So there I was, late this sunny summer Saturday afternoon in Queensborough, unloading some things from the car. Suddenly an utterly mundane sound resonated around the corner, and it instantly took me back many, many years, to something I hadn’t though of in just as long. It was a car horn that did the old beep-beep-beep-beep-beep/BEEP-BEEP thing (if you’re of a certain age, you’ll know it as “Shave and a haircut – two bits”) as the car drove down the main street of Queensborough.
Back in my childhood in this house, it was very common, on summer Saturday afternoons, to hear the sound of car horns honking. It wouldn’t be just one car; it’d be a whole parade of them driving around the block that makes up central Queensborough (actually, truth be told, most of Queensborough) with a few runs up and down the nearby back roads for good measure. They would of course be celebrating a wedding that had just taken place up the hill from the Manse, at St. Andrew’s United Church. Generally my father, The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick, would have presided over the wedding; and now and then my mum, Lorna Sedgwick, played the piano for the ceremony.
People would pile out of the church afterward, and some photos would of course be taken; but it was pretty much required that the bride and groom then get in their – or rather, the groom’s – car, which would have been decorated for the occasion with streamers and pom-poms, and generally some tin cans tied onto the back for good measure. Often the best man and maid of honour would be in the front seat and the newlyweds in the rear, but sometimes the happy couple would do the driving themselves. And this done-up car would lead the parade of guests and well-wishers in the requisite drive around (and around, and around) Queensborough, horns honking in celebration the entire time.
What a happy sound! Very often upon hearing it, one or more of my siblings and I would dash out to the family car parked in the Manse driveway and honk its horn for all we were worth. It was our way of joining in the celebration – and, perhaps more importantly to kids, the noisemaking.
How delightful it was to be whooshed back to those happy long-ago summer Saturday afternoons by something as simple as a few toots of a car horn. Well, if that’s all it takes, so much the better.