Only in Splat Creek Ontario (*)…

(*) Note:  Based on an earlier post.
ONLY IN SPLAT CREEK….

…Can you go to a picnic area after work, and meet two drunken yahoos who invite you to drink beer with them, fire BB pellets at cans, and teach you how to throw a hunting knife at trees so that the blade sticks in.

…Will the only major Burger King within 30 miles refuse to sell you hamburgers, because their “grill is broken”.

…Can you personally email a restaurant manager about the poor service you received, and the next day get scolded by people all over town, who tell you that you “oughtn’t to have complained like that”.

…Will fellow fishermen act so friendly at the dock, that they’re not the least bit shy about taking a piss where they’re standing, three feet away from you.

…Will the only donut franchise on a 100 mile stretch of highway run out of DONUTS after 8:00 PM.

…Will the only Chip Wagon (located next to the main park and soccer field) close at 6:00 PM during peak summer hours.  (Actually, I heard if you showed up at 5:50 PM, the owner would grumble at you about it being almost closing time).

…Will the Town Library stay open all day, but close between 5:00 PM-7:00 PM,  just when everyone is getting home from work.

…Can you buy Baby Formula at the Cheezi-Mart, but when your kids are weaned and you stop buying it, the store manager gives you shit. (Because you should have TOLD him…now he has stuff back-ordered.)

…Will you find a video store that sorts its movies chronologically rather than alphabetically.   (Good luck trying to find a movie unless you know what year it was made in.)

…Will the local restaurant refuses to give you a table for the buffet because you didn’t “reserve”, even though the place is 90% empty and nobody is waiting in line.

…Can people living in a small town of 4,000 feel superior to the people living in the adjacent village of 900.

…Can you drive through the bush, and meet a Grizzly Adams look-alike wearing combat pants and hunting boots, who invites you to his shack for supper, offers you beer, and (if you want), some weed.

…Can you write a Letter to the Editor to the local paper, and then have some old retired fart harass you on the phone, and try to come by your house to talk to you, because he doesn’t agree with what you said.

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48 Comments on “Only in Splat Creek Ontario (*)…”

  1. Karen Swim Says:

    Friar, Splat Creek sounds like small town America in the 1950s! LOL! Good golly, in comparison Michigan sounds like a swinging big city!

  2. Friar Says:

    @Karen

    The town was at its’ peak in the 50’s….I think a lot of the people are still stuck in that decade. Both mentally, and culturally! 🙂

  3. Karen JL Says:

    Ho. Lee. Crap.

    That is all…
    🙂

  4. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    Warning: longtime readers will have deja vu and wonder if it’s them or the fact that they haven’t had enough caffeine. [Note: spellcheck hates “deja,” but is fine with “vu.” What’s up with that?]

    If I tell you I am certain you live in the itty bitty New York town my parents live in, will you fess up? Until the hunter invited you back to his shack I wasn’t positive, but that guy I *know.*

    This was a horror story that made me laugh out loud. Best kind. 🙂

    Regards,

    Kelly

  5. Friar Says:

    @Karen JL

    Ho. Lee. Crap.

    That’s what I keep telling myself all the time…and I LIVE HERE!!!! 🙂

    @Kelly
    My apologies to my longtime readers for this re-run. But one of my “fans” (Steph) discovered this old post last week and encouraged me to repost it.

    When I wrote this back in April, I wasn’t anywhere near as “popular” as I am now! The original post only had 19 hits altogether. As it stands right now, I’ve already reached 12 hits overnight. Hopefully some of my newer readers will re-discover this.

    Don’t worry, I’m not running out of ideas….! 🙂

    PS. The hunter had his nephew too…they looked relatively harmless. Turns out he’s a retiree from the Widget Factory. He’s well established in the community, everyone knows about him. So he was okay.

    The other yahoos…well, that was a bit more scary! Especially when one guy lit a huge bonfire and started screaming profanities at the top of his lungs.


  6. Chronological movie stocking…HEHEHEHE
    Library sound like HAH, no books for you, Soup Nazi Style.

    Bet no kid can get away wiht anything wiithout his mom knowing it before he even gets home.

  7. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    The town my parents live in is so small, that when I go up there people I’ve never seen in my life know all about ME. And I mean every sordid detail. No, I am not making this up.

    I told my mother to stop being such a gossip about a hundred times, and she kept saying she hardly tells anyone anything…

    Then I found out it’s my Dad.

    Crap, Dad, you tell one hardware store owner that your daughter’s lived XYZ horrid life and now she’s Desolate and Single and Claire Chaffington (almost) looks good, and I can’t go ANYWHERE when I visit!

    One small reason why I am an urban chick.

    Later,

    Kelly

  8. Friar Says:

    @Janice

    I just DON’T UNDERSTAND the chronological DVD display (???).

    Store owner doesn’t clue in, either. You have to ask him every time where to find a movie, it just creates more work. He doesn’t seem to care, though.

    Oh, don’t get me started about the library. We had an art exposition. I came afterwards to pick up my painting. The guy in charge wasnt’ there. The Librarian wouldn’t let me in the supply closet to bring back my OWN paintings home. We even had the Chairman of the Library Arts Committee on the phone and the old bat wouldn’t let me have access to the closet.

    Turns out the door was unlocked..and I STOLE my own painting without her knowing it.

    Though now I’ve probably made another enemy in town! heh heh heh 🙂

  9. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    That’s why I’m so reluctant to date anyone in town. You pretty much have to marry the person. Otherwise, if you break up, then EVERYONE will know who-said-what, who-did-what.

    You combine a small town with retired seniors, that’s just a recipe for Gossip. Sounds like Splat Creek, and where your folks live.

    PS. Don’t put yourself in (almost) the same category as Claire Chaffington…you’re way better than that. (For starters, you look like a woman…:-)

  10. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    Going back to the scary yahoos.

    I just found out this post got linked to “Hunting Knives Digest”.

    Hahahah! Bet you a lot of rednecks are gonna be disappointed when they read this post!

  11. Steph Says:

    Hooray! You did it! I think this is one of THE most hilarious posts!! Thanks for posting it again.

    I find it SO very funny I can’t say much more! It’s just that intense a feeling!

  12. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    I find it amusing, but not totally hilarious. Because it’s what I’m used to on a daily basis…

    What does THAT imply…? Life here is a FREAKING JOKE! 🙂

  13. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    You may find out if rednecks are more engaged blog readers than Dylan fans…

    Hope not.

  14. Former Splatterite Says:

    Friar,

    Suffice to say that I know the town (and village) of which you speak…I used to live there and – at the beginning – felt the same way. I won’t blow your cover…

    When we (family of four with two elementary school aged children) moved to town we were told by our son’s teacher that it would take about three years to ‘blend in’. We smiled and nodded our heads politely, and (in private) rolled our eyes and said to ourselves ‘like THAT would ever happen!’.

    Like you, we commented on some of the unusual practices in the community. One of the better stories came from a neighbour who was an early morning jogger and could tell which affairs were blossoming simply by noting cars parked on streets they should not be parked on at that time of day.

    Heck even getting access to high speed internet was a serious commotion! But eventually it happened.

    We thought we would never fit in and never come to like the place. But we did. It was a really hard move to make and (in hindsight) it was one that we did not have to make.

    The time we lived in Splatt Creek was great for our family. We made some wonderful friends with who we still keep in touch. We visit. They visit. Heck, one time when we came back for a visit there was a nice welcome back card from the Mayor in our upscale motel room (you know the one …not on the Highway, but down the main road into town…the one with the NICE bar and restaurant that closes really early).

    Our children still MSN friends who live in Splatt Creek. It was an absolute great place to raise kids. In terms of public safety, tts one of those anachronistic “come home when the street lights come on” places that we all long for. Splatt Creek offers kids more opportunity to join clubs than the much larger Southern city that we moved to! Yet, the kids were always one phone call away from being tracked down.

    Framed up against a backdrop of some guy decapitating a fellow traveller’s head off during a Greyhound bus trip, that is worth a heck of a lot of peace of mind.

    Sure we would joke about the local police force (CSI: Splatt Creek, the place where the police chief’s son was the biggest druggie around)) or the fire department (haven’t lost a foundation in over ten years!). Who didn’t?

    Granted, Splatt Creek is not a great place for single folks. I can appreciate your comments there. But many Splatterites return with new families in tow to appreciate the near idyllic lifestyle.

    Anyhow, if you’re hanging around for the weekend, have a good time at the big festival (I’ll avoid naming it for fear of exposure). It’s quite a do for a small town…enjoy the beer tent and the fireworks…maybe some will tell you the story of the time they were set off close to the old fire truck…hence the new fire truck.

    Cheers,

    Former Splatterite.

  15. Steph Says:

    NOW I’m even more curious!!

  16. Nathan Egelhof Says:

    Haha, wow, you have got to be kidding! That’s hilarious! I mean, I’ve heard some funny things about small towns in my day, but this takes the cake!

    Great post!

  17. Brett Legree Says:

    @Former Splatterite,

    There are many good things about Splat Creek. I know, I was born here, I grew up here. But it is changing, like everything changes.

    The local police force did nothing last year when a local youth (who has “important parents”, no doubt high up at the Widget Factory) threatened to kill my wife on my front lawn. I don’t care if he was drunk or if he is a good student. The police said, “choose your battles, the kid might come back and trash your car”.

    Yeah. Thanks. Maybe I’d rather live in the city, at least the cops would have arrested the kid.

    Things are, sadly, changing – for even as good people move from the city to Splat Creek, the bad attitudes of the big city come with them, or so it seems.

    Too bad, really. Twenty years ago it might have been paradise. Things were good at the Widget Factory. Now, with the cancellation of a few major projects, those who don’t view the world through rose coloured glasses are getting nervous about living in a one-horse town.

    (Sorry if it sounds like I’m raining on your parade – there are many great things about living here, but like all places, there are also downsides. I figure as someone who has lived here for most of my life I’m qualified to comment!)

    -Brett

  18. Ulla Hennig Says:

    Friar,
    although the facts may be different, I am very strongly reminded of my childhood and Youth in a not so small but also not so big city in the Southwestern part of Germany. There were many things which you weren’t “allowed” to do: to do the washing on a sunday, not to do the washing on a Monday, not to do the “Kehrwoche” (every week one party living in the house has to clean the stairs in the house, to clean the sidewalk between the house they lived in and the next house.) You had to do this on a saturday morning and you had to be seen doing it. That’s why I am living in Berlin now.

  19. Friar Says:

    @Kelly
    We can’t help what referrals the search engines come up with, eh?

    Geez, I hope no one from Hunting Knife Digest comes after me! 😦

    @Former Splatterite

    Guess I must be a relative new comer….I never hear the one about the burning fire truck! 🙂

    Granted, I like to poke fun at the town (but I have lots of other small-town Ontario stories that are equally funny, from all accross the province). They’ll be included in the rotation in the near future.

    Yes, I agree. There are lots of plusses about living here. (For example, a single income person like me can actually afford a house!) Plus the outdoors and fishing (which is a big part of the reason I stay here).

    Especially since they just built the New Store (but apparently forgot to include automatic door openers!)

    That being said, even though I’ve gotten a reputation (from writing editorials), I still like it here and dont’ plan on moving any time soon.

    And I might just check out the Splat Creek Festival this weekend…

    @Steph
    Splatterite has got ME curious too!

    @Nathan
    Yeah. This place IS unique, I must admit. I takes the cake, the icing, and the birthday candles too! 🙂

  20. Friar Says:

    @Ulla

    Oh…wow!!! That sounds harsh!

    What if you were away on Saturday morning (or nobody happened to see you sweeping between the houses?)

    If I lived there, I’d probably end up disobeying the rules on purpose, just to prove a point. (…and I’d probably get driven out of town!) 🙂

    I can understand why you moved to Berlin.

    @Brett
    You make a good point…I’ve only been here for three years…you’ve seen how it’s changed over 30 years.

    This town is still going strong. But I can tell (from some of the empty buildings and closed businesses) that it peaked a while ago….Didnt’ they used to have a department store here with escalators? And several (not just one) grocery store?

  21. Brett Legree Says:

    @Friar,

    Yes, a department store with escalators (I remember riding them), where the new bistro is located, and the men’s store. The bus service to the Widget Factory was really good many moons ago as well (many different schedules, and it was a lot cheaper). And as you say, more than one grocery store. A bakery too.

    I mean, the town isn’t dead yet, but as the population ages, so does the town. Which is okay, as it will give you more material for your “old people” posts… 🙂

    And then there was that other town up the road that disappeared when they shut the plant there. And the other way, when the other research centre was closed, that town was taken away too.

    I mean, if things go the way they seem to be going, the public school will be completely located in the high school – Kindergarten through Grade 12, all in the same building. Yikes!

  22. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    Yeah, I can just picture having to send the kids outside, to a proper “Learnin’ School”.

    You also make a good point, about the older population in town. If we dont’ get some young blood here, it will soon be a retirement community.

    Wish I could have seen this place in it’s prime. The old-timers (at the Widget Factory) tell me how great it used to be.

  23. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    Now you know your mission. You and Claire are Splat Creek’s only hope for the future!

    (Oh, it’s true, I do love ribbing you about Claire. Don’t forget my engraved invitation and party favors when you finally give in. I ain’t wearin’ no frilly lavender bridesmaid’s dress, though.)

    Giggle, giggle…

  24. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    Well, if it were up to me and Claire to procreate and keep the town going, then we’re in BIG TROUBLE.

    But if we DO get married, I’m going to select the pukiest Robin’s Egg Blue-green bridesmaid dresses for you to wear! (Including soccer-ball sized poofy shoulders and a 4-foot diameter Easter Bonnet!) 🙂


  25. *twitch* *twitch* I have lived in this town, or at least it’s twin. Won’t name it, but let’s just say it’s halfway between Ottawa and Peterborough. The cemetary has a sign hat says “Enter at your own risk”…something about covering their butts for insurance, but you don’t realize that reading the sign. One guy was seen driving down the main street on his tractor into town, gas can on one knee, cigarette dripping out of his mouth. I got kicked out of the United Church. The UNITED Church for crying out loud!!! A fact I am particulary proud of I might add.


  26. Sounds like an interesting place to live Friar. I wasn’t around in the 50s but it definitely sounds like what I’ve seen on 50s TV shows.

  27. Ellen Wilson Says:

    Man. You need to talk to that library. That sucks. Is it open on the weekend?

    Friar, this sounds exactly like the UP. I will have to write a story about it. hehe.

    @Urban Panther – I would like to know what the United Church is. It doesn’t sound very united. Or maybe it is and that’s why they kicked you out!

    Have you gone to the festival yet, Friar? Will it be like The Wicker Man, Friar? E


  28. @Ellen – Oh, maybe that’s strictly a Canadian church. The Methodists got ticked off at the Methodists, and the Presbyterians got ticked off at the Presbyterians, and got together and formed the United Church. My sarcasm in emphasizing the United Church is because it is famous for accepting anybody…blue, purple, pink, straight, gay…you get the idea. So to get kicked out is quite hilarious actually. No matter. I was only there so I could sing in the choir. The rest of the service I totally ignored LOL

  29. Friar Says:

    @Melissa

    Yeah, “Interesting” to live here. If you don’t want to do anything after 9:00 PM (Except go to one of the two local bars in town). Where you have to watch what you say, because everyone knows you and a supervisor might be sitting within earshot!

    I almost wish it were the 50’s, though. Housing was cheap and the economy was good. Our parents were born at the right time.

    @Urban Panther
    As a fallen Catholic, I’m not the most reverent person in the world. But I’m curious…tell me, how does one get KICKED OUT of church?

    I must admit, I”m impressed. 🙂

    @Ellen
    I think Splat Creek and the UP are quite similar in terms of culture and attitude. We should be sister cities with Escanaba or some similar town.

    Yes, I WILL check out the Splat Creek festival, but not tonight. I can probably only take one day of it.

    @Urban Panther
    Ah..yes. The corridor between Ottawa and Peterborough. I know that well…I used to travel all it all the time.

    LOTS of “Small Town” Ontario there. I might be able to guess with village.

  30. Ellen Wilson Says:

    Friar,
    You make the best of it. It will make you a better person. Ha!

    As for me, I couldn’t wait to get out of the UP. It made me crazy. I can’t stand that small town mentality.

    E


  31. Hahaha…your Splat Creek community sounds more intriguing every time you write about it. The baby formula episode made me splat my coffee all over my desk. Thanks a lot buddy. 🙂

    But seriously, the small town syndrome is all around me too where i live, albeit not quite as bad as in your neck of the woods. Although I did have my experiences living in a Splat Creek clone here in OZ. Totally out bush, totally wacky and mad enough to get blown up in front of the local hotel. Those were the times and to say I survived there for two years makes me VERY proud indeed.

    How about a Splat Creek newsletter for us?


  32. @Friar and Ellen – apparently I was having sex in the church basement…not with my husband either. Who knew????!!!!!

    @Friar – starts with M, middle letter is D, ends with C. You fill in the vowels.

  33. R.J. Keller Says:

    LOL!!! I’m glad you reposted this.

    East Boonyville Maine is so small that our post office closes down for an hour at noon so the postmaster can eat her lunch. Tha’s just when other people have lunch break and would normally do their postal errands. And, of course, it closes for the day at four o’clock, while most people are still at work.

    Gotta love those small towns.

  34. Steph Says:

    @ Friar: Just chatting with Brett about SC and I thought of a book you might enjoy. You know Stuart McLean, the Vinyl Cafe guy on CBC? (If not, shame on you!!) Anyway, besides his other great stories, he has a book called Welcome Home: Travels in Smalltown Canada. Very funny. I think you’d like it!

    I grew up in a small town most people have never heard of, though I don’t know if Tottenham is still all that small. There were things about it very much like Splat Creek, but there’s also something to be said for small towns. Or at least, I have some great memories of them as well. Every Sunday my family would drive out to one and walk around. They can be so lovely to visit (maybe not to live, but at least visit!) And so many authors treat them with such humour you can kind of get a soft feeling toward them.

    But Belleville, although it has about 46,000, is still much like SC, and I understand your beefs about your small town, too!

    I checked it out, btw, and some of the photos are quite lovely. I also mapped it out. I’m about four hours away (this week I’ll be next door to you!) and it looks like a very nice drive. I don’t think that’s all that far away! Keeping the directions for when the time is right. It really would be fun, I think, to meet someday!

  35. Steph Says:

    God, all these comments. Such fantastic material for short stories!! I love that vision of the postmaster shutting down to eat her lunch! Something about this reminds me of Anne of Green Gables…

  36. Steph Says:

    Urban Panther: No way! MADOC??!

  37. Brett Legree Says:

    I went to the festival tonight. There was this dancing troupe doing some pretty crazy stuff. Right at the start, they did a piece called “Les moutons”. All but one were dressed as sheep, and had the movements down very well. They really acted like sheep. And then there was the shepherd, keeping them in order, shearing one of them etc.

    One of the sheep started humping the other ones… it was pretty wacked out. And then another dancer, dressed as a wolf, came running out of the bushes.

    Yep. Fine art in Splat Creek. 🙂

  38. Friar Says:

    @Ellen

    Yeah…it will make me stronger (and “build character” too, eh?).

    But it WOULD be nice to have a few stores open a bit longer, just the same.

  39. Friar Says:

    @Monika
    I hear ya. I experienced “Small Town” moments in Oz.

    Like driving on the Pacific Highway north of Bundaberg, out in the sticks around 8:00 PM.

    I was starving. Nothing was open.

    I figured since this is one of the busiest highways in Oz ….SURELY there would SOMETHING open within reasonable driving distance.

    Nope. Nothing. We drove for TWO HOURS before we finally found a gas station that was open off the highway.

    My God, this was hardly a back-road. This was a major highway, on the way to Cairns.

    What the heck? ..even remote parts of Canada, you’d still find places every 40-50 kilometers or so).

    (I can only imagine what it’s like in the smaller towns, back in the bush).

    Things are definitely more laid back there….:-)

  40. Friar Says:

    @R.J. Keller

    I call this “Small Town Ontario” but it can apply for pretty much most similar towns in Canada and the US. (We might just have a few more quirks with Splat Creek).

    You can thank Steph for this..she’s the one who suggested I repost it. (And I went from 19 views to already 87). Thanks, Steph.

    At least our post office is open at Lunch (I assume…!) 🙂

    @Steph
    Oh, yeah. I know all about Stuart McClean….I don’t listen to CBC much, but my Mo is really into it. When I visit her, I can’t help but hear it in the background. I admit, he can be pretty funny. I’ll see if I can find his book in the library.

    As for Belleville…I drove by it and stopped for a burger many tines. (And just recently, actually spent time in town…visiting friends and bowling to a kids bowling party).

    Actually, now I think it’s a HUGE city. You have a mall. A bowling alley. A movie theater (maybe several!). A McDonalds, Wendys AND Burger King. What MORE do you need? 🙂

  41. Friar Says:

    @Urban Panther
    Sex in a church Basement? Oh dear.

    Good thing it was a United Church. If it wasn’t Catholic…you’d have been struck down with lighting, or spontaneously combusted.

    MADOC….??? (I was going to guess Tweed or Perth). But close enough. I know Highway 7 like the back of my hand. For 9 years, I used to drive from Hamilton to Ottawa to visit my folks, mabye one a month. That makes over 100 trips on that road.

    Hey, don’t they have that big Country Jamboree (in Havelock). Which I think is even a smaller town than Splat Creek.

    @Brett

    Oh my god. The Moutons would want to make me gouge my eyes out with burning sticks. (But I’ll still go check it out the festival tonight, anyway).

    By the way, how about 30 people on stage doing Karaoke to “Blue Suede Shoes”, playing air guitar with fishing poles?

    You gotta love the local talent 🙂


  42. @Steph – spent every single weekend of my entire childhood on the family property near Hockley. Sure ’nuff do know Tottenham. My parents have since retired there and run a B&B..shameless family self promotion http://www.farmupcountry.com. As for Belleville, my first two children were born there, and my eldest lives there now.

    @Friar and Steph – lived in Madoc (I was trying to be discreet!) for 8 years. I consider it a glitch in my life. Beautiful village; a tad too small in many ways for me. And yes, Friar, I figured you were thinking of Tweed.

  43. Kelly Says:

    Oops, checking back in here rather late.

    Panther,

    My parents run a motel in the Green Mountains (upstate New York). Funny when people choose backbreaking work with no time off and low pay as their “retirement” occupation.

    I have to ask if they have room before I visit. Gets a bit annoying, them having to check the computer to see if daughter and I will fit. I checked out your parents’ site, looks like it might be even trickier for you!

    Until later,

    Kelly

  44. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    I always felt sorry for people who ran motels. They’re often located in key tourist areas, surrounded by scenes of incredible natural beauty. Which is great for the tourists, but the owners never get any time of to enjoy it.

    Someone’s gotta man the front desk from 7:AM till midnight. Bedsheets need to be cleaned. Toilets need to be scrubbed.

    Not that I’m criticizing your parents. But that would NOT be my idea of ideal retirement! 🙂

    But hey..if that’s what they like…..(???)

  45. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    It was my Dad’s vision forever, then he got the chance and boom. My Mom VERY reluctantly goes along. He *had* to get out of his own Widget Factory (fair warning, you will bust a gasket one day, too).

    Yeah, they have a little balance in their lives now that they’ve been doing it for a few years, but I don’t get it and I never did. Not for me, no, sir.

    Later,

    Kelly

  46. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    My gaskets are already leaking, ready to blow any day now.

    Maybe I’ll run a motel in some part of remote Northern Ontario. And I’ll tell the tourists “I used to be a PhD once…! ” 🙂

  47. Kelly Says:

    Then there’ll be two patent-toting nuts in the western hemisphere who are more familiar with computing lodging taxes and occupancy rates than with complex algorithms.


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