The Bar U 20th Anniversary. 

The kids and I took a trip to Southern Alberta today to attend the 20th anniversary of the Bar U Ranch being a national historic site. Because the kids are Albertans who were not raised in Alberta, I feel an extra responsibility to teach them about their heritage. 

I love the drive south down highway 22 and today was a beautiful, clear, sunny day which made it that much more enjoyable. 

I knew it was going to be a good drive when it started off with Don’t Stop Believin’ on the radio. The kids were chatting away and as soon as the song started they both stopped talking mid sentence and sang the entire song, then went right back into their chatter. 

I love our mountains. Enjoying the scenery made the drive go by so quickly. 

One of the first things we noticed when we were walking around the inside of the Bar U information centre was the brands that were lining the top of the walls. After a little hunting, we found our family ranch brand that had been placed in memory of my Grandpa. That was fun to find, and made the kids feel a bit more connected to what we were doing. 

   Because we were slow we missed the horse drawn wagon that was taking people down the the main ranch area. So we had to hoof it ourselves. An easy stroll downhill lookin at the mountains – what a hardship eh? 

We went into the blacksmith shop and he gave us a little history lesson on how the Bar U came to be and why it was such an important ranch in Alberta. 

  This was the highlight for the kids. Learning how to lasso. They were actually pretty good at it and would have stayed there all day if they could have. 

  I however, wanted to go watch the Blackfoot Dancers. They were amazing. I felt so honoured that they shared this with us. The best part was that at the end they invited the spectators to join them in a dance. It felt so good to move around with the drums beating and them dancing. 

  Of course as soon as they could the kids were back to lassoing. They actually went to the gift shop and bought their own so they could lasso each other. 

Jacob said I should go get one for when they weren’t listening to me and I could just yell and rope them. As the day went on this seemed like a better and better idea. 

  When we left the Bar U I took the kids a bit further west towards the place where my best childhood friend came from. 

First though we had to drive past the littlest church. It was just as small as I remembered it from days of yore. 

  And here we are, birthplace of Pirate Gold – aka my best friend aka my best pony buddy. 

  And honestly, no wonder I enjoyed the time I spent down here learning how to ride him. It’s so breathtaking. 

  By the time we reached Bragg Creek on our drive home we were hangry so we stopped for some Italian food and some intense giggles. I can’t remember when we have laughed harder at a meal. Thank goodness we were outside. 

  One of those wonderful big happiness days. We are having more and more days filled with happiness. I know that this is because we are focusing on bringing happiness into our lives. Even amidst the mourning and the sorrow and the intense feeling of loss we carry about my Dad, we are still finding joy in the days. I know he would want that for us and that knowledge helps motivate me to keep seeking it out even when I want to just curl up in a ball. 

My happiness moment was when we were invited into the Blackfoot dance circle to join them. What an honour and how exciting to get to do something so different. 


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