Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame


Story ID:1894
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family Memories
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Person:Richard L. Provencher
View Comments (2)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
In the 1950’s a rite of manhood was walking across the long trestle on the outskirts of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. “Nothin’s coming yet!” are remembered shouts of excitement as we approached its rainbow shape over the Osisko river.

I can still see Roger’s willow slingshot winking at me from his hip pocket. As usual I was always last in the group. Lee was a lad who seemed to draw others around him. A ‘gang’ in those days had nothing to do with brass knuckles or motorcycles, but rather someone to go with.

He was followed by a quick-walking pack of Roger, Herve, Butchie, Don, my younger brother Dennis and myself. We were straight in line like a ruler. And often we bent over, ears against the cold steel rail, our bony butts pointing west.

Listening carefully, we waited patiently for Lee’s acknowledgement. “OK” meant no rumbling sounds, an assurance of safety at least up to the outstretched balcony of space one hundred feet ahead. It was deftly attached to the main bridge frame, with a railing for protection.

Crossing the trestle was not the time to look about at the scenery as I often did on such a beautiful summer day. Then I realized my friends were yelling, “Come Onnnnn!!” as they were now halfway across the mountain of wooden trestle. And so I put gas to my spirit and began to step with determination one railroad tile at a time.

As they reached the other side, my feet were moving along with the rhythm of “Clack-Clack” sounds as if from the weight of boxcars filled with furniture and mining equipment. Except those “Clack-Clacking” noises were not from my library of imagination. They were real!

The open mouths of my friends sent spears of terror through me as I looked behind and saw a smoke-belching beast. It was as if the devil had discovered I had un-confessed sins during my last visit to the priest’s confessional box.

I suddenly realized the safety ledge was behind me. Now my adrenalin kicked in and what seemed like six legs pumped faster than an Olympic runner. Above the noise of the hooting engine, my friends’ screams spurred me on. Somehow I didn’t trip or sprain a foot.

Thankfully I made it to safety. I heaved in deeply, almost fainting and perhaps falling like a rag doll into the water below. The engineer seeing I was okay simply sent a loud blast of noise that threatened to rip off my right ear. Just then, I pissed my pants.

Oh, the shame of it. Now my wet front was on display for the whole world to notice. I stood shakily as my friends hooted and hollered amazed I was able to still stand. “Wow! What a run!” Herve yelled in my good ear. The other was still deafened by the piercing train’s horn.

“Yaaah!!” the others agreed. They were true pals when they didn’t mention my personal accident. They steadied me as we made our way, sliding down to the river’s edge where we had a delightful swim. Everyone jumped in fully clothed so I no longer stood out as the ‘pissy-pants’ kid.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with laughing, splashing friends, I knew I would no longer linger nor be afraid to cross again. But an interesting jog of memory carries me back to the sequel of that moment. Although we continued having fun many times, we never again crossed that wooden trestle.

* * *

(c) Richard L. Provencher 2005

Richard & Esther Provencher invite you to review their novel “FOOTPRINTS” from the direct link at: http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_footprints.html