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The community hall 

One of the most difficult things about leaving home 10 years ago was the loss of our community. We moved to three very different places with three very different cultures (Quebec, New England, and Southern Virginia). We learned a lot, made some friends and did our best to settle in, but nowhere was home like it is here. 

My family is lucky enough to be a part of a very special community. Being from an old ranching family, most of the people in our area are either related or have been neighbors for 150 years. This makes for some strong bonds, some strife, and some fun parties. 

We have an old community hall which is not far from my house. My grandparents generation built the hall and brought the community together there. Actually, I learned today that the same people who put the wood on the old house I’m living in did the inside of the hall. 

There are old pictures of parties at the hall. My grandpa playing the fiddle, and various other relatives playing instruments while people danced. As a kid, I remember going to dances there. Well, to be clear us kids got to go to the pre dance dance because later on it got a little wild (as an adult later on I went to these dances and I agree with that assessment).   We would dance around, do the Butterfly, giggle with friends and cousins, and sit on the phone two seater outhouse and talk about how cool it was (they have indoor plumbing now thank goodness). 

At Christmas time, families would gather there for the annual Christmas concert. We would preform whatever talents we had, and at the end of the evening Santa would arrive and give us all presents. We used to call Santa on one of those old fashioned phones attached to a wall to see how much longer he was going to be. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are of those parties. 

Every year there’s a Stampede breakfast and the community comes together to visit and eat. It’s a great way to catch up on what everyone’s up to and it’s one of those events that you know all the old aunts and uncles are going to be at. 

It is a true community and I appreciate it now even more than I did before we left. Being a part of this tribe has always grounded me and made me feel at home and safe

My happiness moment today was going to a bridal shower at the hall. The bride has also been gone from the community for quite a few years. Yet everyone showed up to support her and celebrate with her. We sat around and looked at presents, visited, drank tea, and ate all those yummy treats that only show up at hall parties. This happiness moment made me shine from the inside out. I am so blessed to be part of this community, and I now to get to bring the kids up here in this safety net of love. 

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