Garbage Creek and Other Stories
Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian studies at
Concordia University, and the author of Kurlek, Margaret Laurence: The
Long Journey Home, and As Though Life Mattered: Leo Kennedy’s Story.
The eight stories in Garbage Creek range widely in settings, themes, and
emotional situations. Valgardson’s young protagonists face such
problems as loneliness, family money problems, and physical handicaps.
In the title story, a girl and boy clean out the litter from a creek
that once contained salmon, and are rewarded in late fall by the
appearance of a single pair of cohos in their stream. (“They
wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for us.”) Being a parent to salmon
fry next spring makes the boy think better of his troublesome baby
sister. The pair plan to begin work on a larger creek.
In “The Secret,” a boy reluctantly helps his sister to feed a
trapped wolf cub, forgoes the temptation to sell the pelt to buy skates,
and learns that wolves have feelings like himself.
Each story opens with a black-and-white line drawing by Michel Bisson;
all feature a delightfully dry wit and strong characters. Highly