Sparkmouth Ginger Ale & Mercedes at the Coghlan Train StationSunday, November 06, 2016
Memory plays tricks that to me seem all about Einstein’s or Borges’s concept of time. I believe both did not believe you could go back in time and yet the more we know about black holes one wonders what might happen if we fall in one and manage to survive it. Could we go back in time? If science fiction worm holes can penetrate millions of light years hence (a science fiction trick to make space travel feasible) we do know that if we travel to those distant stars when we get there we will have arrived at the time that the light left them. That would have been millions of light years back.
I saw two bottles of Phillips Sparkmouth Ginger Ale (made and bottled in Victoria BC) at the UBC Save-on-Foods. I was intrigued by the Godzilla on its “green” paper label. I bought them. They brought memories of me as a child of 8 living in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Coghlan. Many neighbourhoods are still named after the nearby train stations. The English at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries built Argentina’s railway system, a most efficient one even today.
My mother and I would walk the four blocks (they seemed like miles then) from our house on Melián 2770 to the station. We would wait just a few minutes for the electric train, made of wood with wrought iron umbrella and luggage racks. The trains ran on time and my mother had memorized the schedules. As we lingered I would beg her to buy the latest Pato Donald comics on the newsstand. I was much too young to notice the Borges and Cortázar paperbacks.
The train would take us to the next station which was Belgrano R. Just one block by the park by the station was my mother’s school the American School. I would walk two more blocks to the American Grammar School.
There were some days where I would not meet my mother back at her school where she taught physics and chemistry. I believe they were PTA meetings. I was instructed to get on the train going to Coghlan.
|My friend poet Rubén Derlis at the Coghlan train station circa 2000|
When I got there our Galician housekeeper Mercedes would meet me. This she did with one of two surprises. One was a chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bar on a stick and the other a longish vanilla ice cream cylinder that was chocolate covered, too. I remember the brand name Noel.
We would then happily walk home to her special home-cooked meals. My fave was her carrot soufflé.
But every once in a while I would take the wrong train that would bypass Coghlan and stop at a station called Drago. The first time this happened I was in a panic but I did find my way to cross the bifurcated train barrier and meet up with my Mercedes.
When I say the Sparkmouth Ginger Ale I thought of Lauren and how I pick her up at school on Wednesdays. I bring her home to some sort of lunch that she particularly likes. The ginger ale was to be part of that formula.
I liked my ginger ale but Lauren found that it tasted of fennel and Rosemary didn’t like it because she said it was similar to ginger beer.
But I tried and even if my effort was a failure today I did go back in time in my memory worm hole.