As surprising as it sometimes is to read what I was journalling 35 years ago, those old pages often yield treasures. I’d been home for Christmas in 1985 and the entire family on Mom’s side had gathered at Uncle Bruce‘s farm. 

That must be when Uncle Bob (Mom’s uncle) ordered a leather vest, which my friend Fern and I were churning out. He sent the above letter to tell us he’d received it in the mail.

Family gatherings when Mom and Uncle Bob were with us always contained music and singing. 

It warmed my heart to see this photo of Uncle Bob, who passed away quite a few years ago now.

This is a poor photo of Mom as she looks bored but no, she certainly was not. She lived for playing and singing. I have this accordion. 

Mom always took great care with her clothing, hair and makeup. Even when she was too ill to wear anything like pants that might feel tight around her waist, she had me go out and buy her a “nice” nightie.


A big wind came up after we were in bed last night and has left ice on the windows. Scott was up to let the dog out and said there was a small bird banging itself against a window; he had to turn out the light to get it to stop. What it was doing out there in the dark is curious.

It’s blowing out there now and I’m wondering whether I should dare leave the yard. Scott’s offered to break trail to the highway for me, but there’s still a doubt whether I’ll get home later in the day if a blizzard works up. 


January 17, 2001
Cruising through the ice-filled
waters of Antarctica was an
“amazing” experience, according
to Wadena Composite grade twelve
student Logan Banadyga who just
returned home from a 13-day all-expense-
paid expedition to that
continent on Jan. 8. He qualified for
the expedition after he was selected
as one of two winners in an across-
Canada creative writing contest
sponsored by Canadian Geographic.
-Looking Back, Wadena News


Feb. 16, 1986 journal

“Wrote this poem Friday while Elaine was out for lunch:

Elaine, Elaine, the unreachable star,
I love you, alas though it be from afar.
Daily I wish and nightly I dream
That someday my heart will no longer scream
For your hugs and your kisses — the thought makes me steam!
And before long our love will reign supreme.

A Lovestruck Admirer

The last line was better than that but I don’t recall it exactly. Anyway, I bought a red rose, asked a guy in the restaurant (I was having lunch with a friend) to write the poem on a card, paid a kid a buck to deliver it and say a man told him to, and voila! my latest prank has given me a bundle of laughs.”


Oh my, the stuff we forget. I don’t know if I ever told my boss, Elaine, who was behind it. Probably not.


On the kitchen table for weeks already; local history books:


60 Years Ago   Jan. 19, 1961
ROBBINSDALE: The Robbinsdale Homemakers’ Club meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Burton Pugh on January 13 with eight members and two visitors present. This year’s project will be a bedroom set consisting of pillow cases, dresser scarf and a vanity set, made from flour bags. –Wadena News, Looking Back


View from the yoga mat.


The next furnace won’t rely on oil, but for now we’re stuck with it. The Co-op truck delivered some this morning:

This and Thatness

The windstorm this past week left its mark — a vertical stripe, apparently — in snow on these tree trunks. I managed to convince Scott to forward his photo so you could see:


If you see a problem, it’s yours.
If you think somebody should do something,
remember that you are a somebody.


80 Years Ago
Kelvington Radio
January 17, 1941
Granny Glover was quite ill with
the flu last week and her son Harry
from Saskatoon was called to come
and see her. We are pleased to report
that Granny is very much improved
in health now.
Wadena News, Looking Back


Carla is a friend 15 or 20 years younger than me who is part of a small group of women I affectionately call the Likeminded Ladies. When I moved here in 2002 to live with my two children and Scott in his little house in the family farmyard, his mom invited me along to a gathering of her friends who share interests and mutual love and support. Carla’s mom is one of these lovely warmhearted women who made me welcome, and she had brought Carla along to the “tea party.” Carla has passed away after about 20 years of suffering physical hardship. I have a strong sense that she is okay — ecstatic, even, to be free of pain and discomfort — though I have no way of knowing for sure. I only hope it’s true.

I recall visiting a friend who’s a medium, after Mom died. She said to me and my sisters, “I’m sorry for your grief, but not for your mom. Where she is, she’s more than happy.”

Still, we grieve.

For Carla, Day 1

Carla day 1

by J.S.Hoyland

Teach us, O Spirit, to trust thee with life and with death,
And (though this is harder by far)
with the life and death of those
that are dearer to us than our life.

Teach us stillness and confident peace
in thy perfect will,
deep calm of soul, and content
in what thou wilt do with these lives
thou hast given.
Teach us to wait and be still,
To rest in thyself,
to hush this clamorous anxiety,
To lay in thine arms all this wealth
thou hast given.

Thou lovest these souls that we love
With a love as far surpassing our own
As the glory of noon surpasses the gleam of a candle.
Therefore will we be still, and trust in thee.