Driving down a corduroy road

It was the late 70’s. I was probably no more than 6 years old. My father was a priest. At that time he served 3 churches in rural Ontario. Sunday was a busy day with multiple services to hold before noon. Each church was in a different community several kilometres away from the other. As my father was known for his lengthy sermons and insistence upon saying goodbye to everyone following the service, it almost always left him with very little time to get to the next church.

I remember looking forward to being asked to join him on these trips, not because I was keen to hear another lengthy sermon, but because I loved riding down those corduroy roads.

Its the middle of the summer. The sky is a bright blue with just a few pure white, puffy clouds. The air is warm. The windows are down. A 70’s green Plymouth Valari driven by a priest, with a 6 year old beside him in the passenger seat, speeds through the countryside, down gravel roads, passing fields of corn (knee high by the fourth of July) and cows. The car is travelling so fast it appears to fly off even the smallest hill. The boy’s arm sticks out the open window as he feels the air push against it.

It seemed like we were always running late, immediately issuing apologies as we arrived in the church parking lot. Instead of the sermon, its the buildings that I remember the most. I was surprised that people had come together to build something so grand, often in the middle of nowhere, just so they could gather 1 day per week to worship. The tall, ornate steeples, intricate stained glass and detailed woodworking.

Even today, I find myself drawn to the architecture of places of worship. They often feature prominently in my travel photos. Maybe it reminds me of driving down those corduroy roads.


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