Fifty cents and a day on a gentle horse with Babes in old Quilchena
While visiting with friends at a dinner the other day, our conversation was about our childhood days. Christine, who is a sister to a dear friend, was called Babes. Babes was my horse riding buddy. One day Babes came to pick me up at my uncle George’s home at Quilchena. My mom and I were visiting there. She was on a mission to ride horseback to the Quilchena store. She wanted me to go with her. She asked my mom, Lizette, if I could go and mom said OK.
Babes had a really nice horse, very gentle, so we could ride double, no problem.
Being so small, I had to stand on a block of wood so I could climb onto Babes’ horse. The horse was not afraid; he just turned his head to look at me, as if to make sure I was OK.
Mom gave me $0.50 to spend. I was so glad because that was a lot of money at the time. I did not feel I should spend it all on myself. As young as I was, I was conscious of food being in need. So I said, ‘Mom, can I buy a loaf of bread too?’ My cousin, Nancy O’rourke, was there visiting my uncle, too. She laughed and said, ‘No, that’s for you.’ We have more than enough food for all of us.
Nancy is a daughter to my aunt Alice, who is also a sister to my mom and uncle George, who had a house right by the lake Quilchena. It was so beautiful. In the summer, we would swim in the lake. We just had to walk across the road and we would be at the lake frontage. I loved to visit there, especially when the rest of mom’s family was there.
Babes and I got on our way; it was a nice, sunny day. The warm summer air brushed our faces and gently blew our hair. The ride to the store took about one hour.
We rode past the old Catholic church, and then Babes took a shortcut over the hills, bypassing the old highway.
As we rode, we would come across berry bushes. We would stop and pick some and eat, forgetting about time. Filled with fresh berries, we continued on.
Once at the store, Babes got what she needed. I bought my candy and then we were on our way home.
Arriving at uncle George’s, mom invited my friend to stay for supper.
While we waited, my cousin, Nancy, would play the record player, which was one of those with a wind-up crank machines and used special needles to play the record.
Uncle George had a great collection of records, too, like Hank Snow, as well as Don Messer, the fiddle player.
Supper would be ready. The kitchen was a big one with a long table and benches. We always had prayer, aunt Alice would be the one to say the prayer.
My mom had one sister, Alice. She married into the Thompson nation. She had one son, Henry, and one daughter, Nancy.
Aunt Alice and her family would often visit uncle George. My Mom would make a point of being there when aunt Alice was.
I have been blessed to have grown up among family who taught me and grounded me for future strength to endure hardships during the residential school years. They taught me that family must stay together and provide good instruction and well-being.
1 Timothy chapter 5; 8, “If anyone fails to provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever .
An unbeliever will always take care of his own family.”
As Always in Friendship