Thursday, April 16, 2015

Childhood Memories

One of my favorite memories as a child is meeting Grandma and Grandpa in Westlock--driven by mom from Edmonton--so they could pick me up and I could spend some time with them at the farm.  We would often meet for lunch at the Alberta Cafe--and the food was always good.  There was always a free booth to sit at and I loved that I could have anything I wanted.  I guess that's what being with Grandma and Grandpa is all about! Inevitably I chose grilled cheese sandwich and fries--or fish and chips. I felt like a princess!

My cousin and I loved getting into mischief together at the farm.  We were less than a month apart in age and she lived close to Grandma and Grandpa, so she always came to visit.  We were forever exploring and giggling together.  I remember climbing into one of Grandpa's granaries and trying to swim around in it!  We had grain stuck everywhere!  Afterwards, I think I had a piece stuck in my ear for months.

The chickens always scared me--I vividly remember one of them chasing after me all the way to the farmhouse.  Grandma said they were just friendly and thought I had something for them to eat.  I thought I was allergic to them.  And I didn't like the way they looked at me without really looking at me. They had such crazy eyes! Cuddling the kitties was much more fun!

Grandma and Me
As a woman, I remember spending time with my Grandma on the farm long after my Grandpa moved to the nursing home and eventually passed with Alzheimer's disease. On one visit, pregnant with Blake, I woke up in the middle of the night to see deer grazing in the moonlight, feasting on the empty field in front of the farm house through the glaze of misty fog.  The peace I felt was beyond all understanding, and I still recount this beautiful vision in meditation. I continued to bring my babies to share laughter and love with their Great Grandma. And as they grew too big for their britches, I would continue to visit by myself, enjoying the simple pleasures of playing cards and watching TV with grandma.  I felt so blessed.  Her sometimes bristly ways and brisk sense of humor did not bother me at all.  Her life had not been easy, and I loved her to bits.

This Easter long weekend we drove through the country side to see Mom and Dad at Lesser Slave Lake.  As we passed by the farm turn-off these incredible memories came flooding back.  My grandfather was a pioneer who cleared this beautiful forested area by calloused hand to create rich farmland along the Athabasca River.  He and Grandma worked hard to feed four beautiful children, who parented nine grandchildren. There was always enough for all.  I am saddened that my Aunts do not remember this and that there continues to be a dispute over my grandparents' legacy since Grandma's passing in 2013.  I still feel the love of my grandparents deep in my bones and within my spirit. I hope with all my heart this love prevails, erasing the greed of a few, and allowing Grandma and Grandpa to rest in blissful peace.

The Road to the Farm

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