The missing sign

This story is loopy and clearly not the work of Sherlock Holmes. I wrote it a while ago and I know it is still missing something. It really is not so much a story as it is perhaps a sign that I may have a few screws loose. That’s OK though. It is my ridiculous story to tell so you have nothing to worry about and if you are not into mysteries, that’s alright too.

Most of the older homes in Barbados and some of the newer ones are given a name for their address instead of a number. In doing so, the house name invariably enters the conversation, not just the people that live there. Let me give you an example… instead of saying we were going to visit Nana and Papa, we would say we were “going to Tremont”. I have always loved this.

This naming convention also applies with letter mail. Postal or zip codes are nonexistent in Barbados. All the years later and I can still see the letters that the mailman would deliver. Naturally the mail was never for me, no matter how many times I attempted to mail “letters” to myself.

I remember being told on one of these attempts to write the parish as “Ch. Ch.” instead of Christ Church because there was in fact another Christchurch in New Zealand. Theory had it that if you put the whole name on your letter, mistaking to put ample space between the words, your mail would never make it to Barbados. Also not to be forgotten was the “W.I.” on the bottom line, short for West Indies. A detail I was always curious about because there was also an East Indies. I used to pretend there was a mirror Caribbean on the opposite side of the globe that looked exactly like what I knew, but in reverse.

I am not a fan of labels but signs are pretty important. They signify a location. They identify a destination. Perhaps that explains why I am so fond of waze.  You simply type in your destination, “Where to?” and voila, the app returns a route, an arrival time, and even some real time updates if something is going on along the way. It has saved us time, stress and countless “backseat driver” arguments.

But the truth is that a sign does not make a place. Neither does the uneven driveway, the crooked walls, room additions, windows or the roof. A home can be deteriorated by time, new ownership or even mother nature. This is what happened to Tremont, at least. The whereabouts of the sign is a bit of a mystery. I wish I knew.

My younger sister took this photo of the Tremont sign in the summer of 2009. Later that year, sometime around Christmas, she remembers the sign mysteriously vanished. All that is now left are two holes where the sign was screwed into the post.

 

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Out of curiosity, I began a search online to see if I could source the old retro plastic letters and somehow recreate a Tremont sign. Like a tribute of sorts. No luck yet. Still looking for Tremont. I know I could frame a photo of the sign and put it in our home as an old reminder of all the good times. The real sign is quite possibly a handful of dust, with a loose pile of plastic letters that is yet to decompose, like Papa’s keys I was able to salvage.

Knowing how much we all love and miss the great times at Tremont, my younger sister ordered a few black and white photo mugs. It is one of my favourite mugs. Any time I sip coffee from its shiny, comfy rim, I feel loved and get a warm fuzzy feeling that puts a smile on my face.

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So you can imagine my surprise, when I stumbled across the missing sign here in Toronto. Allow me to explain. I was not actively looking. I mean, many years had passed and as crazy as I think I may be, I had long since let go of the idea of ever finding Tremont again.

But isn’t it funny how things come to you when you least expect it? I was gazing out the passenger window on a drive to IKEA with my husband. As the traffic increased, waze told us the DVP was simply a waste of time and that a better route was to drive along Lawrence towards Leslie. My mind was preoccupied thinking whether the rug we were setting out to buy was right for our home, or the patio chairs I had been stalking online were really necessary. My practicality about everything can be so irritating. I can’t stand waste. The chairs are green and while I love green, I also love blue. Is this really such a wise decision? I was smiling and remembering that famous Monty Python and the Holy Grail bridge scene: “What is your favourite colour?”

Winter has been long, you know. Even if it has been milder than previous ones. And Spring seems to be taking it good old time showing up. A valid point, I tell my neurotic self who is superficially pretending that new patio chairs are going to result in world peace. I think I have made a mistake in watching the squirrels outside because it is clear that I have somehow adopted their fleeting mental capacity.  It is also apparent that my mind is now a mess and I really could benefit from some cognitive behaviour therapy.

Moss. Moss green are the chairs. Let’s just analyze this for a minute because that is what I have a tendency to do. Our current wood patio furniture is over a decade old. These chairs are made of polypropylene, stackable, can handle up to 220 pounds. When it rains we will still be able to eat outside after a quick wipe down. The wood ones can’t do that. Makes practical sense but who really  f*$@ing cares. This is all ridiculous and clearly not the time or place to begin a quest for the holy grail. There are far greater issues and decisions to be made in the world at this very moment than the colour of some plastic chairs.

And that’s when I found it. Nestled in some green, mossy trees…

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Mystery solved. And you know what else I realize? The green chairs will be just fine, no matter if they get deteriorated by time, new ownership or even mother nature.

 

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