Oh Canada: The Canada Day Edition

I have a ton of other projects I want to launch but I can’t get stared on them until I dedicate at least a few blog posts to the glory that was our Canadian summer.

So, where did we leave off? Oh yes, with Oh Canada: The Lethbridge Edition where the kids and I drove from Denver to southern Alberta where we had an absolute blast with my BFF Stacey’s sister’s family in Southern Alberta.  I published that post July 13; let’s just say I’m a bit belated on the follow-up.

The next day was Canada Day, the national day of Canada like unto the 4th of July but with a lot more maple leaves.  My mom grew up in Raymond, a dear town that was the center of all things Mormon and the setting of so many weekends and holidays in my childhood years. I can’t say I always appreciated this sleepy town (being the big city gal that I was) but I always treasured time spent on my grandparent’s farm and with them, truly some of the most caring and loving people I’ve ever met.

The Parade

I haven’t been back to Raymond since my grandmother’s funeral in 2000 and I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotion I felt as Stacey and I showed my kids around.

We started with the Raymond parade. We’re not parade people so my kids were less-than enthused about going but I promised the Raymond parade was different at it delivered! Do: Bring bags to collect the candy because almost everyone in the parade throw it. Don’t: Sit behind Stacey’s nephew (a teacher at the junior high) because you’ll get sprayed with water guns as his students pass by on the floats.

My family is deeply rooted in Raymond but sadly, I no longer have any direct relatives who live there besides my cousin who has been estranged from the family for years (I won’t get into all that drama, from which I stayed away). He inherited my grandparent’s farm and I really wanted to visit but even though he’s my only cousin on my mom’s side of the family, I knew we likely wouldn’t be welcome. So we snuck in. My beloved barn was torn down and in its place a lot more of my cousin’s toys. We didn’t hop out of the car because we saw all the threatening life-or-death trespassing signs (yep, he’s a gem) so kept right on going.

The Grave

As we were driving back to town, we passed Temple Hill and Stacey asked if I wanted to see if I could find my grandparent’s grave. Honestly, I’m not much of a graveyard person either so was reluctant but I’m so glad she pressed me to do it. Stacey’s dear mom passed away in our tweens so she went to find her, leaving the kids and me to stroll through the rows of graves until I found my dear Wallace and Virginia Wilde. And then I burst out crying because I realized I’d never seen their grave and what a beautiful flood of beautiful memories it evoked.

My grandparent’s home

Cooking in my grandma’s kitchen. Christmas mornings. Dirt biking at the farm. Strolling the coulee with the dogs. Summers at the Raymond pool but never being brave enough to jump off the high dive. Playing tennis with Dad. Hearing mom’s wild stories of her youth. Daydreaming under the backyard willow tree and picking pussy willows.  Grandpa’s boisterous laugh and how he magnetically drew people to him. My spiritual, sweet and loving Grandma.  Learning to fly.  ”Ever remembered, ever loved.”


My Favorite Place on Earth

Prince of Wales Credit: First Light.

We briefly crashed Stacey’s family’s Canada Day party and then her brother-in-law Will suggested we go to Waterton Lake National Park. It was only an hour drive from Raymond and brooding storm clouds kept the crowds away. I didn’t care because I was home at my favorite place on earth that borders Glacier National Park in Montana

The only time I’ve taken my kids and Jamie to Waterton was in 2011. I’d built it up so much in my mind and we were going to unleash ourselves on the lawn of the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel overlooking an eternity of water…only something different was unleashed: Hadley’s tantrum because the girl was out-of-her-gourd on Dramamine from the drive.

Fortunately, this time was much different! Even with the overcast skies, Waterton stunned.

We picnicked beside Waterton Lake, strolled Main Street, ate huckleberry ice cream and made the steeeeeeep 1-mile pilgrimage to the top of Bear’s Hump and just when I thought the views couldn’t get any better, they did.

If I couldn’t be surrounded by my beloved parents, grandparents, brothers and aunts to celebrate like the Canada Days of yesteryear, this was the next best thing.


In case you missed our other Canadian adventures this summer:

Oh Canada: The Lethbridge Edition

Oh Canada: The Canada Day in Raymond and Waterton Edition

Oh Canada: The Calgary Edition

Oh Canada: The Banff/Canmore Edition

Oh Canada: The Lakehouse Edition

Oh Canada: The Kettle Valley Railway Trail Edition

 Oh Canada: The Edition Not in Canada

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