St. Lawrence River, ON - Andrew St. Bernard

My Watermark is the St. Lawrence River, Ontario.

I remember my Dad teaching us how to swim. His best plan was to put a life jacket on us and throw us in the water! My little sister was particularly frightened by this and would shout and splash around frantically until she realized that the life jacket was keeping her afloat. And of course Dad was there every step of the way, chuckling to himself and making sure she didn't drift too far from the dock.

I remember taking many baths in the river at the end of long summer days, and how Dad went about it most gingerly. While us kids eventually learned to love the water and would jump in head first and splash about as we bathed, he would stand at the river's edge, with the water up to his ankles, and spoon handfuls of water over his upper body, cautiously washing off the soap. As a native of Caribbean waters, he never quite warmed to Canadian rivers and lakes, even on the hottest of days.

I remember days with Dad, just staring out over the open water and just enjoying the calm of it all. I remember fishing with him, and not enjoying it because I wanted to fish but because of how much pleasure it gave him instead.

Putting some thought into this, I realize that I remember a lot more than I thought I did. Dad's been gone close to 13 years's been close to 13 years since we've seen him or heard his voice. Though I miss him every day, I'm grateful for the memories I have and how water forms the backbone of these memories. Looking back I wouldn't have it any other way.

Fraser Riverkeeper
Tina Barisky
Andrew St. Bernard

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