My Life is More of a Gravel Road, Really

Sunday Drive along the 49th Parallel

My brother took us for a Sunday drive running parallel to the 49th parallel visiting his birth place in Killarney,  the remains of Whitewater and Lena, and the remains of our paternal grandparents Garry's birthplaceand uncle in the Lena cemetery. Lots of gravel roads, and reminiscing about differing memories. Margaret and Garry lived in the area when dad decided to try farming in the forties. Garry was born after a harrowing drive to the urgent care centre of the day, a fieldstone nurses station. Then we went looking for Whitewater, always a small place, but now gone except for the offer of friendly service.Whitewater ruion offering friendly service

[Digression: We drove a lot of gravel which always brings memories of southern Manitoba drives such as Peter Buechert racing down a gravel road to get to the Rosenort church in time for Sunday school with the car full of unbelted sometimes giggling and sometimes terrified kids, fishing tailing on loose gravel and staying on the road, going as fast as will still keep you alive…yeah, that’s it. Not a highway.]


Whitewater Lake though is bigger than ever, and has no natural outlet, well I guess evaporation counts. It is part of a wildlife conservancy district, and my friend poet and birder John Weier was here counting birds as part of the regular surveys that are done here earlier this week. Weier’s family lived close to my family’s place BV (Before Victor). John’s Dad and mine met rarely, but John  always took greetings back and forth. His family moved to grow a few peaches  in Niagara region back when illegal smiles still were. Whitewater Lake Road

[Digression: Pardon the free association here, I’m packing to leave the International Peace Garden first thing tomorrow morning to move to my new apartment in Gimli. I’m as scattered as my writing studio which is the last thing always to be packed. I’ve been here since the first of May, and its been terrific. I’ve spent more time with my brother Garry than any other time ever. And I’ve had emerging writers share their stories, but with plenty more still to be told by those living along the 49th parallel, close to the International Peace Garden.]

After Whitewater Lake we checked out Lena, still with a standing if unused grain elevator DSC_0449and the cemetery fenced off from grain bins, and with a cairn noting the Lena church used to stand right where the grain bins are now. This was my father’s church and where he was ordained, a preacher’s kid taking on the family business. The cemetery is where my paternal grandparents and uncle George are buried. Grandparents among the first graves, and the ashes of uncle George among the last.



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