A Post About Nothing

Hi there! Welcome to my post about nothing in particular. I posted a new blog yesterday and I wanted to mention some of these things there, but they just didn’t fit. So here I am, putting those bits and pieces together, a jumble of fun in the midst of chaos.

In the time before social distancing…

Unfaithful

A New Book to Read

Remember Me ImageA couple years ago, I glanced out the large window in my front door and thought I saw something hanging there from the knob. I opened it up and there was a book in a bag along with a note: “Doing some house cleaning, found this and thought of you.” Yes, I am a fan of cemeteries and of history. Some would also say I’m uncomfortably comfortable with the idea of death and dying. So this book was a good pick for me.

Just this morning I started reading Remember Me As You Pass By and it drew me right in. Here’s the kind of stuff I love. The author, Nancy Millar, begins the introduction to the book with this epitaph from a cemetery not too far from where I live:

Remember me as you pass by
So as you are, so once was I.
As I am now so soon you’ll be,
Prepare for death and eternity.

~ On the grave marker of William Henry Erichson, 1859-1927, in the Gadsby, AB Cemetery

The last paper book I read was Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Other Stories. Since then I read her gothic novel Wise Blood in digital form. I’m looking forward to touring with Nancy Millar some prairies graveyards and discovering her insights into the lives revealed there, the stories etched into granite.

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Language Learning: A Humbling Experience

You can’t stay arrogant for long when attempting to learn a bit of a new language. While in Mazatlán, we were out for a lovely dinner on Cerritos Beach. I must have been feeling particularly elegant that night because in my best Spanish I inadvertently ordered a mug (taza) of the restaurant’s finest white wine. The word to use when ordering wine is copa, unless of course you’ve had a mug-of-wine-kind of day, and arguably we’ve all had some of those lately.

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Sometimes it’s best not to understand what folks are saying. I was out for a morning walk on the beautiful beach. As I passed a family, a young boy scooted out in front of me to catch up with his parents. His mom told him in Spanish, “Watch out for that gringo” which I took to mean as, “Don’t crash into the nice white lady.” But the thing is, I’m a gringa because I’m a woman. The Spanish language is unrelentingly specific about the gender of its words. If I’d been braver, I would have pointed out my gender to the mom but alas, I was not, and that funny moment has passed me by.

My Backyard Is My World

And I’d better get used to this fact. This spring I was looking forward to packing a picnic cooler of delicious drinks and snacks and exploring nearby parks and historical sites with my husband. We even hoped to be away so much on these short excursions that we had decided not to plant a garden. We thought, “We won’t be around to weed and water, so what’s the point?” Now the point might be our survival in the post-Apocalyptic world. (I’m exaggerating. For now, I hope.) Oh, how circumstances have changed!

I might not be able to tour the parks and enjoy a sandwich in a public space, but I can still photograph the birds that come to my backyard feeder. Here’s a cute little dark-eyed junco, freezing his feathers off this early April.

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I’ve Got Time to Write

Obviously as this is my second post in two days. Recently I did some editing work for a client so it would seem that others are also finding time to write. Here’s what Alynne had to say about working with me:

“Working with Lori was a wonderful experience. She was fast, affordable and professional.  She offered great feedback and with her expertise the story magically came together. She understood the audience we were trying to reach! I hope to work with her again in the near future. Thank you Lori!”

How nice is that? If you’ve got a memoir idea or family history you’d like to tackle, now’s a good time to do it. It’s not like you’re going anywhere. And I’ve got time to help you as an editor or as a writer or as both. Just ask.

Well folks, that’s about all I’ve got to say today about pretty much nothing. Keep safe and healthy, and have that mug of wine if you need to take the edge off. Take care! ~ Lori

Wheres Waldo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Survive the Darnedest Things

Hi there! Here’s a post I put together for the Amisk-Hughenden Historical Society all about a lost child and the dream a man had that told him exactly where to find her.

Kids Survive the Darnedest Things

Little nine-year-old Ethel Thorpe, caused a stir in the community that old timers will never forget. July 13, 1915, she and her little dog left as usual about 4 p.m. to bring home the cows. Her family waited, and waited in vain, for her return. It started to rain and her frantic parents, knowing she had on only a light cotton shirt and overalls, lighted a big bonfire on top of a high hill, hoping she would see the light and come to it.

They notified neighbours, who in turn passed on the word that a child was lost and soon the entire countryside from Wainwright to Provost to Hardisty was organized into a huge search party. Men searched on horseback, in buggies and on foot, through rain-soaked brush and trees, through grain fields and rolling prairie thunderstorms encumbered them, they searched doggedly on. But after four days and nights of searching, hopes that she would be found alive were at low ebb.

Westside Main Street 1912
The west side of Hughenden’s main street, 1912

The morning of July 18th dawned clear. The sun shone brightly for the first time in days. Its warmth and brightness seemed to give renewed vigor to the enormous crowd that turned out to make one final effort to find little Ethel.

Two bachelors, Jim Murphy and John Black, felt confident that today they would find her. They knew just where to look, for Jim Murphy had dreamed a dream that night. In the dream he saw the child and recognized the terrain.

They lost no time in getting started that morning. When they reached the approximate spot of Jim’s dream, he got out of the buggy and said, “I’ll walk around this side of the bush, you drive around the other. She is here somewhere.” And there she was, just as he had known she would be, huddled down in the tall grass with her little dog clutched tightly to her breast.

DIGITAL CAMERA
A summertime view from Hughenden’s countryside.

Ethel’s first impulse on being found was to run and flee. It took a lot of coaxing on the part of the men, one of whom was a friend of the family, before she could be persuaded to go with them. It is thought that through exposure to wet and cold, and the fright of being lost, she had been in a sort of fevered stupor much of the time, for she told of how she would run and hide whenever she saw men or teams approaching.

She had lived on berries and slough water, and no doubt her dog, cuddled close to her, helped keep Ethel warm. A doctor pronounced her quite all right but rather weak after her ordeal.

~ written by Mary Burpee, from The Lantern Years


Regarding The Lantern Years: Buffalo Park to Neutral Hills

Lantern YearsThe Lantern Years is a book that covers the span of history from 1867-1967 in Hughenden, Amisk, Czar and surrounding districts. The book was compiled and edited by the Hughenden Women’s Institute. In 1967 it was published by Inter-Collegiate Press, Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, and then this Centennial project was marketed and sold.

Here is the first note of appreciation from the front of the book:

In Appreciation

The Hughenden Women’s Institute Book Committee wish to express their sincere thanks to the following:

  • Our families for their understanding and tolerance when our work on “The       Lantern Years” seemed to have precedence over all but the most essential tasks.
  • All clubs and organizations and individuals who have given us their financial support.
  • The newspapers and broadcasting companies who helped to tell their readers and listeners about “The Lanterns Years.”
  • To all those who so willingly showed their faith in us and “The Lantern Years” by buying anywhere from one to a dozen books in advance of publication. And to those same people we say thank you too for all the kind words of interest and encouragement expressed both verbally and by letter. There were times when they meant more to us than you could ever guess.
  • To Mr. Dick Brouwer for his help and co-operation in the matter of the old pictures.
  • To everyone who has helped in any way with “The Lantern Years” we say “thank you.”

Mary Burpee

Tena Parke

Viola Wight

Ester Mellemstrand (our helper from Amisk)


Whenever I’m doing local research, The Lantern Years is often open on my desk as it is right now. This book offers a unique take on the history of this area. The book is a goldmine of stories often told in the voice of the storyteller. There are old photos throughout the book, and an especially good collection in its back pages, including these great pictures:


Here’s another note of appreciation found in the front pages of The Lantern Years from Mrs. H. H. Carson on behalf of the district:

In Sincere Appreciation

Our sincere appreciation is extended to Mrs. Clarence Burpee, Mrs. L.S. Parke, Mrs. I. Mellemstrand, and Mrs. H.S. Wight for the devotion, time and effort given to the writing and assembly of material for this history so that it might be an authentic record of the pioneers of this district.

A grateful thank you is extended to each and every member of the Hughenden Women’s Institute who have contributed to the history and promoted the sale of books.


Hughenden PicnicTowed Behind Horse

Thanks for dropping by! If you’ve enjoyed this little bit of history, please consider sharing it. Have a really good weekend.

~ Lori

 

 

Frost: A Boxing Day Photo Blog

The other day I took my camera out and photographed the old Pearson School (1920-1946) while family was visiting. We were taking them on a tour of some of the landmarks. Our guests seemed a bit underwhelmed by what passes for site seeing around here, but I really enjoyed it!

It wasn’t as frosty today, Boxing Day, but the sky was a vibrant blue and the whole wintry world just shone.

And here are a couple pictures of me in the frost feeling a bit frosty.

Thanks for joining me on this snowy adventure. I hope you’re having a very nice holiday season wherever you may be, mountains or desert, sand or snow. Take care and enjoy!

~ Lori

Stories

 

Eino and Grandma (2)
Grandma & her brother Eino

Good evening! It’s been a busy week and it’s only Tuesday. That’s the Christmas season for you. I was looking over my previous posts and I really like this one. It ran in our local newspaper last year. It’s all about family history and the stories we tell to create our identity and to carve out a tiny place in this big old universe for ourselves. Thanks for dropping by.

When she was a child, my grandmother received a locket as a baptism gift. That was in Calumet, Michigan. The family later moved to Hughenden. Then in 1931, my great uncle Elmer died from a ruptured appendix when he was sixteen and my grandma was twenty.

By her younger brother’s graveside in the Hughenden cemetery, my grandma lost that precious locket that she’d owned most all her life. That’s how it goes sometimes. Years later, in 1944, her father, my great grandfather, died. He was buried near his son Elmer, and as that grave was being prepared, the locket bearing my grandma’s initials was dug up.

Listen to me read this post:

Life is comprised of stories. My life is stories and your life is stories. These are scenarios that happened, that might happen, and that are happening right now. I love stories, but hearing the tales of the old folks who came before me leaves me feeling two different ways.

The first feeling is warm and sentimental. The old stories make me feel connected to the people whose blood flows in my veins. I treasure that connection, like time as a railroad track joining our stations along the way.

The second feeling is the stark realization that someday all that will be left of me is stories. And then, after a while, even the most colourful Lori stories will fade into time and eventually disappear. It’s true.

Petersons (2)
Another photo and there’s that locket again.

I like the story of my Grandma Knutson and her newborn baby, Jeannette, on their way home from the hospital following a March snowstorm. When the cutter tipped over in the deep banks, both new mother and new baby were pitched into a snowdrift. Good thing they were bundled up and that babies are typically a bit bouncy.

If you know me, you know I love ghost stories! Sadly, I’ve lost some of the belief in their plausibility. It’s too bad because the possibility of truth made those old stories especially thrilling. In this case, the truth doesn’t matter. I like hearing ghost stories and I like telling ghost stories.

Back in the day Grandma would tell me about the house she and Grandpa lived in on the edge of Hughenden Lake when they were first married.

She’d tell it like this: “Often, late at night, the door at the top of the stairs would slam shut really hard. At first this was terrifying, but after a while, we got used to it. We were startled, but we weren’t scared.”

Even so, my grandparents didn’t live in that house for long.

Grandma and Grandpa
Grandma and  Grandpa looking snazzie!

All the people involved in those stories are gone. The house, long since moved from the lakeshore into the village, stands here in town today. I wonder if the door at the top of the stairs slams hard enough to shake the walls. Does that particular draft, uneven foundation, or angry spirit still haunt the place?

People come and go from houses. We bring stories, we make more, and then we move on.

I always tell the story of Erwin Knutson, my dad’s uncle who was found dead in an abandoned vehicle outside of Wetaskiwin. It was December, 1957. The body had no identification on it, no wallet, and no money. But there was a slip of paper in one of the jacket pockets that read: Erwin Knutson, Hughenden.

My dad told me about him being fourteen years old and traveling to the Hughenden cemetery with his dad, the deceased’s brother, to deliver the rough box used to shore up the interior of that wintry grave.

I held on to that story and it became my novel, Denby Jullsen, Hughenden.

I’m grateful for the stories that connect me to my past and to my ancestors. I’m also thankful for the stories I’m living now, and for the good ones I imagine might happen.

My wish for you is that you remember and share your stories. I hope you’ll make new ones to tell again and again down through the years because, in the end, the stories are all we’ve got.

Did you like what you read here? Consider following my blog either right here on WordPress or through email. See the right sidebar to follow me. It’s easy and it’s free. This way, you won’t miss any of my posts. Thanks for reading! ~ Lori

When We Were Vikings

Vikings 2006
This handsome young Mountie agreed to pose with us. We weren’t displeased.

Last night I went to my auntie’s house for supper. We were celebrating my great uncle’s 92nd birthday. After supper when the supper dishes had been cleared from the long table in the dining room, and with the coffee cups and dessert plates pushed out of the way, together we looked at old photographs.

There was one picture I’d never received a copy of. That was the one of my auntie and I all dressed up for Hughenden’s 2006 History Book Release parade. She wore a traditional Norwegian outfit borrowed from a local traditional Norwegian. Thinking that authentic sheep horns attached to a hardhat would make a great costume, that’s what I wore. The silver duct tape was awesome in that it made the hardhat look like a metal helmet.

I thought old sheep horns would be dried up and light. They were not. At dinner last night, I told the other guests, “Before that day, I was actually five feet, seven inches tall. That helmet was so heavy that it compressed me down permanently to five feet!”

Vikings aren’t often on Facebook

While I really miss the connections I had on Facebook, I don’t miss the pressure I got from the social media service to constantly post new content. I’d read that the content that users post to Facebook then belongs to Facebook.

Viking Ship Hughenden Parade
My auntie and I in my old canoe decked-out as a Viking ship. (Vikings never actually wore these heavy helmets. I understand why.)

At first, I didn’t plan to completely leave Facebook. I thought I could get a fresh start by deleting my older posts and by deleting Messenger. After deleting my old posts one by one only to have the social media site restore them not once, not once, but three times, I understood that this really wasn’t my content to delete. Facebook could do what it wanted with content I’d shared to keep its audience engaged. I worked for Facebook.

I also discovered that it’s not possible to delete Messenger once a user has signed on. You can delete the app and you can block selected people from messaging you. But when I clicked around Facebook’s help section and finally found the link to the instructions for removing Messenger, I found out that particular help page was no longer available.

So how do you like me now?

Since you can’t find me on Facebook, how do you “like” and share my work? Well, you can still share my posts to Facebook. I can’t, but if you do, I’ll get more readers. Because of the huge number of people that use the network, Facebook remains one of the best vehicles to drive website traffic. (The corporation really limited how I could do that through my author page near the end, though.)

IMG_6727
I still have this lutefisk bumper sticker that was mounted to the rear of the quad that towed our ship float. (I don’t love lutefisk.)

To show your support, you can also follow me here on WordPress. If you have a WordPress account, simply follow me. If you don’t, follow me by email. That way, my new posts will pop right into your email’s inbox. And if you like what you read, please like it and comment on it, just like you would on Facebook.

Thanks for spending this time with me today. I hope you have a nice Sunday evening. Please keep in touch. You can contact me through my website and I’ll get back to you. I’d still love to chat!  ~ Lori

Why History is Important

 

 

Lantern Years
One of our region’s history books.

Before the cemetery tour I led the other day, someone commented, “What’s your tour about? My daughter doesn’t want to go if it’s about dates and who was married to whom.”

People have been turned off by history relayed through dry, dusty details. Too bad. History is rich and informative, and crammed with better stories than I could make up.

We could blame this dislike of history on the musty textbooks some of us remember or on the mandated memorization of dates and events.

In the Alberta schools’ curriculum (2005 by Alberta Education), the subject of history has been replaced with historical thinking. What’s that? According to Alberta Education, it’s this:

“Historical thinking is a process whereby students are challenged to rethink assumptions about the past and to reimagine both the present and the future.”

Hmm.

Listen to me read this post:

A history component is included in the Alberta curriculum’s elective Social Sciences courses:

“The social sciences 20-30 program is intended to complement the Alberta social studies program by encouraging increased understanding of ‘humans and their world.’”

Was this written for aliens studying the habits of humans?

This fact is not reflected in the 2005 Alberta school curriculum, but history is still important. Here’s why.

 

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Grandma, Dad, and my aunt.

History brings the present into perspective.

The past makes the present seem like not such a big deal. It’s easy to feel that our generation is the only one to have lived in turbulent times and to have seen so many changes. It’s easy to feel that no others have experienced what we’re experiencing.

History bridges that gap. When we hear or read the stories of those who came before, we recognize their pain and suffering, their successes and happiness. Sure, our ancestors lived in different times, but they experienced living through the same emotional lenses that we do.

No matter what we’re going through, someone’s been there before. Our lives are unique and our lives are similar. History teaches us that life is paradoxical. The road before us is well-trod, though others traveled it differently.

Icarus Cemetery
Tour time at the cemetery.

History makes us feel connected.

We are connected to history by our shared human experience. Throughout human history, people have experienced joys and sorrows. People have had religion, chores and dalliances. People have raised children, raised crops, and raised hell.

All those who came before are joined to us through our common life experiences. History shows us how to feel connected to those who lived before. In this way, history shows us how to feel a connection with those living now.

History can help us avoid repeating mistakes.

Learning about past human follies can steer us toward reform. For example, we know now that colonization doesn’t end well for everybody, that war causes death and destruction, and that the earth’s resources and resiliency are not finite.

Where was I going with this? Right. History gives us the opportunity to learn from past mistakes. It does not guarantee that we will learn. In fact, history tells us that, typically, we do not learn from history.

History can help us avoid repeating mistakes, if we choose to let it.

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Grandpa’s pony, Sputnik, waiting for him on the farmhouse’s back step.

History encourages us with stories of triumph.

When life gets tough, we can look to the struggles and successes of our ancestors to keep us going. In the 1930s, my very pregnant grandmother ended up in a December snowbank when the horse-drawn cutter taking her to the hospital to give birth, tipped over. I think about this when my photos are slowly uploading to Facebook.

Years ago, I worked as a costumed interpreter at Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, Alberta. This job placed me in the role of my ancestors for eight hours a day. It made me think about the strength of those pioneers and the hardships they went through.

They persevered, breaking land, succumbing to influenza, bearing children at home, and chopping wood and hauling water. They lived through howling prairie winters in sod houses and swept those dirt floors during the summers. That interpreter job still makes me grateful for my washer and dryer.

With its stories, history reassures us that no matter what mountain we face, it’s been climbed before.

History is alive.

Fortunately, history is alive and all around us. There’s plenty that we can do today to explore it. Visit a local museum. If you enjoy your visit, consider volunteering some time to share the past with others.

Read your region’s local history books. These are both informative and deliciously voyeuristic. Once you open it, your nose will be stuck for hours in that heavy book full of tantalizing details.

Did you like reading the history book? Visit your local library. You’ll find the unexpected there. I always do, and I’m always pleasantly surprised.

Do your own online research. Join one of those virtual genealogy groups or just Google topics of historical interest.

Lastly, talk to your older relatives. Ask them to show you photographs and to tell you their stories. Nothing makes history come alive better than hearing the tales straight from the source.

History is not dead. Let’s not bury it and forget about it. Instead, let’s get to know it and discover what we can still learn from it.

Thanks for spending some time with me! ~ Lori

 

Stories

 

Eino and Grandma (2)
Grandma & her brother Eino

Good evening! It’s been a busy week and it’s only Tuesday. That’s the Christmas season for you. I was looking over my previous posts and I really like this one. It ran in our local newspaper last year. It’s all about family history and the stories we tell to create our identity and to carve out a tiny place in this big old universe for ourselves. Thanks for dropping by.

When she was a child, my grandmother received a locket as a baptism gift. That was in Calumet, Michigan. The family later moved to Hughenden. Then in 1931, my great uncle Elmer died from a ruptured appendix when he was sixteen and my grandma was twenty.

By her younger brother’s graveside in the Hughenden cemetery, my grandma lost that precious locket that she’d owned most all her life. That’s how it goes sometimes. Years later, in 1944, her father, my great grandfather, died. He was buried near his son Elmer, and as that grave was being prepared, the locket bearing my grandma’s initials was dug up.

Listen to me read this post:

Life is comprised of stories. My life is stories and your life is stories. These are scenarios that happened, that might happen, and that are happening right now. I love stories, but hearing the tales of the old folks who came before me leaves me feeling two different ways.

The first feeling is warm and sentimental. The old stories make me feel connected to the people whose blood flows in my veins. I treasure that connection, like time as a railroad track joining our stations along the way.

The second feeling is the stark realization that someday all that will be left of me is stories. And then, after a while, even the most colourful Lori stories will fade into time and eventually disappear. It’s true.

Petersons (2)
Another photo and there’s that locket again.

I like the story of my Grandma Knutson and her newborn baby, Jeannette, on their way home from the hospital following a March snowstorm. When the cutter tipped over in the deep banks, both new mother and new baby were pitched into a snowdrift. Good thing they were bundled up and that babies are typically a bit bouncy.

If you know me, you know I love ghost stories! Sadly, I’ve lost some of the belief in their plausibility. It’s too bad because the possibility of truth made those old stories especially thrilling. In this case, the truth doesn’t matter. I like hearing ghost stories and I like telling ghost stories.

Back in the day Grandma would tell me about the house she and Grandpa lived in on the edge of Hughenden Lake when they were first married.

She’d tell it like this: “Often, late at night, the door at the top of the stairs would slam shut really hard. At first this was terrifying, but after a while, we got used to it. We were startled, but we weren’t scared.”

Even so, my grandparents didn’t live in that house for long.

Grandma and Grandpa
Grandma and  Grandpa looking snazzie!

All the people involved in those stories are gone. The house, long since moved from the lakeshore into the village, stands here in town today. I wonder if the door at the top of the stairs slams hard enough to shake the walls. Does that particular draft, uneven foundation, or angry spirit still haunt the place?

People come and go from houses. We bring stories, we make more, and then we move on.

I always tell the story of Erwin Knutson, my dad’s uncle who was found dead in an abandoned vehicle outside of Wetaskiwin. It was December, 1957. The body had no identification on it, no wallet, and no money. But there was a slip of paper in one of the jacket pockets that read: Erwin Knutson, Hughenden.

My dad told me about him being fourteen years old and traveling to the Hughenden cemetery with his dad, the deceased’s brother, to deliver the rough box used to shore up the interior of that wintry grave.

I held on to that story and it became my novel, Denby Jullsen, Hughenden.

I’m grateful for the stories that connect me to my past and to my ancestors. I’m also thankful for the stories I’m living now, and for the good ones I imagine might happen.

My wish for you is that you remember and share your stories. I hope you’ll make new ones to tell again and again down through the years because, in the end, the stories are all we’ve got.

Did you like what you read here? Consider following my blog either right here on WordPress or through email. See the right sidebar to follow me. It’s easy and it’s free. This way, you won’t miss any of my posts. Thanks for reading! ~ Lori

Another One Like the Other Ones

Listening to Lori

You can read all about my travel adventures below or you can hear me tell you about them. Either way, I’d love it!

IMG_5810
A carriage at Fort Walsh, SK.

As I walked through the cold countryside this morning, I tried to think of something new to write about. I came up with nothing. It seems I’ve already said everything you’d be interested in reading.

Sad.

Travel adventure’s all been done before.

I considered writing about my latest travel adventure again, more blah, blah, blah about where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. Anyway, the most recent trip was regional, and so it wouldn’t appeal to you listeners who don’t live around here.

Obviously not everyone wants to read about Medicine Hat, Alberta; Havre, Montana; or the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan. Who can blame you? They’re just places with great names full of compelling, murderous history and tasty food.

Food: Does it really matter?

I’d tell you about the food if I thought you liked food. Most people don’t care for it.

Why would you want to read about the best burger of my life in Havre, the one I’d marry if I could? And Indian food in Medicine Hat: not one morsel of meat in it and the most delicious food of its kind I’ve ever had. I thought I was going to die a pleasant death of physically bursting after eating an astonishing amount of Naan bread and chickpeas.

The tale of the world’s best cheese omelet and hash browns that I had for breakfast at The Resort At Cypress Hills sounds like all my other breakfast stories. It just tasted better.

IMG_5894
Wine from Cypress Hills Winery.

Food is food, and booze is not worth writing about.

I suppose I could tell you once more about all the beverages we sampled, but what would be the point? They’re cold. They’re bottled. They’re delicious. I’ve said it all before.

There’s no need to go on about the cherry cider and grapefruit beer that we bought from the grocery store in Havre.

Here’s something most Americans probably don’t know about us Canadians, not that there’re any Americans listening this: We Canadians love buying alcohol from your drugstores and grocery stores. It’s both thrilling and convenient. It feels a bit forbidden because in Canada, it is.

Why tell you about the exceptional fruit wine and tasty beer made right in Saskatchewan? It would just make you thirsty and make you want to head over to Saskatchewan. (The booze alone would be worth the trip to Maple Creek.)

Breweries in Medicine Hat? Who knew? I’d pass on the story of the Hell’s Basement taproom, but I don’t want to turn you off ever going to Medicine Hat. Let me just say this: The other people in there tried to talk to us.

One even approached my husband, saying, “Here, smell this beer.” Then another asked him what he was drinking. A bunch of them were lined up along a tasting bar with their elegant sampling glasses, visiting and trying different beers.

IMG_5895
Milk Stout beer made in Saskatchewan.

I don’t condone this kind of activity, so I certainly wouldn’t write about it. I say, buy your booze and get out. There’s no reason to discuss it with the friendly locals who also enjoy it.

If you’ve had one Saskatchewan-made beer at The Resort At Cypress Hills, I suppose you’ve had them all. Another story about beer would just bore you, so I won’t delve into the Milk Stout produced in Swift Current, sweeter than mother’s milk and just as nourishing.

More history? Seriously?

History is so dusty by now because much of it is awfully old.

In the past, I’ve written a lot about history. I apologize. You’ve probably heard enough about rum-running, Al Capone, illegal gambling, opium dens, and prostitution in the tunnels beneath the streets of Havre, Montana. Who hasn’t?

The North West Mounted Police only hung around Fort Walsh for four years. Even they were bored by it. After the massacre of Nakoda elders, women and children by wolf hunters, and after sheltering the Lakota people who fled the south country following the Battle of Little Bighorn, the Mounties left Fort Walsh in 1882.

Another thing I can’t write about here is my pleasant visit with a charming one-armed man outside the walls of Fort Walsh. I don’t know where I’d fit it in among all the killing stories.

I told you. There’s nothing new to write about.

You see my problem? It’s the end of the piece, and I still haven’t thought of anything new or interesting to tell you.

It would really help me, dear listener, if you would share with me some of the things you like to hear about. Then, the next time I don’t know what to talk about, I can refer to your suggestions. Thank you.