Saturday, 17 December 2011

A Country Drive

Yesterday was a special day for a few reasons. Doug had the week off, and we decided to make a trip to Olds, AB to visit his Grandma Taylor. She is an amazing woman in her 90's who continues to live on her own, and we don't see her often enough. It's only about a 75 minute drive, so we are making an effort to get there more often.

I put together a plate of baking for her, and added some fancy chocolates. She loves cookies! We also picked up a poinsettia on the way to her place, to brighten up her condo. The smile on Grandma's face when we arrived said it all -- she was sure pleased we had come to visit.

We took a look at the many balls of yarn in her tv room, and listened to her tell the story about the minister's wife, who comes to visit every so often to pick up whatever grandma has knitted for the disadvantaged children in other countries. Mostly hats and scarves, she has knitted over 1000 now! Grandma loves to stay busy, and her eyes are not as good as they once were, so she is not able to do the needlework or put together the puzzles she once enjoyed. Knitting is perfect for her, and she sits for hours in front of the tv clicking away!

It was lunchtime, so we headed out to find a place Doug could have eggs benedict, his favorite. We found a Smitty's and went in to find it was lined up -- good sign it was a decent place to eat! Before long we were seated and had our lunch. Good soup for Grandma and me on a chilly day.

After lunch, we asked if Grandma would like to go for a drive. She was absolutely thrilled to get out and see the countryside, even though it was covered with snow. She grew up on a farm, and we heard many stories about life in the old days. Not a glamorous life, but it kept the kids out of trouble, and made them into good people, according to Myrtle. We heard about how much she enjoys living in Canada, as we have 4 distinct seasons here. She can't travel much any more, but says she doesn't really miss it much. How nice that she truly enjoys her home and her surroundings.

We listened to many stories about life on the farm, and the routine of each day, month, and season. Doug remarked that the scenery wasn't much to look at this time of the year, but Grandma said she really enjoys each season, and agreed that winter is a time of rest to some extent. The spring keeps people busy preparing the land and seeding, the summer is a time of tending the crops, and fall is when people harvest. Animals continue to need care during the winter, but generally it's a quieter time.

Grandma talked about the stature of the others in her family. She said her paternal grandpa (Iverson) wasn't very tall -- he only came up to her chin! Her maternal grandpa (Rice) was a tall man, however, at about 6 feet. They were all Norwegian. Grandma told us that the first few kids in her family were born in Minnesota, and the rest were born in Saskatchewan, where they lived in a Norwegian settlement. None of them spoke English until they went to school, and then gradually they all spoke English at home, as the kids didn't want to speak Norwegian any more, and they found it easy to learn the new language. Eventually, even the parents had to speak English. What a surprise to hear that Grandma didn't speak English until she was about 5 or 6 years old -- you'd never know it now!

After a few hours of visiting, we dropped her off at her lovely condo and said we'd look forward to seeing her over the holidays. We're hosting the family for dinner this year, and we'll happily anticipate hearing more interesting stories!

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