Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Living in Rhineland
Returning back home involved a lot of cleanup, but our neighbors were happy to see us return home. We were pleased to discover that a new pastor had moved in across the street. Alvin and I befriended the pastor’s daughters. This family was a blessing to us. The pastor’s wife would bring us biscuits and invite us for supper when Mandy’s sister was ill and eventually passed away from Cancer. We would go to their place for the night when our plug-in in the garage would overload and burn our Ford Tempo up, nearly taking the house with it. On this occasion
came to my room a couple of times to say that he smelled smoke. I thought he
was just trying to play a trick on me, so I told him he was crazy and that he
should go back to bed. His bedroom was closer to the garage than mine, so when
the smell reached my room I realized that he was serious. We ran upstairs to
tell my parents, who were in bed and thought that they could faintly smell it.
The volunteer fire department was brought out, but our neighbors had already
stepped into action. They assisted my Dad in getting the car pushed out of the
garage and into our driveway. Alvin and I then headed over to the pastor’s
place to spend the night. We sat in the basement of their home watching Hogan’s
Heroes, while we awaited news of our house. When we heard that the house was
safe, we slept the night at their house as well.
Alvin and I would spend a lot of time playing war around our property, it was out favorite past time. We had two lilac forts scattered around the property, as well as an old granary shed that we converted into a fort. We also played baseball in the large yard, again I would always pitch and
Alvin would crack the ball over our barn. My
Dad would play soccer and hockey in our backyard which we would enjoy. In
behind the pastor’s house was a basketball court that we would often spend time
shooting hoops. On one of these occasions Dad would slam into the pole that
held up the net. When one of our neighbors moved away they gave each of us
bows, without arrows. Alvin and I then made our own arrows out of branches, and
would shoot them around. One time we actually shot the wing of one of the
pigeons in our hayloft, which resulted in Mandy taking our bows away for a
week. I also got a slingshot at some point. I setup a target practice in our
hog barn. Alvin
I had a fight that I remember well on this property. I thought he was going to
kill me so I was screaming at the top of my lungs running around in a section
of land behind our backyard. I saw a fresh cow patty so I turned and kicked it
at him, I scored a great shot. The manure caught him square in the mouth and
eyes, took the fight right out of him. Most times he got the better of me.
There were a couple of times that we nearly burned down the property, besides the garage fire. Both were because of burning garbage in our burn barrel. The wind came up and blew a cardboard box out setting fire to the property. The neighbors came and helped us put it out before it got to do any permanent damage. I believe this happened a second time as well. I also recall
Alvin’s loud snores keeping me awake at night
sometimes, so I would bang on his wall to wake him up so I could try to get
back to sleep. This would result in middle-of-the-night fights.
We had a few animals on the acreage. The horse we sold on the move to
Calgary, so we didn’t have horses anymore.
Now we had a few cows and always had a few chickens. Our nastiest chickens we
ever had was when we bought a couple of silky chickens. They would attack
anyone who came near, so we didn’t replace them after butcher time came. One
rooster we had was also pretty defensive of his hens. We had free range eggs
available which was really nice. The chickens would wander the property freely.
The cow’s fresh milk was nice as well. We had one barn cat on the acreage as
well, his name was Goldy. One year we went on holidays and this cat was gone. A
cat that we hated was our neighbor’s cat, as this cat would attack our cat and
did not like us coming near it. One time this cat jumped up and grabbed the
back of my leg digging in all four claws and dug its teeth into my leg as well.
In the barn we would often open our grain bag and find mice in the grain. Alvin would use gloves to
scoop them out and throw on the floor, where I would hit them with a hockey
stick. We also had a huge garden plot that we grew a wide variety of vegetables
in. I remember hating all the weeding and watering this involved.
Our church youth group was great at this time. We enjoyed a lot of good times with them. We went on citywide scavenger hunts in our vehicles, messy games nights, bottle drives, as well as many other fun activities. I remember one movie night at our youth pastor’s home. As per usual, all of us guys were wrestling. I have always been super flexible and have a determination not to give up. I was wrestling someone and after a long battle, his finger ended up in my nose while he was trying to get to my head. I ended up with a large tear inside my nose and I still have a lump of scar tissue where the tear was. I didn’t even feel that my nose was bleeding until it was on the youth pastor’s carpet and he got us to stop. Another movie night we were at a friends place and we stayed out there way too late. My Dad called to tell us to get our butts home. What I enjoyed most was the nights that we got together to play floor hockey. I would play although I would have sore knees and would end up being short of breath. These were still very fun nights. One Easter, it was grade eight I believe, I got baptized at church.
My return to
was met with a lot of excitement.
I was happy to reunite with everyone. One of my old friends never forgave me
for leaving however, and that friendship was never repaired. We were enemies.
One time we were playing four squares and he stole my spot which annoyed me,
but I let it slide. The next time I took his spot and I didn’t expect a
physical altercation out of the deal, but I ended up being thrown against the
wall behind us, which sprained my ankle, just in time for school pictures. I
recall giving the noon hour supervisors a lot of trouble in my time there. For
one teacher I ended up writing a bunch of extra reports as I couldn’t keep
quiet in his class. I would usually stay inside at lunch to read or do my
homework, as I hated taking homework home. This resulted in my being a tool for
two teachers to use to play pranks on each other, which I enjoyed, and also
enjoyed the candy they would use to bribe me into secrecy. At some point I
tried out for basketball and my knee made a cracking noise, giving me a bunch
of pain. My Dad was at the tryout as part of the coaching staff, and when I
started crying he thought I was just getting frustrated as I couldn’t keep up
with the guy I was guarding. I tried to push on, but ended up having to sit as
my knee swelled up. It was at this point we discovered I had Osgood’s disease
in my knees, so I shouldn’t do very much for sports, which was devastating as I
loved playing sports. This disease is where your bones get small
micro-fractures in them and results in a build up of calcium that still bothers
me to this day, although I have outgrown the bone cracking part. For one of our
assignments in school, I was in a group with two people from my class. We went
to my friend’s place to work on the project. At some point the guy I was
working with decided to go into the sheep pen on the property. He ended up
landing with his nards on the electrified sheep fence, which was hilarious, and
after we finished laughing, we ran to see if he was okay, which he was. Wymark School