Aunt coaxed one niece to swallow it

From our April 2012 issue

By Hannah Messel – Newbrook, Alta.

It was back around 1940, when I was about seven years old, my two sisters and I were visiting my Aunt Mary – our daddy’s only sister.

We always wanted brown sugar to eat as a treat. Auntie Mary on that day said she’d give us some brown sugar if we swallowed some pine tar.

My sister refused to take the tar, but I was willing to consume it because I wanted that brown sugar so badly. Auntie Mary gave me a tablespoon of it. I got the brown sugar alright, but I was very sick for over a month.

To this day if I get just a whiff of pine tar – when travelling across a bridge, for example – I get very sick. It’s something I’ll never forget, even though it was over 70 years ago.

Another time my sisters and I were visiting Aunt Mary and as we were going home, a distance of a mile-and-a-half, we went through a coulee where there were lots of wild strawberries.

After taking off our straw hats and filling them with all the berries we had picked, we were about to continue our route home when Auntie Mary suddenly appeared.

She made us give her all our hard-picked strawberries and we ended up going home empty-handed while she was feeling like the goose who had laid the golden egg. We forgave her many, many years ago.