I hope this week to get caught up with my viewpoint as last week I was a bit behind.
I know I am very late in my write up on the Remembrance Day celebrations but as we must always keep in our minds the wonderful saying ‘Lest we forget’ And we must never do that, so I must remember through writing. Our hats off to the organizer and how well it was put together. After the morning celebration I felt so proud to be a part of Burns Lake.
As time goes by our veterans are leaving us and every year there are less to show for the celebration, sad but true. The RCMP in full uniform were very impressive as well as other groups. Makes up a special day. Time is drawing up on me too so I just wonder how long I will be able to go.
Dad took up his homestead in about 1906 in the Eyehill where we made our home until moving to B.C.
His brother let his homestead go in the Cutknife and took up a homestead joining dad’s north line so this made a very good place to ranch.
Aunt Gulie, Will’s wife, was with him. They stayed the first winter with dad. During the early years the RCMP would send a patrol to check on conditions. They would ride horseback from Battleford which was over 100 miles away.
As usual it was one rider and his work was cutout as they had there range, brand inspection, civil problems also criminal problems as well. They would make patrols even through the winter storms and blizzards no matter the weather. It ended up Dad’s place in the Eyehill a more or less stop over. They had to be brave, strong men as the salary was very poor.
There was an allowance for horse feed which also was a help for them. At that time they were the only contact with the outside.
So Dad and uncle Will would sit up at night and write letters back to England and the officer would post them at some post office along the way. Dad used to say the cold or snow never stopped them. The riders had good strong horses known for their power and stamina.
Dad used to say how he would envy the short Buffalo coats the riders all wore to keep warm. Not too long after a police office was opened in Macklin which was much closer so the riders were no longer needed. This was the closing of another part of the history of those old days which our dad played a great part. A quotation of my dad’s “What men and what horses,” and he meant it.
Sunday last was really a special day for me as I was able to attend the little St. Luke’s on the lake church. It was so special as this little church was or place of worship for many years of our life. Well over 60 years and they were good years.
My son Mark and daughter in-law Laurie made it possible. The church was warm and a lovely potluck supper served before the serve at 5 p.m.
Pastor Al from the Grassy Plains Gospel Church gave a very impressive message. And lots of good gospel music and singing, this really touched us all. There were 21 present with a large number from the Southside. It was such a delightful evening. They all made me feel at home and so welcome. We are proud to have so much musical talent in our midst it makes everyone feel good.
I have always had a special spot in my heart for country stores as they played such an important part in the settling of rural areas, farms and ranches. Where there would be a country store there would be a post office and a gas pump, they always seemed to go together.
Mail day was also a time for visiting and just sit around, tell jokes and make deals. Our first introduction to the Lakes District was a general store at Francois Lake ferry landing. We had a very busy post office, a gas pump, and we also sold kerosene and naphtha gas for lamps, no power in those days. I just about forgot we sold cases of candles.
Our home was connected to the store so we gave pretty near 24 hour service. I ran around a number of these little stores and post offices. There were four on the Northside including ours and there were as near as I can figure and I stand corrected 15 such little country stores on the Southside. They were not all little; Southbank, Grassy Plains, Ootsa Lake were quite large and added to the growth of the rural Southside. It was too bad to see them gradually have to close up as it was a part of our history gone.
New regulations got pushed in as they say for the best as times change. There is only one full operation post office on the Soutside now and only one on the Northside. If my memory serves me right Tchesinkut Lake had a post office too. Our mail days were Monday, Wednesday and Friday and it took us at least one hour to get it all sorted. During Christmas week the mail truck had to get another vehicle as there would be so much mail. Of course all the Southside mail was included plus the Northside offices. Lots of things came through the mail. Car and truck parts, tires and one time a case of fish.
Computers have taken away so much of the letter mail, good or bad, time will tell as letter writing seems to be a thing of the past.
What a pleasant evening spent last week to have the Decker Lake Mennonite Church choir stop in at the Tweedsmuir House for a hymn sing and a short message. It was a nice evening well spent. Thanks to you all.
A little story
A man was driving through the rural country side and happened to notice a country store so he pulled over to check it out. There was a boy on the step with a big dog beside him. So he asked the kid “Does your dog bite.” “No he doesn’t.” So the man reached out to pet the dog and it gave him a bad bite. He was angry with the kid “You told me the dog doesn’t bit and look at this.” The kid said “It isn’t my dog.”
Take care on the highway as there could be an icy patch or two so slow down as the life you save could be your own. Always remember God loves you and so do I.