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A Miners Peaches and Tears
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copyrights2002 J.C.Rodrigues


Chapter 4 - Park de la Verendrye the gates of Rouyn

Roberto packed his bags and within half an hour he was out of his house in Gatineau and on the road. He felt relieved and free as he drove away north on the 105.

It was three thirty in the morning and the moon was the only company in the darkness of the night. He turned on the radio to his favourite French station and they were playing Green Wed's song I have a song in my head.

He drove through Gracefield and then Miniwaki full of memories of the ladies invitational golf tournament held at the Algonquin golf course every year. "I think I'll play golf in Rouyn when I get there in the morning, then I will look for a Bed and Breakfast place to stay" he thought knowing well that he all ways takes his golf bag with him when he travels.

His thoughts continued on the marvellous hilly Algonquin golf course and on the wonderful friends he made there every year he went there to caddie for a special friend who is a great golf player. He loved to caddy for women players. "They have a unique way of playing. They are not as risk taking as men and in golf it really pays off in the end," he thought. "I guess life can be like golf in a way, some times it can take one or more strokes to get back on course," he said to himself.

When he arrived at Grand-Remous he made his only other road change to go to Rouyn. The one seventeen. Not far from his turn he made a stop at a Restaurant and Gas station to pick up drinks and gas for the remaining trip through the park de la Vérendrye.

The restaurant was full of people from a bus coming from Montreal and also with Rouyn destination. While he was waiting at the counter for the busy attendant he noticed a couple sitting by the window. The man seemed sad and slowly picking away at his fries. The beautiful woman across the table drank tea in a very elegant way, but obviously distracted and not at ease by the sadness in her presence. It was as if she knew all about his sadness and the ones coming.

"Yes Sir. What can I get you?" the attendant interrupted his observations.

"Forty in Gas and a couple of bottles of water please" he ordered.

He paid for the items and exited to his car. As he was leaving the crowd of people also left the restaurant and made their way to the bus. He got in his car and started to leave the parking lot. When he checked his review mirror he noticed a couple saying goodbye. It was the same couple he had observed earlier. They hugged intensely for a long period of time as if they were merged as one for eternity.

"I wish I could hold on to an eternal hug like that one for the ever of time. Love is so wonderful even knowing it can hurt us very much at times" he thought.

Have you ever really observed other couples in love? The caresses they share or the back rubs in public, the kisses, the bristling of fingers through hair. It can be a form of taking and giving. It's an energy transfer that only feels right when both are in love. Many have attempted to understand this feeling and no one really know the perfect definition or the most beautiful poem to describe it. Yet, everybody knows exactly what it is and what it feels like deep in their souls.

Could love be the energy God needs to continue the great Creation or could it simply be a need we all carry? It is hard to believe it is a need because love is unconditional and this means giving. It also remains a mystery that is very big and no matter what words we choose, there is nothing like experiencing it first hand.

"My last love hurt me so much, deep inside, that it is hard to believe, but I'm going to open my heart and start searching. Maybe God reserves this little secrete all for himself," said Roberto as he pulled out of the parking lot of the Relais Resturant.

A right turn north on the one seventeen and the couple could no longer be seen. He was on his way, all alone with Lady Luck and the moon. He made himself comfortable, drank some water and prepared him self mentally for the long drive up ahead.

Not long after he entered the Park de la Vérendrye. The dawn started to turn off the soft yellow colour of the moon. Fog could already be seen rising slowly from the lakes on the sides of the road. It was more like eternal white mist caressing and thanking the water for the nourishment it brought the forest. Its scent was magical and very different from the city. The freshness and cedar aroma filled the car like the perfume of a beautiful woman fills the house when a couple is getting ready to go out.

"I have to find a nicer fragrance for myself" he thought as he admired the wonderful natural scents coming to join him in the car from the beautiful peaceful forest.

The ride through the park continued to be full of magic, wonder, thoughts and absolute contemplation of nature at work. "The creator, if he exists, did his best work here," he thought looking at a large lake full of campers on one edge with early morning fires already going. "I must take time to go camping in the future, it must be fun," he said to him self like some one who makes a promise.

As he observed the campers and the contrast of fire and water he though of all the contrasts that exists in people through out the world, especially the reasons for war amongst bothers and sisters. He remembered the lyrics of poem from a friend.


Gods index finger

In the park de la Verendrye,
if you point at a full moon,
in the dawn of summer,
your index becomes Gods tool!

Would you merge all humans
into the body of a single child?
Would you then touch her heart
and deposit peace and love?

Would you then set them free
to fill the world of human peace?
What if it meant loosing your soul?

Such enormous sacrifice for love
can only come from a pure heart
and probably for half as much

copyrights J.C. Rodrigues

Soon the Sun light lit up the whole world. Along the way life of the forest was now busy with sounds and movement. An Eagle flew high in the sky. With open wings calmly splitting the wind in harmony and in a circular motion. The radio played Celine Dion. The lyrics were of love and life. "Yeah, me too I can't wait for the rest of my life. I hope it is in harmony like that beautiful eagle and the wind," he said all alone in his car.

The rest of the ride in the park was full of reflection and wishful thinking for him self and others. He arrived at Val-d'Or and the majestic park stayed behind treasuring his travelling thoughts in the mystic waters where it keeps all travellers thoughts only to release them every morning in the fogs of heaven.

He made his way around the city of Val-d'Or and within and hour he entered the gates of Rouyn.

He drove through the downtown core and stopped at a store for a map and information pertaining to the golf.

"You can take this tourism flyer and map. One of the golf courses is just down this street on Dallaire," said the nice attendant.

He decided to eat a little since he has not eaten in a wile. He stopped at MacDonald's and ordered breakfast to go. As he turned away from the counter with his thoughts on golf more than the food really, he thought he saw a familiar face. It looked like a man he once knew and that he dreamed of playing golf with all his life.

"A father figure maybe. To share life in a family and doing something together is not a dream but a goal" he thought.

He thought of saying hello to the obvious stranger and to invite him to play golf, but he didn't even know if the man knew how or even liked the game. It, also, seemed a ridiculous idea to just go up to a stranger and ask such things.

Then he thought of what he told the little boy at the Centennial Flame.

"Always ask and ask," he told himself as he walked over. He kindly said good morning and presented him self as being from Gatineau and that he was there alone on holidays and wishing for a golf partner.

"I don't even know if you play golf Sir, but if you do, would you make me company for a golf game?" he asked after some conversation and gathering of courage.

"My young man, in Noranda we have been playing golf since the Dirty Thirties" laughed the man in pride.

"You mean to tell me that you were building golf courses when the rest of the country was in shambles?"

"This town, as odd it may sound today, was born in the middle of the great depression. We built clubs, theatres, and churches and expanded our hospitals when people were starving in the rest of the country and the world. Children were being born and marriages on the boom just like the town. We were a foundation to Canada's economy in the thirties and through the Second World War. We worked hard as people and as miners. There was no time for politics or for church divisions. We were united like a family."

"I better sit and eat my breakfast here, your energy and your pride of this town makes anyone want to sit and listen" Roberto sat down. "Why did you say it might sound odd today? This place still looks like a great place?" asked Roberto.

"Well many young people left in search of better life else where. Mining is a waste resource and it is all done and over with, besides the Smelter of course. The population is getting older just like in other small mining towns. I'm a proud man, but I don't exaggerate the truth. This was a great town and the spirit of Canada at one point, but it's time we move on to other things besides mining. We have to diversify and attract industry here. If our young ones, also the spirits of this town in the beginnings, want to go, fine, but others have to come. You know, like in the movie, if you build it they will come".

"I'm just here for holidays and I like it a lot. My name is Roberto, what is your name?"

"I'm Wilfrid. You know you look familiar. I think I met you in Gatineau last winter when I went to visit my daughter and her new boyfriend. But you can't be, you are much to thin. I can't seem to remember the name either".

"Well if you can't remember the name it's because he was not important to her or to you. That can't be me either because when I meet people I become important to them," joked Roberto.

"Well I wish I could join you for golf, but I'm just killing some time here with my friends till my wife finishes her shopping, but I know you are going to meet nice people there and have a great game. Don't forget," he said rising his index finger "keep your eyes on the ball at all times, it's like love. You have to keep your eyes on your partner and in golf the ball is your partner".

"I'll remember your valuable lessons and hope next time you can remember the name of the people that are close to your daughter, just like you remember the history of this town" joked Roberto as he left the establishment.

"I'm here for a break not to clean the closet of my past," he thought regarding his wish for a father figure.

He didn't know if he was going to be able to get a tee off time on a Saturday morning, as Saturdays are very busy days for golf courses. "It's still early and I'm alone. It can't be that hard to fit one in" he said to him self, travelling south on Dallaire in direction to the golf course. "I wonder what Wilfrid meant by keeping your eyes on your partner. Does he mean not to look at other women or to give our loved ones caring attention they need?" he thought a little puzzled.

When he finally got a tee off time he already had the chance to hit a basket of balls. He met three other gentlemen on the tee and they had a great golf of a day.

The older man, Fred, had a bad attitude with his own game, but he was an incredible player and helpful to others. He gave Roberto many tips and wise ones too. "I guess in youth and beauty wisdom is rare," he thought of himself as he got golf lessons from Fred. Fred was a good teacher and great player for his age.

The other two gentlemen, Jim and Philippe were father and son. They complemented each other on the good shots. "This feels like family after all," thought Roberto.

The course was hilly and difficult, but not as much as the Algonquin in Miniwaki. The nature was just as peaceful and the bond of the game and people made up for a very pleasant morning. "I guess this was a good way to relax the miners after a hard week of work. Also a sign of good economical growth" he thought by the end of the game.

"Travelling all night and a game of golf needs a beer to re-energize," suggested Philippe.

"Fine with me, but I can't stay long I have to find a Bed and Breakfast so I can get some rest if I am to enjoy the night life of the town" said Roberto as all four made their way up the stairs to the bar.

"Well I know just the place for you. There is a nice place on Perreault Street called the Passant and the owner is a great cook" said Jim.

"After seeing you complement your son Philippe on his game, I'm going to take your word for the compliments you just gave the Passant" said Roberto trustworthy.

"Ok then. Now that that is settled, let's have a beer" invited Philippe. They went upstairs to the patio overlooking the driving range and the beautiful golf course. They drank and laughed about the bad shots they had during the game.

"I'm a member in Gatineau, but the course is easy compared to this one" Roberto excused himself when talking about his game.

"Here is very affordable, compared to Gatineau. Why don't you come and live here if you love golf so much. You know this is a very peaceful place," said Philippe.

"Well Gatineau is home to me".

"Maybe your going to meet someone from here and home is where your heart is" said the wise old Fred.

"Well I'm unemployed at the moment, but I doubt I could find work in such a small city. I certainly could use a change of scenery and a more peaceful place to live".

"Do you mind hard work?" asked Jim.

"Not at all, I worked in construction most of my life".

"Well, the mine manager is my friend and I could talk to him about you" offered Jim.

"You know where I will be staying! The Passant. If you know anything by tomorrow let me know and I might stay a wile, but next month I have to be in Gatineau to receive my children. It's the only month of the year they get to spend with Dad".

"You have kids?" asked Philippe.

"Yes two beautiful boys, one is twelve and the other five".

"Where do they live the rest of the year?" asked Jim.

"In Italy with their mom, we have been separated for a long time, sometimes it's better to be alone than in bad company".

"Good company is hard to come by these days but I can tell you that it's better to be with someone then alone" said wise old Fred.

"Well I didn't say I stopped looking," laughed Roberto.

"Some one who loves his children needs work. I'm going to see what I can do for you," promised Jim.

"Your all very nice company and I wish I could stay here all afternoon and talk, but I have to get going, I need some rest. After the wonderful golf and the beer it's going to be easy to take a good nap".

They said bye to each other and planed another opportunity for golf if ever they would travel to Guinea.

Roberto drove north on Dallier and made a right when his eyes met Perreault street to find the Passant B&B place. A couple of minutes later he saw the sign. "Rouyn is really a small town" he said thinking of the time he spends in traffic in the Capital Region of Canada to get from place to place.

The place looked more like a house and it offered a wonderful view of the Osisko Lake. He parked the car, off the large driveway, in front of the house. A large garden offered all the colours of the summer. The intense variety of flowers seemed like the art of a good gardener.

He made his way to the front door, but it was locked. A flashback came to him immediately to a time where he was locked out of a bed and breakfast in England after a late night out dancing salsa at bar Madrid in London. "This time I'm going to ask for a key to the front door" he thought.

He walked back to the parking and noticed the house garage door was open. It was a regular and ordinary garage with gardening tools, stored away stuff and a car. Then he saw that at the far back there was a man carefully hanging flowers and herbs to dry.

"I guess this is the right place" he thought thinking of the recommendation of his golf friends. "Excuse me" he interrupted the herb specialist. "I'm from Gatineau and I'm looking for a place to stay. Do you have vacancy?"

"Yes I do, just give me a minute and I will go and open the front door for you said the man without any rush to finish his work.

He tended his job at hand with delicacy. He hung another bunch of fresh basil like someone who really loves his job. "I wish I could relax like that and take life more laid back" thought Roberto carefully observing the man's patience.

He went to his car and got his luggage because he was sure that that place was going to offer a wonderful peaceful stay. "Just what I need. A stress free environment" he thought as he made his way back to the front door with the luggage.

When he arrived at the front door he saw the most wonderful stone patio on the left of the house. Tall cedars and a magnificent flower belt all around the edges surrounded it. The afternoon shade was appealing, but his eyes were in need of a cool dark room and a soft pillow.

"Come in, welcome to my house" invited the gentleman helping out with the luggage simultaneously.

"Thank you" said Roberto. "You have a nice place here".

"It's peaceful and because were so close to the lake, it's always cool and comfortable in the heat of the summer".

"Peace and comfort is why I came to Rouyn. I need a little get away from the stress in the big city".

"Then let me show you our suit with a view on the Osisko lake, your going to love it".

He was right, The Osisko Lake was hearts desire for a mind in need of peace. The view to the east was an infinity of clear water bathing the feet of a giant forest. To the north was another town, Noranda. Two tall chimneys emerged form the urban look and into the skies. He could still see the same two clouds he saw earlier at dawn. They were now snow white in colour and all alone in the enormous and calm blue sky. "It's nice to see that some things in this universe come in pairs, maybe one day I will find my pair" he thought.

"So... do you like it?" asked the tour guide of the Passant.

"I love it" said Roberto still contemplating the lake, the chimneys and the two white clouds.

"How long will you be staying?"

"A couple of days or maybe a full month. Can I let you know tomorrow. I don't know how long it's going to take me to get to know the city."

"Well it's a small place, but it has a lot to visit and an interesting history. Take your time, I don't have any reservations at the moment. Here I'm very busy in October at the time of the international film festival, but you never know."

They went downstairs to do the check in. The lobby was the kitchen and the dining room all in one. A fresh fruit basket decorated the kitchen counter. The dinning room table was already set for the next morning breakfast with white linen, white setting and crystal glasses for the juice. A large candle on a nest of fresh picked flowers was the centrepiece.

"Wow a romantic like me" thought Roberto. The window had a traditional curtain overlapping a fine transparent material that allowed a view of the two chimneys of Noranda. On the wall there was not one single painting, but very busy with family pictures.

"This one here is my daughter Beatrice and her husband Edward and my beautiful granddaughter Ida" he said proudly when he noticed Roberto glancing at the family memorabilia. He was obviously a proud grandfather. Roberto's thoughts were on the little girl in the picture. "I hope one day I can have more kids specially a daughter" he thought.

"Ok... this is the key to your room and this one is for the front door".

"Oh good, I might go dancing tonight, since it is Saturday night and I would like to return late. That is if you don't mind".

"Well Rouyn-Noranda in not really a Saturday night town for dancing. Here people go out on Friday night, but I can suggest a few places" said the Passant's entertainment guide as he grabbed a flyer-map of the city. "As to you coming in late, you're the costumer and as long you come quietly and don't disturb the other guests you may do as you please".

"Oh good, because I love dancing".

"Me too, actually I'm going to this ball room dancing event a little out of town tonight. What kind of dancing do you like?"

Roberto took a few moments to answer. His thoughts were busy admiring the man's philosophy of life. "A gardener, a gentleman, a romantic, a hospitable person, a cook who loves dancing. No wonder he is a proud grandfather, any woman would fall head over heels for a man like him" he thought.

"Oh... I'm sorry" Roberto excused him self after noticing the dancer was waiting for his response. "I like salsa and Latin music in general. We also have excellent schools of ballroom dancing in Gatineau and I been thinking of learning more next winter".

"I love all kinds of dancing, they make me feel good inside, besides it's an excellent way to share something with your partner".

"Yes it is. It's one of the few things I have shared with the woman in my heart really".

"You know... sharing with you partner should be more than just dancing. Cooking, eating together, cleaning and house tasks, walks and sports, work and listening to each other in a supportive way is important too".

"My God this gentleman is also a relationship counsellor" thought Roberto. "Your right" he finally said still looking at the little girl on the picture.

"I hope you enjoy your stay and your visit to Rouyn-Noranda".

"I already am. Thank you". Roberto made his way up the stairs to his room and it wasn't long before he was in dreamland


by J.C. Rodrigues