The benches at St. Luke’s are over 70 years old

Canada Day came into Burns Lake with a parade. The best so we are told.

Canada Day came into Burns Lake with a parade. The best so we are told. I must agree as it was just great with so much variety, so well placed and displayed. To make a parade what it should be you must have horses and there were some beauties taking part. A little miniature pony pulling a little wagon really took every ones eye. Then our fire dept. and then our ambulances right up to date and our search and rescue vehicle, this is just a start. All the big trucks plus the heavy duty equipment we have in our district. It’s an eye opener and big time. I don’t have room to report everything but it was just great. Hats off to you all. Then the grounds and how everything was so comfortable for the seniors and the stage set up was so every one could see the performers. The shade that was set up was so very important and it was sure well used. What a very beautiful location for such a cerebration. How fortunate we are and so convenient as well.

RCMP ride

As I was trying to get something of interest I hit a station from back east with the RCMP musical ride, what a show. I got the whole show from start to finish. No wonder it’s known as it’s been shown world wide. There were 32 riders and horses, what horses and riders. This is the first time I had seen the whole show and I sure won’t forget it. Canada’s pride and no wonder.

My grandkids

My Irish granddaughters Jordyn and Robyn Barnes are having a wonderful time. It’s almost like they had never left. Lots of visiting and even some horseback riding which they both love very much. They are already thinking of coming home to the lake again someday. It’s like old times again to have them back at the lake.

Forest fire

We start out with the report of a forest fire on the Southside. It seems to be quite a large one by all reports With the shortage of timber facing us we don’t need a fire to destroy what we have left. This fire is close to Takysie Lake. With all the modern fire fighting equipment there is no doubt it will be under control soon. It’s hard to believe that the country is so dry but it must be for fires.

Growing up on the prairie we never had forest fires but we had prairie fires and they were really dangerous. Some of them could out run a horse.

We had a mile of C.P.R. track going through our place and sometimes hot ashes would be dropped from the steam engines and start fires. I well remember how a fire started about a mile north of our place and our buildings were in line.

Close neighbours came with walking plows and teams of horses to plow a fire guard around the buildings. Our one salvation was the Eyehill Creek between our place and the fire.

Chances the fire would not jump it. Luck was with us and no doubt prayers stopped the fire at the creek. I remember a couple of smaller fires but this was the bad one as we could have lost everything.

Lovely benches

If by chance you visit St. Luke’s church by Francois Lake you will no doubt see the lovely benches, more or less a work of art. These were built by Hugh Cowan Sr. over 70 years ago. They still look as they did when first made. There is a story that goes with them.

When we first came to Francois Lake St. Luke’s was closed and had been for some years and was a wreck so our dad Harold and Rev. Atkinson decided to open it up, this was 1941. So with help they put rods in the building to pull it together, that went well.

Then the windows were replaced and new steps added to the front so by next spring it was ready to go. The benches were homemade and falling apart so they were repaired but not too good as the story goes.

One Sunday morning to a full house one of these pole benches folded up and a large part of the congregation were legs up, flat on their backs. Not a very good situation. So Hugh Cowan was asked to make new benches and he did. They where as I said before a work of art and look as good now over 70 years ago.

The organ was added then the new pulpit and baptismal font and a new heating system so the church was ready to go. Next year will be its 100 years. Then something had to be done to the outside like paint and the roofing as the old shingles had to be replaced. As luck came our way our mother’s cousin came up from Milner for a visit, Clara and Charlie Knott.

So Charlie said get me the paint and I will paint the church. So the church board got the paint and Charlie gave the church a paint job. Then some money came up and a new roof was put on and is still in good shape. The last thing the church had to have was a bell. That’s another story as church bells were expensive and hard to get but once more luck was on our side. A farmer rancher who lived at Grassy Plains called Jim Newman, retired and moved to the landing and had rented a cottage there. He was a regular church member. In time he passed away and his family were two nephews who lived in England so they got a sizable estate. Mother was their go between. The nephews wanted to leave something in memory of their uncle Jim so a bell for St. Luke’s was decided upon plus a plaque engraved in memory of Jim Newman was made up. A church bell installer was located so St. Luke’s had a bell. It is beautiful and has such a nice sound. It was expensive but well worth it.

What I have written up is old history, almost a lifetime ago. A new generation has taken over and they are doing a good job so next time you hear of a service at the little church on the corner come on out. You will feel comfortable. Always a good message and good music and singing and make new friends.

Take care and always remember God loves you and so do I.