By Chad Ingram
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have continued to work from the Minden Times office most days of the week.
The office has been closed to the public at various points, but I continue to make the commute most workdays. I don’t really go anywhere once I get here – I talk on the phone, watch council meetings on YouTube, send emails and write – but the 15-minute commute has provided me with some sense of normalcy throughout the past year. Coming to the office also allows me to actually get work accomplished, since there are a three-year-old and a one-year-old at my house.
On most days, I do take a walk at some point, to get some exercise and clear my head. This trek typically takes me down Bobcaygeon Road into Minden’s downtown, and depending on the day and how much time I have, maybe around Riverwalk, or over to the cultural centre or arena. Sometimes I pass someone else out for a stroll, sometimes not. Sometimes businesses are open, sometimes not. Sometimes someone in their car will stop and we’ll have a chat, me basically shouting from the sidewalk. That we are continuing to live through a pandemic is evident everywhere.
More and more on these outings, I find myself walking not just through town, but also through time. I’ve worked for the paper and lived in the county for more than a dozen years now, and have layers of memories over virtually every inch of Minden. More and more, these memories, from what now seems like a faraway past, pop into my mind’s eye as I stroll.
Plant sales by the Minden and District Horticultural Society at the Village Green. Folk society concerts at the United Church. Santa Claus parades. Remembrance Day ceremonies. Once, along the main drag, there was a street festival where as a Rotary fundraiser, you could throw cream pies at Minden Hills councillors and I caught Rick Ratcliff square in the face. Remember that, Rick?
Memories dance like ghosts everywhere.
Twilight lantern ceremonies for Festival of the August Moon. Packed public meetings and parties at the community centre. Jamborees. Terry Fox Runs. The fair. Music by the Gull. Minden Pride. Uncountable hours in council chambers. Interviews over coffee. Interviews over beer. Myriad art openings and talks at the cultural centre. Live theatre under the tent. Graduation ceremonies in the ASES gymnasium. Storm playoff games and figure skating carnivals at the rink. Bonspiels at the curling club. Countless afternoons and evenings cavorting, listening to and playing music on crowded patios at the Dominion Hotel and Boshkung Social.
Canada Day, with Water Street barricaded from Bobcaygeon to St. Germaine, lined with classic cars and flooded with a thousand people. The Rotary and Lions clubs selling hotdogs and hamburgers, members of the Minden Legion running minnow races near the post office. Families headed down the Gull River on homemade rafts while the crowds along the banks cheer them on, members of council as the race officials standing on the bridge.
All the things that were once so completely commonplace that it was not even fathomable they could be taken for granted.
I want it back. I want it all back.