Love Over Eggrolls

In 1989 I started working for the Poons at the Chinese Kitchen, a fast food take-out booth in the basement of the Big Four building.  I was only 15 at the time and it was my first job.  It was also the first time I met Shane.  He was one of the Poons nephews and had come to spend the summer in Calgary and work at the Stampede.  That was when our summer romance began. 

We worked long hours and it was hot and tiring on your feet all day but well worth it.  I was in charge of making eggrolls and have made so many over the years; I now have a hard time eating them.  We had free admission to the Stampede for 10 days and were able to ride the midway during our breaks.  Plus, we knew all of the best places for cheap eats and could enjoy the fireworks every night before heading home.

I still crave mini donuts, Dole pineapple whips and Weadickville hotdogs.  Shane and I even had a special spot to enjoy the evening, a small hill just outside of the Park. We were in love and by the end of the Stampede the Poons teasingly called us the Duke and Duchess of eggrolls.  Our romance continued over the next 3 years on and off at the Stampede during the summers until we drifted away and went down separate paths.  It's hard to continue a long distance relationship when you're a teenager. 

In 2001 we found one another again and began dating.  We got married in 2004 and the Poons were guests at our wedding.  We now have a young daughter and can't wait to get her first pair of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.  We often tell our story to friends and family, a romance that started over 20 years ago at the Calgary Stampede.  The Chinese Kitchen closed up many years ago and we now live in Ontario so we frequently attend the CNE just before it closes Labour Day weekend but it just isn't the same as the Stampede.

It had been a long time since we've attended the birthplace of our summer romance all those years ago but the Centennial sounds like a great year to return!

Christina Derwee

Pickering, Ontario