Takin’ a Peek

  • Chipmunk Drawing by Owen Garratt
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Takin’ a Peek

Chipmunk drawing as a reminder of a happy childhood

Chipmunk drawing by Owen Garratt

Some of my happiest childhood memories are of summers spent with my maternal grandmother at The Beach.

Mom’s family collectively owned four clapboard cabins on about ten rolling and pleasantly brushed acres at Buena Vista, about a half hour from Regina. My Great-grandfather and hero, Dr. Dick Bird (Grandma’s dad) retired there, and Grandma and Grandpa bought the adjoining lots over the years as they became available. 


An Ideal Childhood

Until I saw Jaws on TV, which kept me out of the water for the entire 1976 calendar year, I swam in the lake, hung out with my cousins, made forts, read comics, drew pictures, played with Johnny West and Planet of the Apes action figures, had Sunday fish n’ chips from Butler’s in Regina Beach, talked with Grandma until after midnight, and picked and ate enough Saskatoon berries to almost change me purple.

Oddly, Grandpa refused to spend the night at The Beach. He’d drive out for supper, then make the inevitable excuse that he had to get back to the city for McGinty, their vast and sinister cat.

Eventually, Grandma told me why he didn’t ever stay overnight.

“He just doesn’t feel comfortable out here at night. He likes to be here during the day, but after dark, he just can’t settle. But he knows how much I love it, so he doesn’t try to convince me to come back, and I don’t try and convince him to stay.”

So The Beach was all about Grandma time. I would stay with her for weeks at a stretch, only going back to the city for the Buffalo Days Summer Exhibition, or visiting Dad on his farm.


Not The Ritz

Unlike now, where an empty lot is over $100,000 and million dollar properties aren’t uncommon, in the 70’s we had to haul our drinking water from the city and use an outhouse.  It was a big freakin’ deal when Grandpa swung for a septic tank in 1978.

On chilly nights we used an ancient oil burning furnace that dominated the living room. I’ve never seen another like it before or since. It tinked and groaned and roared and threatened at any second to either break into a conflagration or slowly poison us in our sleep. Even as a teen, I refused to light the damn thing. I don’t even know where you’d get the oil to feed it; where the hell do you find “fuel oil”?!

I loved every minute of The Beach (the minutes spent in the outhouse notwithstanding).

“Um, Owen? You were going to talk about chipmunks?”

Anyhoo, when I was little, I noticed was that Grandma always made far too much toast for breakfast, and rather than waste the leftovers, we fed them to the neighborhood chipmunks.

“Wait…who eats the extra toast when we’re in the city?!” I asked.

Apparently, toast overruns were strictly a summer problem.  




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Windy Point by Owen Garratt

Additional Details

  • Published from an Original Pencil Drawing
  • Limited Edition of 1968 Prints
  • Artist's Proofs of 196 Proofs
  • Image Size 9 1/4" by 13 1/4"
  • Framed Size 20" by 24"
    © Owen Garratt


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2 reviews for Takin' a Peek

  1. Alison Munn

    We have this pencil drawing of the squirrel on our wall, it is a favourite of every one who sees it. Your art is amazing.

    • The Pencilneck

      Thank you Alison! 🙂

  2. Antoine

    sounds like a very nice way to grown up

    • The Pencilneck

      Yes, it was pretty terrific!

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