Monday, April 27, 2009

An OJ memory


Gibeau's Orange Julep
Montreal, QC, May 2008
About this photo: As part of our most recent Thematic Photographic, we're exploring - and sharing - round-themed scened all week long, and it's not too late for you to take part. Click this link to share your own.
There's a place in Montreal that anyone who lives there simply knows as "OJ". It's a gigantic orange on the corner of Decarie and Pare - think in-transition commercial-industrial meets traffic-clogged sunken highway - that's been attracting generations of teenagers since, well, long before I came along.

When we first got our driver's license, it was the place to go to pick up an overpriced cup of orange juice mixed with what we think was egg and a greasy grilled cheese or hot dog. The food was immaterial: this had been one of the last places in the city to offer service on rollerskates. And while these days you have to get out and walk, the circular parking lot that surrounds
this aging icon of multigenerational nostalgia still celebrates the dominance of the car more than any stretch of asphalt outside a Tim Horton's ever could. If Montreal is a city of unique venues, this place ranks among the most unique of them all.

We had come into town to see my father, who was back in the nearby hospital. My parents live just north of Montreal, in Laval, so a visit to the hospital is a 15 km slog each way. Considering the general bleakness of our reason for being here, it was a blessing to find this storied slice of an earlier life on the way home from a particularly trying visit.

For a few minutes on a sad afternoon, it felt good to sit in this urban oasis and remember what it was like when life was a tad more simple, and a lot more innocent.

Your turn: Oases in life. Please discuss.

12 comments:

hahamommy said...

I've got a photo like that... of my DH and DD. We stopped at a beautiful rest area, just between our home and the Mayo Clinic. We were bringing Mitch to radiation treatment. On this little oasis break, however, we just ENJOYED. It was a great moment in the midst of not-so-great ones.

Mojo said...

Sorry to hear about your dad Carmi, I know from experience how tough those visits can be. Your description of the place reminds me of a place here that went by the name Orange Julius. Actually it's not so much the place as the concoction you described that reminds me of it. I suspect they're related in some way if not corporately at least ... recipeally?

Oases... There are not so many of those that I remember -- at least not in the way you remember this one. As a high schooler, I suppose my oasis was a mobile one -- my car. Of course at that time gas was 50 cents a gallon, so that wasn't wholly impractical. Not in the way it would be now at least. Now I suppose my oasis is virtual. There are damned few places left in the real world where it's possible to "get away", and those that are available are usually overrun with other people with the same idea or ringed about with No Trepassing signs. So I find my refuge in my blog -- or sometimes in my garage (which is in desparate need of a good sorting out -- right after the playoffs, I promise!).

Hope your dad is better soon. Too bad somethign like this won't work on people...

Thematic Photographic 46: Round v.6.0

Cloudia said...

Bless BOTH
our ill fathers, Carmi.

Aloha-

Hilary said...

Your oasis is my oasis. I remember Orange Julep so well and always thought the recipe to contain orange juice, milk, sugar and vanilla. Thanks for the nostalgic look back.

So sorry to hear about your Dad. I hope it's not too serious and that he'll be on the mend soon. Sending best thoughts your way.

David said...

we called our Orange julius, and I still want one NOW.

Robin said...

I remember that orange! I used to spend summers at a sleepaway camp on Lake Champlain and once each summer we'd take a trip to Montreal - juice at the orange, then the underground mall, a quick spin around the park, dinner somewhere, then an Expos game in the evening, where we'd often get threatened with bodily harm for rooting for the American team, whoever it was. Funny, I hadn't thought about those trips in years...

Snaggle Tooth said...

My Dad used to take us to A&W for the clip-on the window-trays in the old days. They had rollerskates too-. It was an orange n brown themed place, had burgers, fries, hotdogs, all served with A&W Rootbeer. They also had the Rootbeer floats.

I was little- may've been in New Hampshire, Maine, or Vermont- on our vacation trips to Northern New England.
Thanks for the "oasis" memory!
Prayers for your Dad.

carli said...

A nice memory. And now I want orange juice. Orange juice from Montreal.

sage said...

Sorry to hear about your dad... It's tough watching our parents as they age.

When I saw your title, I was afraid it was about another OJ, one who after the last trial I hope we hear little or nothing about again! As far as an oasis in my home town, it'd have to be walking out on a fishing pier at night and looking off into the ocean or up into the sky.

dennisthemennis.co.uk said...

what a really touching memory! We don't really have cool places like that in the UK.

Nikki-ann said...

Well wishes from Mid Wales to your Dad.

Nice memories :)

Mojo said...

One final Round for this Round of TP:
Thematic Photographic 46: Round v.7.0