Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

08 September, 2009


...but you can't take the town out of the boy!
The following is a story I wish I had remembered to include in my book, Dresden Life Remembered.  I get annoyed at myself when these types of items surface after the fact, but such is life in the world of someone with a memory like mine.
THE MARTIN BOYS, Terry, Gerald, Lynn, Dennis and Arthur, were frequent visitors to the home of their grandparents who lived across the street from the Wrights on Sydenham Street in Dresden.  I played with Terry, Gerald and Lynn whenever they visited (Dennis and Arthur were latecomers to the family).

One summer I was invited to attend a "threshing bee" at the Martin farm near Turnerville, about eight miles from Dresden.  Life on the farm was totally new to me and I was at first like a fish out of water.  For instance, how was I to know that a strange looking length of barbed wire that I unsuccessfully tried to circumvent, was actually an electric fence surrounding the cattle yard.  And no one thought to warn me about the hazards of disturbuting a hornets nest.

In my first 10 minutes at the farm I was sitting in Mrs. (Grace) Martin's kitchen cum emergency ward.  "You're really learning about the farm the hard way, aren't you Dick?" she chuckled as she dabbed a mixture of "laundry bluing" on the multiple hornet sting welts on my chest and arms.  "You're mother is going to think that you've been through the Boer War," she added as she removed the cap from a bottle of iodine which was destined for the scratches on my legs from the barbed wire.  One thing about the jolt of electricity that I received when I gripped the wire, was that it temporarily made me forget about the hornet stings. 

With the bluing and iodine working their wonder, I was soon joining the others on wagons in the field and actually sitting on the threshing machine itself, directing the shoot that fed grain into the barn.  A big deal for "a kid from town".

The thing that impressed me most about that day was the fact that a group of farmers from the area congregated at the Martin farm at sunrise to help with the threshing operation.  I was equally amazed at the virtual feast prepared by Mrs. Martin and several neighbour ladies for the hungry workers at noon -- roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, all served in large help-yourself bowls, and the biggest slices of pie that I had ever seen.

The Martins' father, Jack, was a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy with a ruddy complexion and perpetual smile.  He was right up there on the father meter with my dad, Ken.  Of Irish heritage, Jack was a true sportsman in every sense of the word.  He loved soccer and was a pretty fair hockey goalie in his day, which explains his sons' subsequent lifetime involvement in community sports.  Father and several sons, in fact, are included in the Dresden Sports Hall of Fame.  Grandchildren carry on the sports legacy.

Always at home on the ice, the Martins formed a hockey team which took part in a number of games for charity.  From the left, Terry, Lynn, Jack, Dennis, Gerry; goaltender Arthur is kneeling in front.

Jack was also instrumental in starting up a baseball team in Turnerville that would eventually see all five of his sons in the lineup.  One summer Dresden Midgets made the jaunt to Turnerville to take on the local nine in an exhibition game.  In lieu of a warm body to do the umpiring, good old Jack took on that job too.  I was the pitcher for Dresden in that game and at one point had occasion to dispute one of Jack's calls at the plate.

"Oh, come on Dickie!" Jack responded, looking me squarely in the eye.  Something in the tone of his voice, and the almost disappointed look on his face, made me feel bad for having questioned his arbitrative judgement.  He had that way about him.

Just a few more memories that linger in the mind of a kid from town.
Special appreciation to Lynn Martin for providing the photo of his family's hockey team and another wonderful picture of his mom and dad on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary some years ago.


Anonymous said...

Many many thanks for putting a visual picture in my mind of my grandparents, uncles and my dad. What a gift!
: )

Beth Martin
(Lynn's daughter)

Dick Wright said...

Thank you Beth for your kind comments -- my pleasure. I write these stories for people like you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dick for a most interesting "story". I have heard a few over these almost 50 years but never this one. Both my "kids" so enjoyed it as they do most tales from the past. Am looking forward to reading your book
...Sandy Martin
(Lynn's wife of almost 50)

Anonymous said...

Dick. So sorry that we were unable to see you on Saturday at the OLD Bakery. We will be picking up your Book on Dresden shortly.
Thanks so much for the article on the Martin Family--They did have lots of fun and almost all are still enjoying various types of athletics today. The younger generations are still carrying on many of these traditions, as well as running, volleyball,Knee Boarding, kyte Boarding, golfing,(Jack's favorite-soccer),football and almost anything else you can name. Jack certainly left a wonderful legacy for all of his Family to enjoy. Thanks again for the memories. Terry & Donna M