Friday, March 30, 2012

Grandma Singing Time

... which song shall we do next? Gwandma? ...
Rhiannon's day care has closed down for 10 days ... just the 10 days that I will be here.

I had planned on spending my time in Ottawa, either at the National Gallery or perhaps sitting in on parliament for a few sessions.

I might even have decided to go to some noon hour organ concerts with Mary.

I can make music and be charmed by the video "All Dogs Go to Heaven"
... at the same time ...
But now I get to stay home with a little girl who has nothing to do all day but be entertained.

I didn't have to look far around me to find musical instruments to play with: bongo drums, shakers, bells, triangles, rattles, goat-skinned covered gourds. As soon as I make one instrument seem like a lot of fun, I lose it to her little hands and I get to pick up another and try to make it sound even more fun to play with.

... "can we sing all morning?" ...
... "yes, we can" ...
We ask each other questions in song.

We tell stories to each other in song.

I invite her to snack time in song, and she sings back to me exactly what she wants to have on her plate: orange cheese, carrots and an orange.  And so we sing in orange.

Ta dum, ta dee.

More fun than the National Gallery and a session of parliament combined.


Flour, salt, yeast, water and oil

...half a loaf is better than none ...
Naomi said that the reason she could hardly wait for me to come is that I could make cinnamon buns for her.

I told Mary that I promise to make them -- more than once. So the day I arrived at 3 pm, Naomi also arrived home from school at that time and we pulled out the yeast, the flour, the salt and the sugar and began to stir and mix.

She is six. She loves getting her hands in the dough and kneading it. Rhiannon is more interested in tasting it. I didn't stop either of the girls from doing the tasks that interested them the most.

... the first one always  tastes the best ...
From the texture of the bread, it is clear that we do not have a bread machine. In fact, we didn't have enough flour or brown sugar to really do the job up right. The bread dough was a little wet and we had no flour to put on the counter to knead the bread on, when it was time to loaf it. I grabbed a handful of Mary's textured brown flour which didn't make much difference to me. And when we ran out of brown sugar to roll the cinnamon knots in, we just rolled them in butter and hoped that the scent of caramel and cinnamon would linger on them, even if the facts are that they had never been rolled in those sugary granules.

... round one is over and the sugar and cinnamon have been used up ...
Xavier wondered if he could eat his second piece of bread with no crusts.

Absolutely I told Mary. As long as I am here -- you cut the crusts off of every piece of bread that boy wants.

"What?", said Leo.

But what is a grandma for, if not to waste a little flour, salt, yeast, water and oil in order to make someone's fondest wish come true.


Oscar is weally, weally cute

Do you want to touch him, Grandma?
Mary calls me from work to give me a list of things that Rhiannon can do for the day.

Mary hasn't had time to talk about this as she gets the lunches for the other kids and hurries with them (and the dog) off to school. 

The dog comes home with the neighbour.  Now it is not that I am adverse to walking dogs, but they get the best of me lately, making me jump the leash too many times in order to stay on my feet.

So in the interest of my safety, others walk the dog.

In an early morning phone call to me, Mary's list  of possible activities for Rhiannon include the play dough and cutters in the craft shelf that Mary says Rhiannon will direct me to.

As well, I am told about the tea party set with the information that she will pour water for an hour, but that I should have a towel close by.

However none of that is going to be done this morning, for I see her over at the turtle cage, pulling the door down, and glancing at me sideways to tell me that it is OK, her dad lets her do that.

Now yesterday she told me that her dad lets her stay in pyjamas all day -- and who I am to contradict what a little girl thinks her dad would tell her.

"Touch right here, Grandma."
But today? This is the day she is going to take her turtle for a walk.

I tell her she can take him for a walk as soon as she gets out of her pyjamas, so ... at least, today she is dressed for the day.

"He is slippery when you get him out of the water."

"I hope he doesn't get away.  He does,  you know."

"He likes to have his nails touched.  That is what Naomi does to him."

"Open your eyes, Oscar," she says, petting his head.

"I should dry Oscar off," she says, running for a towel.

Yes, all of this is more fun that rolling play dough.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flying to Ottawa

... an early morning flight to Ottawa ...
I love flying.

The hardest part is finding the new way to the Calgary Airport.

Now that shouldn’t be hard if a person could just remember to go up Deerfoot Trail, turn on Airport Road and then follow the signs.

 What makes it possible to work at learning the new way, is that now the old route up Barlow Trail has turned into so many detours (through what are almost cow trails) that 45 minutes can be added to the drive to the airport.

... lakes and land along the way ...
My computer driven and randomly chosen seat, placed me by a man who helped me put my carry-on suitcase up in the overhead bin. Then he sat quietly sat on the isle seat. I sat at the window.

He read the Financial Post. I read the Globe and Mail.

We shared, using the empty seat between us to place our newspapers on when we were finished with them. Half way through a quiet trip he turned and said, “You worked at the University of Calgary for many years, didn’t you.”

“Yes,” I said.

“I am Don Barrie, a professor in the Political Science Department. My wife and I have different views on whether the new electronic books are good for us or not. I rarely read the Financial Post, but today I read it and there is an interesting opinion piece in it about Kindles.”

... snow on the land ,... and ice on the water ... for three thousand miles ...
With that he turned to me and placed the folded opinion-editorial page in my hand.

I read it.

I then read the rest of the newspaper (the Post, since he had put it down on the chair between us and I had finished the Globe).

Weird to me how randomly picked seats on a plane can put people together who have worked in the same sphere, but never really met.

... water installation in the airport ...
The article pressed in my hand almost persuaded me to buy an IPad or some other electronic reading device.

Later in discussion with Mary about whether they are taking over the world of reading, she reminded me that she can’t bookmark and underline in her reader, yet (though the facility to do so is available in some) and that the books are sort of cheaper, but not cheap.

And, she said, there are still tonnes of books one cannot get for a reader.

So I shall wait a while longer before buying and just hope that on long flights, others will keep pressing interesting columns in my hands when I meet them.


Lunch in the Park

... half in the shade and half in the sun ...
Rebecca wrote:

Duncan and I are at the park eating bacon sandwiches at the cafe.

Steve and Alex are off at rugby.

They won the last game and now move up to division 2!


And this is why I say, don't throw balls in the house.

First there were three pictures.

Now there are two.


a report on how duncan got to spend a day off school

There was a one day strike here, so....  here is the (two part) report of things duncan got to do on his day off:

i wonder how many of you remember looking at or doing some of the same things?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Persian New Year

Traditional Rice Dish
Pouria and Amir invited all of us to a celebration of the Persian New Year.

We waited until Friday when they were available to cook.

The smells of the garlic being stirred into the four eggplants that had been roasted on the BBQ began to fill the house.

Pomegranate Sauce

Persian cuisine is not fully represented in the restaurants in Calgary.

The men who were cooking assured us that we would not find food in those establishments that would match what was before us.

To the left of  the pomegranate sauce, you can see the patties made from beef, potatoes and onions over which the sauce will be drizzled.
It is true that the dishes went from one end of the table to the other.
Persian Salad a variation on the famous Greek Salad
... diced cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions ...

All of us began to ask questions about the dishes we were about to eat.

The fresh Atlantic salmon that was grilled on the BBQ and then brushed with butter infused saffron was a sight -- stacked high before us, and Amir going to get the saffron his mother had sent.

I should have taken a picture of that -- carefully treasured in a beautifully decorated box, a clear lid on the top so that we could see through to the spice that was enclosed there.
BBQ Salmon brushed with butter and saffron
Everyone knew they were feasting.

Mak had been in the kitchen, helping with the testing as the food was being prepared.

Having had a small bit of everything that was to come, he was already partly full.

The rest of us had been depending on the smells coming from the kitchen to awaken our appetites.

I do not know what else to say except that I wish you could have been here.

And even coming the next day to our house would have been fine, for all of our fridges were filled with the most delightful left-overs.

Happy Persian New Year.


Rugby - the Season Finale!

The last game of the Season for Alex's Rugby Team (Finchley), and it was against "Bank of England"  (yes... that IS the name of a rugby team.... see the influence of corporate capital, anyone?).

There was lots riding on this game.  Finchley was at the top of their own division.  If they won and won big (a big margin between them), then Finchley would have the option of moving up to First Division for next year!  (where they will playing against the teams that have professional coaches, rather than volunteers...ouch!)   ?

And the final score? 
Bank of England 7 - 39 Finchley  

Below, you can read a copy of the report that got sent out to all the families!  (check out the last few lines for a reference to Alex!)
Promotion in the sun.
On an amazingly sunny late March morning, at the rather plush surroundings of Bank of England sports club, Finchley secured promotion to the first division for next year. The team came onto the pitch as a unit with some impressive noise and looked really up for it, even allowing for an hour less in bed. Receiving first, Finchley went through some impressive phases in the forwards before releasing the ball through the backs and Al ran wide to the wing and around to under the posts. Excellent, except that we had 16 on the pitch, oops. Following the match restart there was a pretty much a carbon copy move and some slightly different angles from Al to go under the posts. A conversion from Dan, 7 up to finchley. The second try was a very nice move, lots of controlled possession in the forwards, quick ball to the backs which went down the line to Zaki on the wing who showed great pace to go over in the corner. Finchley were very dominant at this stage in all areas, great tackling across the board and going to ground with the ball well presented for quick phases. Two more tries followed for Al including one resulting from a lovely run through the line by Dan. The second of these was for the all important 4th try and bonus point to be promoted – celebrations on the touch line. The First half was capped off by Jack’s 50th try for the club since records (well Peter’s records) began. Well done Jack and well done to the forwards who had won lots of lineouts against the head, had not gone backwards in a single scrum to this point in the match.
All credit to bank in the second half, who came out still competing, tackling and trying to score. Another try for Jack followed a breakaway move. Then Bank did manage a converted try during a slightly messy period in the match with some handling errors and some penalties for not releasing. Finchley rallied and that man Jack went over again to cap off a great win for the team.
A really good day in the sun, a great team performance and excellent to see players from across the squad so heavily involved. A special mention to Alex, not only for audacious sideburns but for a great season – we will miss you when you return to Canada.
Good luck to everyone going on tour and to the Bs in their upcoming fixture. There is going to be some 7’s organised as well so keep watching the site.

There you go.... see if you can find Alex in the shot below  (hint, 5th from the right on the back row... check out the sideburns and beard!)

Tai Chi Sword

That was a long reach to get the sword unsheathed!
Not every grandmother has her first Tai Chi belt.

Nor shares with her grandson that she does have her own sword and sheath.

Nor does she tell her grandson that it is close by and that she will share, with the permission of his mother, of course.

Sweet joy!
The space where we examined the blade and handle was small.

Bonnie and I were on the alert to know when to duck.

What I didn't capture was the difficulty to unzip the blue carrying case, since the whole unit was not that easy to handle for a six year old.

I was surprised that David didn't ask for a Thai Chi demonstration from me on the lawn -- one where I am fully costumed, belt and all, and lifting the sword to the sky in a graceful motion.

Now to get this back in its holder.
I was surprised and grateful that he didn't want to see me in action with it, given I am not sure I could even raise it and keep my balance any more.

Ah yes, a grandmother's surprise hidden away on the top of her china cabinet: a tai chi sword.


finding my mother in the museum!

Yep.... yesterday i found arta in the british museum, even through she is not due to arrive back here for a couple of months!  what a treat!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I love to cook

In doing a housekeeping job on my email inbox, investigating why it fills up so quickly, I discovered my love to cook is reflected in the emails that are automatically sent to my account. In one day I saw all of the following:
Robin Hood Newsletter
Milk Alberta
Eagle Brand Milk Newsletter
French's Mustard
The Best of America's Test Kitchen
Kraft Recipes

... mango salsa ... enough to share ...
"easy to make if other people are in the kitchen
and I can get a chopping board in front of them"
Even if I don't make it to the kitchen, I spend the time looking at the recipes therein, fantasizing that I have the time to make them and invite people in to eat them.  Then I delete the email message and get on with my real life.

And if I am not doing that, I am cutting recipes out of the Globe and Mail Food Section, or reading the City Palate when it gets delivered to my door.

All of this spills over into the grocery store, like when I see mangoes at the Coop, 10 for $10.  Visions of mango salsa dance in my head.  Oh, life can be sweet with a handful of mangoes a jalapeno pepper, a red pepper and a sharp knife.


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Missionary Journal of Richard Adams Pilling

Missionary Journal of Richard Adams Pilling
I was telling Bonnie Wyora that many years ago Charlie Ursenbach came over to my house with a co-worker who was out collecting original manuscripts to house in the archives in Salt Lake City.

Kelvin’s father and mother had a trunk of precious items which they donated to the church, so I had known about this project.

Doral had given me an old journal of his grandfather’s and Charlie asked if I would like to give it up.

They said that they would send me a photocopy of the journal and they would have it housed in a safe environment.
Page 1 of 200

I couldn’t give up the book, but told them that I would be happy to give them the photocopy and I would keep the original.

That wasn’t what they wanted and they left.

 Over the years I have opened the journal and tried to read some of it.

I did that again today and have transcribed the first paragraph, thinking that others might find it as charming as I do.

Richard Adams Pilling went on a mission as an older man.

He was born in 1857 and the first entry in this journal is dated 1911.  He would have been 54 years old.

Enlargement of pg 1.
I guess from my present point of view, that doesn’t make him really old, but from the point of view of the 19 year old missionaries that we usually see, he did have time on his side.

Here is the first paragraph of his 200 page hand written journal:
March 21.1911
i went to Salt Lake & was examined by dr Seymor B young and was Pronounced OK & went to the temple and was Set Apart fore my mishion By Apostle J.W. McMurrin & went to Layton sayed Al knight with uncle Elias Adams had a good visit.
Such a treat to read.  Bonnie and I continued on with our sorting project but it was hard to put his volume down in order to keep our minds on the larger goal to just figure out the larger categories of what I have collected.


Memoir Ordering

Doral Pilling's handwriting
on his high school year book
The Coyote

Today Bonnie Wyora said that her day would be dedicated to reading from the memoirs  I continue to write (1965-present).  Last week she instructed me to move them to a safe place in the house, one with no potential fire hazard.  I have moved them out of the kitchen and now most of them are collected on a shelf in my bedroom.  I took them down for her to read, arranged them by year and in doing so, I came across other books, ... essays, journals, boxes of treasures and file folders that I have collected over the years.
So I had two sections: my memoirs and other precious documents which I have loosely categorized.  In making that list I could feel a panic attack coming on.  How can I ever get these papers organized, given that I have been collecting them for years, but making no sense of them in terms of what they represent, who has written them, or why I would save them. All of that is in my mind, but no where on paper.
Thus, for example, yesterday’s blog post on notes given to me by Elsworth about Earl Hurst Scoville.  I saw it, I took some time to retype it, given Stacie Wardle Mangum had invited me to a Scoville Cousin Party this winter, and I thought – even if I didn’t get to the party, I could send my cousins good wishes in the form of sharing the stories Elsworth told me.

But now to return to today’s project.  I haven’t turned my mind towards taking care of these papers because of the seeming enormity of the task. Here is a laundry list of what they represent:

1.      Floral Cards from Wyora’s funeral
2.      Geological Survey Memoir 153k No 134 Banff Area, Alberta – Stamped “Moose Oils Limited”
3.      The Coyote, Published by Senior class of Shelby High School
4.      Planning Rebecca’s Wedding
5.      Love Letters from Doral to Wyora Dec 14, 1938 – May 9, 1938.
6.      The Kelvin Johnson’s Book of Remembrance. – blessings from 1986 to 1989.
7.     Pilling Secrets – Photocopies of letters from Wyora, mostly to her kids – 1932 to 1968.
9.      Christopher Layton and ZCMI by Noel R Barton (2 copies)
10.   Amanda Penrod
11.   Doral’s life story – first draft (3 copies)
12.   Wyora’s life story – 3 copies
13.   Box of letters and photos to be sorted – Dorals, Wyoras, etc.
14.   Legal size file folder of letters to be sorted.
15.   Harriet Temperance Utley Carter: 1835-1925 plus essay entitled Early Alberta History: Mormon Women’s Voices by Bonnie Wyora Johnson
16.   Mission Diary of R.A. Pilling, 200 pg. Handwritten. 
17.   Book of Applications for Moose Dome Royalty Trust Certificate. Forward iin the book contains “The Story of Moose Dome”.
18.   Short Autobiographies and Biographies:
- James Fisher
- Richard A. Pilling
- R.W. Pilling
- Wyora’s patriarchal blessing
-  Richard Pilling
19.   Arta’s baby book.
20.   Bugle 1958 (Crescent Heights High School Year Book)
21.   Wedding Book
Now you can see the broad problem – some of the papers are personal, some belong to the larger family audience.  I want to make it my business to order this information and will probably get to the task if Bonnie Wyora stays a few more days and I continue to feel her gentle push to take this task right to the bank.  Getting up Elsworth's short memoirs on his father was a good first step.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Earl Hurst Scoville


When Uncle Ellsworth Scoville was still alive, I asked him to tell me some stories about my grandfather, Earl Hurst Scoville.  In 1988 Ellsworth sent me the text that follows.  Should you want a copy of this as a word document, please send me an email at with the words Earl Hurst Scoville in the subject line.

* * *

April 25, 1988

Earl Hurst Scoville
If my dad was out pitching hay he was the hardest working guy around. He bought a truck and he started to haul wheat and he would go before 4. He would leave at 3 or 3:30 and he would drive in because there was a trail in. The one time I am talking about he was hauling from the Kirkuldy which is 23 miles south of Raymond and a little bit east. He would get out there and load up. When he started to load he had a half bushel scoop. He had a handle in the middle and a handle in the end of it. He would dip it in and throw it in, dip it in and throw it in. He never stopped until that truck was full. Then he would start out to go and he couldn’t find the road out. He would trail around in the field a couple of times to find the road out. It would still be dark. Then he would find it.

Then he would go down to Raymond, through Raymond and out to Greensplace. That was sugar company land. Green was the one that ran it. This big elevator was on the place. You drove up into the elevator. There was no way of dumping it because they had no hoist. He would open up the end gate, let as much run out as he could and then he would scoop as much out by hand as he could. Then he would go back and get another load. That was about the time that the ordinary ranchers got up.

One morning I went out with him for the second load and we met Andy Knowl, the foreman of the Kirkaldy Ranch. He said, “You are up pretty early, Earl.” Dad said, “Yes, this is my second time out.”

“Yes,” said Andy, “I thought that was you out there going around in circles.”

“Yes,” said dad. “I couldn’t find trail out.”

He worked so hard on that truck business that he almost killed himself. He just went and went and went. One day he was home playing with the kids. I was in the other room. All at once I heard him groaning. I walked in. He had two hands, clutching his knees and was rolling back and forth on the floor and groaning something terrible. He had knelt on a knee mouse. He had a little bump under the skin. He would let the kids touch it. As quick as we would touch it, it would jump somewhere else. We had a lot of fun doing that and we would giggle. He knelt on it and it jumped underneath his knee cap. He went to the Dr. and they couldn’t do anything for him. He called in a Hutterite doctor, old John Mandel. He was excellent with almost anything that you had. He was a bone doctor who had never had any education. He helped so many people around that country. He worked with dad for quite a while. Finally he said, “Earl, I can’t do it. It is under there. There is no way. If a doctor operators on that to get it out, mostly likely your leg will go stiff and you won’t be able to bend it.”

Well anyway, they found out where there was a doctor. Nobody that we knew, knew of anybody in Canada that could do that operation. There was one in Salt Lake. He went down there. He knew that there was only a fifty per cent chance that he would walk natural again. He was down there about six months. Somebody took him to conference one day. They were just a little bit late. They had just shut the doors. The fellow that took him ran up and banged on the door. He said, “We have a man in a wheel chair out here who would really like to come to conference.” They opened the door and wheeled him right down to the front underneath the pulpit. He sat and looked right up at the president of the church.

He came back. In the meantime he owed money on that truck. Not very much but they kept asking for money and asking for money. That was back in the ‘30’s and there wasn’t much money. The guy that he bought it from and another guy said, “Look, we have to take the truck.” Mother said, “It is just about payed for.” They said they would take it and put it in their garage until Earl comes home. But they took it home and sold it, so he lost the truck.

When he got back home he was on crutches and walked like that for a long time. At first the knee was quite stiff. Finally he learned to walk real good. He could even run and do everything just like he used to.

We had a big garden. Lots of times I would come out at 7 o’clock in the morning and here he was and had been working since 4 a.m.

On the ranch we had a lot of hay. We put up hay all of the time and we sold quite a lot. Usually, Saturday morning or afternoon we would go out and load up hay. If we did it in the morning then we would wait until all the work was done that had to be done and then we would go to town, stay overnight, go to Sunday School in the morning and sometimes we would stay until church at night at 7 – 8:30 or 9 and then we would go back to the ranch. We always took a blanket and laid it in the hay rack or whatever wagon we had. A lot of times we would just be riding along and he would start to sing to me, all of those old songs: Danny Boy. I just loved to hear him sing these songs. Now this was usually at night he would sing until I got real sleepy and would go to sleep. He would keep driving out to the ranch. Then we would get to bed. He was always up at 4 in the morning. He would go and turn the sheep out and let them run, watch them until 7 o’clock. Put them back in the corral and then wake me up and we would have breakfast.

Sometimes we had porridge. We had 7 cows out there and milked them all the time. We didn’t separate for cream. We would leave the milk in pans, skim it off and take cream to town on the weekend for mother to make butter out of it with a big churn. Maybe she sold some of it. I don’t know. After we had breakfast we would go turn the sheep out, take them up in the field. I was supposed to herd them while he went and done something else. I wasn’t a very good sheepherder. I would get tired and go someplace else to play. The sheep would go out into the grain. Then my dad would be pretty angry. Anyway, we would get them out. When we were going to take the sheep in he would holler like a coyote. The sheep would spread out all over this big valley. As quick as he hollered like a coyote those sheep would come down into the valley right together. That seemed like fun. So during the day when I wanted some excitement I would holler like a coyote and they would come back into the middle. When my dad caught me doing that, I don’t know if I ever did it again. I probably did, a few times. I am not embellishing this. This is exactly how it happened.

He would be going out to the ranch in the daytime. There would be cattle out in this big field. I would get him to beller like a calf. He would say alright and then he would do it. The cows would come trotting up to the fence, a whole herd of them. He would beller again and they would follow him. When they would stop he would beller again and they would come as far as they could, right up to the fence.

We had a little yellow dog that was a real good sheep dog. She would run ahead of the team. Betty would go up a hundred yards and then turn around and run back to us. She would go up a hundred yards again and then run back to us. We used her so much that she would get tender footed. And so we would sometimes pick her up and carry her in the wagon. Betty didn’t really like to ride in the wagon. She was so full of fun. She wanted to go out there and go. Lots of times she would be trotting along side of us or a little ahead. She would see a gopher that would be about a foot from the hole. Sometimes right on the edge of the hole. She knew just how far she could run up. Fifteen feet away she would slow down and then start creeping really slowly. The gopher would stay there. When she got ten feet away from the hole then swoosh, she was right there after the gopher. The gopher would go down the hole but she would go into the hole with her nose and grab by its rear end and in the middle of its body and then she shook it to death. She very seldom ever missed getting that gopher. There was the odd time but she got most of them.

The Hutterites offered $50 for that dog and that was in the ‘30’s. He wouldn’t sell her because she was such a good sheep dog. We would just say Betty go around them and that dog would run all around those sheep and bunch them. That dog knew right what to do. You just had to wave your hand at her and she knew what to do. We never sold her. We were out on that ranch for six years, planted a crop every year. The sixth year we got 200 bushels of grain and that was the first grain we got off it in six years. It was so dry during the dirty thirties. We went out there in 1929. He worked his head off all the time on that place. In 1937 he got hurt in the sugar factory and died. When he got hurt he got up at 4 in the morning, got breakfast, woke me up, brought me in and he made my lunch. He did this every morning. That particular morning he walked out to the gate with me and kissed me good-bye and I just started to walk down the lane. He went back to the house. I all at once turned around and went back, walked into the house and I walked over and hugged him and said good-bye and I left. I was working for Bruce and Garth Galbraith. Garth went to town. Then he went down to the sugar factory to get some old belting that they would throw out of the sugar factory. When he got there he found out that dad had fell. When he come back to the combine I was shoveling grain into the back of the truck box. He got out of his truck and he said, “Ellsworth,” and I looked up. I said, “What has happened to my dad?” He come over and he said he fell from the top of the inside of the sugar factory and lit on his back on a valve about three feet high. It broke his back. The man that was supposed to be with him had gone to coffee time and he had been gone pretty near an hour. And so dad started to work on his own and that is why it happened.

He was standing on a pipe. He had been up on a plank that he had across the pipes. He got off and stood on this pipe because he had to move over further. He pushed down on this end of the plant, maybe he was three feet from the pipe the plank was laying on. He pushed down and moved the plank over too far. It missed the pipe on the other side. It went down. That threw him over the top. He went down part way. He grabbed another pipe on the way down. He was going so fast that he couldn’t hold on. It tore part of the meat off of his forearm and he continued down and lit on that valve. He rolled off of it and hit on the floor. I don’t suppose you can imagine how much pain that was. He was on the floor. He laid there for quite a while. Then he crawled out from behind the vats out into the alley way when Jack Kenney came along and saw him. They called the Dr. The Dr. came out. He laid there from 10 o’clock in the morning until noon until they finally got an ambulance there and took him to the hospital in Lethbridge.

He was in the hospital for six days. Sunday afternoon I had an old 33 Plymouth car. After Sunday School I took mom and the kids over to Lethbridge to see him in the hospital. We visited for an hour or so. When we left the hospital I was the last one out of the room. I was just going out of the door. He called me back. He said, “Ellsworth, you are the man of the house now. Take care of your mother.” I just thought he meant until he got better and came home. After church that night I went out with a bunch of kids. We were just having fund downtown and I guess about 9 o’clock Aunt Lucia came down and she found me and she said, “Ellsworth, you get home as fast as you can. The hospital has just phoned and asked you people to come over to the hospital. It doesn’t look like your dad is going to live very long.” I remember Mother went with me to the hospital, but he had already passed away.

I don’t know just when I realized it, but that night or the next day I realized that when he said I was the man of the house now, that he knew that he was going to go. That is the way I felt about it, anyway.

He was a friend to everybody. Up until that time he had the largest funeral that was ever held in Raymond. There were a lot of Hungarian people who in the last 3 or 4 years had come out from Hungary. They would go down to the Post Office at night. The wide sidewalks would be crowded with them and people walking by would have to walk out on the street to get by them. When dad would come by they all knew him, wanted to talk to him and say hello. He was saying Hi to all of these people. It would make mom real mad. She used to call them Hunkies.

Our house was on the corner of a three corner lot. Raymond was built like a wagon wheel. Everything came to the center of town. They still had square blocks and then they had the angle roads. There were three corner lots all over town. Finally they realized it was costing too much to keep up the roads so they did away with the angle streets.

There were some people who lived – the back of our house was even with the lane. We could look down the lane and a block away. There was a family of unusual looking people. They were all short. I think it was the Sands. I know that my dad would take potatoes and carrots and things out of his garden to them. Once in a while their dad would get work for someone for a day and that is all the work they had. About at that time you got one dollar a day. They thought my dad was really something when my dad would take them down vegetables. One day they had to ask him the name of the vegetable. He told them to peel it, cook it, salt and pepper it and it would be real good.

One time we had some mangles. They are like a sugar beet. They grow about a foot and a half long, bigger than a sugar beet. They are six to eight inches through. We grew them to feed our chickens. We never ate them. This fellow saw them one day and said, “Oh, I love those things.” All they were was chicken feed for us.

Papa was like that to everybody. When that song came out, “Oh Mine Papa”, I just loved that song.

He rented some land. He was working in the sugar factory. We still had the ranch. He rented land up passed the sugar factory. He would take me out there. We had a big garden. He would say, now you hoe so many potatoes today. Now there was a big lake on that place. That was the place all the kids from school would come out to go swimming. Of course none of them had swimming suits. That was called Shaeffer’s Lake. Of course the kids would come out. I would go swimming with them and we would swim all day. A half hour before dad would come back I would be working like heck to try to get these potatoes done that he had told me to do. I would be about one-third done, usually. We had a lot of pigs out there. We built pig pens that would be about eight feet across and eight feet wide. They were all in a big line, just right after each other. We had little two feet wide gates that we just had boards shoved through and that would keep them in, you see. I had watched my dad work with those pigs and do the things that had to be done and all of the little boars had to be cut. We had one boar. That was all that we needed. After I saw him do it for a while, we had the end pen. It was empty. I would go and feed the pigs. Of course, all of the little pigs would come up and eat with the sow. Then I would run down to the end pen. I would get in there in case the sow got out. There were 8 or 10 sows. They all had pigs, just the right size to cut. I did all of the little boars out of each pen until I got to the end one. The sow in the end one was very mean. As quick as you even try to get into the pen she would roar - make a lot of noise. If you got in she would take a leg off of you. I fed her. She was in there eating. I reached down and took a little pig. She roared. I ran down there, with this little pig just squealing like the dickens. I jumped into the end pen with the little pig.

The pen was eight foot square. The top at the back was about 2½ feet high. There was a top that angled up – a slant roof. The roof was made of corrugated metal. We had laid boards across and nailed the tin down through the boards. So there were nails sticking down all over. I was in that pen and I heard that sow coming down through each pen. She would hit the little boards, bang, bang, bang. Of course I was kneeling down on this little pig and I didn’t think she would ever get there. She was as high as the back of the pen. She had tusks in her mouth about an inch and a half long. Those stuck right out the side of her mouth. When she came through the last door into my pen I was down in the corner. I threw the pig at her. She hit the pig and it went about 10 feet in the air and out of the pen. I dove over her with the nails scraping my back. She tossed her head and hooked the side of my leg with one of her tusks. I imagine she had her mouth open because she had been roaring. I don’t remember if I every cut any of her pigs after that.

We had a bunch of cattle that we had fed all winter. It got springtime and this was a Sunday. I got a couple of kids to come out to the farm with me. We decided that we would take these cattle that we had fattened all winter, down to the Stampede grounds and ride them. Dad was working at the sugar factory. I think the sugar factory was ¾ of a mile from that road. We drove the cattle down the road to the Stampede grounds and then we rode them. Then we took them back. We really had a lot of fun. That night when dad came home he said, “Where did you take the cattle?” I was about as shocked as I could be. I said, “How did you know.” He said, “Because I was sitting in the window when you drove by. Do you realize we have been fattening those cattle all winter and you took them down there and rode them?” That was the day we had one big old fat cow. We had ridden everything but that cow. Grant Heggie, whose son is our bishop now, was there and he hadn’t ridden a cow. Come on Grant, it is your turn. No sir, I’m not riding that thing. You have got to ride one or you will go and tell on us. I said, “Look there is that old roan cow. She won’t do a dang thing.” So he decided he would ride her. We got in the shuttle and put a surcingle on her. Or perhaps it was a rope with a loop on it. Then you take the other end of the rope and put it through the loop. You put the little loop underneath the cow and the other end over the cow and down her side through the loop and then you pull that up real tight and put it across the guy’s hand, so that when you get bucked off the cow, the rope comes off the cow.

He got on that old cow and she he was he was ready we turned her out. She bucked harder than any cow we had that day. She bucked him off but he hung on and he went out in a circle going back and forth. Finally he lit with his legs right across her neck and he locked his legs, one toe over the other one. The cow went down and kneeled right over him and he held on so tight with his loop that she couldn’t get up because he was holding her down. He wouldn’t let go. We had to literally pull his feet apart to get him to let her up.

We almost always had home evening once a week.  I don’t remember what night we had it.  They weren’t like they are now.  President Grant was the President of the Church.  It was called Family Night.  He told us at that time if you would hold family time and not miss that none of our children would go out of the church and leave it.  He said they might get wayward but they would come back.  My dad was good at having Family Night.  Everyone did something different usually.  The thing that was the best was when you had the party part of the party.  Dad would usually have a dime and a buy a dimes worth of candy.  Or maybe they would make ice-cream sometimes.  We had a lot of fun.  The kids would do different things and sometimes it was funny so everyone would laugh.  Before we had  treats the kids like to play Button, Button, Whose Got the Button, especially when the little kids would go around.  If the little kids had it and someone would point at them they would giggle.  What made it funny was everybody knew where it was anyway.

He would take me out on that Ridge country if we just went to Sunday School, had dinner and then went back.  He would get back to the ranch at 4 in the afternoon.  It was hot.  We would turn those sheep out and then go sit on a hill.  He would tell stories, or read the Book of Mormon or something out of the Era.  I will never forget the things I learned from him out there.  Mother wouldn’t go out there and live on that ranch.  Things weren’t very good.  We just had a big dug out in the side of the hill. That is where we lived.  It was a hole dug back in the ground.  It was pretty close to the top of the hill, maybe about ten feet from the top.  They put two by fours or studs up along the dirt and stuck them in the ground a little ways.  Then they put a plate on the top.  Then they nailed boards up on the two by fours.  The direst would fall against it, but it seemed to be strong enough that it didn’t cave in.  In the front they put two windows, one on each side of the door.  That is the only light we had.  We would cook in it and it was warm in the winter.  There was no insulation.  We would walk out the door.  There was a spring at the bottom of the hill.  We had a stove in the centre of it about half way back in the building. It was a little stove and that is what we cooked on.  There was a great big rock at the bottom of the hill and water came out from under the rock, cool and clean.  There was a coolie and below the stream [plants].  That is where the cattle and horses walked in the mud.  They would make holes and then there would be these lumps, and a couple or three acres of [plants].  The spring wouldn’t dry up but it would get pretty dry near the end of the summer.

Making butter one time, I said to dad, “Can’t we make some butter out here?”  He said Oh yeah, do you want to make it.  I said yes.  So he got a jam can and filled it about 2/3 full of cream.  I shook and shook and it got tiresome.  I went outside and sat in the shade behind a granary.  All at once it expanded and the top blew off and it blew cream all over me.  I was so mad.  I thought he had done that on purpose and he really laughed when he saw cream all over me.  And that made me ever madder.
I used to love to go to Waterton Lakes on a father and son's outing with my dad.  I can’t tell you anything about it, except that I just thoroughly enjoyed it.

Del Ellison and Tay Fisher Ellison lived in Waterton.  He had a pool hall, a garage, a store and a swimming pool.  I used to go up there and stay with them a few days and sometimes quite a few days.  Wallace was my cousin and I had another cousin named Delton.  Wallace became a scientist.  He worked on Apollo 13.  This was most interesting to me because when Apollo 13 went up it was a wonderful thing.  They were talking to them all the time by radio.  They lost contact.  Everyone was sick.  Half an hour later they got in contact with them and everyone was relived and happy.  When Uncle Lee Brewerton died Wallace was there with Steele and me and Wallace was telling us how when they lost contact with those people, he said, “Well, we made some fasteners so that when they brought something around to the side of the Apollo that it had two doors on it.  So that when they opened this door, then the pressure in the Apollo stayed the same.  Then they would shut it.  This mechanism had about 12 fasteners.  They had to come together and every one of them had to hit at the same time.  If one didn’t fasten they wouldn’t go out.  He built fasteners so they could run through the one that didn’t close so they could pull it through and fasten it. He said he had two geniuses working for him and they organized it and got it going.  The last thing they told the astronauts was to try those fasteners out to see if they worked.  So when they went to see if this worked, that is what the astronauts were doing when they couldn’t get in touch with them.
* * *

This is all of the text I have from Uncle Ellsworth.  Memoirs are what they are.  For me, they are a fascinating glimpse of the past.


Settling in to sleep

... midnight and still rocking ...
I can drop off to sleep in 30 seconds or less once my head is on the pillow.

Well, dropping off to sleep might also be possible for me sitting in a movie, or even standing in a line-up that is moving very slowly.

But in the case of this picture, I was wondering if there would ever be sleep -- Rebecca reading to Duncan, a book in two hands to bring the calming words to him.  He, on the other hand, was using his feet and body to produce an undulating motion to keep himself awake. Had she been prone and trying to sleep, and had he been sitting on the bed trying to read to her, both would have been asleep.


Airport Pictures - Postmodern Alberta

Poster on wall of Calgary Airport
In the London Heathrow Airport, I saw a skeleton used to display beauty products. The paradox was so great, I began to look at other advertisements in airports that surprise me.

Take this poster to the left.

I would have expected an invitation to visit the the museum or the Chiniki Restaurant on the Nakoda Reserve on arriving in Calgary.

But look -- advertized is something better -- slot machines and a show girl just 30 minutes west of Calgary in beautiful Kananaskis Country.  Call 1-888-8-NAKODA.

My surprise only shows how deep in the past I am buried.  Now I have another idea for a tourist destination on the way to B.C.


The Bridge

The best balcony view -- knowing that ...
someone is standing on the bridge.
Wyona continues to search for world harbours she has yet to visit.

She is booking into 2013, and lucky me, if I say yes, I get to go along with Greg and her.

I know that three days in Venice are coming up in the fall, before we get on a boat -- so my spare time is spent thinking about books to look at, maps to study, museums to think about before the fall comes and I get to see in person, what I have only looked at in the coloured pages of travel books.

I am not without a bit of hesitation, as I noticed when looking at some of my pictures from the last cruise. I went out to take a picture of the bridge, since I could see it clearly from our balcony. it is always reassuring to know that someone is standing on the bridge, watching where we are going!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cousin Time

David is on vacation with his mom, while his father is in Catalonia spending time with David's paternal grandmother Filumena. David and I hoped in the car and headed for Alberta for a planned "unplanned" vacation. Our plan is to make no plans, and see what we feel like doing each day.

The first week we spent many hours having "screen time" (TV with grandpa, LEGO website videogames, ipod games time). We got to play soccor in the Banff Trail Elementary school yard with Grandma. We even got a walk in across the overpass to the University that goes across Crowchild Trail.

David had his first sleep over without one of his parents being at the house last night. On the eve of St. Patrick's day, David chose to stay over at his Aunt Anita and Uncle Doral's home. He was offered a couch to sleep on, but he chose the floor in the middle of the living room. His cousins Meighan and Ceilidh each chose a couch. His wise and older cousin Dalton chose to sleep in his own bed.

I asked David if he woke up in the night, and if so, who did he snuggle up with. He said he woke several times, but just got himself back to sleep. He chose to sleep on a huge tiger stuffie given to him by his Aunt Miranda and his Uncle Richard a few years ago.
In the morning, he and his cousins made a fort in the livingroom with every blanket they could find. After completing a number of crafts, they turned to Mario video games.
Getting a photo of Meighan and David both looking at the camera was a big challenge. Who could turn their face away from the joy of the video screen just for a blog post? The dual smile in the last photo is a fake smile so that the video screen would not be turned off for the photo.

Happy cousin time!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Janet and Glen in London

Filleting our dinner!
Janet and Glen arrived yesterday!

Janet said she wanted to go to a market today. Instead of heading off to Camden or Portobello, I walked them down the highroad to the North Finchley Market (friday mornings!).

Janet reports that her heart was palpitating as she walked in. It is not the world's biggest market, but it is authentic: regular folks who are there everyweek. No tourists. Just good deals.

Glen lined up at the fish monger, and pointed out the salmon he wanted. We stood by while the guy filleted it up for our dinner.

Halibut Heads
 I will admit to being a bit freaked out by the fish heads. These beautiful things are halibut heads. The cheeks are already gone, and I guess you can boil these for a good fish stew. I, however, could NOT do that, because I do not own a pot big enough. These heads are monsters!

Lamb, anyone?

Next Glen headed over to the butcher's to check out the lamb.  Minutes later, he had 4 pounds of lamb chops alongside the salmon and tilapia fillets he was carrying!

Delicious veggies!

Of course, we didn't remain only in the world of meat products:  we headed over to the vegetable stand for celery, a case of sugar snap peas (for only 3 pounds?!), parsnips, and avacados.

I still don't really know what you are supposed to DO with this vegetable, but it is so pretty!

We also did a massive trip to Sainsbury's WITH GLEN'S RENTAL CAR! (yea!   this is the first time in 7 months that I have not had to drag the groceries back in the wheelie cart... how much fun is THAT?!) :-)
snacking on snap peas and houmous

So... exhausted, we hung out in the kitchen, munching on veggies and hummous, chopping up the root vegetables to roast (potatos, onions, garlic, yams, parsnips), and waiting for Steve to come home.
baptizing the barbeque with briquets!

It has all been very exciting.  Glen also bought briquettes (aka 'coal'), and we have baptised the barbeque in the backyard.... the salmon is cooking on it as we speak.  

fresh figs, onions, walnuts, cheese and greens

Janet is finishing off the salad: walnuts, red onions, fresh figs, warmed pears and red peppers, spring mix and  goat cheese. 

Can't wait to eat it!

Wish you all were here to join us!



Bonnie asked me which "news-of-the-day I like to get online.

I told her that I prefer to be strictly Canadian and go with CBC News Online - Morning Digest (CBC News Digest []).

Today's news gave me "8 Ways to Tame Household Debt", and at the bottom of that article were four others to read concerning money: Instant Tax Refund, Income Tax, Income Splitting, and a Tax Quiz.

I only got 5/10 right on the Tax Quiz.  And not to give you a spoiler, but I was not one of the 62% of all Canadians who received tax refunds.


Now to go out to the front porch and bring in The Globe and Mail.  I don't want to miss  Steve Becker's Bridge column . 

Yes, retirement, the best of all jobs.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Tale of the 81st Birthday

Happy 81st Birthday
The cake was fudge with chocolate butter icing.

The meal was a Chinese stir fry – chicken, asparagus and water chestnuts.

The gifts were appropriate for the occasion – home made strawberry jam that Kelvin has been longing for in the past months.

How about a pint?
... of pure strawberry jam ...
The guests were international.

The birthday song was sung many times, in many languages: Catalan, Portuguese, Nepalese, and Farsi.

The tapers on the cake represented decades.

The repast was long and slow and as every birthday should  but does not ... started with the cake instead of the meal.

The breakfast that preceded the birthday dinner brought memories of the past – burned pancakes with Kelvin saying, “Oh yes, those are delicious. I will have one.”

 ... long tapers and a long life ...

Happy Birthday, Kelvin.