The Gleaner
Arts & LifeSharing Our Stories

Sharing Our Stories – May 1, 2024

Story told by: Patrick Cross
Edited by: Aaron McComber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Translated by: Sahawisó:ko’ Arquette

Once-in-a-lifetime trip

My brother David and I did everything together.

There used to be a creek that would run all the way from St. Isidore Road to the canal where the post office is today.

There was a time when the creek was alive and flowed naturally. There were northern pike in that creek back then, you could see them by the protestant graveyard in the spring when it would flood.

One time my brother David and I found a piece of solid fence near the late Clarence Beauvais’ property. At that time there were no houses there, not even a road. We ended up throwing the fence in the creek, grabbed something to use as poles and started going downstream like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It held our weight, and we rode it down to the canal.


From left to right brothers Patrick David Matthew and Vincent Cross show off the rat they caught on a summer day in Kahnawake Photo taken in the late 50s PHOTO Courtesy of Patrick Cross


At that time the road bridges were wide cement openings and not culverts like it is now.

In the winter when the creek froze, it would freeze solid, and we would play on it.

Our favourite area was the road crossing by the protestant cemetery and out past the 207, which we used to call St. Isidore Road back then.

Another thing David and I did together was skate sleigh. It was kind of like a hot rod but instead of wheels, it had four skate blades attached to the bottom of it.


David Cross showing his latest game catch PHOTO Kahonwes


One person would sit on it and use their feet and a rope to steer while another person would push at the back with a stick.


A glimpse of the old North Creek or Whákeras Creek flowing through Kahnawake circa 1940s PHOTO Courtesy of Kahnawake Environmental Protection Office


Using a sheet as a sail we would ride that sleigh from the back of the catholic church in the seaway all the way down to where Sunnyside diner is now. It would make a clickety-clack sound as it went over the ice and the hard part was skating or walking all the way back to the starting point.

I don’t know if the skate sleigh would be safe to do now with global warming and all the salt coming off the Mercier Bridge, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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