A funeral is a funny thing that has two truly different outcomes. For family you’re wrapped in the loss of someone so close to you. The grief is overwhelming and it can feel as though you have forgotten some of the key things that you loved about them, what endeared them to friends, not just family. Why does it take a gathering to bring back those memories, stories and recollections. Some that you have never heard before. Family, friends, co-workers and who knows who else come together for these moments.
Over the weekend, I attended a funeral for a community member of Bethune and Findlater. Maybe you knew Bob Hehir. His wife taught school in Bethune, so many children, now adults, will remember Donna. And Bob’s children, Sean and Kim along with other family members now continue to tell the stories of their husband, father and uncle and friend.
Saturday’s service was in the morning and left time after for moments of reflection with people I haven’t seen in some time. We gathered at the Bethune Hotel for a beer and a toast with Irish Whiskey to Rupert! As everyone went their own way, it gave way to ideas of reunions and the past. Rich stories that didn’t involve cell phones and video games but rather first hand experiences. Maybe there were photos taken, but these were in individual collections, NOT shared in social media platforms!
I didn’t know that the Klu Klux Klan had made stops at Findlater, apparently they did in the 30’s. I didn’t know that dayliner rail cars would stop in Findlater with such guests as Bing Crosby. These are the stories our fathers and grandfathers carried with them and if you didn’t ask the right questions, you may have missed them. Perhaps you were too busy to sit and listen.
As it is summer, here’s another recollection that came to mind; the movement of Royal American Shows via the rail line. Royal American Shows brought the midway and the entertainment for the Saskatchewan Provincial Exhibition and then what became Buffalo Days Exhibition. Ah those were the days! The fair was an agricultural show, a showcase for local artists, entertainment that was homegrown, some exotic performances from the midway and the rides. It made for a memorable trip into Regina.
Saturday, poolside at my nephew’s, we talked about how cool it was to wait for the Royal American Shows Midway Train to roll past our farm. From one story to the next. This is how memories live on and how they should be shared.
I think you’ll find this account written by Troy Vollhofer an interesting read. If I get the chance to have a conversation with Troy this weekend at Craven, I think this might just be on the topic list.
Things have changed, there’s no denying this. When you spend time with your relatives, friends or people you just happen to meet this week, keep your ears open, maybe ask them some questions – you might be surprised what you find.