Family Home in Chinook

Winter Deep Freeze

One of the good things about winter was the natural refrigeration that came with the season. The big old wooden trunk that sat on our front porch was full of frozen food from November through March. Because our front porch faced north, and was screened, it made a near perfect refrigerator.

The days were short and the sun was so far south it never got near our front porch until June, late June at that. So come November Mother would start loading that old trunk up with baking. It seemed a miracle to me that a loaf of her bread after being frozen for a month could taste just like fresh when thawed and sliced for dinner.

In January there were always truckers with old beat up rigs that looked like used furniture vans limping down what we called our highway.(#9, The Goose Lake Line). These truckers would buy a load of frozen white fish from the Indians who ice fished the many lakes in central Alberta, and peddle them in every little town to the south.

The truck would pull into main street, throw open it's rear door and display the deep layer of two foot frozen beauties for viewing. Word spread quickly as every man called his wife or ran home to see how many bargain fish she needed. I can still hear the glass-like "ching" sound as two of these frozen fish were knocked together. It's cold in Alberta in January.

Dad would bring home a few rock-like wonders (we boys never saw a fish in the unfrozen summer state) give one to Mother to thaw and put the rest in our freezer trunk on the front porch.

The next day Mother scaled the beauty. (it had already been cleaned when caught by the Indians) and baked it for supper. Potatoes, carrots, white fish, and homemade bread, a great meal, with only one drawback. Bones. Those whitefish, which I now know as Northern Pike, were fifty percent small throat-sticking bones and before the winter was over we all hoped the trunk had run out of those whitefish.


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