10 July 2019

The Quiet Was So Loud: Grandma G Has Left The Village Series by Norma Galambos

Green Lake, Saskatchewan
The Hubs and I tend to vacation with friends or family as opposed to the two of us going it alone. Travelling with your kids, grandkids, friends or family all the time can leave you dependent on others to entertain you.

Earlier this summer we decided to strike out on our own on a fishing trip in north-central Saskatchewan. It was a four hundred kilometre round-trip from the village. Even with only the two of us, the truck and boat were loaded with stuff.  

I knew this wasn't going to be my preferred style of glamping, but The Hubs has wanted to go on a fishing trip for so long. He has gone on many trips to places I have chosen, so I had to buck up and take one for the team. The things we do for the men we love.  He enjoys the outdoors, that is his happy place. 

We left the village and motored passed Shellbrook, Canwood, Debden and Big River before we reached our destination. The accommodations were rustic but better than the last resort he took me to. That one had no glass in the bedroom window, only a screen. It was September and the temperature dropped down to near freezing at night. It was a little nippy.

The Hubs doesn't like to stop once we are on the road. The kids and I have jokingly referred to him as “SWAT” because everybody must be prepared to move when he is ready to roll out. He detests being late. Trying to take scenery pictures at highway speed is always a challenge.  I have many pointless pictures of the hood of our truck and a sore neck from whipping my head around trying to see something interesting that we just zipped past. 

It was 25 Celsius when we left home, but only 7 degrees by supper time at the lake as it had rained all afternoon. The television didn't work, but we did have patchy internet service thank goodness. I am not sure if I could go cold turkey from technology in one afternoon; I would need to wean off slowly.  

It is not as easy as one would assume to go from doing something all the time to just sitting around in silence. It makes you realize how much noise we are exposed to on a daily basis.  The quiet in that cabin was so damn loud.

We didn't get the boat in the water the first day, but we barbecued, went for a walk and relaxed. The lodge at the lake put on a small fireworks display to acknowledge Canada's birthday and I watched it cozied up in the cabin. 

Our first full day at the lake dawned brighter than the previous day, but it was still cold and extremely windy. We layered all the warm clothes on that we could find and ventured out on the lake in the morning and again mid-afternoon. We didn't catch any fish, but we toured the long, narrow lake with trees on either side that go on for days.  

We saw some wildlife including twin one-year-old deer that were playing on top of a beaver house. A young bear that had been on our neighbour's deck earlier in the day was frolicking along the shoreline. We also saw pelicans and mother ducks with their broods swimming casually along a small bay. 

fishing lakes in northern Saskatchewan, Green Lake, Saskatchewan

The next morning, The Hubs was greeted by the bear we saw the previous day. It was on our deck investigating what goodies were in our garbage can. The Hubs chased the bear away, but much to my disappointment didn't take a picture first for the blog. Seriously, good help is so hard to find. 

We headed out fishing and The Hubs caught a couple of small Walleye. At least we didn't have to return home with the stench of skunk clinging to our broken spirits.  Well, he didn't, I guess technically I did get skunked. In my defence, I drove the boat while he fished and passed him the net so that should count for something. The weather didn't cooperate that day either. It continued to be cold and windy and we were forced off the lake twice by thunderstorms.

I foolishly packed for summer but I should have brought winter gear. Any respectable Saskatchewan girl knows better. I will be better prepared next time. 

We fried up our little catch of fresh fish and devoured it like two starving wolves. When it was all gone we sat staring at the empty plate wishing there was more. 

All in all, it was a good trip. We were fortunate to be able to go camping and fishing and spend time together. We survived on our own and are even talking about where to go on our next fishing trip. A day together at the lake is always better than a day working, even if you freeze your butt off.

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03 July 2019

7 Things I’ve Learned | Retirement Year 1 by Norma Galambos

retirement tips
Retirees often say they are busier after they retire than when they were working. They don't know how they managed to work full-time before. I am starting to understand what they mean.

The retirement experience is different for everyone. There are many factors that affect what we do in retirement; health issues, age, finances, the geographical location where we live and family commitments. It has been one year since I retired from my full-time job. I want to share a few things I learned that I feel are important when preparing for retirement.

#1 Make a Life for Yourself

Make a life for yourself outside of your spouse and children ahead of retirement. Some people are fortunate and have defined interests they bring into retirement that they have been honing for years. Others retire and realize things about themselves they never knew.  They become painters, writers, artists, builders, and entrepreneurs. We are each responsible for our own happiness. The sooner we accept this the better life becomes.

#2 Ease Into It

Some people retire and realize it isn't for them and return to the workforce in short order. Don't feel judged for your decisions, do what works for you and your family. Part-time work is also an option, as it can help you stay in touch with people, supplement your income and help you to maintain a schedule. When you are retired it can feel like the weekend every day. You never know what day it is, and you don't care. 

#3 What You Want To Do Might Surprise You 

Enthusiasm over finally having the time to purge my belongings was short-lived. That was the last thing I wanted to do.  It took months before I finally got to that project. I gave away things and had a garage sale. I did feel cleansed afterwards, but I am not going to lie, I didn't enjoy doing it. It is difficult to let go of things when you come from the "I got that as a wedding present, so I must keep it until I die generation”.  

Cooking and baking amazing things were on my list, but that doesn't appeal to me right now. I guess I want to do different things.

#4 Make Plans Based on What Brings You Joy

Plan things that you enjoy doing. Having adventures to look forward to is important for your well-being.This can mean taking your dream vacation or curling up at home with a good book, it all depends on what makes you feel good.
Our fleet of grandchildren has doubled to four this year, and we get immense joy watching them learn and grow. 

#5 Try New Things to Help You Find Your Retirement Niche

I wasn’t as ready for the rocking chair as I thought I was when I retired. There are many things I still want to do. I certainly don't have all the answers. My retirement niche is still a mystery to me. I started several projects over the last year. I figure if I try a variety of new things, I am bound by the law of averages that one of them will be the right fit for me. At this stage in life, fear of not trying is worse than the fear of failing. Personal growth often creates some degree of worry about what people will think.

I learned many new skills this year launching my blog, podcast and social media sites.  Editing my writing, shooting videos, sewing and making products for my gift shop were all great learning experiences.  I am thrilled to have things that are my own creation. 

Learning and writing about our family histories by going through Mom’s journals, photo albums and speaking with her and my mother-in-law has been a true labour of love. Through sharing my stories, I have connected with people in all sorts of places in the world that I never would have before. These stories will be a part of my legacy one day.

I feel challenged when I am in my creative space. A year ago, I didn't know I had a creative side. I have been writing almost every day for a year. Who knew I had all those stories in me? I certainly didn't. I never imagined I would write about my parents and growing up on the farm. Memories I had not thought about in years came flooding back. I felt compelled to start writing from the beginning of my life when my original intent was to start my story at retirement. Never underestimate the healing power of creative expression. I appreciate those who have read or listened to my stories. Your encouragement means a lot to me.

#6 Let Go of Old Thought Patterns

Learning to appreciate people’s talents and telling them so is something I have worked on. I strive to be inspired by their success, not envious or defeated by it.

I no longer scratch the days off the calendar. I am trying to stop wishing my life away. I find I am less interested in the drama in the world around me. I don't get the newspaper every week anymore and watch less television. 

I still keep my detailed to-do-list. I don't think I will be ready to let that go anytime soon, but I am trying to be less rigid about getting things done.  

#7 Re- evaluate Your Fears

When I talk to someone who is contemplating retirement, I ask them what it is about retirement that makes them the most anxious. Anxiety represents some kind of threat, whether it is real or imagined, and those feelings need to be validated. 

I had no clue what my identity was when I left my full-time job. Even when you make the decision to retire you still don't know how to feel; set free, put out to pasture or replaced? Like anything in life, it depends on how you look at it.

It was difficult for me to make the decision to retire after thirty-seven years at the same job. I was afraid I would feel a sense of loss of friendship, my safe place, sense of belonging or be bored and lonely. Fortunately, so far, I have not struggled with those feelings.  

I guess in a perfect world a person should have all their ducks in a row before they retire - financially and emotionally. The problem is, if you wait until everything is perfect you might spend your whole life waiting. Time is a gift that most of us take for granted. It moves on and things change, you can't go back, it is never the same. Focus on the day in front of you and make the most of it.  

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26 June 2019

Canada Day | Sas-katch-e-wan by Norma Galambos

Canada Day, Are Canadians patriotic?, Saskatchewan,

What does it mean to be Canadian?

On July 1, 1867, the British North American Act created Canada. This date has become Canada’s national holiday when Canadians show their pride in their history, culture and achievements. Through the years we have attended many picnics, fireworks, parades and sport’s days on July 1. 

My dad had been in the army and was a proud Canadian, but patriotism wasn’t something I remember discussing. We didn’t celebrate Canada Day on the farm. We were born and raised as Canadians period. Why was a party required to acknowledge that fact?

The Hubs and I are both second-generation Canadians. As an adult, I have always found Canada Day to be a relaxing, happy holiday. There are no major expectations: no gifts to buy, special baking to do, decorations to put up or turkey to cook. We go to the lake, throw something on the grill, and kick back with family and friends enjoying the day. If the weather is good, we attend the fireworks, which makes the occasion more festive.

Someone from another country once commented that I said the word Saskatchewan very fast.  I hadn’t noticed that until they pointed it out to me. I listened intently, leaning in, waiting patiently for them to finish sounding out all four syllables Sas-katch-e-wan.  I commented that if they had to say Saskatchewan every day of their lives, they’d pick up the pace. As a flatlander from the prairies, I am possibly more attached to my province than the country as a whole.

I am a proud Canadian. To me Canada Day is an opportunity to celebrate the freedom we enjoy, the natural splendour of our country and to acknowledge those that sacrificed so that we have these privileges.

I politely refuse to apologize for drinking Vi-Co while wearing a bunny hug.

Happy 152nd birthday Canada!

I want to wish my American followers and everyone from countries around the world who celebrate their independence in July a happy and relaxing celebration.  

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Have a big, fun day!

20 June 2019

Summer | What Do You Talk About? By Norma Galambos

Oh summer, I have waited for you for so long. I missed you in the fall and yearned for you in the winter. I awaited your arrival in the spring like a long-anticipated visit from an old friend. The first glorious days of summer are upon us. 

Summer 2018 was busy with our son and daughter-in-law's wedding, retirement and birthday celebrations and the birth of a new granddaughter. We camped at Crooked Lake in southern Saskatchewan and boated on beautiful northern lakes that are within an hours drive from our home, including Iroquois, Memorial, Emerald, Big Shell, and Martins Lake. I attended a street fair in Shellbrook and one in Regina. We visited the Lumsden Corn Maze and took the kids to the park and enjoyed backyard barbecues. We sampled fresh herbs and garden vegetables and raspberries with cream. 

I am excited to see what adventures this summer will bring and to share them with you.

I should never complain about the weather, especially in the summer, but I must in good conscience confess that I sometimes complain. Is it a worldwide phenomenon or is it just Canadians that are obsessed with talking about the weather? We are a hard lot to please when it comes to the perfect day - we can almost always find a flaw. It is either too cold, hot, windy, dry, wet, humid, foggy, dusty or smoky.

For most Canadians when we are planning to do something outdoors the first thing we do is check the forecast.  We say things like: “we’ll have to see what the weather does”; “it depends on the weather”; “we’ll see what the weatherman says” or “if the weather cooperates”.  I get frustrated that everything in my life seems to be depended on the weather in some way.  

What else would we talk about if not for the weather. In countries where you have day after day of beautiful weather, what do you talk about? Wait, I know, you say “did you see the weather forecast for Canada?”

One winter when I was at a vacation destination someone asked me where I was from. I said Saskatchewan and they said, “sorry to hear that”. I was taken aback and didn’t know how to reply.

Upon further reflection, given that moment back, I would have said Saskatchewan is a beautiful province with wide open spaces, peaceful forests, pristine lakes, blue skies, warm springs, hot summers, beautiful autumn colours and sparkling white winters.  I will be ready with my answer next time.  The weather is such a versatile topic. You can talk about the weather with friends and strangers alike. I guess that is why we are comfortable talking about it ALL THE TIME.

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17 June 2019

Plough Winds, Waterspouts and Hailstones | Summer Storms by Norma Galambos

saskatchewan summer storms, plough winds,
The Farm
On June 19, 1989, I was at work at the school in Leask, Saskatchewan which was three miles from my parent's farm. By mid-afternoon, the sky had turned an ominous blackish colour, but it was calm outside. At work, we kept attuned to the weather forecast as you must when you have a school full of staff and children to look out for.

We got a thunderstorm in the village, but nothing serious. I didn’t realize at that time that a plough wind had touched down at my parent's farm. My mom and my four-year-old daughter were the only ones there when it hit. Dad was in the hospital in Saskatoon recovering from kidney surgery. 

Mom and my daughter looked out the upstairs bedroom window towards the garden to see what the weather was doing as it was starting to get extremely windy. Mom quickly realized that they needed to get to a safer location. She grabbed my daughter and they headed downstairs to the dining room where they crouched down in the corner near the porch door until the storm passed. 

The plough wind took out a forty-foot wide section of mature maple trees at the back of the garden shelter belt and some of the fruit trees in the garden. The antenna and chimney on the house were damaged and tin was ripped off parts of the barn roof. More trees were broken on the shelterbelt that backed the lawn in front of the house. One of the trees fell on my daughter’s swing set and crushed it. Half an inch of rain fell in a few minutes. 

Dad came home a week later and surveyed the damage. He was unable to do any physical work for a long time after his surgery. The Hubs and men from the Leask Hutterite Colony helped with the cleanup and repair to the barn roof. 

Mom was convinced that the three-ton truck with a five-hundred-gallon water tank on it that was parked directly in line with the picture window was what saved the house.

When the insurance adjuster came, my daughter made sure she showed him the damage to her precious swing set. He reassured her he would include that in his report for replacement.

The Village
We also experienced a plough wind in the village on July 19th of 2011. It had been very hot. I remember laying in bed with the window open and looking up at the huge maple tree next door. It was so calm outside. There wasn't a whisper of wind to cool us off. 

I dozed off and woke up again at midnight and looked up at the same tree which was now being whipped violently back and forth by a huge wind. I got up and looked out the front window to see my beloved tamarack tree swaying so far back and forth I was sure it would snap in two. I walked back to my room and was foolishly standing at the window watching the storm. Lightning lit up the sky, there was a loud cracking noise and I could see the maple tree falling towards our house.  In an instant the outside view from my window was completely obscured by leaves and branches. Luckily the tree didn't come through the window as I was still standing there.  

The massive trunk of the tree had fallen on our wooden fence and shattered it. There was a lot of damage to the large old trees around the village also. Tree limbs and branches were strewn in yards and across the roads. 

There was a lot of clean up to do. The tree was very heavy, even when cut into small sections. Once again, the men from the Leask Hutterite Colony came to the rescue and helped the Hubs clean up the debris and haul it away. We finally replaced our fence in the backyard last week and it looks great. 

Crooked Lake
Five years ago we went on a camping trip to Crooked Lake in southern Saskatchewan. 

We were out on a pontoon boat sightseeing and were seven miles across the lake when we noticed strange looking clouds coming up over the hills.

We started to head back. It got very windy and the air felt weird because for a few minutes it felt hot then it would switch to blasts of cold
air. We got within sight of our shore but were caught in the middle of two waterspouts and the intense wind kept us from going anywhere. It felt like we were levitating off the water.  We were on the floor trying to hang on to our belongings which were flying everywhere. I could see one of the waterspouts in front of me and when I looked over my shoulder there was the other one. No rain fell just the cold, blasting wind. I was terrified the boat was going to be lifted off the water and flipped over. People on shore could see this all unfolding but could do nothing to help us. 

Finally, the winds calmed and we made it to shore.  It is amazing how nature can be so incredibly beautiful, but also frightening at times.  

Iroquois Lake
On Saturday, June 29, 2019 we thought it would be a good day to finally take our boat out on its maiden voyage of the summer. We invited another couple along and headed out to the bay on Iroquois Lake.  

The forecast was for sunny weather and it was nice and warm. Around three-thirty storm clouds rolled in, but the storm seemed to be heading away from us. We were visiting with some friends in their fishing boat not overly concerned about the weather, but it soon became evident that the situation was changing fast. The friends in the fishing boat headed across the lake for shore. We decided to ride it out on our pontoon boat under the partial canopy.

It quickly became clear that this was the wrong choice. Hailstones as big as marbles pelted us for almost ten minutes. The four of us huddled under the canopy for protection, sitting, standing or crouched on the floor. The hail was coming so fast and hard that the canopy didn't provided much protection. The hail pounded our bodies, especially our bare legs and feet. We shivered as ice cold water soaked our hair and ran down our backs. My bare feet were so cold. It hurt when the hail hit our heads, legs and feet. Hailstones were piled up in the boat like snow. 

We were shaken up after this episode and our clothes were soaked. The sun came out and it was beautiful with its rays coming through the trees and fog clinging over the hail on the shoreline. Of course, when we tried to load the boat the wind kicked up which always makes that task more difficult. One of our guests fell off the trailer into the water while helping to load the boat. To top things off, when we got to the truck we realized a window had been inadvertently left open and the back seat and floor of the truck got soaked by the hail also.

We know better than to underestimate mother nature, but once in a while she catches us off guard. I have referred to The Hubs as the weather whisper because he is good at predicting what the weather is going to do. I rely on him to keep me safe from the elements, but this time he let me down - he’s slipping. 

Be safe on the water my friends.

When I see the immense damage done by storms I can't imagine how traumatic that must be. We only experienced it on a small scale and will never forget it. 

Tell me about an experience you have had during a bad summer storm. 

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12 June 2019

3 Messages from the Other Side | Father’s Day by Norma Galambos

I am the second youngest of five children and I enjoyed forty-four years with my dad before his passing in 2006 at the age of 86.

Dad’s parents were of German descent and immigrated to Canada in the late 1800s from Russia. They taught their eight children a strict set of moral standards. Dad was a very proud man and always told us kids that you have to keep your name clean.  

He was community minded and was an avid sportsman with a passion for hunting and fishing. He loved to tell stories - he told them slowly, pausing often to reflect. When I was a teenager and a boy came to take me on a date Dad would often keep us standing in the doorway until he had finally finished regaling us with one of his stories.  We would try to inch our way out the door,  but there was no escape.

On Sunday mornings mom took the kids to church and dad stayed home. He would sit at the dining room table and play game after game of solitary with his worn deck of cards. The cards had tiny clumps of dirt stuck to them from his hardworking hands. He would put his beloved Johnny Cash record on and crank it up. I will always remember returning home from church and hearing that music for a few minutes before Mom shut it down. I think dad enjoyed his peaceful Sunday mornings. When I attended the Mother's Day Tea at the nursing home where mom lives there was a gentleman singing to the residents. When he sang the song Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash Mom perked up and sang along. I knew she was thinking about those Sunday mornings.

Dad took over his parent’s grain and cattle farm when he and mom got married in 1947. He loved it there and never wanted to leave. One of my favourite images is of him standing chest deep in his barley crop.  

My dad taught me how to fish and took me hunting, but after one attempt to shoot a rabbit it became quickly evident that hunting wasn’t for me.  He taught me to respect the land and wildlife, to be responsible and look after my belongings and to appreciate good cooking. He always thanked the cook by saying “thanks for the business” when he left the table. 

It wasn't easy to draw anything deep and personal out of Dad. When I was in school I was preoccupied with sports and my friends and then I was married with children and life was busy. How I wish I would have sat down with him and asked him the same questions I have had the opportunity to ask mom. Questions about his childhood, his school days, his time in the army and his memories of meeting mom and falling in love. I would ask him to reflect on raising five children, farming and growing older.   

Dad was ill for a number of years at the end of his life. Mom cared for him at home until the last ten days before he passed away in the hospital.  

Here are three ways people often receive signs and messages from their loved ones and my personal experiences:

Messages Through Animals
When dad was in the hospital I was standing looking out the window of the waiting room towards a small hill and some bushes. A deer walked out of the bush and seemed to gaze at me for a long time before slowly turning and walking off into the distance. I stood there watching until I could no longer see it. A strange, unfamiliar feeling flooded through me in that moment. Dad passed away late that evening and I thought back to the feeling I had experienced earlier in the day.

Finding Certain Objects
Finding dimes in my path is a common occurrence for me. This reassures me that I am on the right path and that I am being looked out for by my dad.   

Dream Visitations
Eight months after Dad passed I had a vivid dream in which a vehicle pulled into the yard at the farm and Dad got out of the back seat and walked across the yard. He looked in such good health it made me feel comforted to know he was alright.  

Have you ever had experiences similar to mine? 

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05 June 2019

June Bride by Norma Galambos

June brides, 1980s wedding dress, 1980s bridesmaids dress, 1980s wedding story

The Hubs and I tied the knot on June 6, 1981, after a four-year courtship. He was twenty-two and I was eighteen. My business course in Saskatoon was completed and I had started working at the school office in May. My new bosses were gracious enough to allow me to take a week off to get married.

We had a traditional small-town wedding with several hundred guests in attendance. The ceremony was held at the old St. Henry’s Church in Leask, which has since been demolished and replaced. Construction on the new hall had been completed in the spring of that year. 

st henrys psrush leask saskatchewan wedding married 1981 bride, St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church Leask, SK,

I purchased my dress at a bridal shop in Midtown Plaza in Saskatoon. I was shopping and saw the dress and liked it so I called my roommate who was to be my maid of honour and asked her to come and see it. She came and helped me decide and then the two of us and the dress went home. 

Our parents had a meeting to discuss the arrangements and my mom sent out the invitations I had chosen. There were no online wedding sites back then. Invitations were mailed out and replies were returned by mail.

I had made decorations including a huge double heart that hung on the wall behind the head table and the standard kleenex flowers.

Mom made fruitcake for the traditional wedding favours and we wrapped tiny pieces in plastic wrap and then a white paper doily and tied it with a ribbon. The wedding cake for the hall was artificial as was my bouquet. My sister D was home from British Columbia and she helped me gather some lilacs from around the village to use as centerpieces on the guest tables.

We had four bridesmaids and groomsmen. The girls wore long blue dresses made by my mother-in-law and carried parasols. The Hubs wore a black rented suit and the groomsmen wore grey suits.  

My dad never got flustered or nervous. When it was time for him to drive us to the church we all piled into the decorated wedding car. The car wouldn’t start, but no one suspected he was the problem. Dad finally realized he was trying to start the car with the wrong set of keys. His cool cover had slipped for just a few moments. We were fashionably late, but it all worked out.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party made the two-hour roundtrip to Prince Albert to have our photos taken at McMasters Photography. We then returned to the village for supper. A delicious meal had been lovingly prepared by family and friends. My mother-in-law had a cabbage roll bee going for days before the wedding.

With my siblings and parents 

The sixth day of the sixth month of 1981 was sunny and warm, but extremely windy. I had a ten-foot long veil and it was blowing straight up in the air in some of the outdoor pictures. By nightfall, a massive thunderstorm rolled in. The conditions in the area that spring were very dry and many of the farmers in attendance had been praying for rain. As the rain poured down some of the guests danced outside.

We went and changed into our going away outfits and after bidding our guests farewell we made our departure. It was raining so hard that the windshield wipers couldn't keep up.  We stared into the darkness, silent and exhausted trying to see the road.

The next day dawned sunny and warm and we hosted a gift opening on the tiny deck of our house.

On the Monday after the wedding, we left for a weeks holiday in British Columbia.

Every year we wait for my grandma's lilac tree in our yard to bloom for our anniversary and it has almost always come through on time. This year, it is right on schedule.

Looking back, it is hard to fathom how quickly thirty-eight years can slip by. A lot of water under the bridge for sure. As my dad would say, “it has been a good run”. The Lord willing we will get another couple decades together.    

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30 May 2019

11 May Memories by Norma Galambos

ice cream, Leask, Saskatchewan

1.  The birth of our first grandson; our son and his wife becoming parents for the first time.
2.  Our three-year-old granddaughter riding her bike around the village; her blonde, curly-haired, pink helmet covered head bobbing from side to side as she took in every nuance of the world around her.
3.  Ice cream; our eight-month-old granddaughter diving onto her first ice cream cone.
4.  People walking by and touching the soft new needles on our tamarack tree.
5.  Long walks around the village with family; the sunset and full moon in all their splendour.

6.  Farmers seeding their crops.
7.  Freshly planted gardens.
8.  Wildlife returning; birds strutting around the yard.
9.  Greenhouse visit; planting the treasures I bought and watching our yard come to life.
10. Relaxing on the deck visiting while supper is on the barbecue. 
11. The warmth of the sun soaking into my soul.

The skies were bright,
Our hearts were light,
In the merry, merry month of May.

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23 May 2019

Never Trust a Wiener Roast: Griswold Vacations by Norma Galambos

When I was a kid, I thought it was the coolest thing when other families packed up and headed out on a summer vacation. I wanted to do that too, but as grain and cattle farmers there was never time for my family to embark on such adventures. I vowed to myself that when I had a family of my own, we would take those summer vacations. 

Thirty years ago I approached another couple and suggested we take a summer vacation together. We each had one young child at the time. I booked us in at a Northern Saskatchewan lake and we headed off on what would turn out to be one of my best schemes yet.

The next year I asked two more families to join in and we continued to take vacations together every summer for years. We started off as a group of six and ended up with eighteen people between the four families, eight adults and ten children. 

Each year we chose a different lake to explore or we went back to one we had previously enjoyed. Our travels took us to many Saskatchewan lakes including; Waskesiu, Besnard, Greenwater, Lac des Illes - Meadow Lake, Turtle, Jan, Otter and Iroquois.

We often took day trips to explore the area around where we were staying. We liked to stop on the trail for wiener roasts, but The Hubs was always in a hurry. Sometimes by the time everyone else got to the designated wiener roast spot, he was ready to carry on, so the wiener roast didn’t always happen. The shaky promise of a wiener roast became a running joke.   

One of the families in the group named us the Griswold’s in reference to the Chevy Chase comedy movie Vacation. That name has stuck with us to this day. We were like the Griswolds in the movie, there always seemed to be some mishap. 

Those were some of the best times of our lives. We laughed so much and the kids ran and played outside until they were exhausted. They had a lot of fun with so many friends to play with. The kids liked to buy candy cigarettes, fake tattoos and caps at the little lake stores. 

I am a bit of an organizer.  I made detailed lists including exactly what each family was to bring and a travel itinerary. We worked like a well-oiled machine and after a few years, we had it down to a science. We did not pack lightly though, and every vehicle was absolutely jam packed with clothes, toys and food. 

We made some of the most amazing camping meals. The food was incredible, and we ate like kings.  

We boated, jet skied, tubbed, paddle boated, swam, fished, played in the sand, played games and sat around the campfire in the evenings.

The memories we made on those summer vacations will stay with us for a lifetime. I am so glad that I made good on my childhood vow and that my friends were adventuresome enough to accept my invitation.  

Do you have a group of people that you like to do things with, if not don’t be afraid to reach out and start creating memories!

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16 May 2019

Softball: Put Me In Coach by Norma Galambos

Leask Hornet’s Reunion 2005 

You can listen to this episode on my podcast @ 

The Hubs loved softball and played with the Leask Hornets for almost twenty years. I never played on a ball team; I couldn't catch a ball to save my soul. My older brother desperately wanted someone to play catch with and, much to his chagrin, I was his only option on the farm. He would get me to stand in front of the garage at the farm and all I remember is the sound of the ball hitting the wooden door behind me as I consistently missed the ball. My eyes would blink a mile a minute and my arms would be up protecting my head, so there wasn’t much chance that I was going to catch any balls.

In school gym class I had no choice but to participate in the ball game. I headed as far out in the field as I could go and still be in the village limits. When it was my turn at bat, I was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was about to be maimed.

I am unsure of where my pitiful softball skills originated as I come from a line of ballplayers. My dad played ball in the army in the 1940s and I have his glove which I keep in my treasure trove. 

I enjoyed watching The Hubs and our kids play ball. I spent many hours sitting on the bleachers baking in the sun or wrapped in a blanket; often on the same day.  He coached both the kids' ball teams through the years once he was no longer playing himself. 

Our kids played ball here in Leask and our son played on a team in Shellbrook, which is about twenty minutes away, and made many life-long friends there.

We had great times travelling the prairies with various ball teams. In addition, we went to tournaments in Lethbridge, Chauvin and Lloydminster, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Plentywood, Montana and Minot, North Dakota. 

We met great people through those teams and had a lot of laughs.  The kind of laughs that live on for decades. Every tournament we went to was a new adventure, you couldn't even try and predict what type of shenanigans would happen. 

Being a part of a team as a player, parent or fan is a great learning experience. The Gran has now taken up the game and her parents are coaching. I sure hope she can catch better than me!  

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