Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nuisance Ground

Alec Mason, a past resident of St. Vincent, used to haul unburnable trash to the local nuisance ground with his horse and wagon. Back in the day, everyone burned their trash - many would compost peelings and leftover fruit and veg - and before there was such a thing known as recycling, people returned bottles for deposit refunds, etc.

When I was a little girl, I looked forward to a run to the nuisance grounds with my Dad. It always meant we would drive there in the '50 Chevy, my grandparents' old car, and use the trailer; the trailer was made out of the bed of an old Ford Model A pickup truck. As we'd drive down our road Dad would let me put my arms out of the car to touch the foxtails as they whipped past. It was as much fun to me as going to the fair to ride a merry-go-round.

Once we got down into town, we'd turn right (going west) to head for the river. The sloping river banks of the Red River of the North was where St. Vincent's nuisance grounds were. I always wanted to hunt around to find treasures, but Dad warned me it was too dangerous for me, so I heeded him despite my curiousity. Once he dumped everything, then I got to ride in the back of the trailer all the way home, a real treat for me!

When the nuisance ground got 'full', or fall came around (whichever came first), the town would have someone bulldoze the whole mess into the river; heaven knows what explorers might find at the bottom of the red near the confluence of the Pembina and Red rivers!