happiness

Edna’s Story 24 (FGK 141)

Grandpa was finding dynamite like he was hanging out with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.

All through the years we felt a close tie between us and our neighbours, the Indians at Morley. We would contract fencing jobs to them all summer. In the fall they would often help us harvest. And in later November would often ride with the men to help round up stray cattle. I loved our Indian friends and felt I could always trust them. We looked forward to the first of July when they held their annual Stampede in the beautiful natural setting where they had built their corrals. What a magnificent picture to view. We would park our car on the hillside looking down into the corrals and beyond them the big circle of teepees and tents with their bevy of children, cats, and dogs. And back of it all were those glistening blue foothills leading up the Rockies. Where on earth could you find more beauty and activity? I always felt well entertained. My chickens were just nice fryers by July 1 and I always fried four or five along with a salad, cake, and sandwiches that would do us for the day. Mr Harry Jacques, the jeweller from Calgary, used to have a contest with a prize for the best-dressed Indian baby. He very often asked me to be a judge and I wanted so badly to give first prize to everyone there, they were so cute and the beadwork on the buckskin was beautiful. Our kids just loved the first of July and the Morley Stampede.

We always tried to get to Banff or Vermillion Crossing for a few days holiday and fishing just before haying. Once we went to Everett, Washington, USA and dug clams just as Percy did when he lived on the coast as a boy.

Shell Oil started drilling for oil all over this country in 1946. They really messed up our country and way of life, but only struck gas. We have several wells drilled on our land and what a scar they left when they were gone. The seismograph outfits seemed to take a delight in putting a scar across a beautiful wooded area. Sure we have fine gravelled roads now because of oil companies. Roads everywhere. You have a choice of either riding your horses down the gravel road and ruining its feet or risk a bad cut from a broken bottle in the ditch. And broken bottles were not the only hazard. One fall when Percy was riding his sharp-shod horse in the ditch, the horse’s hoof hit a round cylinder that looked like a stick of dynamite. He got off and sure enough there were two sticks of dynamite carelessly thrown there. In effect, some seismograph crew hadn’t time to bother to take it back to the warehouse where it belongs. The roads faced another big problem too. We were always plagued with a little cattle rustling, but it increased drastically after the oil companies built good roads into our summer range. One year about 1949 or 50 when we brought our cows and calves home from their distant summer range, there were ten cows without their calves.

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