Summertime life in Smalltown, Ontario is marked by different festivals and farmer’s markets. As brand-new citizens of Smalltown, our family is busy checking farmer’s markets and the different activities in our newfound hometown. Located in a harbour of a bay known for shipping and leisure boating, and a short drive from acres of farmland and forest, our new home has much to offer.
And some things take us city folks some time to get used to.
We’ve embraced the birdsong and cricket chirps that greet us in the morning. And I’ve been known to stand in the driveway, watching the street and marvelling at the complete lack of traffic (the seniors walking small fluffy dogs don’t count). I love that I can run errands at a big box store, drop into a farmer’s market, then sit on the town dock and watch boats come in – all before lunchtime.
The other morning the kids were busy playing in the backyard and I was watering flowers and refereeing. The kids zoomed around on little toy cars and filled trucks with dirt and gravel. Occasionally I’d look up from the plants and yell, “Let go of your brother’s neck,” or “Stop throwing rocks at your sister, ” or “Do you need to go inside for a time-out?,” as the situation warranted.
All of a sudden a tremendous roar filled the air. The kids and I froze, looking up. Thoughts of air raid sirens and memories of school lockdowns triggered near panic. Is this a tornado warning? Town-wide lockdown? Alien invaders? Should I take the kids to the basement? Or seek higher ground?
As I listened, I detected different notes to the noise – bass drone, high whistles, a foghorn – and soon all the car horns in town joined in.
The kids stared at me, white-faced; nothing in their experience had prepared them for this. Then I realised what was going on, “The tugboat festival is in town this weekend. It sounds like the tugs are in. We can go see them after dinner.”