Viking Fun

August 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm (Fun) (, , , , , , , )


One of the fun souvenirs I got at homecoming were these viking ducks. The viking is our town’s mascot because many of our founder’s ancestors were Norwegian.

It would appear that the pirate viking (he has an eye-patch) is an artist – notice the paint brush he is holding. I bought him because I liked his orangery red hair.

We got one duck free with our homecoming bag. I think that was the blond on the left with the axe. The white haired viking, on the right, with braids and a spoon may be female. Who can tell with rubber duckies! The other ducks cost me a dollar each. Cheap fun at that price!

My eldest sister is not a fan of our viking mascot. Mostly because every image of a viking that the town uses is male. I agree we need a female viking representing our female athletes.

Someone like Lagertha perhaps.

Aren’t Rubber Duckies fun!



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Coming Home

July 1, 2016 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s a busy Canada Day weekend here.

My hometown is celebrating it’s 95th birthday and is hosting homecoming.

The last homecoming I was home for was in 2005 when our province, Saskatchewan, turned 100 and New Orleans was flooding. In between homecoming events my sister & I discussed the effects of Katrina and wondered at the race differences that were so apparent in deciding who tells your story.

An old neighbour had a hand that year in telling Saskatchewan’s story.

Naicam Mural

And now it is Homecoming again. I am writing this post a week early because next weekend I will be busy hosting family and attending a historical homecoming.

The town I grew up in is small. The 2006 census gives the population as 690 persons. The town is about 6 blocks long and four wide. It sits in the middle of an expanse of prairie farmland.

I wonder how they survived it? My ancestors who came with nothing, worked extremely hard clearing bush and planting crops, raising children without the distractions of television and internet, and surviving when your nearest neighbour could be miles and hours away.

Why did they do it?

One side came from Scotland in the early years of the twentieth century. He was a grocer’s son. The other side came from Poland ten or so years before the second World War. His father had land.

Why did they do it?

How did they end up in such a desolate and wild country? I hope they came in summer and saw the beauty of a warm summer’s eve before they had to endure one of our winters.

I do love this place. I’m glad I grew up where I did. I just wonder a lot. I wander a lot. From here to there and back to here.

This Homecoming weekend, and whenever they will sit and listen, tell your children stories.

Wonder and Wander and come back home again.

Desolution 2012

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Homecoming, Part 2: Here is where I come from

July 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm (Life, Memoir) (, , , , )

As I told you last week, I recently went Home for Homecoming. I went back to where I came from; where I started out; the place that shaped me. A place I’m actually quite ambivalent about – if Family was not still there I don’t think I would ever go back. It was a perfect place to grow up until I turned thirteen and then it was hellish and boring and all I wanted to do was leave.

More and more, it has become a place to leave. There are few jobs and fewer farms and for me, more bad memories than good. However, if I were raising children this is where I would want to raise them. There is no freedom like small town freedom where one is young and watched over and safe.  You’ll notice this love/hate dichotomy I have with Home as you explore my writings, past, present and future.

But enough ambiguity, I’m here to talk about Homecoming and most especially, share the parade with you…

Homecoming is a big deal where I come from. Both the Coffee Talk newsletter and the local paper put out special editions highlighting the events. There are parade maps (like we couldn’t find our way without one ;-p), special advertisements and this year, a full blank page dedicated for autographs (I’ll have to scan my childhood autograph book for you – did you have one) and addresses. There is also a brief Homecoming history which I summed up for you at the start of last week’s post.

So, I think I’ll just head straight down to the parade. We sat at the corner where the floats were going to cross twice – that way if I missed a picture I would get a second opportunity to focus in on the floats.

A Drum Majorette led off the parade. Her outfit is over forty years old and she can still fit into it. I put her age at around sixty – she’s not someone I know. I talked to her after and that’s when I found out how old the suit was.

She’s very flashy in her Gold Lame suit, don’t you agree.

Next, we have a Viking ship – the town’s earliest settlers were Norwegian.  My eldest sister has a problem with this depiction of all of us being white & male and I have to agree that she has a point. The town is more diverse now (not a lot but much more than when we were in school and playing/rooting for the Vikings).

Lots of wind that day but the picture lacks water; perhaps I’ll add some in via computer. If I do, I’ll show you the new & enhanced picture as well.

The local Thrift store has been in operation for only about ten years. Every year, all profits are donated back to local community organizations. The store is completely volunteer run and almost all the items for sale are local donations. It’s like one big garage sale – you never know what treasures you’ll find. I found their float to be both simple and effective.

The sign on the back says: “Communities working – $150,000 for community!”

Next we have the Byng Ladies float. Byng is/was a local school district and this float is usually full of elegant, old ladies. The night before the parade, a nephew and I were bemoaning the fact that there would probably not be a Byng Ladies float this year as they are all getting too old. His great-grandmother lived in the Byng district. As you can see, they found a solution to that problem and dressed up grand-daughters (and great grand-daughters) to take their place. Hopefully, this means the tradition will carry on.

All the float needed was some dainty, little tea cups.

Overall, the floats were diverse but all showcased the past & present reality of small town living. In my city, this float may have gotten booed. It is for a local Outfitter (they guide the hunters who come up in the Fall). It was, I thought, the most creative float in the parade but then I’m biased – it’s my nephew’s business (yes, I have a lot of nephews & nieces & siblings & cousins).

Pretty good considering it was created by the young men the night before after my mother’s birthday party.

Lastly, here is a picture of the small town crowd on Main Street eagerly anticipating the parade….

It was, as Pooh would say, a blustery day.

And a couple of pictures of the swag the nearby children collected throughout the parade.

Part of my nephew’s take…he held on to all the candy himself…it filled a small bookstore bag.

This is what the sisters in front of us collected; they were very good about sharing.

I’ll leave you with a tidbit of advice…just in case you’re ever planning a summer parade float…

Do Not throw out these to the waiting masses…

They are freezies…they were frozen…optimum word there…were…they didn’t stay frozen long and they are also impossible to open without scissors around. Bad idea altogether. So, if you’re ever in charge of swag for a float – just say no to freezies; no matter if they are purple (grape) or red raspberry or even blue raspberry. Yum!

This public service advice brought to you today, by me, solitary spinster. 🙂

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Homecoming, Part 1: Bruised and Sunburnt

July 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , )

I went home last weekend. Home, as in my mother’s house. Home, where I’ve spent 25 out of my 50 years. Home, where I was raised up. It’s not really my home anymore but then here doesn’t feel completely like home either. Sorry, I do so ramble on sometimes.

I went because it was Homecoming weekend and we were celebrating my mother’s birthday early since all her children could be there. I went because my baby brother came home, along with his nine year old son, and Mom has little tolerance for normal childhood behaviour anymore. I went because if I didn’t, this nine year old would have spent ninety percent of his time watching TV.

I went just a little bit for me. I did want to see who would come. I did want to visit with my family. I mostly enjoyed myself.

Homecoming is a Saskatchewan tradition. The first provincial Homecoming was in 1971: I don’t remember why. The last major one was in 2005 to celebrate the province’s 100th anniversary. Since the first one, every small town tries to put on a Homecoming once every 5 years.

This is because most of us don’t stay in the small rural towns much past High School graduation – they are few jobs and farming, in my opinion, is a fool’s love. Yes, I have nephews who farm – I worry for them.

I’m close enough that going Home doesn’t feel like a major undertaking. I’m at my Moms for most major holidays and at least once in the summer. Most people still know me by name and me them. I think the only one who would be surprised if I moved back is me.

I’ll admit to a love/hate relationship with rural living. I miss the quiet, the routine, and getting together with my extended family but I don’t miss the boredom, the familiarity and the lack of work.

So, last weekend. Well, that’s a story or two. My brother & his son stayed with me Thursday night and since I had Friday off we were heading back home by 9am. We had to take a different route because of all the rain we’ve had this year our normal highway was flooded over (for the first time ever in my memory).

We stopped in a small city near Home to hit a bank machine and get a few items that we wouldn’t be able to get in that small rural town we grew up in. This is where I got bruised. 😦

My brother went to the bank machine and the nephew & I headed across the street to the bakery. I stepped off the curb, my right ankle twisted under me and I fell, landing hard on my left knee and right palm. Thankfully, I didn’t twist the ankle and could get back up. I’m still having trouble using my right hand. I need to learn how to be ambidextrous.

This is my bruised hand as it appeared the next day.

Forgive the blurriness; I’m taking the picture with my non-dominant hand. 🙂

This is how the knee looked the next day.

The nephew remained remarkably calm and we carried on Home. The nephew is an only child (kind of – he’s the child of my brother’s second marriage and his siblings are all in their twenties, so they’ve never lived together). We spent a lot of the weekend together, my nephew & I, as we explored Home and I showed him places his daddy used to go to. Being an only child he is well versed in keeping himself amused, as evidenced by the following pictures.

This is what he created, in-between floats, as we watched the parade. It’s a butterfly cage. At one point, there was a moth in there but I was not quick enough with the camera.

Here’s a close-up, sans moth, before it was demolished and the building materials put back onto the road. This was something he did on his own. I was pleased that the circle was not left on the sidewalk as the sidewalk was well used that day and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone (else) to trip.

Since it was Homecoming weekend our local King & Queen were two of the older residents of town. Below is a picture of them after the parade, holding court.

This is what I looked like Saturday evening after attending the morning’s parade and the afternoon children’s activities. I really should remember to wear a hat when I spend that much time outdoors in the sun. However, in my defense, with all the rain we’ve had it’s hard to remember what summer sun feels like.

Next week, I will present a more nostalgic point-of-view of Homecoming. I leave you today with a picture that pinpoints the epitome of where I come from.

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