Jim Simister was the first boarder to come and live with us in our house on McIntosh. The first of the two Jims. He was a single guy. A friendly man. And he had a car that looked like this:
Although his car was not usually shiny like this one, it was the same color of green. He parked it behind the house on the gravel and dirt, next to the poppies that grew wild, by the fence. One time he left his car at his work and parked a big 5 ton truck that was filled with all kinds of confections you could buy from the grocery store. He rolled up the back door and showed me the inside, filled with boxes of chocolate bars, candy, canned goods, jars of pickles and jam. He gave me a stick of meat shaped in a skinny tube, called a Slim Jim, like his name. I think his job had something to do with delivering stuff to grocery stores. Either that or he was a mafia soldier who highjacked trucks. This is what he looked like:
Not a very good picture, but it is the only one I have of Jim Simister. It is cropped from a picture taken wen we went fishing at Bisset, which I’ll tell you about in another story.
He took me riding in his green Pontiac car sometimes. One time, crossing the Disraeli Bridge, he turned the car motor off and let the car coast the downside, ‘to save gas’ he said, but I think he was joking and was really just showing me a trick. One time a small boy ran out in front of the car. Jim slammed on the brakes. The boy disappeared right under the front of the car. I thought he was probably squished by the heavy car, but the boy had just fallen to the street, probably in an act of submission to the monstrous car beast, but the car did not even touch him. The boy got up off the street and ran away. I wonder if he had to go home and change his underwear.
Another time we went on a family outing in Jim Simister’s car. A picnic I think. Jim let my father drive. It had been a while since he had driven a car. Perhaps his rusty driving skills are why we got pulled over by a motorcycle policeman, for a spot check, or perhaps it was because he drove through the red light. I was seated in the front seat between my father and Jim. My father told Jim he didn’t have a valid driver’s license so Jim gave my father his. But the policeman saw the exchange and with the drivers license in his hand, the policeman asked my father what his birthdate was. He had to confess the swap and declare that he was in fact an invalid driver. When asked if he saw the red light he drove through, my father had to confess that he was actually looking at the light on the next block up that had just turned green. There was a fine.
But the best outings in Jim Simister’s car were to go fishing. Jim seemed to have great contacts for fishing. One time, he took us to a fancy cabin at Vermillion Bay on Eagle Lake, north of Lake of the Woods in Ontario. We didn’t catch very many fish but we boated a great deal. We were mid lake, one time, and my grandfather, who as an experienced Commercial Fisherman, looked to the sky and announced that we had to head in because there was a squall coming. The lake had become a bit choppy but it was still sunny out. He pointed to clouds that were moving towards each other from opposite directions. We made it to shore just in time. It was a big storm with sheets of rain and lots of lightening. But we lived and after the storm there were swarms of fireflies blinking and twinkling in the dark outside the cabin. Tiny balls of light flitting everywhere.
The best fishing trip was to Bisset, another story.
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