Prince Albert Voice
Imagine being diagnosed with a disability that takes away your ability to make the living you seem to have been born to carry out. That’s what happened to Robin Holmes. She loved being a truck driver and then it all changed when the symptoms of her disability forced her to give up her livelihood. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a Cree father and a European mother, Robin spent most of her young life moving across Canada. Perhaps that’s where her love of travel was borne. As a truck driver, Robin found a lot of respect working in a largely male dominated career. She says it wasn’t uncommon for her to stop for the night, and as she checked her load to ensure it was secure, some of her male comrades would join her and help her. She realized they were showing her respect and that she’d been accepted by them when they did this. One of the things that have always been a part of Robin’s philosophy of life is to treat others as you wish to be treated. She finds when she treats others with respect then she earns respect from others, and they see her, not her disabilities.
As the dog days of summer give way to hot summer days and cool summer nights, there are plenty of opportunities to put away those umbrellas and step out from under the generous rain clouds we’ve been hosting in order to enjoy the wonderful deliciousness of good food and bring friends to have great company to share it with. In particular I am referencing the food trucks that have popped up all over Prince Albert as of late. Some are favourites that we have seen over the last number of years and others are brand new businesses, up and running (literally) in our community for the very first time. I’ve reached out to several vendors to ask if I could feature them here for you to meet. I’m pleased to begin introductions with a new business to our community, When Pigs Fry.
It’s been nearly a month since I planted on May long weekend and I thought I’d show you the success I’m having with container gardening. This is a small selection of what I have growing in the back yard right now and I’ll show you more next month as the garden continues to progress.
So far, I have to say my most victorious success has been actually keeping plants alive past the two leaf stage. For whatever reasons, over the past few years my plants shrivelled up and died once the second leaf opened on the stem which led to me buying from greenhouses rather than being able to grow from seed to harvest. This year, things are quite different, as you will see. First though, let me tell you about the fantastic finds I purchased from Obsession Greenhouse in St. Louis. By the way, if you haven’t finished buying plants yet, take a drive out to St. Louis and I think you will see why I’m gushing. You won’t be disappointed with the selection and variety of plants. Unfortunately I waited too long to visit this year so I am not proudly growing Cucumelons. I DID find a black tomato though. A huge black tomato that stands taller than my five foot three inches. When the tomatoes are ripe, they turn red. My boy had already had his first taste of the season and, when he was done, he came to me with his hand extended. “Here, Momma.” In his hand, one tomato seed, which made me laugh. If I haven’t already taught him to love growing his own food, at least I’ve taught him to harvest seeds for next year! He’s five and he tells me his favourite part of gardening is “the watering” and I can’t say I blame him for that. Although, in a month, ask him again and he’ll say it’s the eating that he most enjoys.
It’s no secret I enjoy history. My earliest memories include my second eldest brother returning home from school (while I was still too young to attend myself) and we would each select one of the alphabet from our complete set of World Book of Encyclopaedia to read for the rest of the afternoon. I always found the information in the books so fascinating, especially since I also had an incredible imagination that transported me directly to the topic I was learning about. This likely became the foundation of my interest in genealogy when, at the age of 14, I learned my Mother and siblings are Métis. At the time the World Wide Web was just being introduced to North America and when CBC news reported about computers, a room full of a machine far too complicated for my mind to wrap itself around exemplified what our future technology would look like. Before too long, small machines that sat on a desk replaced the room full of computer we’d initially seen. Still, my interest in genealogy began before computers and the internet. Back in my “old days” research involved books, page turning, copying down resources, photocopying, interviewing people face-to-face and using the telephone (the one with rotary dials, party lines and a cord) as well as lots of incredible days spent at the library, pouring through even more books, and if I was lucky, micro fiche film. Is it any wonder this became one of my passions and, when I graduated from University, my major was in Native Studies? History is a balm to my soul and helps me calm the question that always seems to plague me, no matter where I go… why?
My father was a true story teller who could entertain an audience for hours on end without repeating a story twice. A huge part of his ability to capture the attention of his audience was the way he expressed himself through voice modulation, body language and animated facial features. It made people believe he was reliving the experience with them. He had the ability to transport people through their imagination and they believed they had been right there with him … he’d recount seeing a bull moose as his palms slammed together in a mighty clap and his voice emphasized the “whoomp!” the angry moose made before it charged. People sat on the edge of their seat, firmly engrossed with every word. It was incredible to watch, and even more amazing to see how people responded to the stories he told. It occurred to me, after one family reunion, how these stories would be lost unless someone sat down and actually recorded them. By the time the thought came to me, my Dad was really sick and those stories were no longer with him. He had regressed to a time when he thought he should be with his parents and siblings living at Candle Lake. In his mind, he lived in a time before he contracted and beat Polio. His siblings were young and still in school and his parents were alive, living in their original homestead. My Dad never left that place in his mind, so when his heart finally gave out, he had been gone for a long time. The day of his funeral, my cousins and Uncle played a video recording of my father from a time when he was still healthy – I had forgotten what his voice sounded like. It was a rush of emotions to hear him so full of life and laughing as he became the storyteller for the evening. I imagine that is how he and his family spent a lot of their time growing up without cell phones, lap top computers and television to occupy their time; there were far more entertaining ways to fill the leisure time that included spending quality time with family and friends.