Dick Hunt's Blog

August 8, 2012

Some (2 legged) Kid Stories.

Filed under: Current — Tags: , , — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 10:49 pm

Some (2 legged) Kid Stories.
by Dick Hunt, August 8th, 2012.
In the busy Ranch home in Alberta where I grew up, our normal seating at meals would vary from fifteen in the winter to the mid twenties or higher from March to November. Many of the hungry people were hired men, ranch hands with big appetities. Mother always had a ‘hired girl’, from various local farm families to help with meals and chores and laundry. In the ‘growing season’ there were always large garden crops to harvest and prepare for meals. Later in the summer, vegetables and fruits of many kinds to be prepared for canning for the winter months, thousands of quart sealers to line the shelves in the basement. Gardening was a very large chore which lasted through the growing season from sowing in early April to harvesting of root crops in early October. We had a large “Root Cellar”. Our whole family (I was the middle kid of five) were always part of the crew the year round, according to our strength and ability.

We often had various extra guests at meals, no-one was ever turned away from our table. I often sat next to my Mother and she meticulously taught me (and the other siblings) good behaviour and table manners. We always said ‘please, thank you, excuse me, sorry’ and I believe Mother’s instructions rubbed off onto the hired help as well. One day I was pushed down one space away from Mother to make room for the parish minister who was visiting. She automatically reached over and moved his plate closer to the edge of the table, as she often did for me. Then, realizing what she had done, she apologized to him, there was a moment of embarrasment and he neatly responded, “thank you, I often do that with my children too” and everyone chuckled.
Ministers used to often do country visiting in the homes of their flocks in those days, travelling by horse and buggy or on Sadde back. Only later did Ministers have cars. And we younger children used to play a game with Mother as we knocked on the door, whereupon Mother used to go to the door and say, “Come in if you’re fat”. One day when she said that, no-one came in so she said it again. One the third knock, Mother opened the door and it was the minister. Mother was embarrassed but again, the Minister had a good sense of humour and knew the little games we children used to play. We didn’t have T.V. or much in the way of Radio, no vidio games, only a limited number of gramophone records with a “you wind up the coil spring drive” so we made our own entertainment. Truth to tell, we were so busy doing our own chores as part of the entire Ranching operation that doing our homework filled in whatever spare time we had. When bed time came we were ready to put our heads on the pillows and sleep the sleep of the just.

Most of those early years, soon after the end of June, Dad used to arrange for our family to get away for a week for a Holiday. Some years it was to a rented cabin on Buffalo Lake about sixty miles away. A few times it was to Banff for a week in an early version of a “bed and breakfast’. Occasionaly it was to the Calgary Stampede. On one occassion the Sunday following when Dad went to a paid parking Garage in the Studebaker dealership near our Hotel, the staff couldn’t find our car. A staff member had checked it out to a con man who saw the car by an open door, read the owner’s name and address on the storage ticket, paid the storage cost and filled the gasoline tank and they sent him off on his journey. We were driven home in a new Studebaker. No Oldsmobile car!

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