Posts Tagged ‘prairie towns’

The Headstone Express.

October 9, 2013


Still no news on the Novel announcement but Wife, I and the two dogs went to Manitoba at the end of September. The project was a very simple one that had been postponed since 1929. I don’t believe the Wall St crash was directly responsible for the delay but it added unnecessary social hardships.


My wife’s parents’ first child died in 1929 at the age of 14 months. Poor little fellow was buried at the foot of his grandmother’s grave in the cemetery at Lauder, Manitoba. ( A pretty little cemetery we found when we were there in September 2013. It should make anyone proud to be buried there, if you like those kinds of thing.)


Anyway, back to the project. The family would have liked to have marked the grave in 1929, but things didn’t come together until Mother-in-Law began to receive Canada Pension in the 1970s. She had a small stone engraved from her pension money and someone was needed to take it there from Calgary. Father-in-law, who didn’t have good memories of the whole thing…nor the location…begged off. Brother-in-law who might have had some time, always put off the mission whenever my wife suggested their going. So the dogs and I became co-bearers.


The dogs didn’t have a good time. The elder had lost a fight with a neighbour dog the previous week and had several kinds of medication for inflamed eye, punctures on her cheek, etc. More problematical were the antibiotics prescribed which somewhat upset the dog’s regular constitution. You might imagine that sharing a motel unit with a dog that might have an urgent need to go outside at any time in the night was not the most enjoyable of arrangements.


There was only the one night I spent on top of the covers fully dressed and ready for the call to action. Other motel cleaning staffs may have noticed the attempts at wiping the broadloom clean before we checked out. Damn silly to have carpet on a motel unit floor—don’t they know those things are just bacteria incubators? Anyway—eventually it sunk into my exhausted mind that the culprit was not the poor dog but the toxic brew in the little pills that pretended to be helping her, and once I discontinued giving them to her she gradually returned to normal—about two days after we got home.


We had two visits to Lauder to chat with the locals, some of whom remembered my wife’s mother who had left in the early 1930s. Lauder is another of the once thriving communities that have been killed by the automobile. If it weren’t for people who live on the farms nearby the whole place would fall to dust. As it is, one of the abandoned houses falls down almost every winter. Any one looking to stock up on hundred year old furnaces, hot water tanks and house bricks should take a drive over there before the basements too crumble away. Say hi the the locals while you’re there, they are as concerned as anyone at the loss of community and a way of life sacrificed on the altar of finance.