I’ve made frequent mentions here at Meanwhile, at the Manse of two topics that are kind of related: one, my love for the products of the Hidden Goldmine bakery in Madoc (home of the Cinnamon Sparkle cookie, in my view the best cookie ever); and two, Kincaid Bros. IGA, which in the days of my childhood at the Manse in tiny Queensborough was the supermarket in “town” (Madoc) – and whose premises are now occupied by the Hidden Goldmine bakery/cafe operation.
I love the fact that Hidden Goldmine pays tribute to the much-loved long-ago grocery store run by the Kincaid brothers, with old newspaper clippings about them on the walls and other memorabilia here and there in the shop.
One of the best tributes to the Kincaids’ era, though, is on the exterior of the building, on the brick wall facing Elgin Street. There, above where the sign that must once upon a time have advertised the IGA store, is a big cutout figure of a white-mustached older gentleman hailing passersby. And he can only be Kel Kincaid, one of the brothers who ran the store and the one who seemed to have the most to do with the customers. My memories of Kel are pretty long-ago and dim, but they are of an unfailingly kind and helpful gentleman, a great small-town businessman. And that much-larger-than-life Kel on the side of the Hidden Goldmine building makes me smile nostalgically every time I go by it.
So I was taken aback late this afternoon when, passing through Madoc on my way home to Queensborough from work in Belleville, I saw that the figure of Kel was – missing! Where he should have been on the side of the building there were instead only some bricks in a Kel-shaped pattern (see my photo atop this post) that were darker than the bricks around them, having been protected against the sun and the elements by the Kel figure for so many years.
I think and hope that Kel was only missing because some work is being done on the exterior of the building. Scaffolding on the front, facing Durham Street, has only just come down, and now some other activity seems to be happening on the south side facing Elgin Street. So I fervently trust that Kel will be back when the work is done.
Because for those of us who remember the Kincaids’ IGA, Madoc just wouldn’t be the same without Kel.