CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Section House-Snake Creek

 The possessions seen onto a freight train at Tabarette were duely delivered outside the 'new' house at Snake Creek , by the time Mum and Dad arrived . This of course meant that everyone at this stop on the CPR knew that they would be on the next passenger train coming south .

The locals would also know everything that they owned ; that Mum was pregnant ; that she was ' d'Angleterre' ; that she and Dad had just come through a rough time in their marriage ; that she could knit, embroider, preserve and garden ; and that she had already tangled with a moose, bears, skunks and a roadmaster (and survived) , so she was someone to be respected . Everyone of the few who lived in Snake Creek at the time was present to see the person attached to the stories...she was news ...an oddity ...a little bit scary .

When Dad stepped off the train , laughing and greeting those at the side of the track waiting near the store , he helped Mum down to the ground . She wore her best blouse for the trip -the sugarbag one with embroidered flowers- to make a good 'first impression' . People greeted her warmly , but shyly . She in turn thanked them for the welcome and smiled her appreciation , although she was embarrassed that she was getting so much attention . After being introduced to all present , she and Dad headed down the track toward the section house .The locals lingered to determine the first impression , and a couple of children followed my parents at a polite distance .

Section houses were always located away from the business of passengers and parcels , so they had to walk a bit before they came their new home . What greeted Mum ( Dad had already seen the house in passing many times ) lifted her out of any lingering worry and concern . At the front , there were flowers ...beautiful colourful blooms that a sectionman's wife had lovingly planted and maintained to beautify her home ...a woman's touch ... saying 'welcome to your new home . I loved my garden and now I pass it to you .'  She took the time to examine every plant , naming them aloud for Dad before finally turning her attention to the house .

Compared to the Tabarette house , this one was a big step up .As with all section houses , it must have been built for some minor official back when the new line to the north was being built . At that time , Snake Creek would have been an important location .

This house was set back from the track more and lay near the creek .It had a front veranda . Attached to the back door was a closed-in porch and there was a small shed outback near the outhouse ( a double seater ) . The inside of the house was worn , but immaculately clean and the windows sparkled like jewels . Out back ,  there was a real clothesline , not just a rope tied from tree to tree , and a washstand to accomodate the laundry tub for washing clothes outside during the summer . To the side of the yard Mum and Dad saw a vegetable garden plot already turned and hoed into rows ready for planting ...the final surprise gift left by the former homemaker that shouted to her , " You still have enough time to plant this year's garden ."

It didn't take long for Dad and Mom to locate their bits of furniture since they were familiar with the floorplan . Soon , all was in it's place including the embroidered flourbag curtains on the kitchen windows . Together , they found the seeds Mum had left from last year and placed them into the waiting rows .
Then a few bucketfuls of water completed the planting task . The other work , could wait until tomorrow . Mum was content to sit with Dad and a cup of fresh tea sharing hopes and plans for their new home before the usual work beckoned . She could already see that would be a little lighter , the location a little less lonely and that it would be a good place for their first child to grow .

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