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Prince Albert Voice

Janice DePeel

Talent and Skill Combined

I’m missing my paternal Grandmother so much these days.  I adored her.  Born in England, she emigrated to Canada during the war, having lost her Dad in the conflicts common to that time in history.  She was sixteen when she met my Grandad and married him.  Together the two of them were one of the original homesteaders of Candle Lake, and for the first fourteen years of my life that was where I put down my roots too.  Every time I go back to visit it feels like home and I also feel like an alien resident looking in.  So much progress has been made to build up the community and I see growth every time I visit.  And I often wonder what my grandparents would say if they were here to see the changes that have been made.  Maybe my Grandad would be okay with all of it.  He was some what progressive in some of his ways of thinking.  For instance, near the homestead family residence he built himself a small shack that he’d move into when things became too busy for him in the house.  But with ten children growing up, Grandma was always industriously busy with one task or another, working so that there was enough food preserved, canned, pickled, stored, fermented and eventually frozen, once it became cold enough outside to keep food in a clean and safe location.  She was also busy as she had to keep up with Grandad’s large garden full of fruits and vegetables. But once her work was done, she was able to sit down to knit and crochet.  Her talent for creating clothing, mending and making rugs, doilies, table cloths and blankets with needles, hooks and yarn was fantastic.  Although, she must have missed the mark as far as my Grandad was concerned because he did his own darning when his socks became thread bare and worn with holes.  Or maybe he was just concerned that she’d mend his clothing using the bright, vibrant colours she loved to create beautiful projects with.

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Not JUST Egyptians

My son, who is 8 years old, enjoys playing a “game” with me where he asks as many questions as possible in order to stump me. The point of his entertainment is not to actually find an answer to his question, rather the joy for him is to have me reply, “I don’t know.”  This week alone we’ve covered topics ranging from how lightbulbs were created to dinosaurs and whether they were even real.  I think part of his fascination stems from some of the books we read together before bed at night.  I figure if I’m going to read the children a story that they’re just going to fall asleep to while I read, I might as well find it interesting.  So we have been reading old issues of Our Canada, Robert Munsch classics, and then silly books such as one all my children adore entitled ‘Underwear.’  But every once in a while I tuck in a story that is inspired by true events and I know it grabs his interest because he’ll ask questions about it days and weeks afterward.  The story on his mind as of late relates to the story of a man named Fogg.  The man is playing cards with friends one evening and he makes a bet… he says he believes he can travel around the world in 80 days and he leaves as soon as the terms of the bet are made amongst he and his comrades.  Throughout his journey, Fogg and his companion encounter many challenges including delays such as running out of railway tracks in India so they end up traveling through the jungle on the back of an elephant.  At one point they navigate over the icy terrain using a boat with a sail and, on their return to England, the boat they’re on runs out of coal.  Fogg buys the ship and they proceed to rip the boat apart, from the deck down, and use the wood to fuel the furnace.  They manage to make it back to Fogg’s friends but he’s disappointed as he thinks he’s missed his deadline and he’s lost his bet by fifteen minutes.  In fact, he’s actually returned a day early and he’s won his bet after all.   My son finds Fogg’s journey quite fascinating, especially his stop to see the pyramids in Egypt.  “Are pyramids real?” he asks.  “What are they made of? Who built them? How do people get inside of a pyramid? Where did people get the idea to make pyramids?”  I think I may have won this round… he kept asking questions so I went onto the internet and answered each of his questions.   And then I took it a little deeper.  It turned into a Bible discussion.

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Where Am I In My Personal Journey?

I recently listened to a man relating how the quiet of daily meditation allows an individual to explore who they truly are on the inside so that they can bring these characteristics forward, to the outside.  His intent was to suggest that when we delve into our motivations and the things set deep inside that are important, then we can immerse ourselves in who we truly are and allow that part of ourselves to flow out of us, and gain strength of character in the vulnerability of living our best life, truly authentic to who we are.  He likened it to children on a shallow, but briskly, moving river.  Everyday, in summer, the children would gather above stream and all along the length of the river until it was calm.  And at the top of the rapidly moving water, children would climb onto floating devices; blow up water apparatuses, inner tubes, styrofoam, pieces of wood - whatever could float is what was used - and the children would ride the rapids down the river until they reached the calm water.  Then, they’d make their way to the river bank, walk back up to the top of the rapids and ride it again.  

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Word Whiskers and Ear Worms

Have you ever had someone distract you with the number of “word whiskers” they use in conversation with you that you actually begin counting the words in your head as they say them?  Word whiskers are the “fillers” we use in sentences and phrases to give us time to figure out exactly what we wish to say.  Often these “whiskers” pepper our conversation in the form of ‘like, ah, um’ or, ‘do you know what I mean?’ and so on.  My “go to” word whisker is one I edit out as I’m writing; ‘that.’  It’s likely my favourite word connecting my ideas and thoughts together however, even I drive myself to distraction sometimes and I pull out my red highlighter to emphasize how repetitive I can become abusing ‘that’ word.  Whenever I use ‘however’ or ‘therefore’ in a sentence, I’ve likely just replaced it for ‘that!’

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Genealogy Struggles

It’s a long standing joke in my family… when one of my brothers phones me the first question they ask is, “Have you made me an Indian yet?”  My reply is always the same, “We are Métis- if you want more than that, find it yourself.”  They never say anything after that, really.  But it’s the truth.  There’s an old saying that advises, “The proof is in the pudding.”  So too with genealogy.  The records and data usually support the family genealogy of any given surname so long as you’re able to identify the first three generations starting with yourself as “number 1” then going backwards.

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Wednesday March 13, 2024