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You've Got to be Kidding...

Oh, the Memories


Jonathan van Bilsen

October 12, 2022

Oh, the Memories

By the time you read this article, you may still be eating a few turkey leftovers, perhaps along with a piece of pumpkin pie. When I penned this piece, I was preparing for our Thanksgiving turkey dinner, which we hosted at our house.

The shopping adventure is always an experience, and it brought back memories of when I first came to Canada, when we went grocery shopping on a weekly basis.

Most Europeans, especially back when I was a kid, would walk into the village on a daily basis, to pick up the food we needed. The bakery would have fresh bread and treats, the butcher would cut you the piece of meat you required, and the vegetable seller would bring his cart to your front door. You had to take care not to trip over the milk bottles, which had been delivered on your porch.

It may have been that way here as well, but when we arrived, it was the weekly shopping adventure, which we participated in immediately. The ritual began as soon as my father walked in the door, around 5:30. Dinner was ready and we sat down to eat, all while my mother created the grocery list.

We piled in the old Ford and made our way to the local Dominion store, where my role was to push the buggy. I still credit navigating those narrow aisles for my ability to obtain my driver's license, when I turned 16.

I offered input, as to which cookies to purchase, how many bags of Jolly Rancher we needed, and the advantage of Twinkies over Jell-O. Most of my recommendations were ignored, and passed up for Lux detergent with towels inside the box or healthy cereals (the kind without the Dick Tracey decoder rings).

I never really understood why my father continually looked at his watch, as we rounded the corners of each aisle, but I eventually realized we were on a time schedule. It was an era before VCRs and cable, and Rawhide was on at 7:30. There was no streaming and no recording, so we had to be home, groceries packed away and munchies on the metal TV trays, before the theme song started.

It was always, as it still is today, a challenge to find the fastest checkout, although I am now a proponent of self-checkouts, especially since staffing is difficult for stores to find.

There was always a younger person packing the groceries, and they would offer to carry them to the car. A ten cent tip would guarantee a very happy and grateful employee. As my father checked his watch one last time, it was always a relief knowing we would be home in time to watch Clint Eastwood, as Rowdy Yates, drive those cattle across Texas (or wherever Rawhide took place).

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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