Twisting and turning along the uneven gravel roads, my grandfather explains the life he has lived. As we slowly drive down the gravel roads and through memory lane, we stop to appreciate the scenery. There is a little rusty, old, red barn, still standing in my great grandfather’s homestead. The only building left to represent all that my great grandfather did for our family.
This is how the story began; the crisp Saskatchewan air creeps into the little farm house. As the sun slowly rises for another day of work, the house begins to creak and moan as one by one the family begins to awaken. Many years ago, my great grandfather started our little family farm from the ground up with his wife and eleven children. They began a lifestyle that would be passed down through generations. The farm is what we knew, it was our way of life.
“All throughout the year, us boys took care of the outdoor chores; feeding the pigs, chickens and cows as well as making sure everything was in tip top shape for seeding and harvest when that time of year rolled around. The girls had very different jobs compared to the boys. They were expected not to miss a day of school; your great grandpa always said, ‘the girls are going to go far; they will become your future doctors.’ Well your great grandfather was wrong on the doctor part, but he did know the girls were very smart. Along with school the girls had the responsibility to help Granny with the house work; cleaning, cooking and of course making Grannies famous bread. You have no idea how great my mother’s bread was!
“Now you see, winter was a big season to keep the livestock well and healthy. However, it was spring and fall that made ends meet. Harvest was your great grandfather’s biggest investment. Day in and day out he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, but working on the farm.
“I should say this though; your great grandfather did not expect all of us boys to stay with the farm once they got older. He wanted the boys, and of course the girls, to pursue any career they had their mind set on and so, many of them went off and did bigger things. As one by one some of my brothers and sisters would leave the farm, my dad would never forget to say this one thing; ‘you may leave the farm, but don’t forget, the farm will never leave you.’
“Your great grandfather started this family production with 160 acres; with the help of your five great uncles, five cousins, your brother, your father and I; we have grown the family farm to withstand twenty-two thousand acres. I know in my heart and in this land, and if your great grandfather was with us today; he would be giving all of us a pat on the back. He would be smiling and saying; ‘you did good my boys.’”
Grandpa and I took those long gravels roads back to Grandma’s house for lunch. Going over each bump and hill will always send butterflies up into my chest; the best feeling in the world. Many things can describe someone as a “Saskatchewan Person,” but what describes my version is the farm that my great grandfather started back in the old days; with the little red barn standing up in the original homestead. These are my roots, a place I can always fall back to when life gets hard.
Just remember; “some of us may leave the farm, but the farm will never leave us.”