“O.K. George, that’s enough! I’m not taking any more boards from that broken down shed by the lagoon. Old man Lascouski almost caught me and you know what pa would say, he’d say I was stealing,” said Freddy Windslow as he plopped himself down on the one, almost dry spot by the small fir tree that grew on the side of the hill.
Life was good that spring of 1938 and was going to get better, pa said so.
The naked trees were starting to change into their new spring colours. Young green Cottonwoods, their small red flowers spent, sent their seeds careening through the bare brown branches of the surrounding trees.
Soaring and circling above the trees, russet feathered hawks with white tails banked and floated on warm air currents watching for field mice in the thick blanket of old mulch below.
Crows drew a long black line in the hazy clouds that morning. Their nosy beaks turned towards the two sweating boys who were dragging their stolen hoard of boards into their secret cache.
“Freddy, do you really think we can build this fort all by our selves?” said six year old George Windslow hitching up his home made trousers for the third time in as many moments. “Where’ll we get more boards? What can we use for a roof? If I take any more nails from pa’s work shed he’ll catch me and skin me alive. You know how he feels about wasting things. I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“Don’t be such a big baby George, the fort isn’t wasting things. We’ll find enough boards and nails and stuff from somewhere, maybe we could get some more from that old hen house that used to belong to the school. I bet we even find some rope to make a swing in the cottonwood tree up there on the hill.”
Exhausted, they flopped down on the grass by their small fir tree and day dreamed young boy dreams.
Sam and Ellie Windslow lived on the far side of the creek with their three sons, Eric 16, Freddy ten, and George seven.
Canada survived the American Stock Market Crash of the 1920’s but farming the dry prairie of the Province of Saskatchewan was tough. So when the top soil blew away in the ‘dirty 1930’s’, Sam and his young family moved west to the Fraser River Valley, in the Province of BC. Good land was cheap in Langley Prairie and Sam knew the 60 acres he bought was fertile land, otherwise they never would have named the area after the first pioneer, Samuel Pierpont Langley.
But things changed the next year in 1939, the world and all of Langley stood still and watched in horror as England stood up alone, to the German Kaiser and everyone tried not to see the war that was coming.
People talked and said the War in 1914 was supposed to be ‘The War That Ended All Wars’, so there couldn’t possibly be another, could there?
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