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Updated: Feb 10

I grew up in a time when parents didn't hover over their kids like helicopters and the cure for everything was a little Epson salt and a Band-Aid. On the farm, there are a lot of hazards and trouble to get into. If we were annoying our parents, they would tell us to get outside and that's when all the mischief would happen.

In my blog "It would be funny . . . depending on your point of view", I talk about the time my sister Abby put me on a running snowmobile at six years old and told me to hit the gas, which led to me running the snowmobile into my brothers car and ending up in the hospital. My family has many stories like this, and I am going to tell you a few.

Me and my sister Crystal each had a pony that we would ride every day. We both started riding on our own when we were as young as 5 years old. We always rode without a saddle, since we couldn't put them on ourselves and after our father passed, we had nobody to help us. My pony, Rocky was a little difficult to handle at times, she was stubborn and spirited. One time, my brothers and cousin thought it would be fun to hold a little rodeo in our coral. First my brother Parker, was thrown from Rocky, landing in a cow pie, face first, then our cousin Phillip was riding when Rocky decided to run underneath the lean-to on the side of the barn, he had to lean back so he didn't get knocked off, but he ended up scraping his stomach raw as Rocky ran underneath. That will teach them to play rodeo with my pony.

One time, Crystal and I, no more than 10 & 12, went out riding in the field beside our farm, we had our ponies in a full gallop and Rocky in her usual bad behavior, stop dead in her tracks and I went right over the top of her head, falling to the ground as she ran off home. Whenever Rocky ran off like this, Crystal's pony, Kim would run off after Rocky and would not stop for Crystal. On this particular day, Rocky ran off, around the side of the Quonset and Kim followed. As Kim rounded the side of the Quonset, Crystal caught her foot and was pulled off Kim, tangling her foot in the reigns and was then dragged by Kim. Beside the Quonset was gravel, old boards, nails, and metal. Crystal was dragged over this and by the time Kim stopped, Crystal's back was scrapped, cut, and looked like ground beef from being dragged. She was lucky that she did not break any bones or sustain a head injury. It's a little funny . . . only because she survived.

As we got older, we had to say goodbye to our ponies, we hated having to part with them, but we were getting too big to ride them anymore. That's when we got mini motorbikes. We used to ride those bikes everywhere, on the farm, in the fields and on the gravel roads. One afternoon, Kathy and I were out riding, racing around the farm and out into the fields along the tree line. I was speeding up behind Kathy (as fast as a mini motorcycle can go) and went to pass her when she decided to turn, right into my path. It was a major collision; our brother Tom could hear it while he was working in the yard and came running. I had only a minor cut on my leg, but Kathy had a major gash on her leg. tom came and helped Kathy up and was walking her back to the house, Kathy was saying "ow, ow, ow" and told Tom, you are squeezing my arm too tight. Funny how that hurt more than the gash on her leg. Once again, we were lucky not to have had more severe injuries. Looking back, it's funny . . . only because we survived.

Years later, John and Tom got a dirt bike and would mess around doing little stunts, popping wheelies and racing around. One day, we were having a bit of a family gathering, our brother George was visiting with his family, Charlie and his family were over from their farm, Tom and John were still living at home and then of course, so were us girls. I can't remember for sure if Abby and her family were visiting at that time or not. Anyway, while the women were inside visiting, the boys were our goofing around with the dirt bike. They would take turns, ripping past the kitchen window, buzzing the house. At one point Charlie decided to do the same, he went ripping past the kitchen window only to hook the handlebar of the dirt bike on the cable from our CB radio which came out the kitchen wall and led up to the antenna on the roof. As he hooked the cable, the CB radio went flying across the kitchen counter and smashed into the outside wall, meanwhile outside, Charlie flipped the bike and landed hard on his ass. The house shook and from inside, it sounded and felt like someone had rammed a truck into the house. All the women in the house were panicked that it could be their husband, terrified they might be hurt. Once again, luck was on their side and nobody was hurt, only a few bruised egos. It was frickin' hilarious . . . only because they survived.

There are so many stories like this in our family, somedays it is surprising how we survived. Along with a few scars, we have some great stories to tell.


Updated: Feb 10

I have never been lucky in love. I never dated in high school, and never had a meaningful relationship until I was in my mid-twenties. Growing up, I struggled with weight which didn’t make me the most popular girl to date, rather, I was the girl that the guys were buddies with. I had extremely low self-esteem which made my weight problem even worse.

When I was in my early twenties, I took weight loss seriously and both me and my sister Abby started working out regularly and we both lost significant weight. It was then that men started to pay attention to me, not because of my sparkling personality (which it is) but for the wrong reasons.

I was in my mid-twenties when I met the man I would eventually marry. After dating for a few weeks, I knew he was the wrong person for me and tried to break up with him, but he would play on my sympathy and convince me to give him another chance. This happened more than once.

Did I love him . . . I’m not sure, but I felt sorry for him and for that reason, I stayed.

The first couple of years we were together, he would never let me meet his family. He would tell me of a variety of issues with his family including alcoholism, physical abuse, and mental illness (not depression but actually F’n crazy). When I finally met his family, the disfunction and crazy factor were clearly present, and he would use this to gain sympathy from me.

Years later he announced that we had been together long enough, and we should get married. There was no proposal, just an announcement. We had been together about 5 years, life was comfortable enough, so I thought this was just the next step.

Over the next few months, he decided that we should elope, that he didn’t want his family at our wedding, which also meant that my family would not be at our wedding. Reluctantly I agreed. Every so often, he would say “let’s get married this weekend” and I would usually find a reason to delay. I kept thinking to myself “how do I get out of this?” but I just didn’t have the self-confidence and resolve to walk away and eventually, I ran out of reasons to delay.

We went to Jasper, Alberta to elope, it is a beautiful mountain town, and the scenery is majestic, and it should have been a magical moment. The only moment that stands out to me about our wedding is the words he said right after the Justice of the Peace announced we were ‘man and wife,’ my now husband said, “I can’t believe you actually married me.” My stomach twisted in knots and all I could think was “what did I just do.” Needless to say, things only got worse from there.

My now husband used to like referring to me as ‘bought and paid for,’ which is typical of a controlling person. First, they like to alienate you from your friends, then your family until you have no support system left. Once we were married, he liked to keep complete control over me, he had to know every movement I made, “where I was going, what I was doing, who was I talking to and when would I be back?”

Over the years, his alcoholism got worse, he was more abusive in his words and more controlling over my movements. He would berate me any chance he could, never in public, which would reflect poorly on him but in private, that was a different story. In the early years, he would apologize for his behavior but after a couple of years, he would tell me that I deserved it and after a while you start to believe it. Over the years, the weight I had lost all came back and more, this is what years of being made to feel like you are nothing, can do to a person.

We had been married for 10 years when he was doing home renos for a friend of mine from work. After the work was done, my friend took me out for lunch and told me that I needed to get out of my marriage, that I deserved better than that. That was the first time anyone told me I deserved better.

It was not long after that when my ex was on my case over something, and he casually threw out the words that maybe I would be happier if we were divorced and I said, “maybe I would be” and that was all it took to end it. Of course, there were repercussions, but I held my ground and we got divorced. The last thing he ever said to me was "nobody will ever want you the way you look". I haven’t talked to him in 14 years but there is still damage to my soul that I don’t think will ever be healed.

Don’t feel sorry for me, I am not a victim, nor am I a survivor, it is just my story, and it has changed me.

I have learned to be acutely aware of toxic people now and how they can be soul sucking if you let them. I see shut down behavior and the lies so clearly now and it is like a light switch within me, I shut down and try to cut those people out of life. I can still be nice and polite, but I will never be tricked into feeling sorry for them ever again.


Updated: Feb 10

In March 2021, I had a knee replacement done and if it weren’t for my sister’s, I don’t know what I would have done. They came from hundreds of KMs away to spend 10 days with me to make sure my recovery was going well. They cooked, cleaned, and helped me get out of the chair (ha, ha) and it was great to have them there. To be clear, when I refer to my sisters, I include Grace who was married to my brother Charlie.

When you have a group of women all over 50 years old, it can be quite entertaining. One night, my sister Kathy went upstairs to take a bath, she had one foot in the tub and couldn’t remember if she was getting in or out of the tub. She called downstairs, “Abby, was I getting in or out of the tub?” Abby called back, saying “I’ll be right there.” As she was walking up the stairs and reached the landing, she got a little disoriented and couldn’t remember if she was going up or down the stairs. She then called out to Grace, “Grace, was I going up or down the stairs, I can’t remember?” Grace started to laugh, shaking her head, and said to herself, “I hope I don’t get that forgetful” and knocked on wood for luck. She then said to Abby, “I’ll be right there after I see who’s at the door.”

Now this little story was just a joke, but I do have funny stories about my sisters.

When I was six years old and my parents were out of town, my sister Abby was taking me out snowmobiling, it had snowed heavily the night before, so the snowmobile was buried in the snow. Abby started up the snowmobile and when she gave it a little gas, the track was stuck and wouldn’t move. She had me sit in on the snowmobile to give it gas so she could go behind and lift the track out of the snow so we could clear it. When she “thought” she had the snowmobile lifted enough, she told me to give it some gas. The track of the snowmobile was still on the ground and the snowmobile took off. As a scared little girl, I squeezed the handles even tighter, going faster and faster, until I ran right into my brother Charlie’s car.

This little stunt put me in the hospital, and I still have a scar over my left eye. Abby felt bad, so she brought me a bag of licorice to the hospital while Charlie was mad and only cared that I had wrecked his car.

Oh, the good old days of NO HELMETS.

Let me tell you about another incident from my childhood that left me scar, figuratively that is. My sister Crystal, who is two years older than me, had quite a little temper. We were 8 and 10 years old, and we were sitting at the dinner table one night, when from out of nowhere, she grabs her fork and throws it straight at me, sticking in my forehead. Now, she claims I was kicking her under the table, but I don’t remember that. This instance has permanently traumatized me and to this day, I won’t allow forks in my house, everything is eaten with a spoon (okay, the last bit isn’t true, but she did throw a fork at me which stuck in my forehead).

I could have used a helmet then too!

Those of you who have sisters, or even really close girlfriends, you know that sometimes when we get together, we can be a little catty or dare I say ‘bitchy.’ One day when we were having one of these conversations (I can’t actually remember what or who we were talking about), my sister Kathy claimed we were being “facetious”, it didn’t make sense in the context of what we were talking about, so we asked her what she meant by that. Kathy made this angry face and put her hands up like they were claws and repeated the word ‘facetious’ with a menacing voice. We started laughing, saying that’s not what facetious means, and explained that facetious means to joke inappropriately. She insisted that the word facetious, sounds mean, not funny. We all had such a good laugh and now refer to anyone being mean or catty as being ‘facetious.’

Be careful of what you say around your sisters, they will never let you forget it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an inappropriate sense of humour. Several years ago, my sister-in-law Grace’s mother had passed, she was one of the sweetest people you have ever met, and she was loved dearly. My sister-in-law Darlene, who is married to my brother Tom, went over to pay her respects, and brought Grace a pineapple (whole, not cut up on a platter), she explained that she thought Grace would get desserts, food and flowers from the people who would stop by. A pineapple? Really, that was the best you could do. Grace was hurt and insulted by this and was telling me about it on the phone, I felt bad, the gesture by Darlene lacked all empathy.

I wasn’t able to make it back home for the funeral, but my sister Abby went, so I asked her to pick up a coconut and bring it to Grace for me. I knew that Grace would understand that I was making a dig at Darlene, not that I was unsympathetic to her loss and hoped that she would get a little bit of a laugh out of it, which I think she did (I really, really hope she did).

I love this group of ladies more than I can express. They put up with a lot from me (my quirky, inappropriate, facetious sense of humour) but it is all said and done with a sprinkle of love.


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