On a grey sky day full of the waning warmth of summer, we go for a bike ride. Not wanting to sit at traffic lights, sweltering in our motorcycle gear, we head out to the country. At the bottom of the street, we turn right onto Route 114 and drive toward the Fundy Park area of lower Albert County, NB. Off to our right are thunder clouds, to our left, grey and blue skies. We are optimistic.
As we drive, I feel the warmth and smell the scents carried on the wind, scents connecting me to the sights we pass. Sensory stimulation can be delightful—clover, new mown hay, lilies, pockets of cool air, salt marsh, evergreen forests, or can be pungent—manure, stagnant ponds of brackish water, diesel fuel, asphalt, tar and skunk.
As a passenger on the motorcycle, I am free to gawk as long as I don’t move my body too much and disrupt the equilibrium. My heads rotates side to side as we pass new houses and houses six to eight generations old, former neighbours, sights familiar from my childhood, fields, marshland, the Petitcodiac River widening as we travel toward the Bay of Fundy. The closer we draw to the Bay, the cooler, cleaner and fresher the air feels. We both appreciate the natural loveliness of this drive on Route 114.
We reach the village of Riverside-Albert, home of September’s Albert County Fair and cross roads to Fundy Park or to Mary’s Point and Cape Enrage, to the Trans Canada Trail or Crooked Creek Lookout.
We stop at a local restaurant. There is no name and no sign, just a flag and a flashing sign in the window; both say, “Open.” It’s just past the Guardian Drug Store, on the opposite side of the main street. We’ve not eaten here before and are apprehensive.
The décor is simple and clean. There are plastic protectors over the plain tablecloths, paper place mats, and a school binder with menu pages. We are surprised at the variety of dishes available on the pages, but want only coffee and pie.
Gary has lemon pie, his favourite. He says that it is just right, tart and bursting with the taste of fresh lemon. The meringue is perfect. I order peach pie with French vanilla ice cream. It is tasty, full of thick juicy slices of peach. I close my eyes and think “mmmm.” I open my eyes and realize that I have mmmm’d aloud. The family at the next table are grinning at me. They are having fried clam platters and fish and chips. Their food must be good as they are gobbling bites from one another’s plates.
I eat my pie and ice-cream and feel content. It’s so good.
When we leave, both the waitress and the cook are at the counter. I tell the cook, “It’s the best pie I’ve had in a long time.” She giggles and puts her head down.
Later she waves at me when we are getting our gear on again to ride and she is outdoors on her break. We smile at each other.
Gary and I know we’ll return, perhaps for more than pie next time. Or, maybe a meal and then pie, or maybe the pie first, just in case.
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