A road first travelled long, long ago

Along the back roads of central Hastings County: this is the corner of Rimington and Keene Roads in Madoc Township, maybe halfway between Eldorado and Queensborough.

Early on Monday morning of the Labour Day weekend, Raymond and I went out for a drive. We had an errand in the Marmora area, and afterward meandered back to the Manse very slowly, taking the back roads all the way. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, very summery but with just the tiniest hint of fall, mainly thanks to some leaves that were just starting to turn colour.

Travelling east from Marmora we took Centre Line Road and then Deloro Road, drove south for a tiny bit on Highway 62 (the highway that runs from Belleville straight north through the centre of Hastings County to Bancroft and beyond), then east again on Rimington Road and south on what is now called Cedar School Road, coming out onto Queensborough Road as it runs from Hazzard’s Corners into Queensborough.

(It’s interesting that all the back roads have names now; they didn’t when I was a kid growing up at the Manse in Queensborough in the 1960s and early ’70s. I am pretty sure it’s all about 911 and people being able to properly identify where they are in an emergency, and emergency responders being able to find the address. Hard to find fault with that.)

A plaque marks the site of where Hart’s United Church once stood. It was one of four churches that once made up the Queensborough Pastoral Charge. I think it’s so nice that the small rural community erected this plaque to commemorate the old church back in 2000.

That Rimington-Cedar School Road route was the one my dad used to take on Sunday mornings travelling between St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough and Eldorado United Church in Eldorado (which is right on Highway 62). Dad – The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick – was the minister at these two churches of the Queensborough-Eldorado Pastoral Charge, which is what replaced the old Queensborough charge when two of its three churches, Hazzard’s and Cooper, were closed in 1967. (The charge once had a fourth church, Hart’s United, whose closure in 1962 preceded my dad’s arrival in 1964.)

I remembered taking those Queensborough-Eldorado back roads with my family many times. But what hit me when Raymond and I took the same route that recent Monday was one of the very earliest memories of my entire life.

It was shortly after we’d moved to Queensborough (from Toronto, where my father had just graduated from divinity school at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto) in the summer of 1964. Connie Gordon, a girl several years older than I – I had just turned 4 – whose family lived just around the corner (in the tidy and pretty house where our friends Chuck and Ruth Steele now live), had befriended me; she probably thought it was fun to have a (quite possibly shy and dopey) little kid from the Manse to hang out with. One afternoon Connie – and, I suppose, her mother, Lois, and/or her father, Carl – invited me to accompany them for a social call to the home of a relative (I can’t remember the connection: cousin? grandparent?) in the Eldorado area.

I believe it was my first excursion ever not in the company of my family, and it seemed terribly exotic. Eldorado not being part of the Queensborough pastoral charge then, it’s quite possible I’d never even been there before. Plus riding in a car with people who were such new acquaintances, to an unfamiliar destination, though brand-new scenery, on a sunny summery day – not at all unlike the recent day when Raymond and I passed through – well, that was good stuff. Exciting!

I remember nothing whatsoever of that long-ago visit in Eldorado, or the ride home. My only memory is of heading north on what is now Cedar School Road on the way there, in the bright sunshine, and looking out the car window at a big field of very tall corn. I’m pretty sure it was this field, now planted with something other than corn, but beautiful nonetheless:

When I got out of the truck to take this picture, all around me were sunshine and silence, save for birdsong and insects buzzing. The air smelled so fresh, albeit with the familiar, earthy smell of the asphalt on the road mixed in with the more herbaceous scents. It was lovely.

It brought me back in time to a late-summer day almost 50 years ago. And forward in time to when Raymond and I might be able to spend summer days walking and driving and exploring those beautiful back roads of Hastings County.

6 thoughts on “A road first travelled long, long ago

  1. Thanks for the ride through such peaceful country that we often take for granted. That field that you have in the photo with its golden crop is a field of soy beans, a crop that we would not have thought of growing back in the 60s. The golden colour means that the crop is ripening. Ah, September, what a month of wonder!..GnG

  2. I myself remember Connie Gordon ( you just jogged my memory) I spent alot of my time at Erinie and Betty Walkers ( your neighbours back when and my Aunt and Uncle)

    • Hi, Donna! I wonder if our paths ever crossed, since you were visiting right next door to the Manse. The Walkers’ house (now owned by Brian and Sylvia MacNeil) is a beautiful old place,isn’t it? And the grounds in front leading down to the road are amazing. We kids used to love tobogganing down that hill in winter – I wonder if you ever did the same.

  3. I Love all your Stories ,it is like I am living back here in the Eastern Townships after me having been away for 50 Years ,oh!the memories and Smell are great ,to be home again ,Thanks for reliving your memories with me ,I am at one end of the country and you the other ,but our memoriesa are the same . thanks .

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