Family forever … in Retlaw

We land in Retlaw on a day the streets are bustling with life.

About 20 cars are parked outside the Retlaw Hall, a community meeting place on the main drag.

It’s Easter weekend and the Culver family converges here, just as it does two or three times a year. They’re scattered — 11 children and 22 grandchildren — through southern Alberta, from Calgary to Taber to Lethbridge.

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Go for the ice cream, stay for the pie

Whether rebuilt or original facades, one only has to let her mind drift to a simpler, dustier day.

Horses may have been tied to that post or drank from that barrel.

The swish in the gravel may  have been caused by a hoop skirt, a gal’s delicate parasol victimized by the wind.

The plumes may have risen from the wafting of cigar smoke as that fellow twirled his freshly waxed mustache.

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History lessons in Millarville

There really isn’t much to see in Millarville.

People in Millarville even told us this.

It’s a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just a 30-minute drive southwest of Calgary’s urban centre. You can drive through the downtown core in a couple of minutes, even at playground zone speed.

But if you’re driving down Highway 22, also known as the Cowboy Trail, don’t pass by Millarville.

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Silence is golden

All I can hear is the gurgling of water, falling over rocks and tree roots, the chirp of woodland birds and the flutter of their feathers.

Fallen trees lie dead in the water, their rough bark long since washed away, their skin bleached by the blazing sun.

The birds dive closer, testing their invaders’ will, but we go nowhere.

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Humbled by greatness

The true north strong and free.

Sure, there are mountains elsewhere in the world.

I drove through the Cascades in Washington State over Christmas. The Laurentians in Quebec and the Adirondacks in New York State? Done and done.

But none of them felt like mine.

The Kananaskis and the Rockies? Mine.

All mine.

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Wandering around Bridgeland

Sometimes my best shots are pure dumb luck.

Shirking the #yycphotowalk club in favour of some ‘me’ time, Shep and I opted for a stroll around Bridgeland. I found a lot of great subjects for my new and upcoming blog, Worshipping Calgary, but we’ll talk about that some other time.

We walked around for a couple of hours, jumping through the slushy crosswalks and ambling down the quiet streets which are just a mere sprint away from the bustling downtown core.

We started at the big greenspace which is the former home of Calgary General Hospital. The park was empty but, when we returned to get the truck two hours later, the hill was peppered with kids and parents — all out to enjoy the 8 C temperatures and toboganning on the shadowy slopes.

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Finding my Zen

I ran for the hills today.

I know people who have travelled the world over. And at times, I envy them that . . . to see the Greek ruins, the great pyramids, Stonehenge . . . aye me, that’s a long time on a plane.

Me? I’ve been to the easternmost point of Canada and the westernmost point of Canada, I’ve lived in five different provinces, and I’ve seen the beauty our great country holds from coast to coast.

OK, so I haven’t been to Manitoba yet, but really, what am I missing? (Sly jab at my Winnipeg friends.)

Never have I explored more, though, than in my current backyard. Southern Alberta continues to amaze me, with its remarkably calm lake waters, its massive blue sky, and its majestic Rocky Mountains.

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Happy Father’s Day

It was a day to get away.

We went in search of blue skies and dry ground.

We didn’t find it.

I did, however, find the connection and a little of the clarity I was seeking on this day.

It was, in fact, Father’s Day.

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