So I went Road Tripping with my Father on Mother’s Day this past weekend. Mom was out of town – although some would argue that even if she had been around, taking Dad off her hands for the whole day would have been a wonderful gift.
My parents live a few hours out of Toronto, and I was visiting for the weekend to keep my Dad company and to enjoy some country living.
At about 7:30am I woke up to my Dad whispering to our youngest dog Jazz, apparently trying to encourage him to investigate my sleeping self. Attempt #1 to wake me up. Jazz did as told and jumped into bed with me. Thankfully though, he apparently was also sleepy and just curled up for a cuddle. Dozing off, however, was not an option. My Father planted himself in the office just down the hall and would read something out to me, ask me a question, describe our Road Trip options, or have a telephone conversation at least every two minutes. Attempts #2 through #15 to wake me up. I think he was excited. Being the excellent daughter that I am, I rolled out of bed at 8:15 and was ready to go shortly thereafter.
We piled into the car and hit the road with vague plans for the day, with a focal point on having lunch at a restaurant on the Rideau. Dad instantly launched into one of his terribly long winded stories about people I haven’t met or don’t know well – this one centered around a friend that used to make those black glass signs in office towers that tell you who’s on what floor. Shortly before I actually suffocated from boredom, Papa Bear spotted an Antique store that he apparently loves, so we pulled in.
The Antique Store was actually a barn, and appeared to be closed up tight. Not one to take No for an answer, Dad proceeded to the home on the property, knocked and asked the proprietor to open up. Turns out the man that used to run the establishment has since passed, but his incredibly creepy widow Bev begrudgingly opened up for us. This being a Sunday afternoon, I was horrified for intruding.
Outside the barn there were two ‘guard dogs’. One was an extremely old, and possibly deaf, mutt that was in a fenced in area – complete with ‘Under No Circumstances Go Anywhere Near Dog’ sign. The other was an overzealous puppy named Bear that was chained up and looked like he was going to burst from excitement. Bev warned me not to touch him, as she was trying to train him to be a good guard dog. Guard Dog Fail – when she wasn’t looking I went to pet him and he pretty much licked me to death.
The barn door was littered with signs indicating lack of liability if you were to injure yourself, the fact that they opened by appointment only, and also mentioning that books were not for sale. This was only the beginning of the weird signage and the very least of the strange qualities of this place. Upon entering the Barn, it became immediately evident that not only was it possible to get hurt somehow, it was also highly likely. It looked like an Antique hoarders home. Twilight Zone.
I seriously thought I had walked into a scary movie set, or was about to become part of some long told legend about an axe murdering Antique dealer. The place was PACKED with old stoves, china, deer heads and chairs! Chairs, more often than not, were found hanging from the ceiling in a very Labyrinth style motif. Dotted throughout the barn was also a healthy amount of various rodent and small mammal feces. I honestly don’t know how we didn’t see something scampering by every two seconds.
We spent about an hour weaving our way through broken furniture, and the odd valuable item – chatting with Bev the whole time. I thought I was being pretty brave until I saw a very narrow set of stairs leading to a very dark basement, and firmly refused to go down there. My Dad kept disappearing and mockingly would shout out ‘I’ll be right baaccckkkk’. I’m pretty sure we both would have contracted something (rabies or otherwise) if we had stayed any longer.
It was definitely worth the time, fear and possible medical setbacks to experience this unique place – even though we didn’t buy anything!