rides, bouncing up and down, wild with excitement.
“As many as you want,” I answered, hauling out the knitting as I sat on a bench.
It could have been five hours, maybe six, and she never got off the roller coaster. Each time she sailed past me, she had adapted herself to the personalities of the changing cast of characters who shared her trolley. If they screamed, she screamed, if they were cool, she was cool, if they put their arms in the air she did too, if they leaned to the left, ditto.
She finally staggered off as the sun was going down and threw herself on the bench beside me.
“I will never, ever, never, ever, forget today, Grandma!” she panted, face flushed, eyes shining.
It’s about ten years ago now. And she hasn’t.