Life is like that …..

Well here we are …. Thursday, December 30th, 2010.  I wonder where the time has gone.  My plans have gone slightly awry but oh well.  Life is like that….  I must say that no matter what …. I do the best that I can every single day.  Somedays that means getting up, spending time with Alvin (my dog), eating and perhaps going for a walk.  But most days – life is busy.  How did I get to this place?  I wonder.  Well, let’s see.  I was born to a young couple back in 1957 – they were farmers.  My Dad was a dreamer, very intelligent, well read and loved to travel and likely most of all – did not “appreciate” the cold prairie winters.  My Mom simply loved people, and it was apparent when she passed away.   She also was one of the hardest working women that I have ever known.  I am proud to say that I inherited her superb work ethic.  Following in family tradition is my daughter, Amanda.  My siblings all work hard, too.  It is important to say that as they are very important to me.  Siblings, I had four.  Three younger brothers and a younger sister.  My sister  is eighteen months younger than me followed by the three boys.  We lost our middle brother in March of 2009.  Our parents slipped away in 1993 leaving me the eldest in our immediate family.  Going back to those times which seem like a lifetime ago – is both reflective and interesting.  I remember all the fun we siblings used to have playing outside.  We used our imaginations.  We were not poor but toys were something that we only got at Christmas time or perhaps on your birthday.  My paternal grandparents lived five miles away from us on the farm and were a constant in our daily lives.  I was greatly influenced by my paternal Grandmother.  She was this petite lady ….. strong willed ….. smart and well liked in the community.  She belonged to the Eastern Star, played the organ and piano at church, and was by far the best “baker” on the planet.  My Grandma taught me how to dance.  I remember “marching” around her living room as she played some grand old song.  She taught me how to waltz, fox trot, march in time, polka, two step, box step and many others.  I found these to be most helpful over the years …… I had rhythm.  When I close my eyes I go back to her living room on the farm …. complete with the piano……. I do not know what I was wearing but I can hear the music and feel my feet touching the floor gracefully.  Was it really that long ago?  I miss those days.  Life was simple.  Life had it’s issues but for the most part it was wonderful.  My Grandma had been a teacher when she was younger and was always willing to teach us …..  I am so grateful for those memories.  One foot ….. slide to the left ….. ah…  Grandma also taught me the importance of “good manners”.  I believe that it was the most important lesson of all.  Manners open doors and keep them open.  Manners start conversations and keep them going.  Manners place you out front.  A simple “please” and “thank you” goes a long way.  It is something that I made sure that I taught my daughter and I continue to teach any children who come my way.  Over the years, the art of “manners” and being polite was lost.  I aim to bring it back.  Back to where it should proudly take it’s place.

I will always treasure those days.  My Grandfather taught me to play cards (both of them played cards, whist was big back in those days) and how to laugh.  He was a quiet dear soul.  We used to have fun.  There were horses and cows that all had names.  Chickens that had distinct personalities.  I remember one time while we still lived on the farm near Corning, Saskatchewan …… we had this rooster.  His name was Mac Gregor and he was a force to be reckoned with to be sure.  He would always hide up on the ledge at the door of the barn and when we walked into the barn …. he would jump down.  Sometimes it was very painful.  His “claws” were sharp.  Anyway, this one time my Grandpa was over to the house and we were outside at the barn.  I had told him about this mean rooster and he decided to teach him a lesson.  So he donned leather gloves and made a hook out of an old wire clothes hanger, before entering the barn.  When Mac Gregor jumped down – he had the surprise of his life.  As Grandpa grabbed him and gave him a good “threshing” with his leather glove.  Surprisingly enough that old rooster never jumped on us again.  People think that they do not have any intelligence but I think they are pretty smart.  Me and Grandpa laughed for a long while about that old rooster.  Between our farms we had lots of cattle, horses, chickens, ducks and pigs.  Also dogs and cats.  Lots of animal life.

Springtime was my favourite time of year back on the farm.  It was at that time that all the babies were born.  Baby calves are so cute.  You could just hug them like crazy.  The smell of the snow melting ….. sound of running water….it was heaven.  We had crocuses on the farm and in the spring they were a furry purple blanket covering many a field.  My love of walking came from the farm.  I loved to walk in the fields.  Checking out the flowers and grass.  Seeing what was what. I loved the farm.

School was another huge part of my life.  I loved going to school (yes, really).  My sister and I being the oldest of the children had to spend a great deal of time at home helping out.  There were always lots of chores to do, the little boys to watch out over and housework.  I cooked my first meal at age six.  My Mom pulled a chair to the counter and I watched as she prepared a stew for the combining crew.  There were no thoughts as to whether or not it would be good – it just had to be.  I found that I was good at it and loved to cook.  Mind you my siblings might tell you a different story and that would be because I loved to experiment.  I used whatever things we had and sometimes we didn’t have everything that was needed so I substituted ingredients along the way.  But it was fun.  My Mom’s specialities were fish & chips, fudge,  pumpkin tarts, and angel food cake.  How could I forget, her “mustard yellow bean pickles” …. they were amazing. Those are the things that I remember the most.  All of which were treats.  We were not pampered or spoiled that was for sure.  We all loved visiting my Grandparents as Gran always had such delicious baking on hand just for us.  Something we didn’t have much of at home.  My Mother helped outside most of the time so there wasn’t time for baking treats.

Well all this talk of food is making me hungry.  It is almost 1:00 p.m. so guess I had better go and have some lunch.  Alvin is lying “patiently” on the hallway floor.  He reminds me of someone “human” …. I just have not figured out who?

I will return…..

I am most disappointed.  Here it is going onto 5:00 p.m. and I have been writing for most of the afternoon.  At one point I had well over 2,000 words in this particular blog.  Then I went off doing other things (photos etc), and then realized that everything, I had written after lunch was not saved.  I am so sure that I clicked on the update button, in fact several times.  What on earth has happened?  Well I guess I will have to figure out what all I wrote.  I remember a couple of things but when you are just typing what comes to your mind – it is not an easy thing to recreate.  But there is no use in pouting over it.  Just have to continue on.  I am a bit disappointed.  There is certainly something to be said for the old paper and pen method.

Well I know that I mentioned about our birthday parties.  So I shall begin there.  During the summer months especially the month of August – there were several family birthdays.  We met up with cousins, aunts and uncles at a nearby lake.  We would swim and play and then have a wiener roast before returning home to the farm.  At home, we would wolf down cake and ice-cream.  Mom would usually bake an angel food cake.  It remains one of my favourites to this day.  If I compare those birthdays to ones now – I would say that we definitely had more fun.  We were happy just to have company and to play.  Going to the lake was a big deal and a hot dog was an even bigger deal.  There were not a ton of birthday presents.  We did not book a venue.  Mother Nature let us simply enjoy the fruits of her labour and we were grateful.

I believe that another story I mentioned in the “unsaved” 1000 words ….. was this.  My Dad subscribed to a paper called “The Western Producer”.  I loved to read it given the chance.  There was one section that really appealed to me.  I do not recall just how old I was at the time but somewhere between 10 and 14, I will say.  The section was the “Pen Pals”.  I would read them and dream of having one of my own.  One day, I wrote to a boy named Carl who lived in Manitoba, neighbouring Canadian province.  We wrote back and forth for years.  It was an experience that I shall treasure forever.  In fact, several years later …. when Miss Oprah Winfrey started a website and had “Message Boards” …… I began to correspond with several women.  That was ten years ago, and I have kept in touch with one of them.  Ingrid from Sweden.  We have been through a lot together over these past ten years.  I treasure her friendship and hope someday to meet her.  I wonder what the longest “unseen” relationship is?

Feeling better now.  Just finished another five hundred words.  Alvin has had his supper so I have some time to write before I have mine.

Okay now what else did I write about…. !!! ???  Perhaps I should stop for the day.  I did great.  Started writing about mid morning until almost 5:00 p.m. with breaks for lunch, Alvin’s walk and his supper.

I did mention about the “Irish Concerts” that our nearby town used to hold when I was a little girl.  It was exciting as both me and my sister each got a new pleated skirt and white blouse.  We did the irish jig one year with some other little girls.  It was so much fun.  There were Christmas concerts.  We also held Christmas concerts at home for our parents and grandparents.  We used cardboard boxes to make signs and things.  Another item we used was “toilet paper” ……. our craft box was not exactly full of coloured construction papers, crayons, glues, sparkles etc.  We made the best of what we had and had a blast doing it.  Me and my siblings would sing Christmas songs.  Jingle Bells and Silent Night.  Ah, what memories.

Well I guess I did remember most of what I had written about and neglected to save.  The words and their order might be different but I did manage to remember the main theme of each story.

OMG, there are so many stories that I want to share with all of you.  I hope that they bring a smile to your face and a lightness to your heart.  Perhaps we share a similar experience.  That would be so great.  Well, I guess it is time to sign off.  I will continue the story telling tomorrow.  Have a blessed night.  Thank you for reading.

Always, Carol

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