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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 16:01

Enjoying life is about embracing all circumstances

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There have been days fresh in my mind, where I’ve felt a bit like the fifth grader who missed the memo that today is Pajama Day at school — just a little awkward.


Days when my husband and I have roast beef sandwiches packed in the cooler, nestled in the back of the old truck because we’re headed into town for the day. The truck complete with a bit of rust and grass still in the tow hooks from hauling deer in from the field.

The awkwardness reaches a paramount high when upon driving into town in the farm truck, a gasp escapes my three-year-old when she sees all cars lined up in a perfect row, because we’re in a parking lot — I know it’s time to get out more.

I come from a long line of folks, who made it quite a palaver heading into town. In days gone by, my Grandpa Bill and his long-time friend, Ralph Loosmore, would start going through the motions. Like beavers building a dam, Grandpa and Ralph would start getting ready to head into Cowtown days in advance. During Stampede week, the two friends would exchange stories while travelling across the prairies, in Ralph’s old horse bit-up truck to attend the rodeo. Booming voices, cleaned up boots, and their best cowboy hats would only punctuate the impression these men would leave on the city.

Every year, the two would lay the groundwork to head into the Rangemen’s Dinner (a supper put on by the rail road to celebrate all the old cattlemen) in Calgary. Since the Big City, was just that — big — a room would be booked at The Shamrock. These characters were always in luck, they had a good friend who brought wild horse stock to the rodeo, allowing them to enjoy the action and hoopla from the infield. After a long day at the rodeo, Grandpa and Ralph would have been plumb worn out, and would devotedly head back to the Shamrock.

The suspender-sporting men had a room booked on the ground floor. Probably around 8 p.m. Grandpa knew it was time to head to bed, because the morning comes early when you wake up in time to ensure you haven't wasted half a day by 6 a.m. The large windows faced directly out on the street of this bustling city, so Grandpa wandered over and closed the blinds. Ralph came out of the bathroom, hollering, because he saw those blinds closed and that just wouldn’t work. Whooping at Grandpa, “how would you know when it was daylight out?”

Ralph marched over to the blinds, pulling them open. Grandpa tucked in, covers pulled up to his chin, and as he always said he “giggled like a school girl” at his roommate. City slickers, tourists, and all kinds of Stampede goers gawked through that open window at Ralph in his long red underwear tucked into cowboy boots, backed turned to the crowd  that was seeming to gather to have a look  at the real old cowboys in town.

The next morning, it was decided they would walk to the rodeo, instead of hauling the truck to the grounds. These men, their voices boomed when they talked, and  those voices commanded people to listen. When it came time to cross the street at the cross walk, both men were stumped by all the buttons, flashing lights, and folks gathering. They did what any good old rancher would do, and took matters into their own hands. When Ralph bellered to the crowd around him to listen, he explained to everyone that flashing hand was just saying, “Well, boys, come on over.”

Sure enough, Ralph advanced into the city traffic with a small herd of tourists following.

We aren’t sure how these cowboys survived their time travelling together in a citified setting. I do know when my palms start sweating and I feel like I’m meandering around in my long underwear in the heart of Calgary, I recall these stories of days gone by, and take cues from my Grandpa to embrace and enjoy the circumstances I fall into.They always make for a great story.

(Cheyenne Stapley helps operate her mixed farm in Central Alta. with her husband and family. Her column Rural Route will appear monthly in Prairie Post and is also on our website at

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