In Grandma’s Words part 13 (FGK-75)

One of my most valued artifacts in this house is a buckskin jacket with beadwork sewn on it. I was told that years ago (waaaay before my time) one of the ladies on the reserve who Grandma was friends with wanted to go to a fancy function but she didn’t have a gown that was appropriate for it. Grandma gave her one of hers so that the woman would be able to go, and never thought much of it again. A while later the buckskin jacket was gifted to Grandma as a thank you for the gift of the gown, and the beads that were hand sewn onto it were taken off of said gown. I look at it daily and it serves me as a reminder of how important it is to live life with an open heart, to give freely, and to receive with gratitude. Again, I try to be sensitive to the words that are used. Grandma only every spoke respectfully of our Indigenous neighbours to the west of us, and so I stayed true to the words written because it was what was used at the time.

The jacket
The beadwork

Grandma’s Cheese Straw recipe! My kids grew up eating cheese straws, and they are one of my fondest memories of snack munching as a kid. I agree with her sentiment that it’s a very precious recipe.

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 later in 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 and their children, cats, and dogs. And back of it all those Gissing blue foothills leading up to 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 1st and I always fried about four or five and along with a salad, cake, and sandwiches that would do us for the day.

My 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, Wash, USA and dug clams just as Percy did when he lived at the coast as a boy.

Family fun time
Family picnic at the ranch
As you can see from the caption “slave labour”. The running joke is that the CL on the brand stands for “Continuous Labour”.

Stampede 2017

The kids and I did the rides at the stampede grounds today. Well, to be honest the kids did the rides and I people watched. I have never been a huge fan of the rides. Love those little donuts, don’t need the rides   

But the kids loved it, and I love seeing them happy. We didn’t do the rides last year because it rained all of stampede week so it was really cool to see how those two years have made the kids excellent ride partners. They are so gutsy it amazes me. 

Quality family time. These moments are precious. The boy is 16 – time is flying by. I’m honoured they want to spend so much time with me.  Happiness ❤️

(The donuts were the best part in my opinion) 


Stampede breakfast 

We had our annual stampede breakfast at the hall this morning and because I’m on he board I helped put it on. Mostly this included scrambling 30 dozen eggs – which was hot work, but we had fun while doing it. 

This is one of my favourite parties of the year – almost all of the community comes out to visit and eat. This year as an extra bonus one of my childhood friends showed up – I found out she’s dating one of the guys from out here – and we got to catch up a little on life. She’s so happy and at peace with where her life is. It’s good to be in the energy of people like that. 

The morning was filled with visits and laughter with cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. I’ve said it before – but I really feel like I won the tribe lottery. 

This is happiness 

The group photo was taken by Holly Nicoll, the rest came off my iPhone. 


The heart of Calgary 

We headed down to the Stampede today despite the torrential downpour. It’s been a cold, rainy week here – kind of disappointing considering the 10 day party that should be going on. When we got to the grounds there was no line at all to get in which never happens. 

Despite the fact that it was raining so hard you could barely see, the volunteers were jumping up and down to stay warm with big smiles on their faces waving people into the gates. I was impressed by how happy they were considering the fact I knew they were soaked and cold. 

We had a once in a lifetime Stampede experience in that despite the fact that we were unable to go on any rides the entire experience cost me under 15$ for our C-Train tickets and that was it. We were gifted passes into the gate by one cousin and 50$ in Stampede Bucks by another one and that covered our costs at the grounds. Of course all we needed were mini donuts and cotton candy, but still…

It was impressive how cheerful people were at the grounds considering how not cheerful the weather was. The people at the mini donuts were singing Christmas carols, people were running through the rain laughing, a little kid was wacking a puddle with his toy sword. 

On our return home a couple approached us and gave us train tickets they’d just bought but then had decided to stay at the grounds longer, so we rode home for free. When we arrived at our stop a very kind gentleman stood in the rain and held the door for us so we could run inside ahead of him. 

These are the reasons why I love Calgary. It is a city that has huge heart. Even now when it has grown so much and there has been such a downturn in the economy  there is still so much kindness and joy in our city. It made me proud to call this place home. My happiness moment, my Calgary. 

Gotta love those donuts 


Come together 

Today was the annual stampede breakfast at our community hall. We were really lucky and had beautiful weather for it. The yard was full of family and neighbours (and as we discovered a lot of them we didn’t know – the difficulty of having missed so many years, or of being super introverted) visiting and laughing. 

Some of the family/community I only seem to catch up with at this breakfast so it’s always an event I look forward to. Although, I have noticed that now that we are home we are able to do a lot more visiting at other times. 

I notice every time that we attend one of these functions that the kids are more and more comfortable and confident as part of the tribe which delights me to my core. Knowing there are strong, stable roots helps give you the strength to fly. 

The hall 

The girls getting ready to head up to the breakfast. 
On top of the happiness of visiting with my people, the kids and I headed west for an evening in Banff. Sometimes you just need that mountain hug (and fondue and candy) being in the mountains always brings me happiness. 

I’ve realized I need to spend more time in conscious gratitude for the awesome gifts I’ve been given. I feel like I’ve been running , putting out fires, and not accomplishing enough. Sometimes the best way for me to accomplish more is by slowing down and doing less. 


The roar of a Sunday crowd 

We were fortunate enough to have tickets to the rodeo finals this afternoon at the Stampede. I haven’t been to a rodeo in ages, the Stampede rodeo in longer, and possibly never to the finals (or I was a little kid and can’t remember – we used to go a lot when I was younger).

Going as an adult and as a parent was totally different, and here’s my take on it….. I loved it. I thought I would enjoy it, but even I was amazed at how totally into it I got. I was just kind of enthusiastic until the barrel racing started and then if I could have gone down to the track and raced myself I would have. I think I’ve found what I want to be when I grow up. A barrel racer. All the excitement of show jumping but without the jumps. I was enthralled. I turned into a screaming lunatic and it lasted the rest of the afternoon. It was so much fun. 

My happiness moment: cheering loudly as they raced around the barrels.  

I looked over to see how Jacob was enjoying himself and was delighted to see this:


Sitting with his uncle whom he adores and admires. As a huge bonus, my uncle knows all things rodeo and Stampede and is a great person for Jacob to learn from. It was a happy moment. 

I also had a moment of awareness – again – I have this one  every so often but I was reminded of it again while we were walking the midway. I have a female cousin who is a rancher, a cowgirl, and a lady. Watching the dignified way she walks through the crowd while dressed up on her fancy western gear is inspiring. She is truly the definition of a lady rancher. She shows how classy and respectable one can and should look while dressed in western attire. She is an admirable example to all of us of the grace and self respect we should all have as women. I am proud to call her cousin. 

It was a day filled with big happiness moments and I will treasure them for a long time. It was fun to spend the day with family and it was important to be reminded of our heritage and our roots, it was good for the kids to have that deeper sense of where they come from. 



Chucks and the Grandstand Show

 Today was a big happiness moment. My uncle treated my Mom and I to the grandstand show at the Stampede tonight. 

We did the fun family tradition of betting on the chuckwagons – I actually did better than I thought I would have. 

Out family has a long history with the Stampede and it was wonderful to get to be a part of that. And now since it it 1am I am happily off to bed so I can wake up early and take my kids to the grounds tomorrow. Happiness 



Stampede breakfast at the Hall

Every year our community hall throws a stampede breakfast and all the neighbours (most of whom are related) come out and have a long overdue visit. The kids and I have been fortunate enough the last two years to have been able to attend this community function. 

Communities aren’t the same as they used to be, or maybe it’s that we have been the new people in so many communities over the past few years that we missed the sense of belonging. But in this community, our community, most of the families have been here forever (which in Alberta terms is just over a hundred years). So, even when there are faces I don’t recognize, I can still figure out who they are by asking a couple of questions. 

I had some lovely visits with family and neighbours today. I feel like some of these people I wait a whole year to see at the breakfasts. Sad since we now live so close (hopefully this changes and I will see them more often) but it shows how important these community events are because we need to see each other.

My happiness moment today was when my Mom arrived at the Hall. She came a little later than we did, so I was already sitting at a table when she came in. I was in a position that I could see not only her, but the expressions of people around her. The smiles and love and warmth that radiated out of the family and neighbours as they watched her come in was overwhelming. This community of tough and strong ranchers also has so much tender love to give. The love and support on their faces as they welcomed her into the crowd is exactly why we need to be around our tribes. 

I had a bonus happiness moment today. My cousin and her family from the Yukon came over for a visit this afternoon. I haven’t seen her since 2007 and I’d never met her kids.  I love the family tie that can bind you together even when years and time may keep you apart. 

We went out for a walk and I saw my favourite flower, the wood lily 

The lily on the right is actually a conjoined twin flower. There are two complete lillies on one stem. I’ve never seen anything like that. Pretty cool.