By Bill Eddy – Okanagan Falls, B.C.
I live in a townhouse complex and a neighbour maintains a vegetable garden at the end of our property. He is generous with his greens. We all need them.
As we discussed his generosity one day, he told me a tale of his youth and a Chinese market gardener who delivered door-to-door. It brought back similar memories—hence my story.
His name was Lukastiuk*, but we called him ‘Lukichuck’! He was old and bent over from years of toil and he had a sagging snow white mustache.
He drove a one-horse, four-wheeled buggy with a low-sided box filled with vegetables. He went house to house selling whatever was marketable at the time.
As children, we delighted in seeing him as he made a game of chasing us. Invariably, he’d catch one of us and stuff us into a burlap sack. It was open at both ends and he pretended he had eliminated at least one of his hecklers.
A parent or two would usually came to his rescue and shooed away the brats!
Riverside corn roasts
Years later, we moved to the east end of Prince Albert, not far from where Lukichuck had his gardens, which were situated parallel to the North Saskatchewan River that bordered his property.
In my early teens, some friends and I would frequently organize wiener and corn roasts along the riverbank after dark. The old Marquis, a paddle wheeler that had seen its last days, was beached just west of our area. Remnants of the hull provided lots of rotted oak for our bonfire.
The riverbank was fairly steep just west of us and we’d scale the mud walls to get to Lukichuck’s corn patch!
There was no booze, by the way. We were still too young, but had Cokes to drink.
Someone brought a large pot and someone else a pound of butter, and someone brought salt and pepper. That was all we needed for our corn roast!
*Editor’s note: We were contacted by the grandson of ‘Lukichuck’ mentioned in this article who explained his grandfather’s name was spelled Lukaschuk. We’ve opted to leave the original spelling in the article reprint as it is how the author recalled it. Read the reply from Mr. Lukaschuk’s grandson here.