Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shoot Out In Gretna Manitoba

In the years before I started spending my summers at cadet camp, I was shipped off for two weeks at some prairie relative's small town nuthouse. One of the most dull was Gretna Manitoba. We were shipped off to small town Manitoba with an elderly great aunt whose husband had just died.
They had an incredible garden of strawberries and an amazing swinging bench but that was it. The greenhouse was a freakshow of mice carcases. We were terrorized by Auntie Francis' psycho pouch - Tippy the dog. Tippy the monster pug/demon hound cross.  I was really terrible when he committed suicide.
One of the things that got us through the day was going to the ONE corner store. It was grocery and bakery and convenience store and ice cream store all in one but it only open from 10 to 5, 5 days a week. The were open on the weekend until noon but the town also had a pretty good farmers market that was worth getting up early for. Big breakfast, fresh baking, different people to look at.
The candy selection was terrific with great variety of bubble gum trading cards and ONE video game. This one. I played this one for as long as my quarters lasted and I believe it turned me into a sharpshooter. One of the skills that carried on in my cadet career.
I won many shooting competitions and always came SECOND at the annual Red Deer Armory Turkey Shoot - second because the whole thing was a scam. I always won against those militia boys but they gave the prize to some guy who lived along and was more pathetic than me. I don't care about the Turkey. He can have the second place box of chocolates too. I just want the credit for the victory. This video game had turned me into western sharpshooter.

This game was my very own LAST STARFIGHTER.
Maybe around the store you meet some kids who don't try to kick your ass because you aren't from their armpit of a prairie town. I lived on a military base all the rest of the year so I won out in the coolness factor. I knew I was eventually getting out. Gretna Manitoba was where some of those punks were gonna die!
No TV - Basically 3 channels and one was French. All the channels were Canadian so that meant crappy morning TV - especially in the summer.
At home we also had American TV where in the summer it was all cartoons and gameshows. You could lounge much past noon with syndicated programs like Gilligans Island, I Dream of Jeanie, Batman, Get Smart, The Odd Couple and Star Trek. We also got Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea at the base which was a fun and goofy show to plan your summer days around when you were 12.
But that wasn't TV in Gretna. Soap Operas all afternoon and TV off by 10. We could go outside after that but not stay up watching TV. I never understood that until much later. I realized I watched many a cool night star show during that summer.


Unknown said...

Amazing how a classic arcade game can stir so much memories. : )

Kal said...

I played it alot. It was the pinball machine of shooting games. You could play for a long time when you got the rhythm.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh yeah, I've been to Gretna. You poor little bastid.

Kal said...

Oh it's a freakshow. No outdoor pool but a kiddie pool made of cement with chain link and barb wire surrounding it. Gah. And the HEAT...good lord the HEAT.

DrGoat said...

My games were Starcastle and Tempest. I wish I could get a hold of one of those games.

Kal said...

I feel ya with Tempest. I would love a sit down Galaca table too.