Wednesday, July 31, 2013


We just finished the 2nd Annual Hubbard Family Pike Lake Camping Trip and it was great. Again! The weather could have been better but it wasn’t terrible; having only a few hours of rain to interrupt the festivities.

            Pike Lake Provincial Park is located 32km southwest of Saskatoon on the shore of Pike Lake, an oxbow created by the South Saskatchewan River. It’s a great place to go to if you ever get the chance.

            Last year, after we were done our week of camping there, Deb and I headed back home to Kipling heading east on the Yellowhead Highway and then wound our way down through some Saskatchewan countryside that we hadn’t seen much of. This year we came back down the other side of the river through Outlook, Lucky Lake and made our way across Lake Diefenbaker on the Riverhurst Ferry. It was also great.

            The Riverhurst Ferry is how Highway 42 crosses Lake Diefenbaker. Highway 42 also goes by, or close to, a couple of body parts towns like Elbow and Eyebrow and meets up with Highway No. 2 at Tuxford. We chose this route for two reasons. 1.)-to cross the lake on the ferry and, 2.) to follow 42 Highway through some old stomping grounds of mine as the highway goes through Brownlee, Keeler and Marquis. I had lived in Marquis from 1965 to 1970 while Dad was the United Church Minister for the Marquis, Keeler and Tuxford Pastoral Charges and I had also spent some time in the Brownlee area as I worked on my then brother-in-law’s farm at Lake Valley in the ‘70’s.

            Debbie, our youngest daughter Emily and I made the drive and I showed them many spots that I hadn’t seen in years and years. I was reminded of old hockey games in the Brownlee rink that’s still standing and we were this close to Tugaske, which isn’t on the highway but very close, where Barty Backzuk and I spent a memorable few hours in a drinking hole there in the summer of ‘77.

            We pulled in to Marquis and then the old stories really started flying. Here’s the Manse house where we lived and the one-room schoolhouse I attended in grades four through six and the church where Dad did so many services and here’s where my brother Gordie fell on that broken bottle and ripped up his knee that Halloween so many years ago. Here’s Dora and Con McCann’s store where we had to meet the bus to get to school in Moose Jaw. Here’s Brad Duzan’s old house where we played a couple of thousand ping-pong games and snuck smokes out of his Mom’s purse and here’s where we built a state-of-the-art snow fort and here’s where I took that tomato juice can off the noggin playing kick the can in our back yard. Oh, the memories!

            The drive from Marquis in to Moose Jaw threw me back to the old school bus riding days and I was surprised that there are still so many of the landmarks along the bus route that I had used way back when to figure out how much longer we had to go to get to school or home. I was reminded of how the panic would set in when we passed the anhydrous station on #2 Highway and I knew that we were this close to school and I hadn’t gauged the time properly to get my procrastinated homework done in time! Some things never change.

            I’ve seen mountains and I’ve seen oceans and I’ve even seen a tropical paradise but there is a particular beauty that only the prairies hold and maybe it’s just us old farmhands who can appreciate the Saskatchewan flatlands but that drive through the green and yellow and blue fields was priceless. And then throw in a dip into the old nostalgia pool and now we’re making memories with memories. What a ride.

            “There’s a certain nostalgia and romance in a place you left.”-David Guterson (1956-).

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