Just in case you need a flower or a bunch I tossed a few extras in. We can all use a little colour in our lives and nature provide this time of year. In case you are sad or hurting may they warm you. Lets call it a flower hug.
Been out in the country a little scouring some of the back roads in search of the old. I found it each time I looked in the rearview mirror but looking for something special and not myself...
Many of you have commented on your secret passion of finding yesterdays memories so I thought I would add a few more for you to ponder. Gather around and lets close the day with a little nostalgia.
Oh no he is talking about that age thing again... run, run for your lives...
They just know don't they, bathing a cat is like flirting with a tree shredder. No I am not talking about cat bathing either... just old stuff in the country if you are fortunate to find it.
Typical Saskatchewan Countryside
I captured this one several years ago in our neighbouring Province of Saskatchewan. It made me stand and appreciate just how far we have come in building and transportation.
This particular day I was fortunate to speak with the farmer who owns the land and these grand old artifacts. He share with me he was born in the old home on the far left. Two rooms, one for his parents and the 6 children shared the main open area.
He walked 50 yards to the right and smiled as he looked down at two large rocks. He spoke softly. "My sister and brother are buried here," he wiped a tear away. "It was the winter of 46, they had gone to the barn it was very cold and a terrible wind and snowstorm. Anna was 12 and Pete' would have been 10. They never came back, try as they could my parents could not locate them. It was not fit for man nor beast to be out in that sort of weather. Sadly we found them two days later after the storm ended. They were huddled together frozen to death only 30 yards away from the barn. It was a sad Christmas that year."
I asked what it was like in those days, to simply live in that sort of isolation.
He smiled as he touched the remnants of the old wagon. "They were hard years, this wagon was the first new thing my dad bought. She was a beauty in her day. Dad was pretty handy he designed a system making this a working implement, Summer months it could be converted for hauling grain. Winter months Dad made a small shack he would set in place. It had everything we needed, even a small wood stove and plenty of warm quilts." He laughed. "Yup dad figured he was pretty smart, you see we had this old long horned oxen for a motor. He would need some poking and prodding to get to where you wanted but turn him around and he would take you right to the front door." He chuckled. "Towards the end of one winter we were forced to butcher the old oxen. I tell you young man that thing was like eating the sole of your shoe. It was some tough, much the same as the animal was for working, hook him to the wagon and he could pull any load you asked of him.
"Did it get better."
He smiled at me, "You look like a man who appreciates hearing about those days. The name is Gus by the way. Why not sit a spell and I will tell you." His face was a road map of hard work. His hands were the size of dinner plates. He wiped his face with his shirt sleeve.
"I suppose you could say they did get better. See that barn, we built it in the early 50's. All built by hand in those days. I had just finished grade eight when my dad decided I should work the farm, He said I had enough book learning to be a farmer. After the barn was finished he bought up some milking cows and pigs. Of course mom had her chickens and ducks." he slipped his hat off his head and wiped the brim before setting it back into place.
"The world today has little memory of hard work. 12 years old and I worked like a man. The family never got over the loss of our two siblings. Mom and Dad both blamed themselves. As things got better dad hired a hired hand to help. That addition on the right of the barn was his home. Peter Munroe was his name. I tell you that man had no idea what living a lazy life was all about, a good man. Dad started buying small parcels of land, the year he passed away we had a section and a half of land. Dad was due back from town after selling some cattle. He got himself a little liquored up and fell from the wagon which was fully loaded. The back wheel passed over his neck and it was broken." I was considered to be the man of the family at 17. I had some big shoes to fill." Looked at the ground a long while. "I wonder what 17 year olds have for responsibly these days, I not a betting man but I would wager they have nothing in comparison."
"That addition on the left was my new place. I had just turned 18 and I married a neighbour girl. Becky and I lived in that small place and raised three children." He cleared his throat and smiled. "Mom well she married Peter Munroe, mom sold 2 quarters of land and divided the rest up among us kids. I bought up two other quarters. Becky and I worked the land the same as it had been worked for years." He nodded across the road. "I started leasing the land out and after the kids left home well Becky and I travelled some. Cancer took her last year so now I have this huge house and I live a lonely life." He pulled a grass stem of green grass and slipped it in his mouth. "Life has it way of coming back at you son, best do it all right the first time around there are not many second chances."
He tilted his hat back and leaned agaist the wagon. "Got a call from Julie my oldest daughter. Her and her husband live in the city." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. "Gave me this last year so we can stay in touch. I hate the thing but Julie says I need it in case I have trouble." He smiled at me. "Kids today think they need to look after us old folks." He grunted and slip the phone back into his pocket. "You would think I have never had trouble, I guess I am lucky they care enough about me."
Several minutes passed before he spoke again. "Supposed to drive to the city this weekend. She says they have this great retirement center a few blocks away from her place." He got a wry smile on his lips. "Maybe I should get this wagon here all fixed up, get me a oxen and arrive like the old days."
"Mind if I take a few picture Gus?"
"Help yourself son. Great chatting with you." He started walking away and turned again. "Thank you for the memories son. There is still hope for the world when the younger generation is willing to listen like you have." He thought for a moment. "Not all that certain where you are with God son, but live as He calls you to live and maybe someday you will have a story to tell."
I watched as Gus slowly walked down the lane to his huge home. I stopped in several years later. All of the old had been torn down and burnt to the ground. I stopped at the large house and a young lady opened the door. She spoke through snapping her gum several times. "What you want, I gave at the office." Is all she said. "Who are you anyway?"
"Just an old friend of Gus. Do you have any idea where he is?"
"Not a clue, just bought this place a few years ago." With that said the door slammed shut. Off in the distance a huge 8 wheeled tractor came up the field across the way. Black smoke poured from its stack. In total it was towing 4 implements. It passed right over the spot where Anna and Pete had been buried.
I spoke softly. "So sorry Gus for what I see today, no matter where you are you deserve the rest... Stay well my friend... stay well
© Rolly A. Chabot
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