Orlando, Punta Cana, The Bahamas, and Portage Road. What do they all have in common? They're some form of ‘paradise’. Growing up on a road with my Grammie and Granda ten strides away, a huge back/side/front yard, the greenest grass you'll ever see, and a turnip field for sledding was not too shabby. Portage Road symbolizes so many things for me: family, freedom, nature, adventure, love, tranquility, serenity. I'm throwing it back this Thursday, listing some of my favorite things about growing up on Portage Road!
Every summer, I ride my bike down our red dirt road to pick some scrumptious blueberries. I always thought these blueberries were wild, but they're actually fields owned by a company.. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way. One radiant summers day, I stepped in the field and a gunshot went off. Naturally, I screamed at the top of my lungs and just... ran. “This is it, I’m going to die”, was all I could think. Turns out it was a sensor they use to keep crows out. Who knew it would also keep Jessica's out? Stick to scarecrows, please.
Remember when you were a kid and summer was just a massive chunk of free time? No job (awesome), no school (awesome), and no license (iffy). If you lived in the country, like me, you couldn’t walk to a movie theatre or a mall. We were forced to imagine fun activities, and my idea of fun was juggling my soccer ball. For hours, and hours… and hours. Barefoot in the sun, everyday June-September, I kept the ball in the air as long as I could. I then proceeded to use our soccer net's post as a ‘passing partner’... I should create a list, “Things I Use To Do Before Facebook”, that would be number one for sure. My sister, Katie, once spent a whole summer teacher herself how to do a handstand into a back-walkover! Who needs gymnastics when you have a backyard!
Learning to Drive
I have this vivid memory of driving in our little red hatchback... In a field... With very, very, VERY tall grass. Did I mention my three year old sister behind the wheel driving? Don't worry, she was on my dads lap. Gosh, I remember laughing so hard I couldn't breath. We were swerving left and right, not knowing what direction we were going whatsoever! This isn't something you would normally think to do in your spare time, and it's wasn't necessarily safe... But man oh man, that memory is as clear as a newly developed photo. Blue sky, green grass, red hatchback.
My parents would also let my sisters and I take turns driving on our way home from Sunday mass. This was the absolute highlight of my week. The minivan practically called my name during Sunday service. I could barely concentrate knowing that I would get the chance to drive for TWO WHOLE MINUTES on Portage Road! It goes around in a loop, so we had a solid ten minutes to swap drivers. We only ever faced one roadblock: spring + mud = stuck mini van.
Back in the olden days, we woke up at 6AM every morning to head over to Grammie's house. Brittany, Katie (sisters), Olivia, William (cousins), Andrew, Mackenzie, Katelyn (neighbours) and myself would spend all day playing ‘school’, ‘Power Rangers’, ‘hospital’, watch cartoons, and if you were having an off day, sit in the 'time out chair' **shivers** coughKatiecough. The phrase "get outside and blow the stink off ya" was commonly heard. What was the best part of the day (and still is) you ask? Grammie's famous biscuits. I can confidently say that her baking is the best on this side of the world. Whenever you get the chance, stop by for an afternoon of tea and biscuits. You'll chat about who just drove by, what's on the front page of the newspaper, and life. Some of the most memorable conversations I've ever had are with my Grammie!
My cousins and I created the "Portage Road Animal Graveyard"... A little morbid, but our road is literally a funny farm. I think at one point between four houses we had a total of 15-20 animals. My aunt is amazing when it comes to rescuing animals, specifically dogs! Our house saw a fair share of puppies: Brandy (may he rest in peace), Chase (may he rest in peace, 2002-2012), Skeeter (......yes that was his name, and I think he lives in Florida now?), and currently, little three legged Sadie. My most fond memories are of Chase. We got him when I was ten, and he’s remembered as the friendly giant. Chase was convinced he was a lap dog. Man, I miss him so much! I also had the pleasure of witnessing my wittle baby, Mikayla Rae (cat), give birth to four kittens. One morning when she was very pregnant, Mikayla jumped up on my bed projecting an odd sound. While she was lying upon me, I realized she was in labour. Talk about a wake up call! In all seriousness though, it was pretty incredible to witness, and the kittens were excruciatingly adorable. **Shout out to our other cat- Mikey (aka Michael)- who wasn’t mentioned in this section at all.
Oh, I could go on about this forever. PEI is known for it's red dirt. I never believed our dirt was actually 'red', until I moved to Ontario and returned. I was shocked. The beauty of the red dirt on green grass on blue ocean is one of the most spectacular things you could ever witness. And the grass on Portage Road isn't JUST green. You know the opening scene of The Sound of Music? Yeah. It's THAT green. You wanna talk about a clear night sky? Sit on our trampoline at midnight and witness what looks like a painting of stars. Every night I get home in the summertime, I look to my left and see the big dipper clear as day. It doesn't get much better than the fresh air of Portage Road!
I love being associated with Portage Road. It's more than just a road, it's a time capsule. I look out back and see my sisters and I playing 'house' when we were eight. I look at my home and see the place I learned to play guitar, where I found out my Grammie Gallant and uncle Rollie past away, where I woke up every Christmas morning. I look at the field next to us and see where my sister and brother-in-law will raise their kids one day. I look to the sky and see fireworks from summers past. I look down the road and see where we got chased by a beaver. It will always hold such a special place in my heart. It is quite simply, my diary.
Lots of Love xo,
My playlist while writing this post:
▸ Sacred Heart- The Civil Wars
▸ Ghost- Ella Henderson
▸ Desperado- The Eagles
▸ There's Your Trouble- The Dixie Chicks
▸ Uptown Funk- Bruno Mars (OBSESSED)
Check out my new series, "Singing in the Shower With Jess"! Click here for the latest video of me singing "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid!
Hi! I'm Jessica. I love beaches, ice cream, onesies, and cuddles. I try to follow my instincts in all aspects of life. I love hearing peoples stories; How they got to the exact moment they're in. The glass is half full. I love the big dipper. The Secret changed my life. Love is w o n d e r f u l. August 24th is my favourite day (No, it's not my birthday). YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. Yolo-ing through life, but mostly singing.