Edna’s Story 17 (FGK 134)

I read these stories and I have to ask – If the generations before us knew what little asshats Shetland ponies were, whey did they make us ride them??? Aren’t we supposed to be making life easier for the generations that follow us??? I suppose it must have been an early method of toughening us up haha. Here’s A link to a write up about that war prison camp Grandma mentions.

One fall a cattle buyer who bought our steers, gave Marshall a Shetland pony when he was about four years old. I have never liked Shetland ponies but Marshall was very happy and wanted to be on it all the time. One fine afternoon when I decided to ride across the creek and get the milk cows in, I let Marshall ride his pony and come with me. My horse stopped half way across the creek to have a drink and I looked back to see how Marshall was doing. Clarence was building a fence nearby. The Shetland had stopped at the edge of a deep pool to have a drink too, and I could see both Marshall and the saddle were slowly sliding over his head. I called to Clarence just about the time Marshall plopped into the cold water. The dumb Shetland sat on the bank like a dog sits down and it had the saddle on its head like a hat. Clarence and I both headed to the rescue but things happened too fast for us. Marshall no sooner hit the water when he bounced out again and was in a howling rage. It all looked so comical. Clarence and I just went into helpless laughter which only made Marshall furious. He walked home in a huff and we were so weak from laughing at that crazy looking pony we could hardly get the saddle off. Later that pony ran away with Sheila one day and threw her onto a big rock and broke her elbow.

My father had sold his farm and rented an apartment in Calgary. While Sheila was in the hospital with her broken arm – it had to be broken a second time to get it right – my Dad visited her every day and read stories to her. He also helped Percy cut crop a few times when help was scarce. He loved the children dearly and always called Margi “Peggie”. The last day he visited us in November 1942, Marshall and Margi clung to his legs and begged him to stay but he had two companions with him and returned to town. That night he died of a heart attack.

As the war advanced, our lack of manpower became a real problem. The French Canadians came to work in the harvest fields but were unused to our ways. One year we had a harvest crew of soldiers and they were very good. The Indians helped us a lot as long as the work wasn’t too steady, and we always liked working with them. During the war there was a war prison camp up at Kananaskis and every now and then one or two would escape and we were about the closest area of civilization. We were nervous but usually the persons were quite thankful to be captured again after a night or two in this rugged country.


In Flanders Fields

The poem In Flanders Fields has always tugged at my heartstrings. I didn’t have grandparents or great grandparents who fought in the war, but I was brought up being very aware of the sacrifices that soldiers made for our country, and I have a great amount of gratitude. 

My elementary school did an excellent job of explaining Remembrance Day to us kids. They brought in soldiers who had fought and they told us their stories. They brought in holocaust survivors who told their stories and who showed us their tattoos (that visual was pretty powerful and has stayed with me all these  years later).  

In university I studied Canadian history and learned more about Canada’s role during the world wars. My appreciation for those who left and fought for our freedom grew, as it did for those who stayed and grew food (my family) or supported the war on the Homefront in other ways. 

During the time we lived in the states I got to know quite a few families who had loved ones fighting now, and I became very aware of the fears, love, pain, and pride that was felt by their families. 

This is the first Remembrance Day that the kids remember honouring in Canada. It’s been moving to see how it has touched them, especially Jacob. I am so happy and grateful to live in this blessed and beautiful country. I am grateful for all of those who have given their lives so we can live in safety and peace. My happiness moment.