On the way to Karen’s I listened to Joni Mitchell and was, yet again, moved by her deeply articulate lyrics and beautiful guitar-playing. So much so, that when it came time to turn onto Karen’s road I kept going so I could hear more, and took a wee drive around Margo:
Then there was the cemetery where Mom’s ashes are buried. So are her father’s. Also buried in this precious ground are the remains of her grandfather and grandmother, several of her aunts and uncles, her great-grandparents and some of her great-uncles. Dad’s parents are buried here too, and his own ashes will be as well. I’d like mine scattered here if that’s possible. Can you just scatter human ashes any old place? I didn’t tramp through the snow to Mom’s grave but probably could’ve easily; we haven’t had much snow so far.
So many memories come as I pass down these streets.
Across the road from the house my parents built in town is the schoolground, where as a kid on my bike I spent many summer days and after-school hours. The school’s been closed for years but is now in use by a bin-building business.
Here I’ve pulled up to the main street, just two doors from where the real Stubblejumpers Café stood. It had another name and the building has been gone for a lot of years. I visit it in dreams sometimes, and in my fantasies this place still exists. Those must’ve been happy childhood days.
It’s always a bit painful to go to Margo and see how it has changed from my growing-up years. It has been steadily dying; no longer the bustling community it once was. There’s life in it yet, though. As a matter of fact, there’s an annual hockey tournament this month, part of a weekend of “fun days” the local rec. board puts on. Dad’s even going to come out for it this time (all jaws dropped when he made this announcement, as he has been avoiding Saskatchewan winters for many years) in hopes of running into some old friends there.
A drive through the countryside is a pleasure, but I cannot pass by a pile of pushed-down trees without a pang of dismay. Farmers are still clearing their land to gain croppable acres, and they’re doing it a lot. Knowing what we know about carbon pollution and about dwindling wildlife habitat and about soil erosion, the sight of freshly cleared land never fails to disappoint. My family and I are only here because my great-grandparents and their parents cleared quarter-sections to homestead and plant, so it seems hypocritical to decry this activity. However, they didn’t know then what we know now.
Bread’s coming out of the oven and Sadie Sue is waiting to go for a walk.