This year is no exception and unfortunately this year our summer plans spilled over into the news office and created more work for the rest of the employees. In late June, Angela and I both left to attend a niece’s wedding in Ontario. It was great fun and most of Angela’s relatives behaved.
We also visited Angela’s hometown and decided to tour a local winery that recently opened. The establishment is named Hoity Toity Cellars and there is an interesting story behind the label, but I do not have time or space to go into detail. While taste testing, Angela mentioned that our home town in Saskatchewan also has a winery. The host recalled a couple coming in a few days earlier who had also mentioned Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery. He looked through the guest book for their names and we discovered we were hot on the heels of Madeline and Don Riddols. I understand Madeline is also from that area, Paisley to be specific, where Angela also has relatives.
We had a great time in the dairy-production heartland of Ontario (that’s what I call it). I was able to spend a little time in milk barns and contribute by doing some menial chores that anyone else could do in half the time. However, during our time there we could not help but think of the three people we had left behind. Anytime 40 per cent of a workforce disappears it means there is going to be long hours and an immense amount of work for the remaining workers. They did an awesome job producing three newspapers in a week (and the Grade 12 grad supplement) and thankfully they returned to work when we got back. Thank you very much Faith, Megan and Marcia, for going way beyond the call of duty so that we could enjoy 10 days in the East. My dream is to one day visit the far east: New Brunswick, P.E.I, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Jumping forward to the present, I have to say it was a real treat to get back home in time to attend Consul’s 100th anniversary celebration. It was a bit of a rush to get there, but everything came together and we traveled south of the hills Friday night. Arriving in town, it was immediately apparent that people had gone to a lot of work and pitched in to brighten up the town and make it shine. It looked incredible and I am not the only person of that opinion. The event attracted a lot of people, some whom we have not seen for years. It left me struggling to remember names, so I hope folks will forgive me if I didn’t call them by name because the crush of people at all the events was overwhelming.
It seems like the one thing that everyone had in common was a sense of family – a community that has pulled together for 100 years and defied the odds of fading into oblivion. The residents of Consul and the RM of Reno can be proud that their collective efforts have kept the town alive. I know Consul is technically a village, but I unofficially designated it a town due to the way the folks in the area pull together. The community is small, but it displays the heart of a much larger center.
I was surprised to see Dr. Tim Crawshaw and Doreen Kohls there and enjoyed having time to relax and chat with the man who was the pillar of Maple Creek’s health care for many years – actually decades. Full coverage of the event will be featured in the July 10 issue.
Like many others, we camped at Consul and helped push the population upwards to 1,000 (that’s my guestimation and not an official number). On Saturday morning, Angela and I were woken by an early morning text. We learned that our son, Jordan, and his wife, Danielle, had a baby girl. We joined the grandparents club at Consul’s 100th anniversary! The birth of our first grandchild, Grace Elizabeth, on July 5 carried us back 30 years to July 7 when Angela delivered Jordan at Whitehorse after a much longer labour than her daughter-in-law experienced. That started the third phase of my life. The first phase was my youth, the second phase was my marriage to my wonderful wife, and the third phase was having three great children.
Looking back, phase 1 seemed so important at the time and it was in the sense that it is the molding and shaping of a future adult. However, phase 2 and 3 are truly the most incredible aspects of life because they take a person to entirely new levels – new levels of intimacy, love and understanding. I have also learned that it is amazing how the years and decades fly by. The quick passing of time continually reminds me that I need to take advantage of every moment or I truly will be left behind, and possibly with a bunch of regrets.
My only regret at the moment is July is so busy that I am already ready to drop. Maple Creek must be one of the few areas that has three rodeos is less than two weeks. Factor in the upcoming Heritage Festival and fundraiser for William Francis-Schimpf and the calendar begins to fill up fast.