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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


In 1963, my father was travelling around rural Manitoba, on some business for an insurance agency he worked for. He was driving his very first brand-new car and savouring autumn's colours as his car ate up the country miles.

Legend has it that he drove home to his very own farm and announced to my mom that they were "going on a bit of a vacation". It had been a good year for farming, and he could afford to rent a cabin for his young family of seven in Wasagaming; at Riding Mountain National Park.



That's five years before I was so much as a twinkle in my papa's eye. The family swelled to ten- five daughters and three sons. Our autumn trip up to Clear Lake remained pretty well consistent throughout. Now we number thirty plus people- some years we rent five cabins; some years three. Our traditions have evolved and grown and shifted with the years.

Thanksgiving dinner.
The marsh walk.
"Red Light; Green light" with my brother Wally.
Walks to the pier.
Endless swimming in the pool.
Walks to deep bay.
Bike rides.
Treasure hunts.
Endless hours at the playground.
Uncle Mel's trail mix.
Scrabble, monopoly, and chess.



My dad turned eighty-seven this summer.
He was younger than I am now when this tradition first began, and I think of it all now from the angle of being a young, busy, easily distracted parent of a busy and demanding band of children.

He couldn't have known what he'd first begun back in 1963.
Remarkable, isn't it?

(ever wonder what you're doing "right" as a parent? Perhaps we'll be surprised....)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice story Joyce, I enjoyed that. I hope that I will create some memories within my family that mean something 46 years down the road. BBNM
ps hope my math was right.

Christine said...

great snaps.
what a good point too...
i'm hoping (banking on it actually) that'll i'll someday be "enlightened" as to what i did right.....

Anonymous said...

Hey Joyce!

My family has also been making at least a yearly trek out to Wasagaming for longer than I've been alive. (I'm 45) My dad's first visit to Clear Lake was circa 1935.

What wonderful memories, warm traditions, and lots and lots of ice cream!

I thank my parents for instilling in me the love of nature, a desire for peace, and a deep sense of family.

- Julie Reimer

Anonymous said...

I love this tradition....how very lucky/blessed you are Joyce to have such a wonderful heritage....L.lew

tanya said...

Happy Thanksgiving Joyce and family!

Roo said...

love it. my family is HUGE into tradition too. my favorite one is our christms eve carol-athon. :) we totally don't harmonize...and we freeze our toes off everytime...but NOTHING beats the look on peoples faces that get when we carol to the last minute shoppers at bigway...hehehe ;)

xo love your photos too!

Anonymous said...

sounds great!! jealous..... Where do you stay in Wasgaming that has a pool warm enough to swim in in October??

The Naked Chef

joyce said...

Isn't that something? Johnson Cabins used to heat its outdoor pool into September. (We don't always go exactly on Thanksgiving weekend) When we were little, we used to spend a gazillion hours in that pool. Chilly on the outside, happy and wet in that pool. I especially remember that with my brothers Ken and Wally and my sister Carol.

photos: some of those are snitched from my eldest's file. She has an amazing way with the camera.

BBNM- I am sure that you are doing more than you realise for your kids and grandkids.

Julie- thought of you this September... Nice to think of our families sharing traditions.