Anne Sorbie's Memoir of a Good Death

by Shaun Hunter


Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

In 1911, developer John Hextall built this bridge across the Bow River to connect his planned garden suburb on the old Bowness Ranch with the city of Calgary. His plans for the suburb fell through, but the town of Bowness took root, as did Bowness Park. Hextall’s bridge was replaced in 1985 and officially named after the man who built it.  (Photo: bigdoer.com)

In 1911, developer John Hextall built this bridge across the Bow River to connect his planned garden suburb on the old Bowness Ranch with the city of Calgary. His plans for the suburb fell through, but the town of Bowness took root, as did Bowness Park. Hextall’s bridge was replaced in 1985 and officially named after the man who built it.  (Photo: bigdoer.com)

Forty years ago, Ed Flett rescued Sarah from a life of domestic service in a Millarville rooming house. Now, her husband is dead. Furious, Sarah drags Ed’s golf bag from their garage to the back yard at the edge of the Bow River, where they have lived their entire married lives. She drives Ed’s golf balls into the river, then tosses his clubs into the current. As Sarah’s grief takes hold, the river rises. 

 

A train trundles past, across the river on the far side of Bowness Road. You recall the old streetcar that used to cross the John Hextall Bridge and then follow the river to Calgary when Bowness was a village. The river is swollen at the bottom of your property. Especially near the whirlpool, which forms a small vortex that makes a sucking noise as it flattens out and repeats itself. The willow bushes seem to reach out to the sound.

 

Anne Sorbie, Memoir of A Good Death (Thistledown, 2010)