No Swimming Pool :-(

For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page here for previous pieces in this series posted in July/August 2014



before she married my Dad

my Mom dated a guy named Matty O’Malley

but when my Dad showed up

she only had eyes for him

this is how that story always began


I ask “were you blind before Dad”

and she would laugh

“well I really didn’t know

what a man looked like till your Dad.

Matty was a big brawly bruiser

with legs big enough to seat two people”


“sounds like you saw a lot of Matty

for someone who was blind” I joke

“well I suppose I did

young girls in those days

were supposed to be shy creatures

but I wasn’t like other girls

which was something your Dad realized

but that Matty never appreciated

Matty tried to impress me with money

his manly smell

the things I was taught

a man was supposed to do

to get the girl of his dreams”


“you were the girl of Matty’s dreams”

“well I guess so but his dreams were over

when I laid eyes on your father”

I would look at my Dad

as he snored in front of the wireless

toes poking out of socks

loose jockey shorts

that barely held his abundant manhood

and I didn’t get it


“Dad was the man of your dreams”

“I didn’t even know I was asleep honey

I thought Matty O’Malley was my fate

that I’d have to marry him

live in one of those big houses on Gold Crescent

with swimming pools and servants

Matty was one of the richest men in the village”


“Dad woke you up from that dream”

all I could see was me

in one of those swimming pools

“that’s for sure

it was during Moosefest

when he strode right up to me

took me by the arm

before I knew it we were walking up the aisle

and I was beating his clothes clean on the rocks”

“what about Matty”

“oh he killed himself silly man.

jumped into the canal during the wedding

it was sort of sad

but each time I see your Dad . . . ”

she stopped to brush some crumbs of moose pie

from my sleeping Dad’s lap

“I know I made the right decision”


her voice changed to a softer pitch

which told me it was time to leave the room

I went to the back yard

that held my Dad’s ramshackle shed


no swimming pool


shelving the winter coat

Matty is one of my favourites of the Village series & it performs well too. It is one that is based on no reality – I have no idea who my Mother dated before she met my Dad. But I wanted to paint a picture of this family living in this timeless place.


for a tiny dancer

I enjoy the voice of my hero – his knowing, teasing innocence as he jokes with his Mother. Nothing overly precocious. I also work in my mythos – the canals, the moose, the shed. I also like the voice of the mother as she so casually tells what happened to Matty. Also the subtle way my hero picks up clues as when to get lost.

The use of names plays an important part in these pieces. Here its Matty O’Malley – which, to me, sound very East coast. The double letters in each name creates a sprung rhyme too. Gold Crescent for the rich folks give the Village adds an interesting social strata, in a place were women are still beating clothes on rock to wash them.


towel in the rain

I don’t think anyone I knew or even heard  actually had a swimming pool in their back yard. I’m not even sure if the local hotels, or motels had them – with the Atlantic so close at hand. Plus with the dust-spewing, effulgent steel plant so close at hand an out-door pool was probably not a good idea.

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


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