REILLY LOVED THE RIVER-From Godfrey

I liked the chap, Reilly, Godfrey tells of in this story. Godfrey would talk to anyone, talk of anything but beets, and meandering about  Canada, he was never short of persons to talk to. 

     “ Here’s a simple wee ballad you can play on a marsh reed, or only three chords, even just read it aloud written down, not high in drama, no pathos or mirth, Reilly did not get his heart broke or drown”. “It’s about how a boy loved the Vermillion River, flowed through his prairie hometown”.

“From the time he could see over the grass he’d explore, while dad worked cutting wood, and ma sit, reading or draw”. “The dragon flies, the “Jesus” beetles in summer, all the times he fell in with a splat and a shout, always someone to scold and fish him back out.”

“Duck hunting in autumn on the freezing slough, skates stuffed with sock till they fit, on the ice in winter was the childhood that Reilly knew”.  “All Reilly loved dwelt along the Vermillion, and the prairie town it ran through’.

“There was pond hockey, harvest time suppers, there were plates of chips and gravy, Saturdays, down at the cafe’. “There was the track his old man bulldozed, to the deep swimming hole, on the river bend, he cleared  a pathway. There was a high rope swing over the water, horses and dirt bikes to ride, he’d gallop when the fields were bare, after school, along the winding riverside”.

“Yes, I met Reilly at the turn of his young years, saw him every day, passing over the new bridge way”. There he would be hip deep fishing, or just dreaming youth’s dreams. I swung down through the tall grass, to talk to him one day”.  “He carved as we’d chat, as strangers do, on the banks of the Vermillion we sat’.

“I commented, how serene this river, it must be very special to you?. “Was a whistle Reilly carved from a reed, I could not make it work when I blew”, Reilly could, and like an odd, beckoning call, it’s song, made me long to see what lay around the next bend, touched deep in the heart of this vagabond”.

“My life has been charmed, said Reilly”.  “Oh the stories he told me as we sat carving whistles, not I or the river have been dammed, hurt, or harmed”. All Reilly loved his whole life, all he knew, dwelt on the Vermillion, and the prairie town it ran through’.

“He said, I thought the thought over, and under again, as friends could not wait to leave for the city”. “I am six generations living on the Vermillion, it is where I am contented to be”.

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10 thoughts on “REILLY LOVED THE RIVER-From Godfrey

    • When I was motorbike riding once, on the back roads of Manitoba, came upon the Ginick family farm, 150 years on the land, long time for this age of a country alright. Thanks for the read walt.

  1. I can only guess where your Vermillion flowed. Could have been through my home town in Alberta, or maybe somewhere close to Fort Vermillion (although Wikipedia says that town sprang up on the Peace River. I loved those prairie towns! So many of them live on only in our hearts, having long vanished with the disappearance of the rural population!

    • Thanks Dianne- I had the honor of living two years near Gilbert Plains in M.B. The Valley river ran down from The Riding Mts- the people were incredible, women in their 80’s who had been best friends all their lives. My Vermillon runs through Dauphin. It is huge, the loss of those wee towns indeed.

  2. I’m thinking your Reilly would have loved the Yampa River that flows by my small town, Sheila. It’s another river that hasn’t been dammed, hurt, or harmed, though as the Denver area and other places as far down stream as California need more water, my river is more threatened. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed every word of this post about a man and the river that brought him contentment.

  3. Hold fast to the places you love Janet. Heard a lovely piano playing “There’s no Place Like Home” at a funeral recently- music I never considered before. I am glad you liked this story, I enjoyed telling it.

  4. Reilly is a wise man to realize he’s had a charmed life….and wise because he thought to “think it over, and under” and continue to live on his Vermillion River.

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