The Last Day Being A Resident of Alexander Manitoba
No Longer a Resident of Alexander
Once we became of legal age to drive vehicles on our own with having a parent along for the ride, most of us got jobs in Brandon Manitoba. Then drove back and forth on the highways which were getting busier every year. Most of us had 2 years of high school left when we got our full driver’s license. After grade 8 in the Alexander School we rode the school bus to Brandon to attend one of the 5 high schools. But once we had our full license it was freedom and we could get after school jobs. Plus if the classes worked out at the school that you had all your spare classes in late afternoon you could start at your after school job earlier.
For me my day consisted of waking up and having breakfast with my dad as my mother sat in her chair puffing on a cigarette, enjoy a coffee while reading a book and watching TV at the same time. When breakfast was done I hoped in my 37 Dodge hot rod truck and drove to Brandon only to arrive at the high school the same time the school bus from Alexander was arriving with my classmates. The day at school was boring and we didn’t do any extra cruising around in our vehicles because we were paying for the gas and it was $0.56 a litre in 1984. Plus we had to have enough gas to get back home and return to Brandon because the only gas station in Alexander closed when they made the Trans-Canada highway 4 lanes.
On pay day Fridays we would leave the school and hit the local hotel bar down by the tracks in Brandon to enjoy the buffet lunch. These were the best lunch deals because you could eat all you want and have beer for a fixed price. These buffet lunches were about the only time we actually ate a real meal that was not fast food from the drive thru. Plus the waitress danced on the tables so we could see and enjoy her naked body. Everybody knew we were under age but they turned the blind eye because it was part of becoming of age in Canada. The only time I ever got caught enjoying myself was by a fellow from Alexander that stopped in for a great meal and beer. He stopped by our table to tell me that he did not see me here if I bought him a beer to erase his memory. That was the best $2.00 I have ever spent to this day. Now days there would live videos and pictures posted on Facebook with all my friends and family members tagged to see me being bad while under age drinking.
Once lunch was over we all headed back to school and ate lots of mints that the naked lady dancing on the tables gave to us. The last thing everyone wanted for us to go back to school with the smell of booze on our breathe. Then we would not be repeat customers every Friday. After my last class of the day I would have about 20 minutes to spare before starting work. I used this time to buy food to eat while working. When work was done at 11pm it was a quick stop for fast food to be eaten on the long dark drive back home to Alexander. Since my 37 Dodge hot rod truck had loud 3” side pipes I had to basically idle the performance engine through Alexander to get to the pink house I grew in. Yes it was pink and have no idea why my parents kept painting it pink over the years. Being colour blind I lived in a grey house so it didn’t really matter to me. Every night I would arrive home to find my parents in the same positions because they were leading a boring married life. Once you opened the back door of the house, you could tell by how strong the cigarette smoke smell was to know how long ago mother went to bed. Then after removing my shoes and jacket I walked up the stairs to the living room to find my dad a sleep in his recliner with a hot rod magazine on his chest because when he dozed off that is where the magazine landed. I usually turned the TV off because it would only be minutes before all 3 channels went off the air at midnight night. It was bedtime for me and only to sleep and do it all over again day after day and the weekends were the same with working to make a living.
Since I’m English and my family is English nothing changes because English people don’t like change. We never move the furniture around or re-decorate because that means change. But one morning there was big change in the Barnes House Hold which in my eyes was for the better. I got home late one night and went straight to bed because long days at school and at work when your 17 years old catches up to a fellow. I came down from upstairs for breakfast and everything was the same as usual like every other mornings. Dad was at the breakfast counter that divided the kitchen from the dinning room eating his grapefruit and reading a hot rod magazine. Mother was sitting in her chair puffing on a cigarette, enjoy a coffee while reading a book and watching TV at the same time. She did not even look up as I walked through her cigarette smoke to get to the kitchen. But this time I took out 2 bowls for eating my cereal because I had a lady friend with me. My lady friend knew the lay out the house and sat down beside my dad. My dad said nothing and enjoyed the view of my lady friend in tight painted on blue jeans and tight low cut top which showed her cleavage very well. My dad knew not to say anything because the shit will be hitting the fan very quickly so it is best to enjoy the view while he can. I served the corn flakes to my lady friend and everything was going fine with 3 of us sitting side by side at the breakfast counter. Then mother came in to the kitchen to get a re-fill of coffee which we thought was strange. Mother always yelled at me or my sister to drop everything and coming running to get her empty coffee cup out of her hand that she would be holding over the side of her chair. Then we would fill it with coffee from the coffee pot that has been sitting on the warmer for at least an hour.
Mother in a very angry voice asked who my new friend was as the 3 of us sat there looking at her. I calmly told her this was Naughty Natalie but as soon as the words left my mouth I knew I should have not said the word Naughty. My dad just smiled and Naughty Natalie just lowered her head behind the corn flakes box that she was reading while eating her breakfast. Mother replied back with a question asking where Naughty Natalie slept last night. Of course I screwed up big time in telling mother that she slept in my bed with me. In my eyes this was to save mother from having to clean the guest room and wash the bedding. Mother was always telling us this is not a flop house for your friends and she is not the maid of this house. Now there was fire in the eyes of my mother as she officially lost it. She then went in to a long speech about having sex in her house. That is when I looked over at my dad and he was sharing smiles with Naughty Natalie then smiling at me but he did not say a word. He has been married long enough to know not to speak when mother was angry. I politely told mother having sex in the house while she is in the house kind of ruins the mood. The look on my dad’s face was priceless and he knew I just woke the devil in mother.
I just finished my breakfast as mother went over board with the big dramatic speech on how this was her house and I must obey her rules. When I pointed out that since I started working at the age of 16, I have been paying $300.00 a month in room and board. Which was basically to sleep for 7 hours and get cornflakes for breakfast. All other meals were eaten in Brandon because I was working. That is when dad broke his silence because mother never told him I was paying room and board. Dad did not think that was right because I was still in school. Once dad and mother starting chatting about this, Naughty Natalie and I left because we didn’t want to be late for school. Of course dad had to stop chatting with mother to say good bye to Naughty Natalie and that pissed mother off even more. That was the last day I was a resident of Alexander Manitoba because I got an apartment in Brandon for $500.00 a month and I saved a lot of money of gas traveling back and forth to Alexander. Plus I also had over an hour a day extra because that was spent traveling.
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