This is one of my childhood stories that I have written for children and illustrated in a small book that was a Christmas gift to my grandchildren. While it is a true story it has been embellished through the years. I recount it here as reliably as I can recall it.
When I was between three and four years of age, my parents, Ed and Tina owned a coffee shop in our home town of Hepburn, Saskatchewan. The year would have been 1945 or 46. The shop fronted on to the Main Street and it had a back door into a laneway. Behind the coffee shop was a well, probably unused and also uncovered. It would certainly hold interest to a boy like me.
As I was peering into the depth of this well a man in a pickup truck passed by in the lane and seeing me, out of concern said to me, “If you fall in that well, you will be bagiki.” Bagiki was a word with which I was unfamiliar and with both the rebuke and the mystery word I ran inside to tell my father what happened and to ask him what bagiki meant. He didn’t know but he assured me with a smile that it wouldn’t be good. My father never forgot that word and as he retold the story through the years, the word became synonymous in family parlance with anything that might be nasty or unpleasant in the extreme.
When I wrote the story, I wasn’t sure how one should spell the word, and when asking family members I received a variety of opinions. For many years I envisioned its spelling as I have recorded it here. BAGIKI. When we presented the gift book, Christine and I also gave each grandchild a T-shirt with the caption, “you will be bagiki.”