Saturday, 17 May 2014

Shall We Go Out For Ice Cream?

May 24th is the date on which Queen Victoria celebrated her birthday. For years we Canadians celebrated that monarch's birthday on the 24th and then (about 50 years ago) the Canadian Parliament legislated that the holiday would be celebrated on the Monday closest to that date. This year it will be on Monday, May 19 - two days following this writing.

If you have read my earlier blogs you will know that - in the Lower Mainland of B.C. - an ancient English ritual is celebrated each year with various school districts electing a 'Queen of the May' with a celebration (including dancing on the lawn in parks) on a Friday near to May 24.

I can remember some weekends in May being a complete washout with torrential rains - however, more often than not - the days of celebration were days of warm sunshine.

Today I am thinking of a May Day in the late 1940s - we were living in the 'Picton house' on Pitt River Road and the May Day holiday was hot and sunny.

About half a mile east of where we lived a side road - Matheson -  left the highway and went up the hill to the 'back gate' to Essondale (the Provincial Mental Hospital). Just past where Matheson left the highway was an abandoned cafe. Some enterprising people received ownership of that building, refurbished it - and opened a delightful luncheon place which they named 'Top Hat'.

The menu in that cafe was a simple one but it included various ice cream dishes including milk shakes. I remember one particularly warm 24th of May when Mom, Dad. Alda, Babs and I walked from our house to there just for some ice cream. My choice from the menu? A chocolate milkshake.

Yes - I do have warm memories of the May Day celebrations in Blue Mountain Park but an even warmer memory of  our family walk to there followed by the wonderful chocolate milkshake!

Did all of us have a milkshake? No - not Mom - she enjoyed a dish of vanilla ice cream!

For all of those who live in the British Commonwealth of Nations - have a wonderful day while creating great memories for the years to come!