Sax's Fish and Chips Restaurant is a landmark in Keswick, Ontario, having been in the Saxton family since the 1950's. The original building, which is part of the present day dining room, was built in 1906.
These days, the restaurant is a popular, cozy pub, but when the place isn't bursting with customers, talk, the clatter of dishes and music, you can easily sense the energies of a bygone era.
The most recognizable and communicative spirit is Uncle Eddie. He was the brother-in-law of the present owner Carolynne's late mother and lived in the building for the last ten years of his life, until his death in 1969.
In his declining years, Eddie was battling a condition like Alzheimer's, and was quite a concern for the Saxton family. He spent much of his time sitting at a small table in the restaurant, smoking his cigarettes, and he helped out by doing dishes, and the like. Eddie looked out for little Carolynne, who was six years old when he died. The night of his death, Carolynne woke up in the middle of the night and went into her uncle's bedroom. Although it was the dead of night, his room was bathed in daylight. Uncle Eddie was sitting in his chair, and he told Carolynne to go back to bed, saying "Don't worry honey, everything will be ok".
The next morning he was dead.
Eddie made his first appearance in spirit to a cleaning lady after Carolynne took over the restaurant as an adult. As the cleaner was doing her chores one day in the deserted restaurant, she noticed Eddie sitting at his usual table, and did a double-take. She later described him to Carolynne - a chubby, short, round faced man, slouched in his chair, smoking. Carolynne recognized him immediately, and has been feeling his presence ever since.
Eddie has a sense of humour. He often flushes the downstairs toilets and slams doors when no- one but the owners and staff are around. Many times, dancing, shuffling steps have been heard from the basement, as well as the sounds of tinkling glass. (There is no glass of any kind down there). He turns on the oven and the burners in the kitchen - fortunately, this has only happened when Carolynne or the cook are around, and they've been able to turn it off before anything was damaged.
One day I dropped in for a chat with Carolynne and we were discussing Uncle Eddie across the bar counter. I was only there a few minutes, and as I was leaving, I fished in my pocket for my car keys. I panicked when I couldn't find them, as I always drop them into my right pocket. Well, they turned up eventually - in my other pocket - a highly unlikely place for me to have put them as I am totally clumsy with my left hand.
Not long afterwards, I was sitting in the same seat with my husband beside me, talking to Carolynne again. Now, my husband is 6'6", a no-nonsense, very practical person. During another conversation about Uncle Eddie, he got up to use the washroom just behind the bar. He had already been in there a short while when we heard a loud crash from the washroom, which startled both of us. My husband came out a minute later, white-faced, and told us that a roll of toilet paper had flown across the rather large room from nowhere, and bounced off the wall in front of him. Uncle Eddie's tricks again? Most certainly.
Eddie's a spirit with character - a practical joker - and much appreciated around Sax's to this day. Just mention his name the next time you're there.
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