I am from homemade cherry cheesecake (no cherries), from Oreo wafer and Cool Whip logs and meltaway shortbread cookies.
I am from farm country, where corn and apples grow, fill our bellies and nourish our bodies. From the Great Canadian Shield, where cliffs are for climbing and rocks are meant to be hunted.
I am from the strong maple, tapped and giving, the white trillium, elegant and delicate. I’m from evergreens and seaweed, soft bulrushes and fragrant lilac.
I am from Manhunt and late night card tournaments and tubing, from Dannys and Johns and Donnys. I’m from Country Good Times, from summer parades and talent shows, craft shows and carnival rides.
I am from the middle of a glass-calm lake with a fishing rod in the water, hook stuck on a log and shore lunches of sardines and pop, eaten with the sound of a dam behind us.
From being seen and not heard and yelling loud enough to break through. I’m from dirt in the skirt, skinned knees and grass stains, bruised ankles and fat lips.
I am from the front of the Salvation Army Sunday School bus and the warm Catholic church lawn during Bible daycamp. From the craft room in the Baptist church basement and from the stage in front of the Seventh Day Adventists.
I’m from Dark Lake in the Highlands of Ontario, population 3,000, fire-roasted hot dog spiders and layers of burnt marshmallow. I’m from the shores of Lake Ontario, Coke Slushies and penny candies.
From tunes sung ’round a campfire with a chorus of guitars echoing in the dark. From I wanna be a flower growing at your door and family that transcends blood ties or marital bonds. From cousins and cousins’ cousins. And cousins of those once-removed cousins.
I am from a tin box in a closet beneath a leather-bound album aside a handmade wooden picture frame. I am from roll after roll of Kodak film sent through a hundred pastel 110’s and a single Pentax. I am from images in my mind and photos stacked tall, unorganized, all speaking a million words of a childhood, happy and long gone.