Dick Hunt's Blog

March 20, 2013

Compilation of My Writing 2003 to 2007

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 2:17 pm

A compilation of my writing, dated 2003 to 2007, various years (from Stettler AB web site Hunt.htm

The Reverend Dick Hunt was the Rector of St. Georges Anglican Church  in Stettler from 1957 to 1964. Dick and his wife Ruth  are retired and reside in Maple Ridge, B.C. and are members of St. George’s in Maple Ridge.

The St. George’s Stettler congregation has never forgot about the wonderful, kind, and spiritual man that Dick Hunt is. Dick along with his family, inspired our church to grow and brought so many people closer to God. It is with great delight that we are honored to share the amazing stories that Dick has so kindly allowed us to display.

Enjoy !

My credentials, as I understand them, are these.  Dick Hunt.
I believe that everything that has occurred in my life has been preparation for the minstry of the Gospel in the world around me.  I am sure that God knew before I was conceived in my Mother’s womb that I would answer His call to Ordained Ministry.  I am sure that my teachers in our one roomed school (ten different ones in ten years with ten grades in attendance) prepared me well in my ability to express myself in writing and speaking intelligently. I  am sure without a hint of self doubt that the life to which I have been called is right for me, the Churches where I have served and my role as a husband and Father. My  years of studies in Agriculture and associated sciences and my years in the Air Force have been training for ministry.  My years as husband and father and grandfather have been a large part of my preparation too.  When I became aware that God wanted me to become active in leadership in  the Church, I felt very inadequate, but I started first as a committee member, then as a Sunday School teacher.  Then I felt called to preach the Gospel and applied to become a Lay Reader and was so licenced and commissioned by the Bishop.  Then I was instructed by the Bishop to take services and Preach every Sunday in a United Church in the winter months for two years and every other Sunday in our little Anglican Church, St. Paul’s Byemoor and to preach, and all that without any formal training as a  Lay Reader. And then I was sent to other more distant congregations, mostly Anglican to do the same.  And on top of that, I was elected a School Trustee in a large town/rural District.  More training for ministry.  The time came when I was persuaded that  God willed me to simply give in and become a full time,  married Priest and He showed me how it could happen.  We ceased to be active partners in Ranching, moved to Saskatoon Saskatchewan, I studied at  Emmanuel College there for two years and was ordained on May 31st, before moving to Stettler in the first week of June, 1957.  During those two years, I completed studies through General Synod in a program called Scholar in Theology, while at the same time monitoring the  lectures in the College and taking tutorials from the staff.   In addition to that, I was put to work half time for one full study year in a suburban Parish in Saskatoon, of ninety families during which time we moved the Parish from a budget of $1,200 a year to full self support and spent  a great deal of time and effort in renovating the Rectory and preparing it for a full time Priest and his family.  And that was the year during which our fourth child was born and suffered the loss of his right leg due to bone cancer at the age of 16 days. Please do not tell me that God does not honor our efforts, no matter how feeble they may seem to those of us who are struggling. It is when we truly say  yes to God and yield ourselves to the Power of His Holy Spirit that He is really honored. Let us Worship Him, in Spirit and in Truth, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A Mini Biography, by Dick Hunt, December 16th, 2006.
I was born on August 4th, 1920 the third of five children, in the Ribstone Ranch House at  Endiang AB where my Father, Harold Hunt homesteaded in 1904. He was born near Evesham in Worcestershire England on March 18th, 1883 and came to Canada at the age of 18. My Maternal Grandfather, William Foreman Jr., was born at Whitstable, Kent, England in about 1850 and immigrated to Muskoka Ontario. He  owned and operated the “Endiang Hotel” there on the Indian River, before moving to what later became Endiang Alberta in 1909, my Mother at age 14 being with him. They operated a store and Post Office and it was there that my parents first met.  Endiang came from  an Indian name meaning, “Our Home”.
They were married in St. George’s Parish Church  on February third, 1913 by the Revd. W. H. Mostyn Pritchard, and there is a plaque in his memory in the sanctuary of the present Church.  It was my privilege to become the Deacon,  later Priest in charge of the Parish in 1957.  Bishop Calvert was not aware that my parents had been married there, which strengthens my belief that God has His own design for arranging things.  My father was a good parent and schooled us in the  responsible use of this worlds gifts, including the care and excercise of our physical strength as workers in agriculture and care of the natural resources. He challenged us to always do our best  and not waste time in making excuses. My Mother taught us the gentle side of life; manners, spiritual life,  home care, sharing and caring.  They were a great parenting team.  My one sister and three brothers too were a fine model for co-operative family life and we had a happy and productive life together.  In 1941, with the second world war raging and spreading I felt called to enlist and joined the R.C.A.F in July, beginning my training in Calgary as a Wireless Technician.  The second more advanced stage of training was in Toronto at Manning Depot; immunization shots, drills, discipline,  spit and polish and then six more months in Montreal in Radio Technology.  Active service began in May 1942 at Bella Bella (now called Shearwater) off the west coast of B.C. where I spent 19 months.  We serviced Bomber and Reconnaissance aircraft (Amphibans) used for continental protection,  and water craft and it was a good training session for what occurred later in my life.  I was transferred  to Number 10 Repair Depot in Calgary at the end of 1943, until early 1944 when the service was overstafted with Wireless techs and I received my honorable Discharge. On January4th, 1943 I was moved to attend a service at St. Stephens Anglican Church in Calgary, having read their notice at the R.C.A.F. Station.  An announcement said there would be a Monday evening A.Y .P.A Dance (read Anglican Young People’s Association) in  the Parish Hall and I resolved to be there.  The first person I saw when I entered was a girl called Ruth Brandon.  We danced together to “Life In The Finland Woods” and “Blue Danube Waltz” and the rest  is history. We have no doubt at all that  God orchestrated the whole of our lives to that point to bring us together and to keep us, in harmony.  We saw a lot of each other, without benefit of spare income or entertainment but  walked many miles in the evenings and enjoyed every moment together.  We were married in St. Stephen’s on October 14th and have had a marvellous life together for 62 years. Our four children; a girl, a boy, a girl, a boy have been a great joy to us and we have nine grandchildren, three  blended grandchildren, (now two, one having been lost in a tragic accident at the age of 22) and two great grandsons, to date. We moved back to the Ranch when I was discharged and  melded into the Ranching life again (Ruth was no stranger to agriculture) for ten years. Two events prior to meeting Ruth had begun a important change in my life.  Although I had been attending Church quite regularly from a young age, under the influence of my Mother, it could not have been said that I had a deep understanding of the Christian Faith.  Our Church services were at  best infrequent in the country.   In 1942 however, my Mother had sent  me a book by Lloyd C. Douglas entitled, “The Robe”.  Soon after I read it, I was moved to go with my good friend Larry Goodwill to the Protestant Communion  service on Christmas Eve in the large, empty recreation hall.  It was pouring rain, I had received no Christmas mail and I was depressed and lonely.  The attendance was 24 airmen out of a complement of 600 men.  The other 22 men present had been drinking heavily. If that had not been enough to unsettle me,  when the Chaplain came in, he was very drunk and unstable. Years later, when I had spent much time working with alcoholics I heard that he had died in Calgary, never having recovered his sobriety.  After that experience, I went straight back to my bunk, dug my King James Bible out of the bottom of my kit bag (my mother sent me off to war with that too) and read it all night looking for answers.  I have read it ever since.
When I met Ruth, my life took a very decided change for the better.  I had found my best ever friend and we have never looked back. She provided a focus that included a more active role in the Church, Grace at meals, a constant helpmate and delight. The more we read the Bible, the deeper our faith and commitment and zeal to share the  Gospel progressed and that desire has never wavered. I want to make it clear that I take no credit for what God has given me by way of understanding,  faith or  effectiveness in Ministry. I have done only what God has enabled me to do and all the Glory belongs to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  From the time I was ordained and became the minister in charge of St. George’s until the present, I have simply tried to serve and please God and be His servant and friend.  After seven years in Stettler, we moved to St. Peter’s Williams Lake for nine years, to St. Peter’s Campbell River on Vancouver Island for 12 years, to St. Mary Magdalene’s Mayne Island for 32 months (after retirement) and now for 19 years as a member of St. George’s Maple Ridge, B.C. I accept every opportunity to teach and to preach and to minister in the name of Jesus Christ and am never happier than when I am able to actively share the great news of  Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life, for no-one comes to the Father except through Him. I am happy to make available to St. George’s Parish in  Stettler whatever of my writings may be found helpful, through the medium of the Internet and St. George’s Web Site.  My  only prayer is that they may be found helpful in the lives of those who read them and so strengthen the Parish in it’s Ministry and further the spread of the Gospel in Stettler and beyond.  Sincerely in Christ, Dick.

Deficit Living in late 2006,  Dick Hunt, December 7th
Reading yesterday some statistics re personal and corporate indebtedness has reminded me that there is a valid spiritual application to be considered.  Along with the commercialization of the western world, there is also a strong inclination toward putting off the finite aspect of our individual lives.  We all have to face the music and face up to our indebtedness to the moneylenders and to God. Add to that the majority voice of the advertisers and the media to incline us to  put off the day of reckoning.  And that day will surely come just as  the bills come and often get bigger as time goes on. Actually the economy is staggeringly overextending with the credit system, the nothing down and no interest offers and the never never plans. The Old Testament Psalm 73 ponders the problem of the apparent happiness of the wicked and verse 16f “when I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, until I went into the sanctuary of God,  then I understood their final destiny…” (N.I.V.) gives us a picture of the danger. Whether or not people agree that  every human being belongs to God who alone gives the breath of life is, as I believe,  not debatable.  Of course we cannot prove scientifically that God exists.  But we can be sure that He exists for the millions of people in each generation who have committed themselves to Him and who know He lives in us. And those who are the most committed to Him are also sure that He intends that we should live holy and selfless lives for His glory and praise.
It is also true, as will be attested by believers, that  the closer we come to God, the more we realize how far from perfect and holy our lives are. God has the right to demand our total obedience and holiness, but He loves us in spite of our sins (read, coming short of the Glory of God). In other words, we are constantly  in a state of deficit relationship with our Maker and Father, God.  We are in no way in a position to allow us to boast of our achievements.  But the Gospel of God, which we know as the Good News of Salvation is that our heavenly Father has by His own will and His everlasting love made provision for us to be forgiven all that debt, wipe out the deficit, give us a fresh balance sheet, so to speak and a chance to start afresh.  That is the Salvation that has been provided by the birth, ministry, death  and resurrectiion of our Savior Jesus Christ.  When we make use of our plastic money, (credit cards) it is so easy to allow our spending to get out of hand, as can be attested by millions of people in our western world.  The cost in interest is horrendous and overwhelming. In much the same way , the cost of ignoring God through unbridled seeking after excitement and physical thrills and passions adds up to more and more separation from the love of our Father in heaven.  The barriers between us and God become so huge that  the only way we can get back to Him is by surrender, capitulation, as was the case in the parable of the prodigal son.
The man Jesus who  told that parable is the one who has, by His own agony on the cross and His resurrection from the dead  provided for all who turn to Him in penitence the wiping out of our idebtedness to the Father.  He alone can remove the barriers we erect between ourselves and the Father who loves us beyond human understanding. He bore the horrifying sins of the whole world on his own shoulders, in  his own body on the cross and thus opened the way of salvation for all who repent and believe the Gospel.  No more deficit of sin and rebellion to separate us from the Father!  But what if we again sin and begin again to build the barrier?  We all do that because of the sin that “so easily besets us”.  We  learn that when we do sin and know the wall is building again, we must  quickly confess our selfishness and ask forgiveness and receive the cleansing love of God.  As long as we live in these bodies of ours, we will be in the process of “beginning again”, each time becoming more strong in overcoming temptation and praising the Father for His everlasting love, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Being in debt is a heavy and destructive burden to bear. And whether we are talking about the fiinancial deficit or the spiritual deficit, the effect is similar.  We become weaker and weaker in our effectiveness until we have no strength to recover by ourselves.  A good financial adviser may well put us back on track for economic health if we accept the advice and stick with a plan.  In the case of spritual health, the only plan that will work is the one devised by God, through Jesus Christ, for all mankind.  Christianity is the only Way that deals effectively with sin and disobedience.  And it works, every time, because it is God’s own plan, attested by Him when He raised Jesus from the dead. It  is sealed by  God’s own blood, shed for us on the Cross.  His love is absolute and unconditional.  Praise Him!

The Ken Ince Story;  by Dick Hunt

When we were in the parish of St. George’s Stettler, one of our active  women in the Parish was Pat Ince, who had a lovely husband Ken and three fine children.  Pat was in Church every Sunday with the children, active during the week and a fine witness for the Lord in the community. Ken however had been brought up in a family quite remote from  the Church and the Faith.  His Dad evidently thought that the Christian faith was built upon myths, and schemes to get people’s money. But Ken was very supportive of his family and their activity in the Church. Pat had the good sense not to press Ken or his family in the matter, but continued to show great love and compassion to them. I knew Ken chiefly as the owner –  operator of a service station in the town.  I bought gasoline from him, he did basic maintenance for me and we were good friends.  After we had known each other for a couple of years, he asked me one day what those classes were that we had on Monday nights and I told him they were Confirmation classes.  We discussed that and he asked if he could come without making any commitment to become a Church member and I said, “of course, each person has to make up their own mind about that and I would only present those persons who I believed were ready to make that commitment. So he came, each monday night, and Pat came wiith him to reinforce her own understanding. In the meantime, a young man named Rodney Andrews was referred to me by the Bishop, to be prepared for Confirmation.  He believed himself to be called of God to Ordination and I gladly did as I was asked. Rod was in the town of Delburne across the River and his parents were United Church members.  Rod had been active in Scouting under the leadership of a Anglican Priest and was attracted to the life and witness of  the Anglican way. He was confirmed in Stettler and went off to Emmanuel College in Saskatoon for his studies. Subsequently he was assigned to me as his spiritual mentor and worked with us in the Parish for three summers. He stayed with Ken and Pat and the family during those years and worked week days  for Ken at the service station.  He was then Ordained Deacon in Stettler and went off to Parish duties elsewhere.  He is an integral part of the Ken Ince story and is dearly loved by those who know him. He is now the Bishop of the Diocese of Saskatoon.  There we eight young couples with small children in that class and they were quite determined to fully understand each detail of the teaching before we went on to the next step. They were a great delight to teach and the fellowship in the group was precious.  Some of the wives had been confirmed years before but said that they were now learning more than they had ever dreamed possible. There was also a teen age class and they too were a great group and fun to teach.  And Ken spent that time as a regular worshiper on Sundays, with his family. One of the teen age class was a Chinese girl, Arlene Wong, 18 years of age, who had been brought up a Buddhist.  She had been persuaded to attend a weekend camp which I conducted at the old Camp Oliver (Diocesan Camp) south west of Calgary by her school chums and at first was reluctant to believe what she was hearing. But at the Campfire on the Saturday evening, she came to believe in the living Christ and was enchanted to be His Disciple. Suddenly as we were studying a passage from Ephesians, Arlene jumped to her feet and danced around the campfire saying, “I’m free, I’m free”.  Someone said, “what do you mean Arlene.  she said “I’m free from all my sin’s, Jesus has taken them all away”. When the time came for the class to be confirmed, I led the whole group up to the narthex alongside the choir, and one of the older choir members said, very audibly, “who let that Chink in here”.  I was flabbergasted and so were those who heard the remark.  Arlene was almost totally demolished by that unkindness and since the service was about to begin, I could not counsel her until after the service. It is to her great credit that she was not driven away from the Lord. One of the class that was not present for the service was Ken.  He was off to Medicine Hat for the weekend.  No  reason for his absence was ever presented to me, but he continued to attend each Sunday with his family.    But again, he was not confirmed  with the new class. The third year he was again back in the class and in Church each Sunday.  And shortly before the Bishops’ visit, he approached me and asked that I Baptize him  and present him for Confirmation.  He said, “I had to have my doubts and my unbelief resolved before I could honestly make my commitment to Christ, but now I am ready”. Every step of his life thereafter was proof as to how ready he was and his family and the congregation  were delighted.  Ken was a steadfast and powerful example of  dedication and joyful praise in Christ.   Sometime after we had left the Parish and moved to Williams Lake, Ken developed a Brain Tumour which gradually forced him to reduce his activities.  But he took the lead in adding a new wing to the Church buildiing on both levels and installing an elevator for those who experienced difficulty with stairs.  He was an active choir member and assisted with services in various ways.  Eventually he was unable to function and went to his Lord without fear and with full trust and confidence in God our Father with Jesus Christ our Saviour.  The addition to the church building, appropriately is called “The Ken Ince Wing” and was dedicated in his memory. In the meantime, I have been able to learn that most of the class that started out with Ken have continued  to be very active leaders in the Faith of Christ in the various areas where they have lived.  Some have slipped beyond my reach and knowledge.  They were such a joy to me and I praise God for them all.  A footnote;  Arlene Wong was active in St. Georges and was going with a nice young Chinese man called Harold Gee.  He was with Arlene in Church one Sunday when I baptised a number of small infants.  As he watched, he burst  out laughing, but quickly recovered. He asked me after the service if that was the way I had Baptized Arlene. So I explained. Sometime later I officiated at their marriage, the day before they left for their new home in Vancouver. Arlene wrote me to say that “the seed which I had planted in  her was still growing!”

The Magic of Thank You:  by Dick Hunt,   November 2004

I received a message this morning from Chris, which triggered the title above.  It was a thank you for sending along some stories I wrote yesterday.  I recalled again for the ten thousandth time what my Mother taught me so well all those years ago when I was  a little boy.  “Always say please and thank you to let people know you  appreciate them.  I recall a little story I heard years ago, involving a small boy and his mother.  They had been invited to a neighbours to meet some of the people who lived on the same street.  The hostess had made some pies and asked the boy what kind of pie he wanted, apple, or raisin.  He answered “apple”.  His mother said, “apple what Bobby”?  And he answered, “apple first”.  She said he must say the magic word.  So he said, “the magic word”.  But in spite of the difficulties of getting the point across, we need to persevere. For years Ruth and I have sometimes been disappointed with our grandchildren when we give them presents and they  do not say thank you.  They frequently just take the package and unwrap it, seeming pleased with it but not saying thanks.  See the paragraph above.  Unless they are taught to show gratitude for gifts and blessings when young, they will likely spend years wondering why other people are so stingy.  I play a little game when I am going through the check outs in the Grocery store.  I say “Thank you”and then I add, “my Mother taught me to say thank you” and that always brings a smile of response, not only from the clerks but also from  customers who hear it.  It is simple to get a point across with a little message and a smile. Years ago in Stettler Alberta I was coming out of the post office and noticed a man who was following close behind me, reading a letter.  As I held the door open for him, he stopped in the doorway, finished reading the whole  letter while I held the door open and then breezed on out to the sidewalk, totally oblivious of the small courtesy I had rendered.  It was even more sad, because he was one of the local Pastors in the town.  I still hold the door open for people following me and most of them do say thank you.  But there are still those who do not notice the courtesy. A closely related subject has to do with a recent trend in response to “thank you”.  A great many people now respond with “no problem”  instead of something like, “you’re welcome”, which in my view is much more appropriate.  To say, “no problem” seems to imply that the response means, “I am the superior type who can do this thing for you”.  My preference is, “you’re welcome”  which I believe expresses acknowledgement of the courtesy . Many little courtesies which we learned in days gone by  when we were young have been discarded along the way, like garbage discarded along the streets and roads of our country.  One which distresses me is the trend of males to wear their hats, like badges of merit, in the house.  In my young days we never did that and it was considered a discourtesy to the lady of the house.  I cannot rest easily with this practice. I recall a wedding guest in Campbell River who wore his large black “Cowboy” hat in the church.  In spite of the “full house”  (not cards),  I leaned into the pew and quietly said, “would you be so kind as to remove your hat in Church”.  If looks could kill, you would not be reading this. He was furious that I should interfere with his right to wear his hallmark, but he removed it and though most of the people were quietly amused, his eyes were filled with animosity, following my every move. Ingratitude leads to all sorts of other character problems.  If I am not grateful for the services  freely rendered me by others, it comes to mean that I consider them my rights instead of gifts, thus risking alienation  between the receiver and those who care enough to be kind and generous toward me.  I believe that taking other people for granted is a character fault which needs to be confronted by gentle persuasion.  With patience.  At a deeper level,  failure to realize that everything we have and everything we are and the very bodies we “live in” are on loan to us from God, brings another barrier into our lives which only God can remove.  Those who believe in God are often accused in our day of “bringing guilt trips” on unbelievers.  They appear to think that we consider ourselves better than them and probably we are guilty of giving them that impression. In fact, not one of us is considered righteous in God’s sight.   (Romans 3:10) It has been well said that misery loves company.  And it is easy to see that evil people, those who are apparently without conscience, are busy recruiting whoever they can to be in their company.  On the other hand, those who have found that God loves them, having made Himself known to us who believe by His self revelation, normally try to lead whoever we may into God’s Kingdom.  Significantly for me, when I became aware of the very presence of Jesus Christ with me in the hay field more than fifty years ago, my first desire was to share Him with any others who would give me the time of day.  That is a passion that has never diminished. That is when my thank you’s became much more widespread and much more focused at the same time.  From having blandly taken for granted the world around me; the many blessings,  family, nature, (flowers especially), birds, the seasons, sunrises, sunsets, the dew on the grass on country mornings,  the list simply grew longer with the days that  passed.
An example.  When I was helping Tim and Elaine with a building project two or three years ago on Saltspring Island near Victoria, I fell backwards from a step ladder and crashed, expecting to land on the concrete floor.  As I was  picking myself up, Tim and Elaine came rushing over to help me and Tim said, “Dad, why did you say that”.  I said “what did I say?”   He told me I had said, “thank you Lord”.  I had thanked the Lord for the fact that I landed on the space heater instead of the concrete and the gratitude just  came out that way.  I damaged the space heater, cut my hand badly and bruised my back, but healed quickly with no lasting damage.  Thank you Lord. When we travel in the car I am now much more aware of the constant possibility of being in a serious accident with so many vehicles roaring by in both directions.  But God protects us often and often even though we are unaware of the imminence of grave danger.  In fact we have been in serious accidents, the first in Calgary in 1966 when we were  rear ended by a fifteen yard loaded gravel truck and trailer, estimated to be travelling seventy miles per hour, down hill.  The car was totalled, (see my story, “The Miracle of a Sturdy Bumper”), but we survived.  Thank you Lord. Since that we have been in three accidents causing thousands of dollars in damage,  each time caused by other drivers.  But we have not suffered lasting injuries.  Nor have the drivers in the other cars.  I am sure however that we have not been protected because we deserve to be,  but simply because God loves us and does not want anyone to suffer, but to come to a knowledge of His grace and mercy. We obviously need a lot of reminders and lessons from God to begin to get the point He is trying to make with us.  In our daily quiet times we are  astonished at the countless times that God’s people have been warned and reminded by God’s prophets down the centuries as related in Holy Scripture.  Yet we so soon forget.  And what we forget the most often is to thank God for His countless blessings and mercies to us and to all people. In our day, with so much violence and so many “natural disasters”,  I am certain that the Lord of all Creation is still, in His mercy and patience trying to get our attention.  It is now politically correct in most of the “developed world” to try to rule God out of the picture altogether and to try to build a life dependent upon only our own “resources”.  The result is like a giant screen before our very eyes, disaster upon disaster and increasing evil beyond all reason.  Yet God has revealed Himself to all the world  in the person Of Jesus Christ, who came to make Him and His great love and mercy known to all mankind,  freely offering forgiveness and Eternal Life to all who will respond.  Thank you Lord.
A Lovely Gift From God, by Dick Hunt,  September 2004
Before I trained for the Priesthood, I was active in St. Paul’s, Byemoor, a rural Parish in Alberta. One Sunday afternoon, I was attempting the impossible (for me) and God intervened in the “Person” of a sparrow. I had 29 children before me of all ages and was trying to teach them all, with little by way of resources. We were about to sing “God sees the little sparrow fall”  and I was sharing with  them what the words  meant. It was a warm June day and the windows and doors were all open.  I had previously constructed a wooden cross and suspended it from the ceiling of the little church above the Altar on invisible steel wires.  The cross was gently moving back and forth in the breeze from the window. Then a little boy said, “look Mr. Hunt, there is a sparrow on the cross” and sure enough there was. I went on talking about the sparrow and thanked God in a prayer for sending it for us when we needed it. All eyes were on the sparrow and then another child said, “Mr. Hunt, the sparrow has gone”. And sure enough it had. No-one saw it come and no-one saw it leave. But in 24 hours, there was not a person in the whole community who didn’t know that God had sent a little sparrow to the childrens service.  And that was just one more of a multitude of lessons the Lord has sent me down the years to prove that when He gives us our  agenda he never leaves us without the resources to do His will.  Much love in Christ, Ruth and Dick.

And They Came All That Way, by Dick Hunt,  December 15th , 2006

When Ruth and I and the children pulled ourselves away from St. George’s Stettler to move to Williams Lake, we knew we left behind us a large number of dear friends.  What we didn’t dream would happen was that on the same day and without any planning on their part, three  couples descended upon us  less than two weeks after we had arrived, with some of their children.
Over a two hour period, from Stettler, Jack and Peggy Armstrong and  Ernie and  Betty Walker and  from Big Valley, Jack and Amy Darch knocked on our door.  And they all came to see that we were all OK and settled in.  What a wonderful gift of love that was for us. For the next three days, we had the most wonderful visits.
I don’t remember where they all stayed as it is now more than 40 years since then.  But we did some very good things together; like eating and reminiscing, remembering and laughing at our common experiences  of the previous seven years.  While the ladies visited at the Rectory, the men climbed a small promontory called Signal Point and surveyed the Lake for which the town was named.  We went 100 miles out into the Chilcotin Country to the west and camped beside Chilko Lake, fished without luck and suffered a chilly night in that high country in tents.
On the way back to town we stopped at another fishing hole and caught lots of pan sized trout, for me my first ever attempt at fly fishing with the equipment given  me as a gift by the Stettler Legion.  Back in town we looked over the Church and Jack said he was sure I would by then have built something, which I had.  The office was bare on our arrival and I had already built my book shelves and a desk so I could get on with my ministry.
We really did agonize over leaving Stettler to make that move. Only the certainty that God was the one who did the pulling and willed for us to go there gave us the courage to do so.  Financially it was a great tightening of the belts, so to speak.  But within days, Ruth was added to the teaching staff at the high school on a letter of authority,  a position she filled for three years and that allowed us to pay our own transportation costs etc. until the Parish was able to do so and allowed us to spend nine productive years there in that demanding Ministry. God always provides the resources to do the job.

Clive Nourse and Machinery; by Dick Hunt,  Feb. 2005

Shortly after I was ordained in 1957, I was asked to visit a farm family some miles south of Stettler, our Parish center in Alberta.  They had a large family and I had never met them before.  I was shown into the living room and offered a chair. Then  came the offer of a cup of tea, (they must have read up on the protocol of what to do when the minister calls)  which duly appeared.  Small talk followed for a time and then Mr. Nourse asked me what city I came from.  I explained that I didn’t come from a city, that I had in fact been born and raised about 30 miles from where we were then sitting.  At that he jumped to his feet and said he didn’t believe me, saying that Ministers always come from the city.  I reiterated that nevertheless I came from a ranch and that I had ranched until I was 35 years of age.
At that, he invited me out to tour his farm with him as my guide.  As we walked about, he pointed out all the various pieces of machinery and equipment and asked me what each was used for.  I passed the examination 100% and after while he said, by golly you must have been a rancher for you know as much about agriculture as I  do.  About that time I made the acquaintance of a United Church Student Minister who was looking after a Church in Big Valley which was also the location of one of the Parishes in which I served. He too was born and raised in  agriculture.  One day he went to visit a farmer whose wife said he was out in the hayfield so he went out and found him loading hay on a hay rack.  The farmer had a dim view of ministers and handing  him his fork said to the young fellow, “here, lets see you load my hay”.  So he did, building a large load, handling the horses in fine style.  Then handing back the fork he said, “Great, now let’s hear you preach a sermon”.
It is easy to observe that everyone doesn’t have the same gifts and skills.  Many of us have little idea what we are capable of doing until we are given the impetus to try.  Years ago it used to be common practice in senior grades in Alberta for volunteers from  a variety of vocations to make themselves available to address students on their fields of work.  I used to take part and chose to talk about what it means to choose our lifes work and what is important in  making those choices for satisfaction and fulfilment down the years.  I used to stress that some kinds of life work might result in making lots of money but that it was equally important to be happy in  ones work.  Some vocations are indeed a matter of being called to a life of service in order to be both happy and effective.  Such are people related kinds of work, such as Teaching, Nursing and other medical and health related callings.
And of course the Ministry.  I have known  Ministers who are  not called of God and whose work seems to be just making a living, without any clear calling or exhuberance in  their lives.  I  knew two who were pressured into being ordained, both of whom committed suicide rather than keep on living a lie.  One was my immediate predecessor in a Parish.  The 0ther was a Roman Catholic.  How very sad to see young lives so managed by parents that they could not break away and be managed  by God.  Being parents is a major ministry and we need to be in tune with God and His will to excercise that heavy responsibility.
A  bad image – or a good image  –  July 04.
A  few days  ago I was backing the car into our little attached garage, with sun reflecting on the rear view mirror and distorting the image, when I got too close to the door post  and the mirror was cracked (since repaired).  So the image was much worse  than caused by sunshine and I could not rely on the mirror to guide me in backing the car into the confined space available.  The total space in the garage is greater than that occupied by the car.  But being a fixer and a saver, I store all sorts of things in the garage, along the walls, at the end of the garage, in overhead racks and even on the little work bench.  All the stuff I might need someday is there and lots of it that I have not even seen for ages, due to the stuff piled in front of it.
So in addition to my mirror being unreliable, my packrat  nature has curbed my visiion of what is available for what might be a richer and more fulfilling life for Ruth and me.  Ruth says from time to time that I should get rid of a lot of that stuff and she is right.  But the stuff I throw away today is sometimes what I need to fix something next week.  If only there was a way in which I could forsee the future and know what furniture or cupboard or toy or lamp needs fixing ahead of time,  I just might throw away a lot  of the junk.
But there is a lesson in this for our spiritual life.  In the first instance, it would certainly be great if we could discover an image of God that is true, faithful as to details and infinitely trustworthy so that we could make an informed decision as to whether we should believe in Him and trust Him with our life.   And secondly, it would be fine to be able to make a practical decision as to what we should discard in our lives to make us more effective, more fulfilled as to the use of our available time and energy and the remaining days of our lives until Christ comes again.
It just so happens, (because God the Father willed it to be so) that we have an image of God who is fully authentic, trustworthy, tested, known  as such by masses of people down the ages and infinitely practical, in the Person of Jesus Christ.  He is the one who is unique, risen from the dead, alive forever, available to come and live in us if we will ask him, infintely loving, unchangeable.  Not only does he grant us the perfect image of the otherwise invisible God; he also shows us, if we really want to know, what we need to discard from the clutter of our lives, so that we can  functiion without stumbling through life, serve as He wants us to serve and arrive at the destination already prepared for us in Heaven  at the end of our appointed time.  See  St. Paul’s letter to the Collosians, 1:15- 23. Sincerely,Dick Hunt

Bisma Rex, by Dick Hunt. 2003
I am not sure that the above product is still on the market but there was a period of my life when I was heavily dependent upon it. It was an acid reflux medication, a powder that one mixed with water and drank to combat stomach acidity. And it worked. Until the next time I was in a state of indecision. Which was sure to be quite soon. I used bushels of the stuff, which came in large bottles holding about half a litre. In fact I was addicted to it, and was afraid to be without it. Although I was not then aware of what caused my problem, I was able to function reasonably well with my BismaRex.
The years of that difficulty began about 1948. At the time I was beginning to wrestle with what I should do about my responsibilities as a husband and father and our life in the Church. We were attending Church services on a bi-weekly basis, Joy was a baby and we were partners at the Ranch with my brother Wilf and Alyce, his wife. I had no aspirations beyond ranching and that was largely because our Dad had trained us up to be ranchers; like father – like son. Certainly I was busy enough and was not looking for any more work.
Our minister at the time was was the Rev’d. Reg Wright who had started out in his working life as a travelling ink salesman in Ontario. In England, he had been a boy Chorister and his choir had sung before King George the fifth and Queen Mary. Along the way he became more deeply interested in the Christian faith which resulted in a serious study of just what it meant to be a Christian. He eventually studied for the ministry in Toronto and was Ordained in the late 40’s. We were greatly blessed to have him in Hanna and the Epiphany Mission, which included Endiang and Byemoor. I related easily with him and since we were of a similar age, I looked to him as my spiritual guide.
During that time, Reg often travelled with the RCMP Corporal from Hanna, who was an active Anglican, since they visited in the same areas and enjoyed each others’ company. Knowing that Ruth normally cooked up a large beef stew for Monday dinner (as we called our noon meal), they often stopped in for a visit and ate with us, there being no restaurant between Hanna and Stettler. Reg travelled alone when he came twice monthly for evening services in Byemoor and then came and stayed with us Sunday evening s0 he could spend Monday visiting throughout the region. He normally went back to Hanna Monday evenings but on one occasion he again appeared at the Ranch in time for supper on Monday. He was a sorry sight, with his face and hands black and his suit badly soiled. I asked him what he had been doing and he said he was trying to fix the oil heater at the Church. I asked him why he was doing it and not someone else. He said there was no-one else who would do it. I first began to realize the responsibility of being a Christian “layman” through that incident.
I don’t recall that Reg ever suggested to me that I might be a candidate for the ordained ministry, but we discussed the faith very often and into the night on Sundays, over many cups of tea. I was reading my pocket Bible at every opportunity during all this time and slowly learning that it was not a system of belief or doctrine or “religion” that I needed, but knowledge of Jesus Christ as a Person who had a claim on my life as He had died for me. That brought a climax in my life and Jesus made Himself known to me in a very powerful way. I stopped my tractor in the hay field and knelt beside it and gave my life to Him. And that was the day I didn’t ever need Bisma Rex anymore.
When I finally realized that God was calling me to serve with my whole life, we were on holiday and we called on Reg and Kay, who had by then moved to Calgary to tell him of my decision. Reg looked at Kay and said, “well Kay, that is an answer to prayer isn’t it?” I asked him what that meant and he said that when he first went out to the Mission, Bishop Ragg asked him if there were any young men out there who might be called to the ministry and that he named two, Ken Reu and Dick Hunt. The Bishop made a pact with Reg, that they would pray for us every day for five years He told me that it was not yet five years and I was the answer to prayer.
But in the interim period between when I first began to take the Faith seriously and that day in Calgary, I suffered almost continuous acid reflux and learned that short term relief could be gained with Bisma Rex. Obvious to me now, but a secret from me then, I was only treating the symptoms of something I didn’t understand. I was in fact fighting against my calling and trying to bargain my way out of what God wanted me to do. I tried prayer (God please take this sickness away from me). I tried teaching Sunday School. I tried fixing everything that two congregations wanted fixed. Eventually I asked our then minister to ask the Bishop to licence me as a Lay Reader. He eventually asked the bishop and was instructed to train me. I kept asking when the training would begin and he as often said “soon”. Finally I told him I would be hoeing potatoes all afternoon on a certain day and would he come and train me while I was working. He did come, gave me a great list of books I must read, (none of which I owned) and certain theological papers I must produce as a result of my reading. It looked pretty cumbersome to me. He also shared with me there in the potato patch that he was very discouraged. I said that I believed that the best way to relieve his depression would be to vigorously preach the Gospel. At that he began to weep and told me that he couldn’t preach the Gospel. He did get me started reading lessons.
Finally, on October 10th the Bishop came to the little Church in Byemoor (where I had been confirmed at the age of 14, (with very inadequate preparation), to confirm four parishioners. Before the service, he said to the minister, “let’s put your Lay Reader to work”. He responded that he had not yet given me the licence. “Why not”, said the bishop, “I signed it and gave it to you in May” and the minister said he had not yet trained me. So the Bishop commissioned me on the spot, put me to work at the confirmation and told me that the very next Sunday I would be required to conduct Evening Prayer and preach twice a month in that Church and for the winter months, starting the next Sunday to take the morning services each week in the United Church in Endiang, at their request. And believe me, I sweated through that winter to prepare for that heavy assignment, with very little except a Bible, Prayer Book and Hymn Book as my resources. But through that time I also began to learn that God calls whom He will and always provides the strength and understanding, by His Holy Spirit to do what he asks of us.
Through all the years since, God has done just that. He has called me to do so many things that are beyond what I have believed to be my capability and He has always given me what I have needed to fulfill those tasks. It is when I am the most challenged that God acts through me to do His will. One Sunday morning when Ruth and I and the family arrived at the United Church in Endiang for the service, I suddenly realized that I had left all my hand written notes at home. There was no time to get them. From the beginning of my taking services, I had always written out every word I wanted to say and read them to the people. On that morning I literally threw myself on God’s mercy and began the service empty of self. After the service, I was asked by a number of the people what happened to me as I had never preached that way before. I simply told them what had happened and that God had used me as His instrument. Down the years I have continued to put all the effort I could into preparing for services and have made notes . But having done that, I have been able to preach without being enslaved to my notes and that has allowed me to make eye contact with the people for better communication of the great and wonderful Good News of the Crucified and Risen Lord.
A sobering appendage to this account. The widow of the minister of the potato patch incident shared with me that her husband died without any faith at all and without hope. What a very sad thing that is and I wonder what I failed to do that might have given him a faith to live and die with. I believe that we put too much faith in the learning and authority of the leaders and too little in the Word of God written and incarnate in Jesus Christ.
Five Bags of Cement. By Dick Hunt; 2003

In the Parish of St. George in Stettler, there was a very decrepit Rectory. There were two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a very small bathroom. A small open back porch was attached. Underneath the floor there was a hole called a cellar, in which there was a rusty coal fired furnace. From 1948 to 1953 the Rector was the Rev’d. H.E.A. Peach, better known as Art. His wifes name is Marion and as I write this I can tell you that she is well and happy and living in London Ontario. Sadly, Art died in bed years ago while he was reading a book and so quietly that Marion didn’t even realize it for some little time.
They had four children and it was a crowded little house in Stettler. There was no foundation, the builder having set the floor joists right on the ground. So there was a lot of rot in the structure. Still, Art and Marion didn’t complain but soldiered on as best they could. They had a very deep faith and a very cheerful witness to the world. One afternoon Art was starting to build a sidewalk from the front steps to the sidewalk on the street. A man called Bill was driving by in his old Plymouth and glanced at Art, going on a few car lengths and then backing up to have another look. He got out of his car and walked over to Art and said “what the h— are you doing “. Cheerfully Art said, “hello Bill, well I am building a sidewalk”. Bill told him he couldn’t build that much sidewalk with that bit of cement and gravel but Art said that was all he had so it would have to do. Bill told him to go have a cup of tea and he would be back soon.
He did come back, with five more sacks of cement in his car, followed by a pickup truck load of gravel and a friend to help. And they built the sidewalk. Bill told Art that it was not his job to build sidewalk but he should get on with his preaching. Now Bill’s wife was active in that church and Bill had never set foot inside. He had been the town Policeman for years and no-one messed with him. But the next Sunday, Bill was in Church and he was as regular as anyone in the community. Finally he had a heart attack and that slowed him down a lot and mellowed him. One night when he was very low I sat with him and his Dr., another Irishman and Bill died five times, to be shocked back to life again by Dr. Egan. He was a tough one. Later on he got the Flu and Pneumonia and I was with him when he died. The nurse was in the room with us and she finally pronounced him dead, closed his eyes and left to tell his wife. I sat on, thinking about Bill and our association over the years. And then, to my astonishment, Bill opened his eyes, turned his head toward me on the pillow, looked me straight in the eye for a full half minute, then closed his eyes again. I never told his wife.
I moved into that Rectory some four years after Art and Marion moved to Calgary, at the beginning of June, 1957. In the intervening four years there had been one childless clergy couple living in it and one clergy bachelor, each for two years. We had our belongings shipped to Stettler from Saskatoon a week or two before I arrived. I refused to move Ruth and the Family into that house as it was too unsuitable. The floors were all settled away from the bottom of the walls, the supports in the cellar were rotted away, the cellar was half full of water. It was too small. It was in a word, a disaster. So I batched there and Ruth and the children stayed with Mum and Dad at De Winton for a month.
I met a number of times with the Vestry and Wardens who kept asking me when my family would come and I said when there was an adequate house. So the second month they rented a furnished house for us and we were together again. More meetings resulted in the purchase of a house four blocks from the Church in which we lived until the end of our seven years there. I had been told by Bishop Calvert that both the rectory and Church were condemned by the Town Council as being unsafe and that the congregation had been arguing about it for years. He said, “the Parish had killed more clergy than any other Parish in the Diocese because of the fight over the buildings. So go up there and see what you can do about it and don’t let it kill you”.

On September 1st 1959 we began excavating for a new Church. In order to do that it was necessary to sell and move the old Rectory which we did. It was jacked up, put on a moving unit and away they went. But just uptown, the floor fell out of it and they had to button that up with extra timbers before they could proceed. It went to Buffalo Lake and served as a summer cottage. We planned carefully for the new building which was thirty six feet by seventy feet on a full basement. We limited the budget to thirty thousand dollars to include all new furishings. Two carpenters were hired and a contractor oversaw the job. When the budgeted labour cost limit was depleted, we were on our own to finish it. And we did. I worked on it at every opportunity and spent many late evenings finishing it. The contractor told the Congregation at the official opening that I had personally contributed eight thousand dollars in labour.
We had at that time two branches of the “W.A.” The Sr. Branch had been active for a long time and the members were getting along in years. A number of younger women tried to join them from time to time but always felt left out and didn’t stay. Finally a group of them approached me and asked if they could start a new branch, and I was delighted. They were looking for a meaningful project just as the Church was nearing completion at the end of January 1960 and they decided to put on a full turkey dinner on St. Valentines day, a Saturday evening and open it to the public. They sold 250 tickets and made preparations for that number and a few extra. The older WA was miffed and some members said the new ones were taking over. The astonishing thing is that four hundred and fifteen people came and they fed us all! Talk about loaves and fishes. Everyone was happy.
When they set the 14th of February for the dinner, there were no cupboards in the kitchen at all, not even a sink. I was asked if we could remove the cupboards from the old church basement and that is what we did. I removed them as nearly intact as possible, got a crew to carry them across and we put them in place, hooked up the sink and taps and we were in business. We were to hold our services in the new church the next morning so we had moved all the old pews and furnishings over on the Saturday and also the pews from a church that had been closed for a number of years. Without making it a special event but only a change of venue, our attendance doubled that first Sunday and remained fairly consistent after that. The capacity of the old building was around 85 and it had been quite full for some time at the main service each Sunday. We subsequently learned of a survey that was done very widely in both the U.S. and Canada which showed that attendance at public gathering places rarely exceeded 85% of available space over a period of time and our old church attendance was consistent with that reading.
The new WA, which went by the name “Trinity Branch” was fairly launched with that dinner and went on to deepen their faith and understanding and commitment. I found it to be an exciting area of our ministry. They had decided to meet twice a month and to have a Bible study and discussion every meeting. They were so deeply immersed and delighted that they were hard put to end their meetings before eleven PM. Then the older branch asked me to conduct a study at their meetings for twenty minutes each time. I asked them what they wanted to study and they said I should choose. The first study time I took along a stack of Prayer Books and a stack of Bibles. and gave them a choice. Some of them said only Baptists study the Bible so I said, then it’s the Prayer Book. Some said, but we know all that, we use it every Sunday. But I insisted that they begin on the title page and following. The result was that we studied the P.B. for two years and never exhausted the substance of that great book. It is a great teaching resource.
So, with a new sidewalk, a rotting bungalow, a heavy challenge, an insistence on sticking with the Bible and Prayer Book and answering every request for answers, the people grew and thrived and we grew and thrived along with them. Ten years later they invited us back to help burn the mortgage.


Some significant incidents in the life of my Mother. by Dick Hunt 2003

One of the things I have learned quite recently is what likely caused my Mother to have severe indigestion for most of her years at the ranch. We have learned from a Naturopathic Physician that lying down after a meal inhibits digestion and that we should sit up for at least an hour after eating to allow our food to properly digest. I remember that Mother used to lie down after dinner each day while the hired girl washed up the dinner dishes. She used to take various, chiefly herbal digestive aids for the problem and always chewed her food very slowly and completely before swallowing. But still she had difficulties.
Mother was always as regular at worship as circumstances allowed and always encouraged us to attend services in the hall at Endiang or in private homes in the winter when our Minister could get there from Hanna. She taught us to say our prayers every night at bedtime and often played hymns at the piano. I remember her taking me out to her flower border one Sunday morning when I was just a little tyke and asking me to look deeply into a lovely blossom, with the words, “always remember that only God can make a flower”. I am very glad to remember that wise teaching. One day on a Sunday some of us went to Drumheller to attend a baseball game and Aunt Nellie was with us. The baseball game was cancelled due to wind and rain but as we turned toward home, we went by St. Magloires Parish Church where there was a service in progress. Mother and Aunt Nellie insisted on dropping in even though they were very late. I was inspired to know how eager they were to worship, another example that had a strong effect on me for good. Mother was the one who was most happy when I announced my calling to study for the Ordained Ministry. Her eyes sparkled with delight.
Mother had a strong commitment to teaching and exhibiting good manners and genteel living, even though there were always hired hands at the table three times a day. So on the large dining room table there was always a Damask table cloth for all meals and it was always laundered and fresh. The table was always properly set with good tableware and cutlery. I normally sat next to Mother for a number of years and she always made sure my plate was properly located to minimize food being dropped on the cloth. On one occasion when our Minister was a guest he was sitting next to Mother and she reached out to pull his plate to the table edge. Then realizing what she had done she blushed in embarrasment, but the moment passed with a smile of understanding from the minister. We children used to play a little game with our Mother. We would knock on the back door and Mother would call out from inside, ‘come in if you’re fat”. And in we would come. But on one occasion the knocking continued and Mother went to the door to find the Minister there with a huge grin on his face. He said, ‘oh I know the tricks that children play’.
One of the delights that I well remember as a child was a little scene that was enacted with great regularity by our parents when Dad came in from work. He would normally meet Mother in the kitchen and they would embrace and kiss each other with no restraint. It was such a natural and spontaneous example that it left an indelible blessing in my life. I am sure my siblings were vitally aware of the same. Mother tried to retain a family space in our home in the midst of the confusion that could result from having so many hired men present. So she made it clear that the living room end of the home was for family and off limits to the crew. I remember a little antagonism from our longest serving hired man, when he overstepped what Mother set as the limit. Mother won and the matter did not surface again.
Years later, when Ruth and I were visiting with Wilf and Alyce in our home one evening, the same man walked into our living room and demanded that I cut his hair. I said I would be happy to do so, tomorrow. He said now. I said, Bill, we are visiting now and I will cut your hair tomorrow. He said I was to cut it now or I could do without his help tomorrow. I took that as a threat and said well Bill, you can pack your bags if you like. He left the house and I was quite sure that he had ‘resigned’. However, without another word, he was back on the job in the morning as though nothing had happened. And I cut his hair that evening. Bill had worked for Dad so many years that he found it difficult to take direction from us who had been very young (I was not yet born) when he came to work at the Ranch. Not long after the above incident he went to work for Dad again at DeWinton when they started over with the cattle operation there. He stayed with the family for his entire working life and was always reliable.
The move to DeWinton was a good one for them. Dad was never happy to live in Calgary and away from his beloved cattle. He spent quite a lot of time at Endiang, Cessford and Airdrie and Mother was alone in Calgary with David. She was happy there and she and David and Dad went to Church at Christ Church, Elbow Park where David sang in the Choir. Canon Bill Crump was Rector. He later became Bishop of Saskatchewan Diocese. When they moved to DeWinton they went to Church in St. Peters, Okotoks, in which Church Dad’s funeral took place, the Rector being The Rev’d. Oswald (Ozzy) Foster. When Mother married Jack King she went to Church at Christ Church, Millarville and became deeply involved in the life of the Church there. Archdeacon Waverly Gant was Rector and he said at her funeral that every time something came up in the Parish that needed doing, Mother quickly saw to it and got it done. I still have a copy of his sermon. She was the first woman in the Diocese to be a delegate to Synod, on a Parish Vestry, organized the first flower festival in the Parish, raised the spiritual level of the Parish guild when elected President, organized a young womens group, started and led a Sunday School, visited widely among the scattered families of the Parish. And by his own words from Jack with tears when I took him to see Mother in the funeral home, “she doggone near got me going to Church”.
The incident that turned her life around at the age of 67 resulted from a simple announcement in Church one Sunday. The Rector said that Elsa Bray, the Sunday School by Post Secretary in the Diocese was looking for volunteers in the rural areas to visit children and parents and encourage them. Telling of that incident afterwards, Mother told me that ‘we all looked around to see who would volunteer and no-one did’. But she thought about it all week until by Thursday she couldn’t ignore the need any longer and phoned Elsa to say she would do it. On Friday she went to Calgary and Elsa gave her lists and maps and resource materials and sent her off with her blessing. But not with Jack Kings’ blessing. He was very put out with Mother and said she had no right interfering in other people’s lives.
On Monday, Mother got her housework done (she was 67 years of age at the time), chose a name from the list, located the home on her map and set off, with great trepidation. Finding the home, she timidly knocked on the door and as she told me later, hoped no-one would answer. But a woman opened the door, with three children peeping out at her. Mother introduced herself and said she was from Christ Church Parish and had come to visit. The lady said, ‘you’ve what? I have come to visit you from the Church’. The young woman said she had lived there for seventeen years and no-one had ever come from the Church. When Mother said, ‘well I am here’, there was silence and wonder on the face of the lady for moments and then she threw herself on Mothers’ shoulders and wept. And so did Mother. And that was a life changer for both of them. Through thick and thin the blessings from God never ended. She visited families all down through the country until she could do no more.
When she first began her quiet and unassuming burst of activity, she told me she felt very inadequate and unsure of herself. I was able to share with her that I felt the same weakness, especially in the beginning of my ministry as a Lay Reader and later too when I was ordained. But she learned as I did that it is when we feel inadequate that God can work through us in the midst of the people. We become instruments in the hands of God for the building up of His Kingdom of love and His Spirit, literally working in us gives us all we need. One of Mothers’ concerns was that having read something life changing in the Bible or other resources, she had trouble recalling where she had read it and so could not tell others where to find it. I told her that it was not so much a matter of remembering chapter and verse, helpful though that is, but what happens to build us up and increase our faith and understanding that is important for ourselves and others around us.
Mother eventually developed cancer, which spread to her lymph glands and shortened her very active and productive Christian witness and service. The time came when she was not able to continue a number of the programs and studies she had been able to develop in the Parish. And finally, in the very cold weather of January 1969 she had to be in hospital in Calgary to be cared for when the roads were very bad and treacherous. She passed away peacefully in the evening of the 29th of January, just a few hours before I was able to arrive on the bus. I was enroute home from Aunt Dots’ funeral in New Westminster when I was urged by a message from Ruth in Williams Lake to continue on to Calgary. Wilf picked me up at the bus station in Calgary and told me that Mother had passed away during that evening.
The funeral service was in Christ Church Millarville as above and burial was beside Dad in the Mountain View Memorial Gardens east of Calgary on 9th Avenue. There being other spaces owned by the family, when Jack King died he was also buried there.

Thirty Days To Build A Church (building,  that is);

by Dick Hunt, August 2004

When I was studying for the Ministry in Emmanuel College in Saskatoon in 1956, I was asked to drive a retired Minister, The Rev’d. Canon Fife to take three services at three locations north of Saskatoon.  They were Rosthern, Duck Lake and Winyard.  Now of course I refer in the title to erecting a building.  The Church is the people who occupy it for worship and fellowship. As I recall,Duck Lake and Winyard churches were out in the country while Rosthern was a town Mission.  Canon Fife had ministered in the three points before retirement and it was obvious that the people held him in very high regard.  While we were on the way out to Winyard the old gentleman (but  younger than I am at the present) told me that we were to dedicate the Church that day as it was brand new.  He also advised me to slow down (as in relax) so that I could continue to minister into my old age.
The previous building had burned to the ground a month before and the people had simply set to, removed the residue of hardware and sooty ashes and built a new Church on the site.  In Thirty days!  Canon Fife and I shared the service together, he celebrated Holy Communion with the people, dedicated the new building and preached a marvellous Biblical sermon.   The people responded wholeheartedly and we shared sandwiches and coffee with them before turning for home again.  And the Church was fully paid for.  In thirty days! With thirty families on the Parish list.  They all worked together marvellously.  It reminds me of the passage from Nehemiah  4:6  in which the scribe says, “……for the people worked with all their heart”.  They gave it their best. They dug deeper into their pockets, They laboured together, cooked and ate together. And when it was completed they worshiped and fellowshiped together.  They were small farmers, not wealthy.  But they had learned that God is their God, that they all belonged to Him with all that they had and they simply responded in great fashion to the Father’s love.  They were  an inspiration and a great credit to the Pastor who had shepherded them so faithfully over the years.
On the way home Canon Fife asked me if we could take time to look over the site of the Duck Lake massacre and the uprising in the days of Louis Riel. So we went through a number of wire gates, around the bluffs of trees and  all the while he was relating to me the history 0f the uprising and tragedy of the times which were written large upon those areas and the nation.  The day was a great eye opener for me, a chapter in my training for Ministry which brought me closer to the realization that the faithful  in every generation are all one in Christ Jesus.
In fact I have learned a great deal from sitting at the feet of some of the  “older Men of the Cloth” down the years.  I think of the Rev’d. Professor Jim Beatty who was the first staff member I met after I talked with Principal Ralph Dean in Calgary in April 1955.  Sometimes Canon Beatty lost me for  awhile in his lectures but he easily took up the slack for me in my visits to him in his study in the College.  That was where he shared for me many of the rich and instructive moments of his pastoral ministry in various places. That was where I learned that the real work of the Church takes place in the Parishes and not in the endless committees that take so much of the time of so many people.  When Ruth and I were in Saskatoon prior to the fall term in 1955 looking for a house, we went to St. James Parish service on the Sunday and saw Jim and Mrs.  Beatty there.  I said to Ruth, “now there is a man I must meet”, little knowing that he was on the staff of the College.  I assisted him at the Chapel Eucharist at the 100th Anniversary, along with Rod Andrews, now Bishop of Saskatoon.
I think of Professor  Fife who gave me so much encouragement in my studies and who was a great role model for me.  He called me into his study one day when I was walking by his door and asked me to sit down so he could discuss an essay with me which I had handed in.  During the visit he began to chuckle and told me this story.  When Principal Dean had returned from Calgary on the occasion related above, during which his chief purpose had been to minister in the Cathedral for a week of noontime meditations in Holy Week, he was asked how the trip went for him. He said it was great.  Then Professor Fife said to him, “oh, the services at the Cathedral went well then”.  And Dr. Dean said, yes, but I was thinking about my visit with a young Rancher who wants to come to the  College to begin his studies this fall”.  In fact though,  Dr. Dean had  said to me that he wanted me to spend several years in College, to get my B.A. and an L.Th.  However, I told him that  all I could  cram into my schedule was  two years because that was all the  resources I had available with  a wife and three children.  So he told me that he would only allow me into the College  under those circumstances because Bishop Calvert was a friend of his and had asked him to do so.  He was a great teacher and tutor and  I learned  a great deal from him. I had served in Calgary Diocese as a Lay Reader for some time previously.
I mention also Canon Bays from Winnipeg, Father of Eric and Jack Bays who were in the College when I was there.  In the refectory in the evening when he was visiting his sons,  he was asked if he wanted to say anything to the students.  His response was very brief and to the point.  He asked us all to remember, and never forget, that Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away”. How very good that advice is, straight from the heart of that dear Pastor and Shepherd. And I was present when Canon Ahenakew and Canon Greenhaulgh were at the College  for the 100th Anniversary, (as I remember).  Canon Greenhalgh went along to Canon Ahenakew and threw his arms around him and said, “and here is Ahenakew.  I love him like a brother.  In fact I love him better than a brother.”
And in this limited space, one other mention among the many to whom I am indebted for whatever strength of ministry I have been able to share along the way.  The Cleric to whom I turned when I was wrestling with God’s call to  Ordained Ministry  was Archdeacon  Ted Maddocks, also a graduate of Emmanel and  at that time Rector of St. Stephens Calgary.  He gave me an hour of his busy schedule in January of 1955, listened carefully to what I was trying to say, knew just where I was coming from, and gave me the advice, help and encouragement that I needed to firm up my decision “to cast all my care upon Jesus the author and perfector of my faith”.  I put my  trust and confidence in Ted and he remained my faithful counselor on many occasions,  until he passed away.
A Young Rodeo Star. August 2000
Back in the late forties while we were still ranching in Alberta,  Frank McMahon of Westcoast Transmission and race horse stable fame contacted us and asked if there was a chance that we could help him to build a Goose Hunting Lodge in our area.  It so happened that we had moved the house in which we were living at the ranch from three miles east of our headquarters.  There was still a fairly substantial  stable there, a good shelterbelt of trees around three sides  and a good level site on which to locate the Lodge. So we sold them three acres of land and they had the site they needed.
Then they wanted the stable moved and we did that.  Then they needed a carpenter to do the alterations and additions.  I didn’t have time to do the job but I found a young man who claimed he could build it if I would show him him how and keep him on track.   His name escapes me but I remember him as a very good looking chap with lot’s of vigor and I was impressed with his self confidence.  He was a quick learner. I went over the site with him, made suggestions, gave him advice and hey presto, a Lodge building emerged from the piles of building materials.  The result was a building  with several bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge, a bathroom (they put in a sewage disposal system) and hooked into the power line and they were happy with it.
Over the years they added numbers of improvements and enlarged the place, (money was no object) and many were the guests from many walks of life that they entertained out there. One of the first was the Metropolitan Opera Tenor, Lauritz Melchoir.  Bing Crosby was there with Phil Silver  and a host of other people quite unconnected with the Petroleum  Industry.  As well as Frank McMahon and his brother George, one of our favorites was a man called Ed Neff who with his bluff good nature and his mind like  a trap, never forgot a clean joke (and never remembered a dirty one) and enlightened every gathering without dominating the group.
And there was Bill Graburn from Calgary who was the head of a trust company and a wicked shot with a 16 gauge shotgun.  I once observed from a short distance away  Ed and Bill  in their goose pits on a late afternoon  in  the fall, with their decoys in place. Five Canada Greys went over, eying the decoys but hardly wavering in their flight, and flying very high.  I would not have bothered to shoot at that height but Ed and Bill each brought down two leaving the fifth to fly on alone.  I walked across to see them and asked Bill what gun and shot he was using.  He showed me his 16 gauge Winchester Pump and his #6, shot shells.  Ed was using a 12 gauge and # 6 shot.
My sister in law Lee Hunt used to cook up a big meal for them when they had a lot of guests and they appreciated that.  The Ranch homes were only three miles away.  That was after we had moved away and I was studying for the Anglican Ministry.  The Lodge is still in use each year and has seen many a guest and many a goose and duck in their cooller.  My brother Bill Hunt who was a power for good in the cattle industry and a notable breeder of Charolais Cattle, passed away some years ago from Lou Gehrigs Disease.  His widow Lee still lives at the Ranch, but with only a few cattle  and horses and with more leisure to get away and enjoy life.
As I write this I have just received the name of the young man who took on the building of the lodge.  My neice Lou Dae in Regina was with us on the ranch when we did that project and remembers.  His name was Marty Wood.  I remember that, even though he was not born into an agricultural lifestyle, he decided he would be a rodeo star.  I never did see him after he completed the lodge project but I followed him in the news and he made  a lot of it.  Over a period of several years, during which I was still ranching with my brother Wilf,  Marty  steadily rose in his abilities and experience until he became the all around Champion at the Calgary Stampede.  He had a vision for his life and he stuck with it tenaciously until he reached his goal.  I would be happy to know what else he did with his life.  But I was easily exonerated in my choice of a young man to build a lodge for our friends.  More luck than good management.  The field was small and the young man was eager.
After I was Ordained I was often back in my old community.  On one occasion, I had been asked to be the guest speaker at a district banquet  and meeting for the Four H Clubs.  We began the evening with the banquet and while the ladies were washing up I wandered over to visit with a group of my old male friends who were  in a huddle in the corner.  One of them saw me coming and said, “we were just talking about you.  We remember that we had said when you went away with your wife and kids to study that you wouldn’t go through with it and we would see you back.  Well, we were wrong,  you are back and you did go through with it. Welcome back.” And we had a good visit.  I think I may have had an advantage over the young Rodeo star.  He didn’t have a wife and family to consider, but I was called of God to give my life to Him in active ministry and I knew He would never leave me nor forsake me.   That is a powerful weapon.

I Just Remembered, by Dick Hunt, December 22nd, 2006.

I was ministering Communion to shut ins this afternoon  and the memory that flashed back to me was an incident in Heart Haven Home in Stettler.  It would be about 1961 and I was visiting the folks, with our Tim in tow. In fact Tim, about age four was doing the visiting while I watched him at work .  He had received his first  prosthesis a little while before, courtesy of the Stettler Lions Club and Ken Ince was a prime mover in the process.  It was a stick fastened to a half basket and buckled around his waist.
Tim never made strange, having made the acquaintance of many strangers in his young years.  He had spent a good deal of time in Children’s Hospital in Calgary, where he not only underwent therapy to learn to walk but also attended pre-school. He was a natural visitor, open and curious and had no problem relating with the residents in the Home. And he cheered them up a great  deal.  I am reminded of the statement, “I thought I was poorly off with no shoes until I met  a man who had no feet”.
Tim has never cried about his lost leg, (it is a complete amputation at the hip socket) but has simply made the best of every moment of his life and lived fully every day.  He learned to ski when we were in Williams Lake and went  on to win almost every challenge in handicapped skiing in North America.  He went to Europe twice and skiied in  the Olympics, coming in near the top winners but with no medals.  He is a well qualified Cabinet Maker and well employed still at  the age of fifty.  He is the father of three children and the step father of two more.  And he still relates well with people.  We are proud of him and of our other three children.

My Hearing Loss Crisis
About the year 1970, when we were still living in Williams Lake, I was jolted into action by hearing a loud blast of a logging truck horn right behind me. I was walking down an alley and had been totally unaware that the truck was there. The driver likely thought I was ignoring him. The fact was that I had quite suddenly lost my hearing in my right ear which was the “good ear”. I had used a hearing aid in my left ear for a decade or more because of significant hearing loss. Now my good ear was dead. I thought that it was a temporary problem and that I would regain my hearing soon. So I turned up the volume on my hearing aid and managed to be fairly communicative that evening, even though we had a visitor and stayed up until after midnight. But the next morning when I rolled over to get out of bed I blacked out and was terribly nauseated. As I began to come to, the room was spinning at a great rate and I had to close my eyes and lie as still as I could. Ruth called our Dr. (they used to make house calls in those days) and he soon diagnosed my problem, accurately as it happened. He said I had suffered a viral infection in my right ear and that he would prescribe a medicine that would likely clear up the problem within a few days. He had several patients with the same problem and they were apparently recovering nicely. I had also lost the balance sytem in that ear and it has never returned. After a day or two, Ruth and Rob were able to drag me out of bed into a a recliner so that I could begin to get back on my feet. It took me several days with all the help my family could give me before I was able to walk around the house, using two canes to keep my balance. The next step was to go out for walks with two canes and still I had to be very careful to avoid falling. There was no sign at all that my hearing was returning in my right ear. There was a loud rushing and crackling noise but no hearing. So the Dr. made an appointment for me with a hearing specialist in Kamloops and I was driven down by a friend who helped me into and out of the car and the Drs. office etc. Some people looked at me as though I was drunk as I was still very wobbly. However, the specialist could add nothing to the treatment I was already having, even though he took X rays and asked me lot’s of questions. I was back at work in my Parish Ministry after about ten days of recovery, still wobbly but functioning adequately. But my hearing loss in my right ear was and is total. I still have to be careful not to move too quickly or look up without hanging onto something as that leaves me vulnerable and the vertigo quickly returns. I was finally able to purchase a hearing aid system which was called a “bi-cross”. It had a microphone in the dead ear mould and a wire embedded in the frame of the glasses to transmit sound to the Hearing aid in my functioning ear, to pick up sound from my right side. It often malfunctioned as it was something new in those days. For a time I had one which had a FM transmitter in the dead side to dispense with the wire but that too was less than successful. The purchase of these units was quite expensive and we found it a burden to cope with the cost. At one time, the National Church paid part of the cost of a unit, a benefit arranged for me by Bishop Dean. Without an adequate hearing aid, I would be quite unable to function in Ministry or in my active volunteer work, because in spite of all evidence to the contrary, a major part of my effectiveness consists of listening to people. My hearing in my left ear has continued to diminish and it stands at about 20% now.
About eleven years ago, some of my close Veterans friends in the Church persuaded me that I should apply to Veterans Affairs for assistance. I did so, using the correct forms etc. and I was refused. Sometime later, my friends asked me if I was being assisted and I said I wasn’t, that I had been turned down. They said, oh they always refuse the first request, try again. So I did and they were all smiles and very co-operative. They arranged for me to be interviewd in Vancouver, paid for my mileage and my parking costs, gave me a meal ticket and even appointed a legal assistant, called an Advocate to plead my case. The result was that they paid the full cost of my hearing aid in 1996 and again a new one in 2000 and they have been very good ones too. They will pay for the one I am just getting fitted for as the next replacement too, as far as I can gather. The useful life of hearing aids seems to be about four years. As an added bonus, they have been paying me a partial disability Pension, pre dated to the month and year when I made the original application and the interim part of that was paid to me as a lump sum which was a very great help to get us on our feet financially. I now receive a deposit in our account every month end which augments our income significantly. The present hearing aid, which is nearing the end of it’s useful life, has been the best one I have ever had. It has functions which are crucial to my ability to hear people on the telephone, cutting out all external sound and giving me very adequate volume in telephone conversations, even with high pitched or quiet voices. And I have been able to cut the volume down to very low from the left ear and turn up the volume on the right side to hear what is going on there, such as with a passenger in a car. Unfortunately, as is often the case with technologogical “advances”, I am having difficulty getting an aid this time with the features I need to permit me to function as I need to in our busy and active life. They have discontinued my present hearing aid and I can’t even get repairs for it. And the new ones may or may not have the functions I have found so very helpful. It is a fact that the people who make hearing aids and a great number of other devices and equipment do not themselves suffer the difficulties that the devices are designed to help. So they don’t realize the importance of what we require and ask for. I am still waiting for final word on that problem, after four or five trips to my hearing aid specialist. Of course, they don’t make the aids, they only fit and dispense them. And they do the best they can with what they have to work with. From time to time I still suffer with vertigo and I have recently discovered a very exciting fact. My Chiropractor has responded to a question I asked him about vertigo and whether he thought he could help me with the problem. He said yes, come on up. He gave me some very painless and effective adjustments and the effect was very good. I have since been back for another adjustment for the same reason and he helped a great deal again. He also told me this week that the Medical profession in Europe,especially in Czechoslovakia, are making wide use of neck adjustments and massage to deal with vertigo. And that is exciting news. Ruth and I have a treatment each month and have found that we are much more comfortable and relaxed as a result. It is a sad thing that the Medical profession in Canada and on this continent as a whole is so negative about co-operating with the Chiropractic profession and that as a result they are severely restricted in the Health Care system and the remuneration that should be made regularly available to encourage wider use of this blessing. HRH

Broken Back;  by Dick Hunt. August 2004

In April  of 1965, while we were still living in Campbell River, I took two weeks of my annual holiday time to go to North Vancouver and help Doug and Gail (our youngest daughter) to build the planned extension to their house.  However, only a day or two after we started on the project, on April 17th the ladder I was on gave way, tossing me into a pile of debris on the concrete.  Initially I thought I needed only to wait until the shock of the fall subsided and then I tried to move but found that I was in considerable pain.  I couldn’t move.  Gail called the ambulance, which initially was busy and a Fire service vehicle was called.  They carefully placed me in a rigid device and carried me up the steep driveway, whereupon the ambulance had arrived and I was whisked off to Lions Gate Hospital and into the emergency ward.
I lay on a gurney for most of the time from 2 PM until 10 PM because of the press of emergency cases that day.  In the interval they did take me to the X Ray section and took numerous shots of my sore spots, including my left ankle which was painful.  Gail was with me  when about  ten PM a young intern came to tell me what they had discovered.  The medical language he spoke was not to me very informative so I asked him to put that into plain language.   He said well, you have busted your back.  That I understood.  I asked him about my ankle and he said, oh yes, you have busted that too.  When I had felt the ladder giving way under me I had instintively turned to the right, taking my whole weight on my left foot, because I was afraid I might fall on Brendan who had been nearby and was a small boy at that point.  Consequently I had my left leg rigid on the ladder rung when I hit the concrete, which resulted in the damage to my ankle and also my back.  The Doctor told me that I had crushed the third lumbar vertebrae.  Due to the fact that my leg was rigid when I landed,  I suffered much more damage than I would have done had I had both legs on the ladder and flexibility in my knees to absorb the shock.
Shortly after the Doctor left, I was asked by a nurse whether I had eaten any supper and I said, no I had not been offered any.  So they brought me poached eggs on toast and  a cup of coffee which tasted great.  I spent that night on the gurney as there was no bed available in the hospital.  The next night they found me a bed in the surgical ward  which was more comfortable.  The specialist visited me next day and explained to me that on his reading of the x rays and his talk with the radiologist, he recommended that I be fitted with a body brace and taught to walk on crutches.  I was not to put any weight on my left foot for three months and they would not fit me with a cast.  Gail and Ruth came to visit me regularly and they were  a great comfort to me, staying with me for some time. Bishop Shepherd and the Rev’d Rollo Boas also came as did the Rector of a local Church, a member of the Canadian Legion and the former Pastor of the R.C. Church in Williams Lake who had been a great friend in the past.
The staff was great and very caring. The first morning after I was installed in the four bed ward, I was introduced to a young woman who fitted me into a body brace and with crutches at hand got me to my feet and started me on a walking tour.  I managed two steps before collapsing with the pain and thereafter we began again a day at a time until I was able to walk, a bit more each day.   In  the meantime Ruth was faithfully driving from Gails and Dougs each day with our car and visiting me, bringing me my daily course of Shaklee food supplements, all neatly packaged in  plastic sandwich bags. One day the therapist with the attractive English accent said to me as she opened the drawer of the bedside table, quickly shutting it and then opening it again,  “pills, pills, I have never seen so many pills before!”  I replied, “Lady, those are not pills, they are food”.  She was not convinced.  However, several different nurses on different shifts said to me, almost as if they had rehearsed  together, “Mr. Hunt, we hate you around here; there is never anything wrong with you”. They were obviously referring to my vital signs.

When I went into the hospital I was an accomplished pipe smoker with all the equipment I needed to continue as such. However, they would not allow smoking in the wards or hallways, but only in a small but isolated room called the smoking room.  It took me nine days of walking practice before I was able to go as far as  that room and when I did, walking by the open door on my crutches  as I passed, the stench was enough to make me gag.  That was a day of revelation to me and I have never been able to stand close proximity to smokers since without considerable discomfort. I gave away all my pipes and paraphernalia and the only association I have had with smoking since has been the occasional recurring bad dream about having started smoking again.  What a way to quit smoking, but in a sense it was worth it.
I only recall seeing the specialist twice during the 18 days I was in the hospital, the second time when he told me I couldn’t be discharged until I learned to safely walk up and down stairs with the crutches, so I concentrated on that.  When I had that excercise down pat, they told me I would be discharged the next day,  Someone in the Parish, probably The Rev’d Nick Parker, our young assistant, arranged that I be given a great ride home by a couple in their Motor Home, while Ruth drove our car.  So I was relaxed and comfortable and they even brought me  a bite to eat to keep my spirits up.  The wife  of the driver has since passed away from cancer at a fairly young age and that is sad.  They were a great couple and very kind.
So for the next ten weeks or so I wore the body brace,  walking on crutches.  About thirty days after my fall I was able to resume my Ministry   full time even though I was somewhat restricted in my movements.  At the end of the three months  the Doctor had told  me to stay off my left foot, I had a final check up with an obstetrician in Campbell River who weaned me from both my body brace and my crutches and set me free again.  He said something in his remarks that I found amusing however.  He shared that if I were younger he would recommend I have back surgery to help correct the damaged  vertebrae which was lopsided as a result of my fall.  But he said  he would not do so. He said, “you will no doubt be retiring quite soon and will be leading a very sedentary life from now on”.  But in fact, I have a hard time fitting in all the active projects, the doing of which   have been thrown in my way ever since I retired.  Sedentary indeed!
In 2001 I was working in the Village workshop here in Maple Ridge, with some 0ther volunteers, building walls to reorganize the area for extra meeting rooms. Again I was on a ladder, a low step ladder which I learned was faulty when it collapsed under me, throwing me violently to the concrete floor.  I landed on a piece of two by four as I rolled onto  my left ribs and then onto my back and banged my head  hard on the floor.   Although I was in considerable pain from torn muscles, I was able to continue working for two hours until I could visit a chiropractor to assess the damage.  He x rayed me in several positions and read the results, checked my vital signs, asked me some questions and pronounced me damaged but whole.  He also told me that the vertebrae that I had crushed when I fell 16 years before had completely healed and was straight and firm again.  He was impressed with that.   I had to sleep sitting up in my Lazy Boy chair for thirty nights because of my damaged soft tissue.  For more information about “My Bones”, see my story of that name in this series.
In each of the events I have chronicled in the above story and the one I have called, “My Bones”, I thank God for all He has taught me and is teaching me about myself,  and for His constant protection of me through all my foolishness, to allow me to continue to serve him in this world.

Here is a story of a short visit with a positive result. by Dick Hunt, February 2005

Back in the late sixties when I was in Williams Lake I was walking along downtown one day when a pick up driver pulled up alongside me and stopped. Rolling the window down he asked me if he could have a talk with me. I went with him to my office and when we had sat down he asked me if I thought a man could be a Christian and still be successful in business. I told him yes, that I was sure he would be more successful if he lived a Christian life. He was manager of a Building Supply and Hardware, in partnership with two other Dutch men, who were partners in a Construction Company. He said he thought I believed he was a Roman Catholic and I said I had never given the matter a thought. He said his two partners were active R.C.’s and I told him yes, I knew them well.

He went on to tell me that when he was a teenager, his family always went to Church, and had Bible Readings and prayers at meal and bed times. When the Nazi’s came in and took away all their freedoms etc. they stopped going to Church and reading the Bible etc. and felt they had nothing to be thankful for any more. He said the family came to Canada and when he married in Vancouver as a young man, that was the next time he was in a Church. Then he said that “last Christmas” friends in Powell River invited the family up for a Christmas visit and invited them to go to Church with them Christmas eve, (the Church was Anglican). He said they went, but it didn’t do him any good.
I asked him how often he ate food and he asked what that had to do with it. I said I just want to know. He said he ate three times a day. I asked him if it did him any good. He said yes and I asked him what good it did. He said it kept him healthy and strong. I said, “Hans, you eat three times a day and it feeds your body and keeps you healthy and strong. You go to Church two times in twenty years and it does you no good. Figure it out. He thanked me and that was the end of our visit.
The sequel is this. Six months after that the R.C. Priest who was a close friend of mine phoned and said, “do you know a man called Hans who manages the Building Supply on McKenzie Ave.” and I said yes. He said he was puzzled about the man. He had recently come along to see him and brought his wife and six children, wanting to have the whole family Baptized and admitted to membership in the R.C. Church, and he had never spoken to him before. Could I throw any light on the situation? I told him what I knew and that I suspected that it was largely the witness of his two partners and the couple in Powell River that had influenced him to decide and stop making excuses for himself. It is not up to us to guarantee results but that we should do what we can and leave the results to God, who after all makes all the difference.
Is there any water to be had?,  by Dick Hunt

This morning as we were having our quiet time after breakfast, I had a strong motivation to write down an incident in my brother Bill’s life. We had just read the first eight verses of Chapter one of Revelation and my thoughts went to Jesus as the water of life, whose Spirit is poured out for His people.  It occurs to me that most people do not know from experience the water of life that Jesus gives.  Yet water is utterly essential to life itself, we cannot exist without it.
On the Ranch where I was born and raised  there were constanty flowing springs of water just below the hill upon which the buildings stood.  Even during the disastrous drought of the thirties, there was no diminishing of the flow from those springs.  And still the water flows.  Bill had the urge to try to find something of the source of that water and starting at the eastern area of the Ranch he had test holes drilled on a line with a well at the eastern area of the property and on a line with the springs at the headquarters.
The results were  astonishing.  The largest flow was so strong and constant that though  he pumped from it using a large Diesel tractor and pump, he could not lower the water in the well, pumping a six inch stream night and day.  He decided he would like to irrigate some crop land so he contacted the Water Resources Branch of the Provincial Government to ask for a permit to do so.  They finally got back to him and said that their records show there is no water resource in  that area so no permit can be issued.  He persisted in asking them to send someone out to check the well.  They came back and said no,  our records show that there is no water in  that  area to tap for any purpose. He never did get a permit, but did some irrigating.
I am persuaded that many people are like that beaurocratic agency who, without examining any evidence to the contrary, simply said no, there is nothing there.  Preferring to believe the nay-sayers who parrot the old cliche’s that have had negative effects on  people over the years,  many people  give up and decide there is no water to sustain life and make us thrive and glow with health.
When Jesus talked with the woman at the well in Samaria, He said that He would give her the water of life.  The flow is never ending for all who will search the evidence, reach out, knock and open the door to the Lord of life.  If we are wondering why our churches often seem to be at a standstill or sliding away backward, it is beyond doubt that we have not  persisted in sharing the Living Word, Jesus Christ, who gives without limit the life giving Spirit.  Staying in the office, refusing to examine the evidence presented by those who have come to know Christ  as Savior and Lord will condemn us to mediocrity and ineffectiveness. The water of life is there, the flow is unlimited, waiting for us to dig  in the Gospels for the records that are true. Jesus Christ, who is “the Way the Truth and the Life”.  For, “no-one comes to the Father except through Him”.
Wedding Highlites
Early in my ordained ministry I officiated, over the space of a few months, at the marriages of two sisters. I had counselled at length with both couples and they had responded positively. I was quite confident that they would be happy. One was. I was driving along one day in the town and saw the other sister so stopped to chat. She was depressed and I asked her if I could help her. She revealed that her husband had got drunk and beat her and threw her out of the trailer. The marriage, she said, was dead. I asked her if she knew he had a drinking problem when they married and she said yes. I asked her why she went through with the service and she said she thought she could reform him. I was very shocked and sad that the marriage had failed and I felt the blame was also mine. Thereafter I sought to dig more deeply into their life styles. I can tell you it seldom works. I have heard the same statement from numbers of women and some men.

In the same little Church and town, soon after that I officiated at a wedding for a young couple whose families I had known while we were still ranching. I counselled with them at length and we talked about the difficulty in the grooms family, in that his father had been living with another woman in a distant community for three years. However, for the sake of their son, the parents came to the wedding and sat, looking very uneasy in the front pew on the right. After the service, the grooms father asked if he and his wife could come to our home and talk with me. As we drank our coffee, I was asked if that was the same service they had when they were married. A question or two revealed that it was. The husband said, “and we made those promises?” I affirmed that they did and he said, “we didn’t know we made those promises”. They had not been counseled at all before their marriage service. We went through the service again in some detail and they were firmly brought back together to make a new start that was lasting and happy.
One wedding that I regretted scheduling occurred on a Christmas eve, not at the scheduled time but much later, as the Brides father had a flat tire on the way to town and was half an hour late. I had the usual Christmas eve services in Big Valley at 8 PM and Stettler at 11PM. But the wedding didn’t get under way until nearly 7 PM and I still had to get to Big Valley, a 22 mile trip. Clergy are often faulted for driving like maniacs and no doubt we sometimes deserve it. But more often we simply get held up by people who are not aware of our tight schedules and throw a monkey wrench in the works. We didn’t have the convenience of cell phones of course in 1960 and so could not explain to the waiting people that we were unavoidably detained. We just did the best we could and tried to explain later. At times we disappoint people who want to talk with us after the services and we have to brush them aside, even though we would love to accommodate them.
When we were in Cariboo Diocese, I was asked to conduct a wedding in the little Church in Alexis Creek 75 miles west of town one Saturday afternoon. Both the Bride and Groom were members of old Ranch families and had many friends. The Groom informed “everyone west of the Fraser River” that they were welcome to attend and when I arrived it seemed many of them took him at his word. The place swarmed with people. Backed up near the entrance was a large van and the owner was busy unloading a massive array of electronic equipment. I asked him what that was for and he said if the organist didn’t show up he was going to play for the wedding. I prayed that the organist would make it, which he did. When I went into the Church, I asked one of the regular members “who is that sweet little white haired lady in the pew” and he said behind his hand, “are you kidding, that is Ma Murray, publisher of the Lillooet News”. He introduced me to her and she seemed sweet and decorous. But after the service she discovered that someone had broken into her car and stolen her purse. At that point her true character was on display. We tied the knot and the whole country converged on the nearly new Community hall for the reception. It was a country hoe down of high magnitude and lots of hilarity. I slipped away soon and was not missed.

In St. Peters Parish in Williams Lake I was told by the Bride on Friday evening that her father hated ministers and she wanted me to know that before the wedding. At the wedding the next afternoon her father did give her away and gave me a venomous glare as he did so. I had made the usual speech about keeping all confetti outside the Church. However, while we were signing the documents, the enraged father dumped a whole bag of confetti over my head. I said, “don’t do that, it will take me an hour to clean that up”. He responded by saying, “good, it will give you something to do”. I had great difficulty controlling my urge to hit him. Shortly after, I had reason to speak to the bride and groom as they were getting into their car outside and was talking with them through the window. And to add insult to injury, the father dumped another bag of confetti over my head. That time I just bit my tongue and remained silent. The Bride was devastated. I never learned what made the man so angry with ministers. And so vicious toward one he had never met.
On another occasion in the same Parish, I met one evening with a certain couple in my office to counsel them for marriage. It was apparent immediately that the man was furious with me, although I had never met him before. After trying to break through his attitude for a few minutes I said to him, “let’s deal with why you hate me so we can go on with marriage preparations”. He then told me I would be mad too if my sister had been raped by a Priest. It appeared that what he said was true and his whole family was still livid with anger over the incident. I heard him out and we were able finally to carry on as he gave me the benefit of the doubt and decided that I was on his side. By the time of the wedding we were friends
Another, very mature couple, with roots in the Chilcotin spent several long sessions with me in Williams Lake for marriage preparation, during which time they revealed to me that the Brides mother was interfering with their plans and preferences at every turn. They wanted a quiet wedding. But we carried on with the preparations, right up to and including the rehearsal on the Friday evening. The parents were there and I could sense the tension. I remember telling the couple that they must be sure and bring along the Marriage Licence when they came on Saturday. However, when I went over to the Church on Saturday afternoon to conduct the wedding there was not a car to be seen and no people. That evening the groom phoned me from Vancouver and explained that they had eloped and had found a Minister in Clinton who officiated at their service with two witnesses recruited off the street. The Brides Mother was left to explain to the 250 guests she had invited to the reception in Alexis Creek why they didn’t see the happy couple at the head table.

A couple from Quesnel came to see me one Saturday afternoon to ask if I would officiate at their wedding. I asked them why they didn’t choose to be married in Quesnel and they said they wanted to talk about that. We went down into the office and they shared their concerns. The young man was 21 and the girl was 18. They told me they had been engaged for three years, had bought a piece of land out of town, bought their building materials and built their own little house. That it probably didn’t have a square corner in it but it is paid for. He was a cat skinner and fully employed. She was finishing high school and looking after the finances. They had just finished paying for their pickup, which he needed to go to work. And they had a savings account with $800 dollars in it. All her family were boozers and so also was his family. And both families wanted them to throw a big party at the wedding and pay for it with their $800. Then came the question; “will you officiate at our wedding in Williams Lake?” And I did. That couple kept in touch with me until we moved to Campbell River and they were delightful. They had a family of three lovely children by the time we lost track of them and each time they had a new baby they came down to see us again. They were truly responsible and honest. H . R. (D ick) Hunt

On Mayne Island in the Gulf of Georgia I ministered on a half time basis in the Parish of St. Mary Magdalene from September 1st, 1985 until April 5th, 1988. I had just retired from the Parish of St. Peter’s Campbell River. While there I officiated at the marriage of a teacher from northern B.C. and a girl from Denmark who had very little command of English. There were a number of family members there from Denmark and lots of friends. It was a quiet wedding and not unusual except for one unsettling incident. Outside of the entrance door and just after the Groom and his attendant had gone to the front of the Church, the ring bearer fiddled around with the cushion on which the brides ring was fastened with a ribbon and the ring rolled away and down between the stone steps and the wall, where it could not easily be retrieved. There was no time to be lost and so I asked for the loan of a ring to use until after the service. All was well until I blessed the ring and handed it to the Groom to place on the Brides finger. He immediately realized it was not his ring and panicked, saying, “that’s not my ring. I can’t get married” and was in a flap. I explained briefly to him what had happened and that we would set the matter right as soon as the service was over. It took us some time to fish out the ring as the steps were made of hewn stones, very large and heavy. But we got some tire irons and wrecking bars and with native ingenuity we rescued the ring, traded back and assured the couple that they were well and truly married.
In St. Peter’s Williams Lake, something unusual happened when the best man at a wedding who was nervous about his heavy responsibilities came in heavily fortified with alcohol. He was not troublesome and the wedding was a quiet one with a small wedding party. Almost immediately the man slowly crumpled into a heap and was sound asleep about the time he hit the floor. Someone helped him to a more comfortable position and we went on with the service without his help. Someone else had to sign as a witness because he didn’t witness anything.
In St. Peter’s Campbell River, while we still worshipped in the little old Church, we had a very nervous best man, at a wedding with six attendants on each side of the happy couple. He had been fortifying himself with elbow bending before the service began and was very highly strung, determined to support his best friend through the ordeal. Just before we were ready for the rings, he passed out and since I read the signs correctly I signaled the fellow next to him to catch him and ease him into an adjacent pew. But he had no sooner put his head down when he came to, popped up again and almost as quickly fainted again. And again. On the fourth try I asked a couple of his friends to take him outside and make sure he didn’t come in again for a few minutes. We finished the service and he came back, in time to sign as a witness and feeling terrible for letting his friend down. He wasn’t aware that he had caused disruption during the service.
I was asked to officiate in the same Church for a young first nations man of 18 years to a Caucasian bride about the same age. Harold was a member of a extended family whose surname was Sewid (pronounced “Sea Weed”) and he was a student at the Shawnigan Lake Boys School, an Anglican establishment. He came home on weekends and I counseled with the couple on a number of occasions. Then one day I had a phone call from the Headmaster of the school asking me if it was necessary for me to counsel with Harold and all six of his attendants, which would necessitate their absence from classes. I assured him that I only needed to talk with Harold and so the little scheme fell apart. At the rehearsal on the Friday evening and the wedding the next day, the Bride and Groom each had six attendants plus two flower girls and a ring bearer. And since the width of the Church was only twenty feet it was necessary for the wedding party to bend down along the sides of the Church for some distance. The total capacity of the Church was officially only 85 persons but someone claimed that they counted a total of one hundred and eighty five people at the wedding. At the reception following in a larger venue there were over three hundred present. At last report, the couple is still happily married with a large family.

One of the great gifts that God has given us is being set up to destroy us. In addition to being the means of procreation, sex in the context of the committed relationship of the marriage of a man and a woman is a means of expressing their tender love of each to the other. Misuse of this great gift not only cheapens it but brings great pain and suffering to multitudes of people every day.
The merchandizing of women as objects of sexual desire displayed by sellers of goods and services is blatant and disgusting. The internet is crowded with pornography, making it very  clear that the poison of sexual filth is widespread to say the least. The news is reeking with accounts of sexual violence and lust.
Many great civilizations of the past have foundered and self destructed in the spoiling of this great gift. Sexual intercourse is most obviously natural as the mating of a  man and a woman.  When we fall in love with each other the obvious result is what the Bible describes as “becoming one flesh”. God did not make a mistake when He created the species of the earth as male and female. The plan includes not only humans but animals, birds, fish, plants etc. ad infinitum.
In committed relationships between a man and a woman who love each other, there is a desire to please each other in true mutuality. I write from the perspective of over sixty years of our wonderful Marriage with the woman I fell in love with, a love that deepens with the years as we enjoy loving each other. I also write from my experience as an ordained minister having counseled more than a thousand couples and officiated at the marriages of most of them.  I have rejoiced in the ones that thrive and I have wept over the ones who have failed.
I believe that any departure from the time tested and God planned, committed relationship of a man and a woman in a loving marriage is an abomination  and should be vigorously resisted. Sincerely, Dick Hunt  Maple Ridge, B.C., April 28th, 2005

A Toothy Story, By Dick Hunt;  January 3rd, 2007

Recently we have been treated to  messages on TV reminding us that even very young children need Dental care and driving the point home.  One scene is of a young boy on a stool in a photographers studio about to have his Photo taken.  He is obviously uncomfortable about showing those teeth as he has crooked teeth and gaps in the front.  The caption says that he shouldn’t  have to be embarrassed  about his teeth.
I can heartily feel for children (or anyone) with that problem.  When I was ten years old, living in Victoria B.C. for the winter with all our family,  I attended Cedar Hill Crossroads school, along with my sister and brother.  Our playground equipment included a number of swings, which had heavy plank seats hung on heavy rods.  Somehow I managed to walk in front of one just after a pupil jumped off and the swinging seat caught me full in the mouth, breaking a front permanent tooth from gum to tip, leaving it useless and painful.  There was nothing for it but to have it extracted in those days, so out it came.
For the next thirty four years, I lived with that gap in my upper front teeth and there was never a day when I did not find it a problem.  When I was still a boy it had two advantages.  It was great to whistle through and it was handy to spit through.  Neither of those  advantages endeared me to anyone as I recall.  I was looking through  some old snapshots today and noticed that in all the pictures of me taken during those years, I never showed my teeth.
One year when we were in Stettler, Ruth and I were at Banff Springs Hotel for a meeting of the Clergy and Wives of the Diocese, along with Bishop Calvert and his lovely Wife. We were all lined up two deep, the front row on chairs, along a lower terrace with a professional photographer on the upper terrace.  He was having great difficulty getting us to face the camera and look  pleasant (for a wide angle shot) as we were trying to visit with one another while we were there. Finally he said in a loud voice, “come on show those teeth”.  Then in another moment he said, “no, don’t take them out of your mouth” and literally every person present looked at  the camera and laughed.  I still have  a copy of that great picture and it  brings back fine  memories  of friends from long ago.  I wasn’t aware that I shouldn’t show my teeth on that occasion.
A short time before we were due to leave Stettler for Williams Lake, my Mother, who had always had a concern for my dental problem, phoned and asked me to make arrangements  to have my gap taken care of and she would pay for it.  Gratefully, I made an appointment with Dr. Ward Dade to have the work done and he extracted some front teeth and fitted a partial plate which solved the problem.  He arranged for the work to be done in the hospital and Dr. Trumper administered the general anesthetic.  I awoke sometime later with what felt like the kitchen sink in my mouth.   Peter McCalman who was there with us for six weeks before we moved away came and said Evening Prayer with me  and that too is a great memory for me.  When the final service came about and I conducted my final service and preached my last sermon there,  I was still getting used to the new plate.  No gap anymore, but a huge lump in my throat and tears when we said goodbye to all the lovely friends in Stettler.

Small Boys and Other Tales.;  by Dick Hunt.

When we were still in St.George’s Parish in Stettler and Gail was about five years old, she came down with Chicken Pox just before Christmas.  The Pox was especially miserable for her on Christmas day and it is the only time in my memory that any of our children was not interested on Christmas day in eating or opening presents or much of anything else.  She mostly suffered in silence while we tried to make her as comfortable as possible.  The many Christmas days we have spent with the Hunt/Baker clan (Gail Hunt and her husband Doug  Baker)  have always been great fun and great eating and great blessings for us to be part of.  They have spoiled us, as have our other family members over the years.
When our grandson Rafferty was about fifteen months of age, he was placed in our care in Campbell River while his parents went to England for a holiday.   They were able to take their eldest son Brendan with them.  Raff, as he is known was a good little fellow and was a pleasure to have with us.  One memory that I have of his visit is a vision of him outside by a flower border, smelling the flowers and examining them.  I have a snapshot in  black and white of that pleasant scene.
Some time later, after we had moved to  Ridge, Raff stayed with us again.  While he was here he too had chicken pox and was very troubled about  going to the bathroom.  Ruth solved the problem by running a bath of warm water and putting him in it with the advice that if he wanted to pee in the water that would be OK.  He did and the problem was solved. The chicken pox soon  cleared up and all was well.
When we were in 1955 in Saskatoon where I was studying for Ordination, we took the train from Saskatoon to Calgary to spend Christmas with my parents on the stock farm south of Calgary.  It happened that a major blizzard  blew in  before we had traveled many miles and near Rosetown on the flat prairie the train ground to a halt in a cut where there was a little hill.  The cut was totally filled with hard packed snow and it took crews 15 hours to get us moving again.  There was no dining car on the train but some sandwiches were available and beverages such  as coffee, tea and milk.  Even they ran out and by the time we finally got to Calgary we were ravenous.  I cannot remember how we traveled from Calgary to DeWinton but we did have a pleasant  break and it was great to be with family. Tim was born the next summer so was not  with us at  that time.
When Gail’s  and Doug’s  third son Liam was small, he expressed a wish to come and stay with us in Maple Ridge.  Gramma was quite willing to have him but said he would have to know how to go to the bathroom by himself before he could come.  He was not quite toilet trained. Some time later he phoned and asked to speak with Gramma.  He said, “Gramma, I’m a dry boy now, can I come and stay with you?’  And of  course the answer was, yes.  And we had a great visit with him.  Now all the Hunt/Baker children are grown and away from home except for the special times and those days of being together have largely come to an end.  But what wonderful memories we still savor as a  result of having been included.  Family ties are so precious.

The Box Social;  by Dick Hunt, Jan. 4. 2007.

Old timers who read this story will remember the Box Socials that used to be popular early in  the 20th Century.  They were essentially local dances held in various halls, schools etc. and the gathering of people would be well acquainted with each other. In the boxes were lunches, meant to be opened after the crowd had danced and socialized for some time.  They were nicely wrapped and the names of the ladies who prepared them were inside the wrapping to hide the identity of the owners.  They were sold by an “auctioneer”, pressed into service for the evening, the proceeds normally turned over to the organizers to help pay the expenses. Much merriment ensued as the identity of the ladies was revealed and the lunches consumed.
Whole families attended and it was a great social occasion with good mixing.  On a certain night when it came time for the boxes to be sold, the young Welsh Anglican Minister, the Rev. John Jones Evans, a bachelor, not being aware of  the unwritten rules of engagement  bought one of the boxes and crossed the floor to lay it on the knees of my eldest brother Wilf.  He sat rigidly and gradually the box slid off his knees and landed on the floor where it  lay like a bomb waiting to be defused. There was a sudden silence, but the mother of the young lady who’s  box it was was so furious we could almost hear her blood boil.  Moreover, she was a person who was known to hold a grudge, having ceased all contact with a sister in law over a minor disagreement years before.
I fail to remember how the box was finally opened or who the lucky young man was who finally retrieved it.  But I do remember that Wilf, who was about 20 years of age and not inclined then or for some time afterward to fraternize with young ladies, stood his ground and was not about to be pressured into doing what he did not consider his duty.   All the time we were in the one room school, ten grades, one teacher,  my sister and I always looked to Wilf for guidance and were influenced by his attitude and example.  As a result we were never inclined to misbehave or be argumentative.
Years afterward, when I was away from home for studies at the Olds School of Agriculture and Home Economics, I did not feel burdened by the discipline imposed upon the students.  And when I was in uniform for four years during the war I was easy with the more rigid disciplines of the Air Force.  I had been trained to understand that without  order, people could not function at an effective level.
My father was the guiding light in  that regard and he was very good with people.  He set the example of honesty and team work that made our life a joy and satisfaction in accomplishment.  He did not easily  give out praise but when he gave us a “well done” we knew it was a high compliment and that we had done well.  On the other hand, when we did not do our best, he was not slow to quietly let us know he was not happy with us.  I can still see in my memory, my Mothers eyes twinkle with understanding on those occasions of praise or of censure.  And we were all the better for it.  And Wilf at  the age of 92+ is still a good example of sticking to his guns and being guided by what he believes is right.     A Man Called Archie (How big things start from small beginnings)
In the town of Stettler in Alberta, in the late 50’s, a man called Archie Fleming shared a little dream with me. He was an old timer in the community, he and his wife were active Anglicans, well respected and he cared a lot about seniors. He said we should start a drop in centre for the old men around the town who had no place to meet and nothing to do. So
we started looking for a building and soon discovered that a suitable place was empty on the main business street. It had been a laundry but had closed some years earlier. The Town had in fact taken it over for non payment of taxes. They were willing to allow the use of it for a men’s social centre and there would be no fee for the use other than utilities. What to do about furnishings? We each took one side of the street and with lists in hand, canvassed the business people. Without exception they were generous and supportive. Within two hours, we had chairs, card tables, coffee machine, tea pots and dishes, a TV, even cookies, cream, sugar and whatever else they could supply. Dart boards, cards, crib boards. And the donors even transported the gifts to the site. We put up some signs,
talked it up with whoever we saw and opened the doors. And the first tentative guests were soon the best advertisers ever. They formed an executive, framed some rules of behavior, set a fee to pay for expenses and were off and running. And I asked Archie, who at 75 was older than most of the “Club Members” when he was going to patronize the place. He told me that if they wanted to be old men that was up to them but he wanted no part of that. He went on to other tasks that needed doing. About that time, modern translations of the New Testament were becoming available and I learned that I could buy them from the Bible Society in hard cover for two dollars each. For a start I brought in a two dozen case of J. B. Phillips New Testament and made it known that they were available at my cost. One of the first to buy one was Archie and I delivered it to him about 7:30 one evening on the way to an appointment. He was a great reader, quite well acquainted with the King James Bible and the works of Robbie Burns. I finished my evening work, went home and to bed around 11 PM. At 2:15 in the morning, the phone rang and I thought, ‘another emergency’. But when I picked up the phone, it was Archie, very excited. He said, “listen to what St. Paul did” and he proceeded to read me a passage. Then another. And another. Finally I said, Archie, do you know what time it is? It is 2:30 in the morning. He said, “oh yes, and listen to what St. Paul said”. I had trouble getting him to go to bed and read again tomorrow. For the first time in his life, he was understanding the scriptures anew and he found them exciting. His wife’s name was Pansy and she was small and thin and anything but speechless. She was very like the Pansy Yokum who was the mother of Lil Abner fame in the now historic funnies. I found it difficult not to call her Pansy Yokum. She was a woman of fierce loyalties, had been born and raised in Tennessee in the United States and though she had spent most of her life in Canada still had a deep problem with racism. She was an Anglican of the “High Church variety and a very loyal supporter of all the clergy who had been in the town over the years. Archie told me this account of what follows. One evening, she was watching ‘Front Page Challenge’ and one of the mystery people was Charlotte Whitton, Mayor of Ottawa, who when she came on camera was giving Gordon Sinclair a hard time, and vice-versa. Up to a point Gordon seemed to have the edge and Pansy was sounding off valiantly against “that awful woman’. But then Charlotte said, “Mr. Sinclair, I will have you know I am a Christian and furthermore I am a High Church Anglican and you don’t know what you are talking about”. At that point Pansy abruptly changed sides and said, “oh, isn’t she wonderful”. She voted with her emotions and loyalties. Archie could see what was going on and had many a chuckle. They had three daughters and were a close knit family.

Clerical Collars And Other Symbols, by Dick Hunt, Jan. 7-07
I first donned a clerical collar on May 31st, 1957 at the time of my Ordination as a Deacon in the Church of God, (Anglican) in Calgary.  At that time collars were all around type, no abbreviations and wearing one was considered by most people a mark of  service.   The first Minister I ever knew was one with a long black beard, twinkling eyes and a infectious grin.  His name was Harold Edward  Scallon  and I believe it is true to say  that he was universally loved in the area where he served.  He was back from England in 1934 and was present  at the time of my Confirmation  in St . Paul’s Byemoor,  AB.
I have been told from time to time that we ministers “try to hide behind our collars”, as in “pull the wool over people’s  eyes”.  That has not been evident to me. On the contrary the collar has been a statement  of  openness and that has been proven to my satisfaction many  times by the fact that I have been singled out in various circumstances as one who might give a listening ear to people with burdens and stresses too heavy to carry alone.  It is true of course that I have been the target of abuse by some who have at some time  had a bad time with clergymen who were wearing clerical collars.

Those who do not wear a clerical collar are singled out  by our neighbors and acquaintances as those who signify by what they see of us on Sunday mornings,  getting along to Church.  When Ruth and I and the family were still ranching I hired a young French Canadian who was a Roman Catholic.  His first meal with us was supper and when we sat down I said grace as was our custom.  He looked up with great amazement and said, “you Catholic?”.  Knowing what he meant I said, no.  He said “but you pray!”  I said yes.  Again he said “and you no Catholic? – my Priest tell me that only Catholics pray”.  He had been working in the district for six months for an R.C. farmer who had never invited him to Church.  He then went to Church with us,  along with two friends which was their decision, until someone ‘told on them’ and then a Priest drove 60 miles round trip to warn them that they would be excommunicated if they ever went to another  “Protestant” church again.  We  have come a long way since then.
The fact is that all who claim to be Christians should be very open about our Faith and Joy in Christ.  It has been said that the most effective way to spread the Christian Gospel is through believers. Right.  It is also true that a bad witness is very effective as a way to turn people away from Christ.  There should be  a very  attractive and loving impression left with those who learn that we claim to be Christians.   There should never a time when we try to hide from  the public as far as our behavior is concerned.  We do say in our worship that  God knows all about us, even to our secret thoughts.  Our neighbors should want to know what makes us  live as we do.
Years ago in Alberta, I had a call from Charles Matson,  a member of the Nazarene Church,  with a request.  Would I loan him a clerical shirt and collar?  I asked him why he needed them.  He said they  were putting on a play at the Church and that one of the cast had to be a minister.  I told him that I thought it quite possible for a minister to just wear a collar and tie or a crew neck or whatever.  But he said that then no-one would know he was the minister in the play. I spun that out  a  bit by telling him I would be very upset if they were making fun of something that  I held in high regard, but loaned him the items.  He got the point.  I have discovered he is now working in Surrey, still in the Funeral business. He was a true brother in Christ.
When we were in Stettler and I was responsible for services in Big Valley, Scollard and so on, I went to Big  Valley one Sunday  afternoon and arrived without my robes.  Just forgot them.  The schedule was for a Communion Service but I couldn’t make myself conduct the Eucharist without my robes, so we had Evensong instead.  Today that would not be a difficulty.  At General Synod in Sudbury  in the late sixties, the weather was very  hot.  Bishops Evans of Ontario Diocese who was known to be quite rigid and unbending showed up for a Synod session wearing shorts and an open shirt. He  brought the House down and his behavior met with general approval.
But on the Sunday  morning, a group of us gathered on the shore of a little man made Lake in the University grounds to celebrate the Eucharist.  The celebrant was Canon Geoff  Flagg, who was then the Rector of St. Lukes, Red Deer.  He too was in shorts and an open necked shirt and he wore the appropriate stole.  The Altar was an upside down garbage can and the ‘chalice and patten’ were borrowed from the dining hall.  Several Bishops and other senior clergy were present and the service was most devout and meaningful.  However, there were strong and very  vocal comments about the “blasphemy” of  the service.
One of the very effective and hard working clergy in the Arctic some years ago was John Sperry, a graduate of Emmanuel College.  He worked tirelessly with the Inuit people and the Indians, traveling long distances by dog team.  He did valuable translation work .  On one of his journeys, he happened upon a small encampment of aborigines who wanted their communion.  He had no wine with him but the natives had some strawberry jam which they used as a substitute. The resulting service was a truly soul warming event for the group. In the following months, when it became known to people “on the outside” that John Sperry had used strawberry jam for such a purpose, there was a great deal of  harsh criticism.  Yet Jesus had used very common items both in teaching and in  the Lord’s Supper and “the common people heard Him gladly”. John became   a much loved Bishop in the Arctic.
I have known over the years Anglicans of all kinds of Churchmanship, from Charismatic’s, through Evangelicals, to middle Churchmen to Anglo-Catholics and I have learned something from them all. Most of the Evangelicals have been people of  very devout churchmanship and most of the  the Anglo-Catholics have been very evangelical in their desire to bring people to Christ.  The people who I have had difficulty fellowshipping with are those, clergy or layity who don’t seem to know what they believe and so seem to fake it and play church.  My fellowshipping has known no bounds of denomination and I have friends from all churches who know what they believe and practice their faith in the living Christ.  I recently had a letter from a retired R.C. Priest in Edmonton who said warmly that I had helped him greatly  in believing that it  was possible to know that ecumenical fellowship was the hope of the future for the Churches. We are as close as brothers can be.

“He Just Went Down To Have Some Fun”.  by Dick Hunt, Jan 11th, 07.
I have been watching the news  and have agonized for family of the young man who was murdered in Acapulco.  His Uncle said that he just went down to have some fun and that he had planned the trip for months. What a sad end and especially so if he had no faith to live by. That of course is something we can’t know.  The probability is that he didn’t, given the locale of his search for fun. Mind you,  there is no guarantee that being in a night club is a sign of no faith. Some of the accounts I have read of opportunities to turn to Christ  have taken place in Pubs of various types.
Some missionaries have given their lives to that  area of ministry, as evidenced by the great success of  General Bramwell Booth and the ongoing Ministry of the Salvation Army, among many others. An interesting fact is that the Army is held in very high regard not  only by  Christians around the world, but by many other people of good will who have witnessed their great Spirit of love and compassion for the lost  and broken people they seek out for the Lord.
It is easily verifiable that people normally seek the company of  like minded friends in their off hours. It is also evident that if  a person wants to change their life style, it is at the same time necessary that they change their spare time activities which makes it necessary to change their companions.  Many a person has been on the verge of making a clean start in life, even to the extent of  beginning to find a Faith to live by, when they are sucked back into their former life by their erstwhile friends.
When however a person does make a clean break with their past, in the company of new friends and becomes intrigued by their eagerness to deepen their understanding of the Christian Faith,  they also want to tell their old friends about what has happened to them.  As long as I had only a nodding acquaintance with the Christian Faith, I had no great  desire to share what little I had.  I didn’t  realize the difference between being mildly infected with the Christian Way and having a life changing intervention of the Spirit of the Living Christ in my life.  My calling to Ordained ministry was from  Jesus Christ.
When I did come to know Jesus Christ was when,  having read the Bible regularly  for some years looking for answers, I discovered that there there was but one answer that is essential and utterly effective and that answer is Jesus Christ Himself.  When I was ordained in 1957, a good friend gave me a number of books by the Rev. W. H. Griffith -Thomas.  One of those books was entitled, “Christianity is Christ”.  And that  is so true.  Until Jesus made himself known to me as Saviour and Lord, I was spending a good deal of time trying to “be good” and it was tough going.  Since that time I have spent my life loving and praising Christ, who shows me what I should do and what he expects me to be in the Kingdom, day  by day.
And I say without hesitation that I didn’t know what fun was until I gave over to Christ the management of my  time and activities.  Every time I have  witnessed the conversion and new birth of people God has given me to serve, it is lovely to see their joy and fun and happiness in their new life, with their new friends and their new vocation and calling to serve the Lord, every day, wherever  they are. Caring and sharing and Praising God.

Non Anglicans Go Home. by  Dick Hunt, Jan. 11th-07

Years ago in a town in Alberta, a new Minister arrived to serve in an Anglican Parish.  He quickly discovered that a very  vital and active youth group was functioning in the town.  In  fact they were meeting in the Anglican Parish Hall and had been led by his immediate predecessor. He discovered, furthermore that a preponderance of the members were not Anglicans and were not confirmed. This, he stated, must not be allowed any longer.  All non  Anglicans were told to depart.  The ones who remained were devastated.  The others were scattered.
The previous minister of course was now in another parish and had no authority at all in the matter. Many of the youth group lost interest. Most of those  who remained with their  families were so thoroughly committed Christians that they refused to be driven away and for many years afterward were still, through thick and thin, the workers and worshippers year after year.  I knew many of them and loved them for their faithfulness to the Lord of the Church.  The Minister moved on after a while and now many years  later the Parish is still soldiering on , but with an aging membership.
I have heard some Anglican Clergy say that they will not build on the record of their predecessors but prefer to start afresh.  One I knew would not even retain the Parish list in one Mission Church but “built from scratch”.  In doing so he immediately made many old timers angry.  I followed his “career” and discovered that after serving in a number of rural and then city Parishes, he died without any faith whatever,  an agnostic. How very sad.  He did not know that “Jesus sends us to reap what we have not worked for” (John4:38 – NEB).  He knew lots about symbols and ceremonies and “doing it right”.  Finally , by his own statement, he didn’t know the Lord.
In another Parish, with three Mission points, there was a Priest who had been, by his own description, “a hard shell Baptist”.  While working in the oil patch he had come under the influence of a Anglican Priest and had found someone who would  listen to him, give him reasoned answers to his questions and appeared to be well acquainted with the Bible and it’s contents. He found a new calling in Christ, left the oil patch, studied for the Ministry and was very effective in  the rural work.  He too led a very  active and vital Youth group, from several denominations and from none, but with a core of Anglicans.  They numbered over a hundred, drawn from three towns and the rural areas.  The magnetism which drew the youths was his honesty as a Christian and his love for them.
Jesus Christ must come first in order for anyone to be a strong and effective Disciple and member of the Body of Christ.  He said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he that does not gather with me scatters”   (Matthew 12:30. NEB.  By “being with” him undoubtedly means “as Savior and Lord”.  In response to a question from the crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after the feeding of the 5000, as to the way to serve God, Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29.  NEB) What is there about that which is not easily understood?
A  Major Confrontation With Officialdom.  by  Dick Hunt. Jan. 14th, 07

On a Sunday afternoon in the Village of Big Valley , AB in 1960, I had just conducted a Sunday Service in the Anglican Church.  Two couples came into the Vestry where I was packing up ready to go home, very agitated.  They said their sons  and the sons of two other couples had been molested by the School Principal.  All the boys were under the age of 15 and very active in school sports. They had been invited on the occasion of which I am writing to the home of the teacher. After some small talk, he had poured each one a small glass of wine.  Then he disappeared into his bedroom and soon reappeared, stark naked.  At that, the boys had the presence of mind to leave immediately.
They talked together and determined they would share the matter with their parents.  They in turn took the matter to the School superintendent.  According to his report, he had then gone to the teacher and confronted him with the complaint, had thoroughly  investigated and there was, he said no truth in the boys story.  At that point the parents came to me.
After a short discussion I asked them if they thought the boys would talk with me with their hockey coach in attendance.  They eagerly complied and we sat down together in the home of the hockey coach.  I didn’t ask the boys for detailed verbal accounts of what had happened.  Instead I asked the coach if he woould get four sheets of plain paper,  four white envelopes and four pens  which he did.  Then I asked the boys to sit down each separately and write in their own words exactly what had happened, sign them and we would ask the coach  to witness their signatures, without reading what they had written.  When that  had been done, I asked the boys to entrust me with the envelopes and I made the pledge that they would not be opened and would not be made public in any way. They agreed and I went home with the envelopes.
On the Monday I went to the County Office in Stettler AB and asked the Secretary  to make an appointment for me  to speak with the full County Council which included the School Division, as soon as possible. The meeting was scheduled for the following Thursday, beginning at one PM.  I duly appeared at the Council Chambers and they kept  me waiting until late afternoon, hoping I would give up and go home. They obviously knew why I was there.  Finally about five o’clock they called me in.  I was asked by the Reeve to state my case.  I did so in a few words, after which the Reeve said they had already determined that the complaint was without foundation and had been settled by the School Superintendent, who was there at the meeting.
I then asked for their attention again and was permitted to speak.  I said I had interviewed the parents, then the boys and their hockey coach and I was certain that the boys were telling the truth.  At that , several councilors stood and vouched for the honesty of the teacher.   Then I took the four white envelopes out of my  pocket, fanned them out and said I had the four handwritten statements from the boys, separately from each other, in their own words, signed and witnessed by their hockey coach and that I was prepared to  break the  news to the media if they did not get the teachers resignation that very day.

There was a stunned silence and then the Reeve asked me if I would entrust the envelopes into his keeping.  I said I would trust him with them if he gave his word that they would not under any circumstances be opened.  He gave me that assurance before the Council and with the Superintendent, drove the 22 miles to Big Valley, having phoned the teacher beforehand.  They confronted him, showed him the still sealed envelopes and he blanched, and immediately  wrote out and signed his resignation.  He was gone from the community the next day. The Reeve returned the envelopes to me.
Less than a month later, I had a call from the  Alberta Teachers Association asking me to talk with them.  They had discovered that the Teacher had applied for a Principals position in a Elementary School in  Smokey Lake, AB and was in fact employed there. They asked me if I would be prepared to go with their representatives to Edmonton and take the envelopes with me and confront the teacher and his Lawyer.  I did and we met there in a small office at the ATA.  The lawyer was very aggressive and belligerent.  He had his say and then the ATA introduced me and asked me to speak.  I did so, in a few words then fanned out the four white envelopes again, told them what they contained, said I had all the proof we needed and we wanted the teacher out of the teaching profession altogether. They capitulated almost instantly and the teacher was, as I was given to understand, deported to Poland.  I then  returned the envelopes to the four boys, having never opened them and they destroyed them.
The general public learned that I had been involved in what had taken place, (not from me), which had resulted in the teachers’ removal from teaching in Canada.  Some had blamed me for the whole shakeup.  The County Lawyer publicly stated that a Minister of the Gospel should be ashamed to be involved in such a demeaning affair.  I took it to mean that he believed that the Church should only be involved with what he might term “Religion” and not anything in the real world.  He was a staunch member of another Church.
Peggy Armstrong, by Dick Hunt, Jan. 16th, 07

During our time in Stettler, we spent a good deal of time working with Peggy and Jack.  Peggy’s ability to  share her experiences in London during the blitz  were very moving. When her parents moved out and came to Stettler, they added more details.
I was very moved by her account of the first Sunday after the V1 bombs started falling on London.  She said that normally attendance in their Parish Church was inclined to be sparse.  But on the Sunday in question, the Church was packed out and standing room only.  The elderly Priest, when he went into the pulpit to Preach his sermon, said, with a voice of wonder and emotion, “So that is what it  takes to bring you to Church”.  Peggy said they were ashamed and humbled to think that they had become so careless, even in the midst of the war.  “They felt like sliding down under the pews”

Her father told of another experience which had had a major effect for good in his life and of his family,  which has stayed with me in vivid detail.  He was a Bus Driver on the Double Decker’s and also a Fire Warden at night in the blackout.  He also played a large part in the development and operation of the Communications system for the security and safety of London.
On  a particularly vicious night of indiscriminate bombing, he found his way to their basement flat at the end of his wardens duty to find that there had been a direct hit and the building was heap of rubble.  He dived into the ruins and was fighting his way to the area which had been their home, fearing that his wife and family would be dead.  He could see the glow of a flashlight ahead of him and wondered who could be there.  When he discovered who it was, he was simply overwhelmed.  He said to me, “It was the Vicar.  He cared enough to look for my family in the ruins!”.  His voice broke and he said that was a turning point in his life and that of his family.  I was deeply moved by the telling.
Peggy was a great influence for good amongst the people of Stettler and of St. George’s Parish.  She had spent a lot of time entertaining and encouraging the people in the underground shelters during the blitz.  She was an entertainer and sang with them and simply led them in seeing it all through.  She trained our Junior Choir and was good influence on the young members.
Jack too was a great friend to me and I learned a lot from him.  When I was agonizing with our coming departure  from Stettler for our move to Wlliams Lake, we were sitting in his living room.  He told me to sit there and he went into the kitchen, returning with a half glass of water.  He put it on the coffee table and said “put your finger in the water”.  I said, “why?”. He said, “just do it”.  I did and then he told me to remove my finger, which I did.  He said, “look at the water. Is there  a hollow where your finger was?”  I had to admit there wasn’t and he said, “OK, you are not indispensible”.   He was truly my  big brother.
(See my story, “They came all that way to see us”, in this series.)

Glenn and Gen, a True Hearted Couple. by Dick Hunt, Jan 16th, 07

I first met Glenn Cruikshank when he was working for AGT in Stettler.  He was active in St. George’s Church and was an eager member of a Bible study group.  Along the way I discovered he was an eager about to be married young man.  And then I met Genevieve and I knew why he was eager.  I was drawn to her by her honesty and integrity and her beauty as a person.   And another factor was that I am the father of a leg amputee and she had also lost her leg from cancer, as did Tim.  Yet she never complained or sought any hint of  sympathy or special treatment.    And nor has our son Tim.

I will reveal a secret that I have never shared before.  The wedding was celebrated in St. Timothy’s Parish in Edmonton (that is not the secret, wait for it).  The Rector there was Rusty Brown with whom I had studied in Emmanuel College in Saskatoon.  He kindly allowed me to officiate at the  Marriage there and he looked after the rehearsal  on the Friday night since we would be arriving late.

In fact, we had been held up in Stettler by reason of the fact that two ladies of the Parish  were riding to Edmonton with us and couldn’t leave until mid afternoon.  Then we had to cope with fog and a slow trip was the result.  Added  to that we were trying to do all the preparations for Sunday before we left and had not had any lunch.   Then when couldn’t   find a restaurant along the way for supper,  we had ended up missing that  as well.   By the time we got to Rusty’s and Ruth’s, it was after eight PM.  We were made very  welcome, visited for a while and they offered us a cup of tea, (and no cookies or toast).  I longed to say we had not eaten since breakfast but didn’t want to embarrass them.   And that is the secret that I am now revealing for the first time. We were famished but slept well after we were visited out.

The wedding was very happy and the reception was a joyful time  with their families and friends.  Back in Stettler they became quickly involved together in the life of the Parish.  Over the years when we were in Stettler each year on our trips to Alberta, we always enjoyed seeing them again.  We  frequently parked our little Motor home outside their house on the street overnight.  On trips with the car, they gave us their hospitality on several occasions and we always had such happy times together.  Gen filled us in on the results of the annual pie sales and the remarkable and broad based volunteer army of willing workers that put it all together.  The atmosphere of their home was so evidently  one of great harmony and steadfast love. It was always very evident that they had a wonderful marriage and two great and gifted Children,  in Colleen and Gordon.  When we dare to love one another, we also leave ourselves open to parting for a time.

It is with great sadness and empathy that we now share with Glenn and the family the loss of Gen and we say without doubt that she is with the Lord of heaven and earth, the Lord she so faithfully served and loved. She has arrived at our true home, in the very presence of God the Father and Jesus, the Lamb of God who died and rose again that we might live forever.

The Formation  of a Decision. by Dick Hunt, Jan.  18th-07

I have been asked to flesh out our experience surrounding the birth of our son Harold Timothy Hunt on August 16th, 1956.  The pregnancy was quite normal, some appointments with a cheerful young Scottish Doctor and no complications showing up.  Ruth went into labor late on the evening of the 15th and we put plan A into effect, alerted our lovely neighbors and I took her to the University Hospital just six blocks due north of our little home.
Tim was born, quite normally after a few hours (fifty years ago just past) and I phoned my employer, Little Borland and Co. Construction,  to say I would not be in to work that day. I talked with our three children and told them that they had a new little brother and that mother and baby were fine.  Six days went by; the neighbors were wonderful, gave us full support, helped with meals, baby sat when I went to visit Ruth and “Tiny Tim”.
On day six , following instructions from our  obstetrician I went to the hospital to bring Ruth and Tim home.  When I arrived I found that there was a possible difficulty.  The Maternity ward was on the same floor as the Cancer Clinic and as a matter of policy, all Mothers and babies were examined before going home after births.  Ruth said that Dr. Cole, a no nonsense  Englishwoman had detected a small lump on Tim’s tiny right thigh.  They wanted to do a biopsy to see if there was a problem.  So began a time of waiting which kept us on a new plan B, day by day learning to trust the findings of the Cancer Clinic staff and the specialists.  So Tim stayed in the hospital nursery and Ruth was home with us again.
On day nine of his life, the Clinic did a biopsy and when I took Ruth to enable her to nurse Tim, he had a little bandage on his thigh. Ruth continued to go every four hours, night and day to feed Tim so we continued to rely on the great love and care of our neighbors.  They were a fine example of loving their neighbors.  A  Chinese couple two doors down one way,  a great bluff United Church fellow and his little wife next door, a Presbyterian couple on the other side and a Roman Catholic couple next to them. They all had us under their wings of  love and in their prayers.  We were fortunate that we had our own car and money for the gasoline.
I had alerted my parents south of Calgary, our Bishop – George Calvert, our friends Jim and Elsie Wyatt in Calgary and Emmanuel College professor Jim Beatty of our situation.  And they had spread the word around.  No e mail, no cell phones.  But the word got out.  On the fourteenth day of Tim’s life, the surgical staff, with our Maternity Dr. present, gave us the news. The lump was a rapidly growing cancer and the only way to save Tim’s life was a full disarticulation of his right leg.  They had been very busy, using every means available to contact all known medical agencies around the world for information.  No-one had ever heard of a baby born with cancer.  They were on their own with no records to pour over.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have kept careful notes of the names of the Surgeons, the maternity Dr., the lovely Pilipino nurses, all of whom were deeply compassionate and supportive.  And mention has to be made of the care and attention given by  the Saskatchewan Medical Plan into which we had been paying our little premiums each month .  More on that later. The chief surgeon was a devout Jewish man with a very  big heart.  What a wonderful example of  healing ministry he was!  And so we got on the phone again and sent out the word. Within a short time we were getting calls and mail from as far away as Britain, Norway, all across Canada and the U.S . Someone among my fellow students at the College estimated that there were probably a million people praying for us.
We had the essential meeting with the surgeon and signed the papers authorizing  the amputation. We  had by that time learned a great lesson about trust.  Without trust in the wisdom and training of the staff and especially the Surgeon, we would have been torn apart when asked to sign the documents.  What made it easier was the powerful evidence that Tim would not survive without it.  I talked with Tim last evening at  his home in Port Moody, B.C.  He came home from work with Elaine who picked him up from UBC, wearing his “old leg” and carrying his new one.  I asked him what the new one cost and he said, $27,000.00.  Hopefully, the B.C. Medical Plan will pay the bulk of the cost, the ever faithful War Amps of Canada veterans association will pay most of the balance.  The War Amps sponsored Tim for his first mechanical limb more than forty years ago and they still stand by him.
The surgery was a major test for the Surgical Staff as they  had no model to go by with so delicate a matter.  They began at 8 AM and were finished by 11:30 AM.  At four PM we were at the hospital and Ruth nursed Tim, quite normally and with the greatest of care.  I asked the Surgeon how it was possible that after such a major operation Tim was so eager to have his meal.  He explained that a baby has no imagination or memory of such an event and so there is much less crisis in the  process.  He continued to respond and but for an unexpected incursion would have been able to go home quite soon.   The surgeon was most careful with the knowledge that Tim would some day have an artificial limb.  So it was important that the area of the amputation  should be smooth and firm when it healed.
The problem was that in the hospital then and still a difficulty for many around the world, Tim got staph infection in the wound.  So his short stay expanded to a full two months after his birth before we took him home.  All that time, Ruth was still there for him every four hours.  The Surgeon said that her loving care and cuddling of Tim hastened his recovery a great deal.  His homecoming was a gala occasion with his sisters and brother and the neighbors having their first meeting with him.  The Surgeon was awarded a prestigious  two year study grant at Harvard  for his work with Tim.
Some time after Tim was born,  a little girl in northern B.C. was found to have cancer in her shoulder, which the Doctors believe she had at her birth.  However, she did not have the advantage of  being born adjacent to a Cancer Clinic, the problem was not discovered soon enough to save her life and the cancer had spread beyond reversal. She was the second person in the world as far as I am aware who was  born with cancer.  She passed away soon after the cancer was discovered.
And what I want to tell you about the financial cost to us for all that loving care, is this.  Once, after we took Tim home we needed to go to the hospital outpatients clinic for a change of his bandage and to check the healing process.  The cost to us, for all that marvelous service; $12.00.  Our Maternity Doctor shared with us that he was in that field of  medicine because it was a gentle, less likely to be critical way to serve.  He stayed with us right through the whole process.
Early in  the crisis, as were going back home after one nursing session Ruth turned to me with a catch in her voice and said, “Do you suppose all this happened because we called him Tim?”  Shades of Charles Dickens and the  Christmas Carol. I assured her that there was no possible link, other than the courage of our Tim and the courage of Charles Dickens Tim.  But with such a big test of our learning to trust and of who to trust, we tend to turn over every possibility that comes to mind.  In all the years Ruth has been giving her selfless love to family and friends and strangers in our midst, without counting the cost. What a wonderful example she has been and she thinks with her heart in tune with God.
And that brings me to the title of this story, which came to me at 4:20 AM  (It  is now 6:40 AM).  I have learned that if I don’t put my thoughts on paper when they come to me in the night, I  will not remember them with clarity in the morning.  So here we are.  The Formation  of a Decision.
It is vitally important, indeed essential that we have all the information we need to be properly informed of the pro’s and con’s of any  matter when making a decision.  And when it comes to a matter of life and death, that is all the more vital. And so in the matter of Tim’s life or death, we were forced to narrow down the choices to the wisdom and training of a Surgeon who had no previous cases to go on. But he did have training and experience. He showed us in clear words easily understandable to us, the alternatives.  And he was right.   And Tim is alive and well and 50 years of age.  And still skiing and working at Cabinetry. And enjoying life. And being a good Husband and Father.
To decide not to make a decision is to have already made a decision.  So, many people put it off, interminably.  That is certainly true of a decision as to who or what may be trusted.  The anatomy of a human being is one of the great mysteries of life, still being studied by scientists the world over.  The forming  of a decision is the process of considering all the evidence and then acting on that information.  If we limit our search for truth to listening to opinions or clichés or advertising gimmicks, we will be fair game for misinformation.  In matters of life and death, such as our eternal salvation, heaven or hell, we need to get the best possible guidance, the best being our Father and His Word of life, made known to us in Jesus Christ.
And one more little kernel of blessing.  I mentioned before, the care of the lovely little Pilipino nurses.  Most of them were devout Baptists.  But they were not uninformed of the Anglican faith and they knew we were Anglicans. It was they who urged us to have Tim Baptized before the operation and accompanied us to Rugby Chapel where Professor Beatty duly baptized Harold Timothy Hunt.  God be praised for his unfailing Mercy and Grace.

My Summer Job in Saskatoon
In the spring of 1956, I applied for a job with a construction Company
in the City, called Little-Borland Company. They did general construction and were non union. I went to their office downtown and talked with Mr. Borland. He asked me for my Journeyman papers and I said I didn’t have any. So he said I was not a carpenter. I insisted that I had worked with some very good builders and craftsmen and that I was a good worker. He finally relented and said I could start work the following Monday, but that I would have to push a wheelbarrow and pour basements for a couple of weeks. The pay rate was $1.25 an hour but was to increase to $1.75 an hour when I started building.
I went to work with a will and was one of a crew of five laborers. The first day on the job, after being at the books since the fall before, was atough one and I had blisters and new muscles all around. And I was years older than the rest of the crew. I think I worked too well as I was able to give a lead to the crew and make the pouring jobs go very well. And of course, the men were happy to let me work hard. The foreman was a man who
was a staunch admirer of Adolph Hitler. He soon discovered that I was studying for the ministry and made numerous caustic remarks to me along the
way. On my third Friday on the job, he came by just at quitting time and said, “I want a volunteer to run me a wheelbarrow load of concrete mix over there three blocks to finish topping a set of steps”. I immediately volunteered and I ran all the way over. And no rubber tires on the wheelbarrows in those days. That seemed to signal a turn around in his treatment of me as he began to give me grudging approval. He asked me to come to work for a half day on Saturday to work with another man and apply the tar sealant on a foundation wall, ready for the backfilling. As we were working away, my workmate said, “you are working too hard, you are giving the boss too good a deal”. I responded that I always do my best. Then he said something about going to heaven and I asked him how he was going to manage that. He said he didn’t smoke or drink or run around with women so that should do it. We differed greatly and had quite a discussion.
But the weeks went by and I was still a labourer. Four weeks, five weeks and finally six weeks and I am still pushing a wheelbarrow. When Mr. Borland came by on Friday of week six I spoke to him and asked him to write me my pay cheque as I was quitting. He wanted to know why and I told him he was not being honest with me and I would only work as a carpenter. He quickly said that I should report on Monday morning at a site where they were building a large United Church and speak to Clem , the site foreman. I should have spoken to him sooner.
Clem was a good chap but because I didn’t have a journeyman’s certificate, he was sure I couldn’t do the work I was to be paid for. So he set me to pulling nails and stacking lumber, sweeping floors and so on. Then he gave me a six pound short handled hammer and a large star drill and put me to making a forty inch by eighty six inch opening in a ten inch concrete foundation wall in the basement. I asked him why they didn’t arrange for the opening when they were pouring the concrete and he said with embarrassment that he read the blueprint incorrectly. I did manage to make the opening, it took me a long time and was extremely hard work. Then I framed up the form to enable the concrete around the opening to be applied to smooth up the wall.
Finally, I was put back to work sweeping the floors again on the upper level. As I moved along I heard Clem giving instructions to one of his Journeymen about installing the windows in a long wall of the Christian Education wing of the building. The man said, “Clem you show me how and I will do it”. Clem said he must know how as he was a journeyman. Johnnie said he had never learned that. In the meantime I was laughing and Clem said, “what’s so funny?” And I said, “I will install the windows”. He said,”do you know how to install windows” ? I said I wanted to see the blueprints and then he said, “but you don’t have any tools”. I told him my tools were in the car where they had been for seven weeks. So I put the windows in and Clem was finally persuaded I could do the work.
Some time later, when we had moved on from the Church site, I was sheeting up the exterior walls of a large house with Johnnie and he told me a little about himself. He had been brought up very strictly as a Roman Catholic in Austria and he said he would show me how to get to heaven. With his carpenter pencil he drew a intricate diagram on the board wall and the top section was a box with God in it. Down from that a little line and a longer horizontal line with three boxes suspended from it. One was for Jesus, one was for the Virgin Mary and the other was for the Angel Gabriel. Then he drew various other boxes with the Pope, Cardinals and Priests and so on in them and then finally at the very bottom was Johnnie. Then he asked me how I go to heaven. I drew a box with God in it and one with Jesus in it and said, that is the way I go to heaven. With that he burst into tears and said I had destroyed his faith. But we continued our discussion as we worked along together.
I went on from site to site for the remainder of the summer, working mostly with Clem and his crew. Many of the men I worked with were highly proficient European trained builders who were a joy to work with.
Numbers of the crew were Mennonites and I found them great workmates with a strong sense of purpose and honesty. When they learned that I was studying for the Ministry our bonding increased the more. The contractor had a standing joke when he came on the various sites and used to say, “don’t ask me, ask the Padre”.
When I finally informed Clem that I would be going back to University very soon, he shed tears and asked me to forget University and stay on as I was one of his best men. I had enjoyed the work for the summer and was glad I was finally able to work into building and an increase in pay. The money was surely a boon to our household, since we were living a day at a time financially. Shortly after I left that work, I was given the challenge of St. Matthews Sutherland (an account is part of this series) for which I also received pay. And so we managed, as we had come to believe we would.
My indebtedness when I left College to be Ordained was $300, a loan from the Diocese of Calgary. And we were able to sell the house and realize enough cash to enable us to trade our 1952 Willys Jeep Station Wagon for a 1957 Chev Station Wagon, a more practical car for our needs in Parish work and with our family of four children.
One final word about the Jeep, in which we traveled from Saskatoon to Calgary. Near the Town of Irricana, the shift lever for the transfer case (two wheel to four wheel drive) suddenly began shaking very badly. In the town there was a Massey Harris Dealer open and he had a hoist. He discovered that all the mounting bolts had fallen out and the oil had leaked out. Massey Harris bolts fit, the oil was replaced and the kind man only charged us $5.00, which in fact was all the cash we had! HRH

Stettler, Big Valley etc. , by Dick Hunt, May 13th/06 Canon Herbert

In the Parish of Stettler, with Big Valley, Scollard, Erskine, Nevis, and beyond, somewhere between the years 1907 and 1930 there ministered a man called Canon Herbert. When I arrived in Stettler in 1957, it was years after the Canon had moved on to other work, but he was revered and loved by all who knew him. He was known as a good horseman, in a time when much transportation was still with horses. He drove a spanking team winter and summer and was a strong influence for good in the lives of many of the people of those early years.

His life and witness at that time was made known to me chiefly from talking with the senior citizens who had known him when I was the Rector for seven years. One such was Alf Jones who lived between Erskine and Nevis. Nevis was near the Red Deer River and the village of Content, where my Father had worked for the CPR around the beginning of the 20th century. Alf was a gentleman if there ever was one and a delight to visit with. He it was who told me about Canon Herbert and his horses, buggies, cutters*** and reliability. He told me that when the Canon came, he always put a bag of oats and some oat bundles in the buggy or cutter to help him with his expenses. Clergy were paid but a pittance in those days and Parishioiners used to also give beef, chickens, garden produce etc. to help out. When I visited Alf, I learned that I should arrive with my gas tank nearly full so that he would not bankrupt himself by filling my tank.

From people south of Stettler I learned that Mr. Herbert arrived in Big Valley 22 miles south of Stettler on Saturday evening, for a service first thing in the morning in the church on the hill just north of the town. The name of the Parish is St. Edmunds and the Church building is still there, kept in good repair and a heritage building in the community. It is now painted a sky blue and is prominent on the skyline. It is also popular for use for weddings and a must visit for tourists. I used to conduct services there regularly as the community was quite vibrant then with the oil boom workers plus the faithful citizens around the area. One of the oil workers, Alan McCuaig later trained for the Anglican Ministry, ministered in Calgary Diocese for some years, and is now retired in Lethbridge I believe .

Back to the Church and Canon Herbert. When he arrived at the Church on Saturday evening, he stabled his horses and when ready for bed, climbed a ladder into the Bell Tower where he had a little tin heater (which was still up there in my day along with a little cot to sleep on). There was no insulation in the structure and often the winter temperature was as low as -60 Fahrenheit, (that is -50 Celcius.) I used to wonder how he survived. And he would be up in the morning in time to build a fire in the Church heater to warm up the interior for the service. Believe me the clergy were made of stern stuff in those days. They were truly called of God to minister the Gospel and Sacraments to the people. And they ministered freely to anyone who had need for a staunch friend, whether they were on the Parish lists or not.

There was another Parish Church nine miles south west of St. Edmunds, St. Margarets, Scollard where I ministered and presumably Mr. Herbert did too. When I was there the Organist in both the Parishes was Mrs. Tom Usher Sr. and they were a ranching family, very highly respected and loved in the region. During my time she was in her late 80’s and slowing down a good deal. Her playing had also slowed down so our singing was rather draggy. I tried to choose good tunes and not too many stanzas. But she was keen to play Abide With Me and often did. Try singing it dead slow. Sometimes her son Tom Jr. played and he speeded things up considerably. These are not complaints, just ripples; they were as consistent and reliable as it was possible to be and they were deeply Christian believers. We had much in common, including my own background as a cattle rancher until the age of 35. They also told me much about Canon Herbert. One of the memories I have of St. Margarets was the huge and ornate Chalice and Paten that had been sent out from England by the Church Missionary Society years before. It would have ministered communion to scores of people but our numbers were in the mid teens in that little Church.

Both those Churches have been without regular ministry for a long time but the people still keep them tidy and in repair. For many they symbolize a life and faith that was a great power for good in the early years. Little do many modern people understand that the Faith has not changed, the needs of God’s people (that is, ALL PEOPLE) have not changed. We all “………need to be saved from the fault and corruption of the nature which they/we inherit, as well as from the actual sins which we commit………”. (Prayer Book, Page 523.) I remember a day in Stettler when I met Tom Usher on the sidewalk and he was chuckling away to himself as he walked. I asked him what he was laughing about and he said., “I am 92 years old and I just had my drivers licence renewed”.

In 1958 I had a visit from an English Priest named W.H. Mostyn- Pritchard, who had been on the staff of St. Martins in the Fields in London for 25 years. He had a younger brother, who briefly lived in the Ewing District between Stettler and Big Valley for a time between 1910 and 1915 and helped to build the little Church at Ewing and had been a worshiper there. In 1915 he had sailed off to England to join the British army and had lost his life when the ship was torpedoed.

That little Church building is now in Stettler down at the Recreation Center, part of the Historical display.He was trying to piece together that part of the history of his brother’s life. We drove out to the little Church and he had a prepared plaque in remembrance of his brother which we mounted in the building. We also discovered a lovely carved oak Altar Book Stand in the pulpit, covered in dirt and grime (the windows were broken and birds had easy access). I took the stand to Stettler and had it restored by a craftsman and a brass plate attached about its origin. I presume it is still in use in St. Georges, Stettler. Mr. Pritchard also gave me a little private Communion set he had used in London for 25 years and I used it until after my retirement. It is now used by the Rev’d. Dawn Braithwaite, Rector of St. Andrews, Cowichan Station near Duncan B.C., as I gave it to her when she was Ordained Priest. She is a Daughter of Tom and Lorraine Whitford who live across the lane from us here in Maple Ridge.

I do not have a clear idea when Canon Herbert served in Stettler and District or when he left. I first met him when I was ordained Deacon in the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer on May 30th, 1957, Ascension Day. He was then up in years and was an Honorary Assistant Priest at the Cathedral. He was principally employed (gratis) in visiting Parishioners in the scattered area of that congregation. It was widely known that he was still giving valiant service well up into his early nineties in ministering to the spiritual needs of the people. He filled the gaps between the calls made by the other Priests at the Cathedral.

***A Note re cutters: They are small “sleighs’, a device used in winter on snow for transporting people and pulled by one or two horses. They normally have two “runners”, which are shaped from wood and shod wth steel with turned up fronts to surmount the snow rather than plowing through it. They vary from very simple ones with a rough wooden box and a bench seat to elaborate ones with curved bodies and upholstered seats, sometimes with fore and aft seating, with curtains and dashboards and even at times with roofs and solid doors, windows and slots for the driving lines by which the horse or horses are guided. Canon Herbert would have used a simple one with a minimum of protection from the weather. He may well have worn a long Buffalo coat in cold weather and used it as a blanket in the bell tower. My father used a buffalo coat in winter for long trips with horses, hauling hay or grain, or on horseback for long cold rides. They were very warm. Those were the days when men were men and the women were glad of it. I hope that some of that character has rubbed off on me over the years. The example was certainly there for all to see.

In a triangle from Drumheller to Hanna to Coronation , north to the Battle River, west to the Red Deer River and south again to Drumheller, I have been told that at the time the first world War was over, there were 14 fully employed Anglican Priests at work. That area is now covered by two or three Anglican Priests full time and two retired part time volunteers. Of course the roads are much improved but there are a great many more people in the area. Most of the people live in the larger towns and the small villages have all but ceased to exist. And a much smaller percentage of the people are active in any church. As the population ages and the seniors die, there are fewer people willing to support the Churches. The result will likely be that many more churches will be closed. The only way that the trend can possibly be reversed is for the Church, (that is you and I and all who care) to take seriously the commission that the Lord gave to the Disciples before He ascended into heaven, to “go into all the world and teach, ………Baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Unfortunately, most Church members are not even sure themselves what the Christian faith is. We have set the standards for becoming Members of Christ so low that many people are religious illiterates.

The Church in North America and in the west generally has become so lax and unrepentant that it is hard to find the difference between the observable lifestyles of the Church’s members and the secular world around us, that the choice between being active in the worship and service of the Church or of the secular world is blurred to the point of extinction. No longer does the westrern world consider the Church is in any sense the conscience of the nation. We have allowed soiciety to a huge extent to write the agenda of the Church and it’s teachings, ostensibly in order to try to woo the world to embrace a faith that is no longer taught as clear and binding in the name of God. The world is simply saying that Christians have nothing of interest or deep concern for moderns who demand absolute freedom to do as they wish with no restraints on their life style or behavior. Our voices, often mirrored by our own actions and lifestyles do not provoke the world even into asking questions, for we are so much like the world in any case.

Yet when the Gospel is truly taught without fear or favor, as for example in the Churches of the third world and in north America and around the world by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, people listen and respond and become soundly converted in great numbers. In 2005, through the Ministries of the BGEA, people came to Christ at the average rate of one person every thirty seconds. We have the pattern clearly within our view, both in the Scriptures and in the work of the Spirit driven Church of today.

Brother Bill Hunt, Rancher and Private Pilot by Dick Hunt

Bill (William Gerald Hunt), when he was still single, about the age of 24, took over the active management of a sizable Cattle Ranch 20 miles east of Cessford Alberta, owned by our father, Harold Hunt. With deeded and lease lands together, the total area was around forty eight sections, 30,720 acres. The cattle were mostly Hereford and the ranch provided pasture and hay land to handle around 450 breeding cows and their progeny. The pasture land was known as the short grass country, with low average rainfall and rated at 40 acres per head of cattle.
When it was purchased by Dad in the early forties, there were around 120 miles of wire fencing to maintain and a good deal of upgrading to be done. The fences were eventually reduced to around 80 miles. New corrals had to be built and upgrading all around. Gradually it become more manageable but it was still a heavy responsibility. The nearest neighbor was five miles away and although there was line of sight contact between places, there was no other communication.
The winter of 1947 and 1948 was a very stormy and cold one with a very large snow pack and virtually no road travel throughout the area. It was next to impossible to travel across country except by horses. The breeding herd was about nine miles away from the ranch headquarters, being fed from hay we cut and stacked on a large slough hay meadow in the summer. Bill was going down each day with a team of horses to open the water holes and feed the cows.
Just after Christmas the hay was nearly depleted and with some extra help from some neighbors, and a very early start, they went off with a team and a hay rack and several riders to break trail and bring the herd back to headquarters. The afternoon before, Eustace Bowhay, a friend of Bill’s from high school days landed at the ranch in a light aircraft for the night. The temperature was minus 60 decrees Fahrenheit. Eustace drained the oil out of the engine and heated it up again before pouring it back into the oil sump in the morning. Then by using stove pipes and a blowtorch with a tent over the cowl, he managed to start the engine and take off for Calgary. Bill estimated the time when they would be on the way back with the cattle and asked Eustace to circle over the cow camp and see if they had missed any cows. He was to dip a wing if all was well, which he did. They duly had the cattle at the headquarters and fed and secured for the night. A week after they moved them, 13 thin and somewhat emaciated cows arrived at the ranch all by themselves. The only water they had was from eating snow, which they instinctively did. And, wonders of wonders, two weeks after the move, one lone cow came in all by herself, and the temperature was still 60 below. Those cows were tough.
By mid March the weather had moderated a great deal and there was some thawing during the day, resulting in some icy patches during the early morning. Bill was just about to ride down to the corrals to check things over one morning when his horse slipped on the ice and fell on Bill’s leg, badly smashing his ankle. He managed to unsaddle his horse and turn him into the hay stack and also crawl to the cattle and let them into the hay. Then he crawled to the house and sat down to wait it out. His ankle swelled to huge proportions and looked very ugly and felt even worse.
After a few days, Willard Cody across to the south east decided there might be something wrong with Bill as with the binoculars he could see no movement around the place. He sent his son Jack over on horseback to check and of course Bill was in grim shape. It was too late in the day to ride the twenty miles across country to the nearest phone, at Cessford. Jack left early the next morning to phone Dad in Calgary and the snow was still so deep it took him all day to get there. Dad phoned Chinook Air at the Calgary Airport and they sent Eustace Bowhay out with an Aeronca Champ to pick Bill up. When Bill arrived by ambulance at the Holy Cross Hospital, the nurses wondered whether it was safe to go near him. He hadn’t had a proper bath for weeks, nor a haircut or shave all winter. He looked as tough as he felt.
His foot and ankle were black and huge but they managed to save them and give him back full mobility. After about three weeks, he was on his way back to the ranch with Eustace and with a walking cast. Eustace let him take the controls and coached him along on the way back. And Bill was fully convinced that he was going to have a plane of his own. As soon as he was able to make arrangements for some extra help with the cattle, he was flown back to Calgary again where at Chinook Air, Eustace, and Franz McTavish the owner, taught Bill to fly. He soloed after 3 hours and 25 minutes dual instruction (not counting his time at the controls to and from the Ranch). And he flew home complete with a private license and an Aeronca Champ.
The little Champ with a sixty five hp engine served him well for a few years, being used to patrol the ranch and check the cattle regularly, make trips to various places thus saving many hours of time compared to road travel. One day during calving season Bill sent out one of his men to check on a cow that he suspected may have had trouble calving and the man came back after several hours not yet having located the cow. Bill said to me, “let’s swing around to the south with the Champ and see if we can locate her”. We did and we were back in ten minutes having discovered that the cow had safely delivered her calf and was resting in a deep ravine.
One day in haying time one of our small tractors needed a new front tire so we removed wheel and tire and took off for Jenner to have a new tire installed. We had a difficulty in that when I took the tire in my lap, the right door would not close. Bill had to fly crab wise there and back because the aerodynamics were altered by the open door. We also had the difficulty of hot, thin air and no headwind for take off, making it chancy to clear the wire fence at the end of the rather short take off run. But the little champ and the good pilot come through for us.
Finally, Bill decided that he needed a little more power and capacity and traded the Champ off for an Aeronca Sedan, a four place with a 145 hp Continental Motor. That enabled him to do much more effective work on the Ranch and in essential travel with crew members. He was by that time in considerable demand for mercy flights in that large area with no winter roads and with people becoming dependent on Bill for trips to and from the hospital. He did not have a commercial license and could not charge for his flights but people used to help him out with expenses and he felt he was doing a good service to his neighbours.
One morning I was working around the place when Bill came back from somewhere at fairly high altitude and prior to landing proceeded to do nine outside loops before coming back to earth. Sometime later he took Jack Cody up for a flip to thank him for the long ride to Cessford to phone for help when his ankle was smashed. Jack had a smattering of knowledge about flying and knew that pilots always try to take off and land into the wind. When they were about to land again, Jack asked which direction the wind was blowing as they came in. Sliding the window back, Bill wet his finger, put it out the window and said, without a hint of a smile, “straight ahead Jack”. He had a great sense of humour and the only hint that he was kidding was a twinkle in his eyes.
Not all flights were so uneventful. One day when he had landed to assist someone during a wet period, he need to taxi downwind for a take-off with a strong tail wind on soft ground. Requiring quite a lot of throttle to move along on the wet field, a gust caught the tail and the plane nosed over. He hit the switch, but the plane came to rest on its nose. Fortunately there was a seismograph crew nearby and they came to his aid. They helped him get the plane back to horizontal and with their four foot pipe wrenches, managed to straighten the slightly bent metal prop. The plane functioned well and he was able to fly home at reduced throttle and then on to Calgary to have the prop trued and tested and pronounced fit.
One March afternoon at the ranch Bill had a visitor; George Allen from Craigmyle in a Champ dropped in for the night. He had phoned ahead, (Bill had a radio phone at that time) and asked how to find the Airstrip. Bill said the end of the strip was marked by two red gas barrels. George came in between two red cows and ended up in the feedlot, barely missing the cows. He was so rattled that Bill had to taxi the plane out of the feedlot. George came to the Ranch at Endiang on one occasion and invited me to go for a flip. He took off across the narrow pasture which left me a little perturbed. It was a day of high humidity after a rain and he began to lose power as soon as we were airborne. Suspecting carburetor icing I reached forward and hit the carb heat, allowing us to just clear the fence and road ditches. I am sure that the Lord was making special efforts on George’s behalf.
One morning in the summer, Bill took off and swung around to the south, when he noticed a flock of Canada geese just taking off from the slough below the corrals. He followed them as they gained altitude, keeping just behind them and increasing his power to match their progress. After about a mile they split and let him go through and at that point they were flying at ninety miles per hour. Bill was amazed at their speed.
Bill had laid out a strip in an adjacent pasture and eventually built a hangar with the south east open and the back to the northwesters. But before that was ready for occupancy, he tied his plane down with tail to the north west and gust locks on the tail assembly. However, not long after he first installed the gust locks, there occurred a violent north west wind that defied the safety locks and severely damaged the vertical rudder, breaking loose many of the welds in the tubular frame. He made such field repairs as he could with duct tape and other resources and gently few to Calgary where he had the repairs done properly.
On one occasion when there was a bad prairie fire across the river which was threatening many properties and livestock, Bill flew as a spotter over the area and was able to direct fire crews to places where the fire was making new problems. He also ferried crew members to key spots to turn the fire and establish back fires. Occasionally, he flew marksmen who were authorized to shoot coyotes which were causing havoc to the newly born calves in the spring, as did other light plane pilots in eastern Alberta. The shooter with a twelve gauge shotgun fired out of the port window as they passed, being careful not to hit the propellor or wing strut. One father and son team from Empress bought and paid for their light plane by “harvesting” over eighty coyotes.
Bill was a guest at a wedding and reception at the Forester Ranch on the Red Deer River in the spring of 1952 and flew there with his Sedan. There must have been a hot shot Ford salesman in the country at the time as there were eight identical 1952 Ford cars there in the yard. For a joke, someone took the rotor out of the distributor of the bridegrooms’ car. When they tried to leave on their honeymoon the car wouldn’t start. After a suitable delay, someone “found the missing rotor” but broke it trying to reinstall it. To add insult to injury, they managed to break all of the other seven rotors as well. Finally Bill flew over to Duchess and bought a whole case of Rotors and they finally cleaned up the mess brought about by a bad joke.
One winter day when Bill was on his way back to Cessford from a trip to Calgary, the visibility was marginal for flying but he was still able to follow landmarks and recognize where he was going. When he got to Strathmore, he came very close to clipping a grain elevator with his wing and so quickly gained a little altitude, counting himself very fortunate.
I used to enjoy distributing rock salt to the cattle with the Sedan. The blocks weighed fifty pounds each and some were red in colour (iodized salt) and rest rest were blue (cobalt). We loaded six blocks each trip, with the back seat removed. When we arrived near the water holes, I crawled in the back and knelt among the blocks. Bill flew just above stall speed and about fifty feet above the ground and I made sure I was not dropping blocks on the cattle, dropping them with a spinning motion and they hit the ground spinning, rolled and rolled and came to a stop by the water holes. We never hit a cow and never broke a block. And we were able to drop salt to all the cattle across the ranch in half and hour, a task that would have taken a man with a truck at least a day. And we checked the cattle at the same time.
One fine May morning at Cessford, Bill decided we should go aloft (in the Sedan) just for the fun of it. The air was as clear as it could be and at 10,000 feet we could see away east into Saskatchewan, away south into the U.S.,  away north into Alberta and away west into B.C.. It was awesome and serene and exciting to have such a view of this wonderful part of the planet on which we live. When we had enjoyed the scene for awhile, Bill asked me how I was feeling and I said ‘great’. So he proceeded to get us back on terra firma in quick time, spiraling down, powering us earthward and with lots of maneuvers thrown in for thrills. It was an awesome descent.
I was reminded then as I recall now, a flight I enjoyed with a re-pat Spitfire Pilot when I was at Number Ten Repair Depot R.C.A.F. in Calgary in 1944. As we were taking off in a Harvard trainer for a test flight, he remarked to me over the intercom that he was a re-pat Spitfire pilot and that his buddy was going up in a Lysander and that they would do some dogfighting. They did! And I was a little shook up. Finally the Lysander lost it’s prop (engine cut out) and we landed and went back to the humdrum of the normal round. Another day when one of our sergeants from the Radio Shop was doing a test flight, they were near a tragic accident when two Harvards met head on and crashed over south west Calgary.
My wife Ruth gave birth to our second child at a time when I was occupied with helping Bill at the ranch and he flew us to the Hospital in Castor, Alberta. At that time Ruth and I along with my eldest brother Wilf and his wife Alyce,  were operating the home ranch at Endiang, Alberta. Dad had homesteaded there in 1904 and both Bill and I were born in the old Ranch house. In the month of March, 1952 a storm of massive proportions blew in from the north west and closed all road and rail traffic in our area for weeks. The temperature was just below freezing resulting in the formation of massive drifts which were solid enough to enable tractors to climb over them. The afternoon the storm hit I was on the local mixed train going to Hanna, with the intention of catching the train to Calgary that night at 9 p.m. Bu by that time the snow was so thick that one couldn’t see three feet and all rail traffic was halted.. There had been no prior weather warning. When the wind dropped somewhat the third day I helped to dig a widow out of an attic window 28 feet above the ground in the town! I was marooned in Hanna for three days and nights before being able to get along to Calgary by going as far as Drumheller by ski plane and the rest of the way by bus as the highway had been opened from there.
My plan was to have treatments from a Chiropractor in Calgary for relief from an old injury that I had suffered at the age I of 12; I still have sciatica as a result of that. I did have one treatment from him on a Friday morning. Then with nothing important to do until Saturday, I caught a bus to the Airport to visit with the folks at Chinook Air. When I arrived there, Franz asked me what I was doing in Calgary. When I told him, he said “let me phone my wife and I will take you to have supper with us and then I will introduce you to a Naturopathic Doctor who will really help you”. That being done he asked me what I was doing for the afternoon and would I like to take some flying lessons. So I found myself signed up for lessons and we flew for 90 minutes that afternoon. It was great.
Supper was great too and then Franz drove me to an office on Eighth Avenue to a man called Dr. Rollo Hess. He was even better than Franz had said and after one treatment I really felt better than I had for many years. I remained  a patient with Dr. Hess for years until I left the area. He was marvelous. Saturday morning saw us flying again, with a break for lunch at a cafe at the Airport. Then another session of flying in the afternoon and Franz asked me to swing around past his hangar. When we stopped there, he jumped out of the back seat of the Champ, said “away you go and I’ll see you when you get back”. I said I couldn’t fly alone and he said, “you have been flying it alone since yesterday afternoon, I haven’t touched the controls”. So I taxied out, took a deep breath, got a green light from the control tower and away I went. After a circuit or two, I landed and taxied back to Chinook Air. Franz was out there with a big grin on his face and said I had made a perfect landing. I had soloed after 3 hours and fifteen minutes dual instruction. I did some more dual practice before being picked up by Bill in the Sedan when he went back to Cessford and I spent several days skinning 26 dead cows that had suffocated in the storm when buried under deep snow. The neighboring Ranch (the V Bar as it was called) had suffered the loss of more than 250 bred cows, which translates into the loss of around 500 cattle as the calves would never be born. Some cattle died standing up in the deep snow.
A few days after the storm had ceased, a number of local ranchers banded together and with bulldozers cleared a trail across country so they could get to Steveville for supplies brought in by rail. Bill asked me to take the Jeep Truck down and get gasoline and food so away I went, about 25 miles. When I went through Doc Anderson’s sheep camp, they had just dug out a ewe that had been totally immersed in snow for ten days and was still alive, thin as  a board and eating hay as I arrived. We heard later that they dug out another ewe that also survived, on the eleventh day after the storm hit. They had lost over two hundred of their 2000 sheep. Farther north at Dorothy , a shepherd, his three dogs and six thousand sheep had perished. A bachelor near Dorothy had gone out of his shack during the storm for a pail of coal from a nearby shed, had lost his grip on the coal pail and run after it, becoming disoriented and was found nearby, after the storm, frozen to death.
When Bill flew me back to Endiang, we were still dependent upon a crawler tractor for all our movements and our work. Well after the snow began to melt, the hay trails which had been packed by the Cat and hay sleighs were still up to ten or twelve feet above the  surrounding area. We did not turn a wheel until the 15th of May. Ruth and Alyce had a touch of cabin fever. We finished the winter with ten tons of hay, having wintered 900 head at Endiang. We had fed 1500 tons of hay, 26 large stacks of new straw and many stacks of old straw, plus a good deal of beet molasses, beet pulp and other supplements shipped in by train to see the cattle through. Bill had also fed up all his reserve fodder at Cessford and managed to come through with no losses other than the suffocated cattle. Ranching is not for sissies. Many cattle had died of starvation around the country and the R.C.M.P. had shot many others to put them out of their misery.
One of Bill’s fairly regular trips was to Steveville at the Red Deer River where he did essential shopping for supplies in winter. There was no fence along the railroad track through the town and so when the snow was deep it was difficult to know where the actual rails were. Normally he landed across the track, touching down just beyond the track. On one landing, he dropped his tail just a moment too soon and caught the tail ski on the track, tearing it loose. Due to the deep snow, he was able to continue his landing and return home without incident. He crafted a new tail ski in the blacksmith shop and was able to use it until he made another trip to Calgary where he had a new ski installed.
Bill had married Lee Bradshaw on August 28th, 1952 at the Anglican Church in Brooks, Alberta. After the reception they took off on their honeymoon in the Sedan, with a new 145 hp Continental motor in the back. They flew to Chicago to the Aeronca plant and had the motor changed and had a major inspection done while they honeymooned around the area and then home and back to ranching. I had previously built a new house for Bill, working along with Albert Stewart, an old timer who was adept at most everything and so they had a good house to move into. The old ranch house had burned to the ground the winter before and Bill had spent the rest of the winter in a converted garage. One night he had felt that the blankets were very heavy on his legs. He turned on his flashlight and discovered that there was a snow bank on his legs, the snow having blown in through a crack in the eves.
In 1955 I changed vocations, reluctantly leaving behind my life up to that time as a Rancher at Endiang where I was born and moved with my family to Saskatoon to study for the Anglican ministry. Time has certainly proved the wisdom of God in calling me to that change of vocation and the regrets lasted only for a very short time. Wilf and Alyce having moved to a farm at Bashaw with their family, Bill and Lee sold the Cessford Ranch and moved with their family to the Endiang Ranch which Bill eventually managed until his death from ALS (Lou Gehrings Disease) at the age of 71. Having no essential use for a plane at the new location, Bill had reluctantly sold the plane to Stan Reynolds at the big museum at Wetaskiwin. He later learned during the preparation period for Expo 86 that the Sedan had been used to do the official aerial photography for Expo. Bill loved flying but had no need for a plane at the Endiang operation. He confided to me that he really wanted to join the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot, but had been unable to break loose from Ranching to do so. I considered him a great pilot and he was a fine brother.

Turn Around, by Dick Hunt, Jan. 23rd, 07

Years ago when Ruth and I were on a little holiday trip in Idaho in our car, I failed to read the signs correctly and instead of going through Coeur d‘Alene, we were on the road back into Canada.  We never did get back to visit where we planned, not finding an exit or U turn to go back.  I am really rather good at getting lost, failing to find the correct exit and going miles out of my way to get back on track.  On occasion I have to stop and ask for directions, sometimes more than once, to get to our planned destination.
Life is like that.  We so easily get sidetracked and there are various reasons why that happens.  My Mother used to remind me that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Assuredly we must set goals in order to arrive at our chosen destinations.  And having set our goals we need to do road checks regularly to stay on course.  An up to date map is essential as is sufficient light by which to read it. Often we need to pull over and get relocated in our minds eye to know the way.  And the following traffic presses upon us and gives us little leaway to ponder our options.  The world presses in upon us.
In all this there is a very close parallel with our spiritual journey.  To reach our true goal and destiny in life we need  to focus our attention on the  record most trustworthy for us and that is Holy Scripture, the Bible.  Looking to the world around us does nothing but distract us.  Opinions mill around us and media, politics and advertisers confuse us.  “Happy shall he be, who, refusing to sit in judgement upon the Word of God, yields himself up with humble spirit to it’s mysterious,  searching power”.  “A clean Bible reveals a starving soul”.
The only way in which we can find our true destiny is to ask the One who designed us and gave us the breath of life, God himself.   He knows our every thought.  He knows what gifts we have for He gave them to us. But we most likely do not know what latent gifts we have, until we turn around from self management to God management.  Then He reveals our gifts to us.  He knows what we can accomplish when we commit our lives to him as His messengers.
Isaiah didn’t know what God wanted him to do until, overwhelmed by his vision of God in the Temple, he was made aware of his  sinfulness and unworthiness. (Isaiah 6”1-8).  Then he was  to become one of the major prophets of the Lord our God. In a visit with Bishop Ralph Dean in the Cariboo years ago, I shared with him an account of a happy occurance in the Parish.  He said, “oh yes  Dick, there is no limit to what God can do with a man, if He has all there is of  him”.  And how very aware I am that He doesn’t have all there is of  me. I am still a work in progress in the Vineyard of the Lord, as we all are.
From time to time I have been confronted by persons who have sneeringly said to me, “and how many souls have you saved today?”  Saving souls is God’s work, not ours.  Our task is to lead people to God through Jesus Christ, that He may  convict them and reveal Himself to them as the Father who loves us all without reserve and wants only the best for us.  But He will not under any circumstance take away our freedom to choose and so we must ask Him in and thus become His obedient children, through our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In that process we find our true and lasting destiny, and Eternal life.

The Old Roads and Highways.  by Dick Hunt, Jan. 26th, 07

When I was sixteen, I went away in October, 1936 to Olds School of Agriculture and Home Economics, at Olds Alberta.  Our car was a Pontiac Sedan and the trip took half a day, each way.  Our roads were dirt, mud or snow covered, take your pick if you can  wait that long.  The distance each way was around 120 miles.  The first part, 28 miles north or 20 miles south was dirt.  From there the highways, number 12 in the north and number nine in the south were two lane and gravel.  Carry chains in summer and in winter lots of extra clothes and a good shovel and chains.  No 911 emergency call.  No cell phones.  I was left at the school, and wondering what I was going to do.
We studied a broad range of subjects., some of them introductory, some of them academic, others fully related to Agriculture; Botany, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Dairying, Poultry, Field Husbandry, Irrigation, Mechanical Drawing, Chemistry, Physics, English, Math, Civics, Irrigation, Carpentry, Blacksmithing, Farm Mechanics, Surveying, Entomology, Butchering.  We did debating, took part in various social events, put on plays. There was a dance in the Gym every Friday night.  Our English teacher was the Orchestra leader and he was fully adept at playing every instrument represented on the staff orchestra.
We lived in the Dorm, one wing for the men and the other for the women.  We all ate in the large Dining Room and were assigned to tables for eight, mixing the men and women and changing weekly to keep us circulating.  The staff sat at a large staff table. The meals were great.  During my second year I volunteered to assist the Dean of men, Ed Philips, who also taught Animal Husbandry and did the butchering for the School.  We butchered a steer one week, three pigs the next week and eight lambs the third week and then repeated the schedule, each Saturday afternoon.  We elected our own project as a practical example of what we were learning.  I butchered a lamb, others made cheese, butter, prepared a farm animal for show, trained horses – the list was long.  The women of course had their own subjects and activities.  We had one woman in our butchering class.
Sunday mornings I went to the service at the Anglican Church.  Occasionally I went to the United Church Sunday evening with a group of students.   At Christmas break each year I took the CPR  train to Lacombe, changed  trains there and took the eastbound to Halkirk, then was normally picked up by my  Father to go to the Ranch.  One year, I went to Endiang, caught a ride with the mailman in his covered, heated  sleigh to Harry Duncan’s, south of Halkirk and from there  the road was passable for Mr. Duncan to drive me to the train.  That trip was about 18 hours long with the overnight stopover.
My older brother Wilf had studied at O.S.A. six years before I did for the two year course and benefited greatly from the experience.  He went on to become a very  accomplished Engine Mechanic, having had a great interest in the skil from a young age.  He continued to do engine overhauls, repairs, welding, some lathe work and designing improvements to farm machinery  until very recent times.  He was very meticulous and inventive.
My sister Ruth attended the “Domestic Science’ school there for one pre-Christmas term and then decided not to return after Christmas.  She was homesick and longed to get back to the Ranch. She was always a great hand with the cattle and horses, right up to very recent  times.  And her judgment and interest  are quite unimpaired to this day, at the age of 89.  She made some very close friends there during her brief stay.  My youngest brother David attended there for the “Two in One Course” one year and it was there that he met  Connie Herr, who became his wife and lifelong best friend. He had the use of a Jeep which was their transportation from De Winton to Olds and back each week.  So they knew each other well. Connie lived near to Davids home.  David eventually elected to make his living as an Iron Art designer and his work was in great demand for a number of years.  Some of my favorite possessions are the result of his skills.  Connie was his constant helper.
Nowadays, the roads are nearly all paved, the highways are paved, some are four lane, there are many more district roads which greatly improve access and save many hours in travel.  From where I was born and raised to Olds is now a journey of about two and one half hours, with hardly a bump. Seldom do we have a flat tire, a problem which used to be common.  No longer do we have to drive in blinding dust from the  traffic ahead of us, the gravel highways were the worst problem. No longer do we have to plow through mud for long stretches or shovel snow ahead of the car for long distances.  Our car heaters are much more effective. The windshield wipers are more efficient.  We are truly spoiled.  In those days our gasoline was about 25 cents a gallon.  And a man’s wage in Agriculture was $1.00 a day plus board and room.  A good car cost about $1,000.00.  In my teens I was paid 25 cents a day and worked hard,12 hours.
Our family went to Church on Sundays, no matter who the Minister was and we worshiped in a little Community Hall, which smelled of the Saturday night social gatherings.  Lot’s of our neighbors were there too and we  sang the old hymns with gusto.  There was chewing gum stuck to the seats and we ignored it.  For a while in the thirties I was given the job of being the treasurer for St. Matthews (in the Community Hall) Church.  The monthly apportionment to the Diocese of Calgary was then $4.50 from St. Matthews.  The minister was paid partly in beef and chickens and vegetables.  When I was in  Stettler, Alf Jones at Nevis used to insist on putting gasoline in my tank when I visited.  He said when the Minister traveled with a horse and buggy, he always put oat bundles in the back for the horse.  I used to make sure my tank was nearly full.
I am convinced that the so called good times are not conducive to character building.  During the depression years, there was much more concern and response to the needs of our neighbors than when times were better.  Now, many people demand their rights without being the least bit interested in acknowledging their responsibilities. The so called Civil Rights Act is  often used to bilk the people who bear their responsibilities seriously as is evidenced by the outrageous decisions of the appointed and unelected tribunals against them.  People are able to collect big time when “they feel hurt or offended”.  There is little justice in the affairs of our day.

The Snowed in Town of Hanna 1952

When I was 12 years of age, I had a nasty fall down into a dry well which on the Ranch was used as a sort of “root cellar” in which we stored potatoes etc. at the time. It earlier been what we called an “ice well” when ice was harvested in the late days of winter and placed in the well between layers of straw for use in the summer months. It was about four feet square and twenty feet deep. The top cover was decayed somewhat and I fell in, landing on my right hip onto a “D handled shovel which was standing vertically at the bottom. I injured my hip and by the time I was sixteen, I was badly troubled with sciatica. In 1952, when I was 32 years old, I caught the local C.N.R. “mixed” train from Endiang to Hanna, expecting to travel on to Calgary that same evening to have some treatments from a Chiropractor called Dr. Messenger. However, a blizzard blew in around 7 PM and I was stranded in Hanna for four days while the storm blew out. On the third day of the storm I helped to dig a widow out of the third story attic window of her home in the town, 28 feet above the ground. Across the street from the house was a Dodge car with a 10 foot whip aerial and the owner had to dig down 12 feet to find the top of the aerial.
I was finally able to get a friend, George Allen from Craigmyle, to fly me to Drumheller on the fourth evening just before dark in his ski equipped plane and thence by bus to Calgary as the highway from there had been opened.
I had a treatment from the Chiropractor the next morning and then to while away the time went to the Calgary Airport to visit with friends at the Chinook Flying Service. My younger brother Bill had been flown to Calgary to the Hospital by Chinook Air some time before after suffering a badly smashed foot when his horse slipped on ice and fell on him, the previous March. He had no phone and no way to call for help and it was a week before a neighbor, Willard Cody sent his son over on horse back to see why Bill didn’t appear to be out and around. The following day, Jack Cody rode his horse 15 miles to the nearest phone in Cessford, and it took him all day in the deep snow. Jack phoned Dad in Calgary and he sent out Eustace Bowhay to pick Bill up. He was so impressed with his rescue under near impossible circumstances that he learned to fly with Eustace who worked as an instructor for Chinook. Then Bill bought his own plane an Aeronca Champ.
Franz McTavish, the owner of Chinook persuaded me to take some flying lessons while I was marking time and so Friday afternoon, we took off in a Champ and flew for about an hour. When we landed in late afternoon he asked me what I was going to do on, Saturday. I told him I had an appointment again with Dr. Messenger. He said, “how would you like to have a treatment from a Dr. that can really help you?’ So he phoned his wife to say he was bringing me home with him for supper and afterwards we went to see a Dr. Rollo Hess, a Naturopathic Physician. That was the beginning of a great recovery program for me which continued for several years until we moved to Saskatoon where I studied for the ministry. Dr. Hess literally straightened my whole body in the most gentle way and I could never remember having felt so well before in my life. The next morning I cancelled my appointment with Dr. Messenger, flew with Franz for an hour and 15 minutes before lunch and then an hour after lunch. And then to my surprise he sent me off solo and there I was, on the end of the strip and wondering if I should really chance it. I finally took a deep breath, got a green light from the tower and took off, made a circuit out over the country to the west and then came back to the Airport and made a perfect “three point landing”. I was tempted to try to purchase a plane but couldn’t justify it since cash was scarce and I didn’t have a reasonable need for it. But learning was fun.
I ended up going out to the Cessford Ranch with Bill in his plane (still on skis) to skin out 26 dead cows which had suffocated in the same storm that afflicted the Town of Hanna. On the eleventh day after the storm I went to the town of Steveville in Bills Jeep for supplies, the Ranchers along the way having bulldozed a road across country. On the way I went through Dr. Andersons Sheep Camp where they had just dug a ewe out of he snow where she had been completely encased in the hard snow pack for eleven or twelve days and she was still alive and recovered. The next day they found another live one which recovered. But nearly all of their hundreds of sheep perished in the deep, hard packed snow. The V Bar Ranch, south of Bills spread and down on the Red Deer River lost over 2oo cows from suffocation. And near the Town of Dorothy some distance to the northwest, the shepherd, his three dogs and his 6000 sheep all perished in the same storm.
Back at the Ranch at Endiang there was also a great deal of snow but there was more shelter, more accessible feed and the use of a bulldozer to cope with the situation. No cattle were lost there. Bill finally flew me home in his plane and it was great to back with Ruth and the family. HRH

What Impressed Me Most About My Parents, by Dick Hunt, January 31st, 07

They loved each other deeply and never tried to hide the evidence.

My memory of Dad, coming in from the cold winter work on the Ranch, into the kitchen where Mother would leave whatever she was doing and they would hug each other as though they meant it (and they obviously did) and share a long kiss. Did they try to hide their passion from the ranch hands? Not a bit. It was their way of saying that there was something very special about being married to each other. And that was no secret. It was largely because of their example that Ruth and I have never been bashful about our love for each other. We have a passion for the Marriage Vows we exchanged more than 62 years ago, before God and our forty witnesses. We had no reservations or doubts then about the rightness of our union and still have no doubts. God, we believe, has orchestrated our whole time together. It was because of the life experience of our years before our entry together into the Anglican Ministry ( we have always been it that together) I was able to bring the spiritual element into Marriage Counseling. A very significant number of the couples for whom I officiated have told me, even in recent years and months that they remember my advice and acted on it, and that it has kept them close and happy through thick and thin.

A story that I have dredged up from memory is this. A man came home from work, hung up his jacket, kicked off his shoes and sat down to read the paper. His wife was trying to get dinner ready and look after three litlle children at the same time. She glanced at him in the living room from time to time and he seemed so contented.  Finally, she marched into the living room and said in an aggrieved voice, “Jim, you never tell me that you love me”. After a significant pause he said, “woman, I told you fifteen years ago when we got married”. Well, obviously that is not good enough.

In any human relationship, especially marriage, it is necessary that we spend a good amount of time and effort in building a great life together. The way we treat each other in Marriage tells the people around us that there is something precious there that spells happiness and solidarity in a world that seems often to be slipping into chaos.

I heard a very sad story the other day that was shared with me by a man who was visiting in hospital. A snarly old man said in a loud voice, “that old hag of mine keeps on living and I have better things to do than visit her in hospital”. What a sad commentary on a long marriage together. And what a sad commentary on the life she had lived with that man.

From sour relationships , spare us Good Lord. Amen.

Don’t take the shovel out of the trunk. By Dick Hunt

In late March 1952, I was on the way to Calgary in the late afternoon with our daughter Joy who was five years old. We were going to DeWinton just south of Calgary to visit my parents and driving a 4 wheel drive Jeep station wagon. The roads in the rural areas were still covered with deep, hard packed snow but had been quite easy to traverse for several weeks. So I left the shovel at home. As we went along I was pleased at the ease of travel and confident that the 4 wheel drive would see us quickly through to Number Nine, the Calgary highway. But then we turned onto a new stretch of road and in quick time I was high centered. A large truck with duals and chains had apparently been along not far ahead of us and had dug up the hard packed snow and left it loose, although it did not appear to be soft. I tried to jack up the car but without success. I tried to rock it back and forth with no effect. There was nothing for it but to walk and run to the nearest farm which I know was about 1 1/2 miles ahead. To start, I took Joy on my back and tried to make it that way. But after about 1/4 of a mile I realized that It would be too tiring for me and reluctantly returned to the car. I wrapped Joy up in whatever coats etc. we had, locked the doors and told her to stay in the car no matter what. The coyotes were howling and it was getting quite dark. Then I walked and ran alternately (the footing was treacherous) and finally reached the farm. I tried to impress on the farmer and his family that this was an emergency and that we needed to hurry. But they were casual and had to finish doing several things that were important to them. Finally, armed with a shovel in the back of their pick-up, we went back to the scene of my great concern. I unlocked the car and grabbed Joy and gave her a long and tearful hug. In the event, it was relatively easy to free up the Jeep with the shovel, thank the farmer and his son (they wouldn’t accept any pay, that being a tradition in the country) and we were on our way. Joy had apparently been frightened in my absence and naturally so. It is a lonely big world out there with the coyotes howling, no light to be seen anywhere and no way of knowing when I would be back. It was a great lesson to me and I have always been much better prepared for any emergency that could be anticipated since that time.
A sequel to that rescue brought a different response from a stranger who was stuck in a mud hole near our ranch. He walked in a half mile to the yard and asked me if I could pull him out. I threw a chain on the tractor, he stood on the draw-bar and hung on and away we went. Pulling him out was simple and I put the chain back on the tractor. He asked what the bill was and I said, “oh, nothing all. You are welcome.” He put his hands on his hips and said aggressively, “I asked you how much I owe you” Again I said, “nothing at all”. He was furious and I thought he was going to hit me. I said ” all I ask is that when you have an opportunity, you help someone else”. With great profanity he finally got back in his truck and roared away up the road. Some people are furious if they feel indebted to others. In fact, in this world we always indebted to others. And most especially to God, our Father.

Doing The Chores. by Dick Hunt, Feb. 10th, 07

Before power equipment, we used brute strength. Instead of internal combustion engines we used horses. That meant preparing anywhere up to 36 horses for work every morning when I was growing up, before breakfast during seeding, summer tillage, haying and harvest.  It also required that we do all the other chores such as feeding the pigs, milking the cows, separating the milk and maintaining the farm machinery.

Our normal workday between morning chores and evening chores was a span of twelve hours not including dinner (read, noon meal). Six days a week.   There is a story of a union organizer who happened to be at a farm when the farmers son was milking the cows one morning at six.  He informed the young man that he was working much too long a day and should join the farm workers union. The youth said he only worked a twelve hour day.  The union man was back at seven that night and the boy was milking the cows.  Again he cajoled the young fellow and accused him of not being truthful, it already being 13 hours since he was milking the cows in the morning.  The chap said, “of course, we have to do the chores before and after the work day, but I only worked 12 hours on the job.”

I began to drive a team and hay rake at the age of six, barely able to reach the pedals.   When I was twelve I was put in the hay stack and they threw hay at me all day.  We built three stacks a day, ten tons to the stack. The only way I was able to keep from being buried was to build the stack.  I took great pride in my ability to craft a great stack with a leak proof top.  I was always very eager to get at the tea and sandwiches at the miidafternoon break. There were times when I was hardly able to eat my supper for fatigue.

When I was sixteen I graduated to driving the truck and hauled grain year round.  We shoveled all the grain by hand, on and off the truck except for the brief time it took to load at the threshing machine in which case some of the load went directly into the truck as it was threshed.  When we threshed wheat I took it into the Grain Elevators where it was dumped into the pit by raising the front wheels high in the air, the grain running out of a slide in the bottom center and immediately sold.

We handled grain all winter.  When the roads snowed in, we often shipped feed grain in box cars to the local siding and shoveled it all into sleighs or wagons, hauling it home and then unloading it into granaries or directly into the chopping machinery to grind it for the livestock. We used what was called a size ten scoop shovel and it was very hard work. We didn’t need to worry about becoming Overweight. The shovels for years were made of steel and heavy.

Eventually they were made of aluminum and lighter by far.  The first time I came home with the new scoop my Father was displeased that I had spent good money, since we already had enough shovels. But he got his hands on it one day and I had to get myself another one.

I had the responsibility of hauling grain with that old 36 Chev truck until I left to join the R.C.A.F. in July 1941.  My Father sent me off to Calgary with a signed cheque in my wallet.  Why?  Because he needed a replacement for me in the grain hauling job.  I was replaced with a Grain Auger which was operated from a power take off on the back of the truck.  It essentially eliminated most of the hard labor of loading and unloading the truck.  So I had my replacement sent out on the C.N.R. from Robin Machinery Co. Ltd.  My brother Wilf installed it and it gave years of good service.

As we continued to mechanize it became possible to do more work with less manpower. For some years I operated a stacking device called a Jayhawk on the front of a tractor.  It allowed me to gather the hay from the field at fairly high speed and move it to the stack without pause to elevate the hay onto the stack.  That was in service until we switched over to baling the hay and then it was necessary to pick up the bales in the field by hand, haul them to the stack yard and stack them by hand.  The first year we did that one of the young men and I hauled and stacked 36,000 bales.  Then Wilf designed and built a powered elevator which made a big saving in labor.

Now hay is baled in round or oblong bales containing from 800 to 1500 lbs of hay each and they are picked up with Diesel tractors and front end loaders and whisked to the stack on large semi trailers, lifted off and stacked in long stacks. They are then hauled to the cattle in the winter with new devices that not only move them but unroll them so the cattle can consume the hay easily with minimum waste.  For the first time, it is possible for hay to be harvested, stored and fed without ever using the old and most laborious way of using a pitchfork and lifting every pound of it several times before the cattle eat it. Similarly, everything that is done in agriculture is with power machinery.

The difficulty is that all that machinery costs a huge outlay in capital, large Bank interest, costly fuel and repairs and massive problems if your crop is ruined by drought, hail, wind or frost.  It is nearly impossible to hire farm help in Agriculture.  The hours of work are still very  long, the profits are minimal, the future is very  uncertain and the  majority of people in Agriculture are still soldiering on into their seventy’s and eighty’s with no way to disengage save selling for whatever they can get and taking their lumps with the Capital Gains Tax.  It is a good way of life and the fellowship of rural people is marvellous. But is a hard life and fewer people care for it.

The Tent In  A Sod Shack.  by Dick Hunt,  feb. 12, 2007.

No kidding!.  Would you believe that the sod roof, made up of poles covered with straw, covered with prairie sod plowed in the dry period of the year,  leaked dirt onto the contents of the “house”.   My Father told us that story. It was very hard to get bread to rise when  it was cold in the winter and besides, who likes dirt in the bread. So a tent was the answer.  He said the yeast was a chunk of bread dough saved from the previous baking and that is why it was called “Sour Dough Bread”.  I don’t understand the chemistry of it but it obviously worked.  When my parents married and my Mother moved into the sod shack, she undertook to make the bread.  She didn’t get the hang of it for a while and the first batch became toys for the coyotes out in the pasture. They couldn’t eat it but they had fun rolling it around.  Football, anyone? My Mother used to laugh about that and it is a true story.  She soon adjusted her methods with a bit of help from Dad and also from Uncle Jack who was a professional Baker, trained in England.

Earlier in central Alberta, in the winter of 1905 and 1906, there was a very tough time for farmers and ranchers. In the summer of 05, a devastating prairie fire had swept through the country all the way  From Battle River in the north to the Red Deer River in the south.

Not only the grass was destroyed but many people also lost their new supply of “Prairie Wool”, the high protein native grass that had been harvested before the fire.  My Father and his brothers had plowed fire guards around the feed stacks and as the fire was approaching (at the speed of a galloping horse in the high winds that were generated by the heat), they backfired in the direction of the fire, thus saving the feed.

A man called Lee Brainerd had begun to drive his cattle and horses from Montana north looking for a new place to settle and start a new ranch.  He had stopped at an area called Richdale about 40 miles south east of Ribstone Ranch intending to spend the winter there.  He rode up to the ranch and talked with my Father who offered to winter his livestock if he wanted to bring them up.  Mr. Brainerd declined the offer, saying that there was good grazing at Richdale. Sometime in February he tried to move the cattle and horses up to the Ranch as the snow was so deep the cattle could no longer graze.

They never made it. His son and the hired man died along with most of the 750 cattle and 100 horses near a little place called Dowling, 15 miles south east of the Ranch.  Lee, a strong and determined man set off on foot to go to the Ranch for help.  The first thing they knew of his presence was a bang on the door of the sod shack. The beef steers, which were on a ration of the good prairie wool were around the shack and my Uncle Jack hollered, “get the hell out of there”. And a voice came from the other side of the door, “I won’t get out”.  Steers do not speak English .  They opened the door and Lee fell into the shack,  more dead than alive. They thawed out his frozen extremities using kerosene as a rub  and nursed him back to health, a process that took months.  He lost most of his toes and there was nothing for it but to look after him until the snow cleared enough for travel to better care.

My Father acting on directions from Mr. Brainerd rode to the camp where he found most of the cattle and horses dead, many of them standing up in the deep snow. He covered the men’s bodies with snow and maintained a snow cover over them until the Mounties could get out in the spring to look after the sad affair. When they finally did arrive they discovered that one of the men had lost his nose  to the magpies. In the sod shack, it was warm and though crowded it was snug and secure.

Such was the “Honeymoon Cottage” into which my Mother moved at the ripe age of 17 in St. George’s Stettler, February 3rd, 1913.  My Father was then 29. The following summer they did have a belated honeymoon in Victoria and I am fortunate to have a photo taken there at the time. As for Lee Brainerd, he moved to the Peace River block in Alberta, married again and with his wife established a Ranch and stopping place which became quite famous for the hospitality and great meals.   More details of the Brainerd story may be found in a book called “Places”, page  28ff in the Alberta Heritage Series, commissioned  by Calgary Power Limited, Copyrighted and printed in 1971.  I have a copy in my study.

On the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Endiang Alberta, in the summer of 1962, my Brother Bill and his family built a working model of a Sod Shack on a hay stack moving wagon and it made a proud addition to the parade marking that occasion.  I have a picture of that in my files. My  Maternal Grandfather, William Foreman Junior and my Mother, Florence Elizabeth then aged nine opened the first store and Post Office on their homestead at what would officially become Endiang.  When the C.N Rail branch line went through in 1926 (which I well remember), the town site was moved a mile south and a mile west to the railroad and eventually became a community with many business establishments, three grain elevators and around 200 residents. It is now a hamlet with about 20 people, one business and a proud history.

If your roof leaks in your condo, you might consider erecting a tent until the repairs are made.

Happy Easter to you and all the Family of Christ in St. George’s Church. Love, in Christ, Ruth and Dick.

Why Did You Change The Bottles?  by Dick Hunt, April 7th, 2007.

In the years when the Spanish Flu epidemic was raging throughout the world, my parents were ranching in east central Alberta.  They nursed a number of neighbor families through the  epidemic, helped bury some of them and they never caught the flu themselves.  They lived vigorous outdoor lives, ate their own produce and my Father believed, rightly or wrongly, that a swig of Brandy at regular intervals helped to combat the virus that caused many to die.

On one occasion he was present in a neighbors’ home when  the husband had a pull on a “brandy bottle” and uttered his last words, to his wife. “Why did you change the bottles?” And he choked and died, very  quickly.  His wife had put a creosote based black liquid called creolin, (used for treating scabies etc. on livestock) in a empty brandy bottle, and had neglected to change the label.  She was of course overwhelmed with grief, an agony of near despair.  But it was an honest mistake for which they paid dearly.

Self serve health care was also responsible for the death of a lonely and sorely troubled bachelor in the area.  He was in fact a Schizophrenic and lived a tragic lifestyle, looking over his shoulder so to speak as he trusted almost no-one amongst his neighbors. He was obsessed with the fear that someone was trying to poison him. He would buy canned goods and packaged food and then, fearing it contained poison throw it out onto the ash pile where he dumped the ashes from  his kitchen stove. I  can remember him quite well in the early 20’s coming to the ranch with loads of grain which he was selling to my Father who he did trust and considered a friend.  On those occasions he seemed quite normal.  But on one occasion, my father was dressed very like my Uncle, and Dan mistaking my Father for Uncle Matt,  who he didn’t trust, very nearly shot Dad with a shotgun.  When my Father spoke to him, he stopped, recognizing my Fathers’ voice.  Eventually Dan, while cutting his toenails, cut into one big  toe and infection set in, turning to blood poison.  He became so ill he could not even tend his fires and was found dead by a neighbor who found him behind the kitchen stove where he was evidently trying to keep warm. So ended tragically the life of Dan , who was in those days understood by very few and befriended by even less of his neighbors.

There is little doubt that there were fewer ways to ingest toxic substances into our bodies in those days.  Chemicals were used very little in the lives of rural people, who were the great majority of people   in the early 20th century.  Manure was the only means of fertilizing the land, including gardens. Growing sweet clover added greatly to the nitrogen content of the soil when plowed under. Pesticides and weed killers were still far in the  future.  One substance we used freely in those early years was formaldehyde, which we used to treat seed grain for various problems such as leaf rust & ergot.  But we used it outdoors with water as a mixing agent and the sun and wind and sweat likely dispersed the problem before it caused us great damage. Since we sweat a great deal the year round with our heavy physical exercise we drank a lot of water, which was also much more likely to be uncontaminated then. Drinking lots of water not only replaces the water we lose through perspiration but also flushes the impurities out of our bodies and keeps us hydrated.

We raised almost 100% of our own food, save only tea, coffee, baking powder, salt,  sugar, macaroni, cheese, dried fruits  etc.  We had our own wheat milled and 100% of that came back to us in 100 pound sacks.  None of the bran and wheat germ was lost and it all went into the oven when baking.  That was indeed whole wheat bread, not what the Canadian Health Department calls whole wheat.  They only require that 30% of the wheat germ be in the product they call whole wheat, and  that is a very foolish and disgusting injustice being visited on the Canadian people.  In the United States, 100% whole wheat flour is just that. Shame on the Canadian Health  Authorities!

We harvested our own potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips etc and kept  them over winter in root cellars. We butchered our own cattle, sheep and hogs, made our own head cheese, bacon, hams etc. and put no unhealthy ingredients in them at all.  And we worked very hard, long hours, needed little entertainment and slept the sleep of the just.

We occasionally attended baseball games in our little town Sunday evenings in summer and cheered on our team.  I owned ice skates for a few  years but never had a rink to skate on.  At school I greatly enjoyed playing soft ball and one year we had inter school sports and we played the competition on a Friday afternoon.  We played various games in the school yard at noon  and at morning and afternoon recess.  And when school was over for the day we didn’t  loiter, but went straight home because we had lots of chores to do and our homework to complete before the next school day. We were never bored.  Our competition was mostly ourselves as with all those pupils in the several grades, there were few of us in each  grade.  It was a little like playing golf.  We strove to do our best each day and each year.

We were greatly blessed in that there were literaly no temptations to lead us astray as there are now.  With  a great deal of leisure time for many school age children now,  unless they are strongly self motived and encouraged by caring parents and exceptional teachers, many are prone to run with the pack. There are myriad ways for them to get into trouble and many are the lives that are wasted on doing things that are popular with the gang. Unfortunately, many  parents or teachers or public leaders do not witness clearly to the high moral standards of former years.  But Praise God for the ones who do stand up to be counted and clearly state by word and deed they are guided by an informed conscience and a moral code that can bring them to a life that stands out positively in society. “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all”. (Isaiah 7:9b)

When I was studying Radio Technology in the R.C.A.F. in 1941, we had our classes in the spaces under the Grandstand at the Calgary Expedition and Stampede Grounds, operated as Number Two Wireless School, R.C.A .F., under the direction of Calgary Technical Institute.  One of our highly qualified instructors was a young  man of less than average height who wore very thick glasses.  He was looked down upon by some of the eager young recruits and he sensed that to be the case. One day when there was  a good number of us in a long corridor with a concrete floor, he asked us to stop what were doing and asked a sturdy young man to stand firmly in one place and wait.  He then handed his glasses to someone, went  back down the corridor about fifty feet, turned and running up to the chap in the middle, placed  his hands lightly on his  shoulders, did a 360 degree flip and landed neatly  on his feet again.  He grinned, retrieved his glasses and went about his business.   No safety pads on the concrete.  We were suitably impressed and many were more disposed to learn from him.

Character building is greatly influenced by living in a community which sets high standards of behavior and achievement, especially at  home in a loving and caring family environment.  It must  be very hard now for the many single parents who for one reason or another have no support from a spouse.  I will not use the term partner because I believe very firmly that children should be conceived, born and raised by two parents,  a man and a woman united in Holy Matrimony in the sight of God. And I mean spouse in the original meaning.

When we were living in Williams Lake, a great cross section of young society was pressing strongly for what was called, “free love”.  One such person was a popular young male teacher, good looking, affable and with a following of adoring admirers. Toward the end of the school year I had a request from a Minister in Surrey asking  me to meet with this young man and his fiance’ and adequately prepare them for their coming marriage in his Parish  Church.  I contacted them and they had already been informed they would need to study with me before the end of June.  We met together, several times for long sessions about every aspect of committed marriage in the sight of God.   They  were good sessions and the couple appeared to be happy  with what they were learning.  Before I finished the last  session, I brought up the young man’s position regarding free love and asked  him how he felt about it, now that he was going to be married. He paused briefly before saying, “I was wrong.  It doesn’t look so good now”.

What difference would it make if each person in Canada took serious responsibility for their own health of body, mind and spirit?   There are  of course many road blocks to deal with in our present circumstances  which have to be surmounted or detoured around to try to keep healthy.  Some efforts are now being publicized which are in fact effective and promising.  More exercise, drink more water, avoid trans fats, (a tricky one as so often people cannot detect  where trans fats are contained), get adequate sleep, learn to pray to our Maker and Provider (don’t knock it, it helps to avoid stress for one thing).  But when it comes to what we put into our mouths, that is what we are made of  to maintain this earthly house we live in.  And what we put into our minds is crucial to our moral and spiritual health.

Our Public Health Care System is weighted almost 100%  on the side of providing at great public expense massive prescriptions of  Drugs, to fix people when they get  sick.  There is hardly any  support from the Health Care professionals for the maintenance of health  and wellness through  the use of natural based food supplements.  Some Doctors in fact declare that there is great danger in the use of food supplements in large amounts (what they call ‘mega doses’.)  I have yet to see demonstrable evidence to show anyone has ever been  harmed by the use of good supplements. We have used them regularly for 28 years and have only one result –  no side effects except great health and energy.  And no drugs go into our bodies at all.  We are 86 years of age.

The very best way to avoid getting sick is to protect our health by feeding ourselves the very best food possible, backed up by top of the line, guaranteed food supplements, a healthy lifestyle, a clear conscience and and a strong spiritual faith in the Living God.  I am writing this paper  as we prepare to Worship  at the Easter services in our Parish Church.  What  better time could we choose?  Sincerely, Dick Hunt.

Add a Memory. Make it Three.

Volcano   Santorini.

by Dick Hunt,  April 9th, 2007

With the recent news of the sinking of the Cruise ship in the harbour at Santorini Island in the Aegean Sea, my mind came suddenly alive with memories of our visit there on a Mediteranean Cruise some years ago. The harbour area pictured on TV news is actually an ancient volcano which erupted a long time ago, blowing one side of the volcano away and allowing the sea to flood in.  Apparently the water is very deep at that point.  When we anchored, in the near  vicinity of the cruise ship sinking, there were no other ships in sight.  We went ashore in lighters and chose to ascend to the top, to the habitable area, in a gondola lift.  The alternate option was to go on donkey- back, up a precipitous trail.  We chose comfort.

It was shortly before sundown when we reached the top and we did what tourists do; saw the sights, visited with the locals, shopped, had a coffee and snacks, stayed with our fellow tourists.  Coming back to the edge of the island, we now saw three ships anchored with all lights blazing – a beautiful scene to have etched in our memories. Descending again to our ship and going aboard, we dined and visited and went to bed with a feeling of having been greatly blessed. Santorini Memory number one, stored in our data bank above our neck line.

Santorini Memory number two is a mind stretcher for me.  A few years ago, a lone pilot with no power unit other than his own muscles, sinews and steely determination, flew across the Aegean from the top of Santorini to another Greek Isalnd some sixty kilometers away in a man powered heavier than air machine.  He was of course accompanied on  the surface below by mariners who were his back up transportation.  But he never faltered  and landed safely at  his planned destination.  I would not be honest if I did not also tell you that he was sustained for the whole exercise by the magnificent food supplements supplied by his partner in the operation,  Shaklee Corporation. He used basically the same substances Ruth and I have used during our 28 years with this company, one of which was a product called “Performance” which rehydrates and provides needed energy.  It is widely used by athletes and sports enthusiasts who pursue challenging activities. His achievement has been recorded as one of the human endurance tests of recorded memory among the 25 top related events, and one of seven sponsored by Shaklee Corporation.  Nothing succeeds like success.  Another  being the crossing on the Arctic Ice Cap from side to side with manpower alone with Will Steger, who has been powered by Shaklee Products regularly for each of his many exploits.  Same products.  Different people.

And now, through the medium of instant news viewing via satelite and advanced technology we have Memory Number Three of Santorini, stored in our memory banks as we see it all as it happens.  During the more than eighty years of my storing memories for recall, the pace has constantly quickened and now in my declining (should that be ascending?) years I have learned some of the intricacies of word processing and how to back up my memories in flesh with memories in the Data Bank.  How greatly I am blessed!

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Dick Hunt's 92+ years of history

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