The Medicine Hat News
Posted July 27, 2010on:
The Medicine Hat News ran this article the very weekend I was there visiting friends and family. A very nice surprise.
Country Roads’ takes readers through life in rural Canada Darlene Foster, who grew up in Irvine, contributed a story to “Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada.” Thu, 08/07/2010 – 5:50pm
Growing up all she wanted was to move away from the farm. Looking back Darlene Foster now realizes how lucky she was.
“When I was there I just couldn’t wait to leave,” Foster said of being raised on a mixed farm near Irvine. “I didn’t like living on the farm, I envied all my town friends and especially my city friends.
“As I’ve gotten older though I’ve realized what a precious gift it was to grow up the way I did,” she continued. “The value of rural living and that sense of community and friendship and neighbourliness.”
One of Foster’s fondest memories has been included in “Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada.” Pam Chamberlain gathered stories about growing up in rural communities from three generations of Canadians.
Irvine was full of excitement in the spring of 1962 with news that Prime Minister John Diefenbaker would make a quick stop in the town during the election.
“As was the custom at the time, he travelled across Canada by train, making whistle stops along the way,” Foster writes. “The school was buzzing with the news that Dief would stop for a short visit on his way to Medicine Hat.”
The anticipation of Diefenbaker’s visit quickly turned to disbelief as the train roared past the crowd gathered on the platform.
“It was dead silence when everyone realized the train wasn”t going to stop and after it went by,” Foster recalled.
That awkward silence was broken with a laugh that soon became contagious.
“I think everyone realized how ridiculous and unrealistic it was that he would stop in the town,” she said. “It was probably just a rumour started by some kid hoping to get the morning off school.”
Foster can still recall the school principal wiping tears off his face from laughing so hard and says the incident still comes up from time to time when she talks with family and friends.
“It’s become one of those, ‘Remember when. . .’ stories,” she says.
A handful of well-known Canadians also contributed stories to the book, including award-winning author Rudy Wiebe, Sen. Pamela Wallin and Calgary Flames coach Brent Sutter, whose story follows Foster’s in the book.
“I’m just delighted to be in such company,” said Foster.
Though she left the farm for the big city of Medicine Hat when she was 17 and currently lives in Tsawassen, B.C., the sense of community and friendship and neighbourliness has stuck with Foster.
“I still smile and wave at people when walking down the street in Vancouver. Some smile back but most look at me like I’m crazy,” she laughs.
“Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada” can be ordered at Coles in the Medicine Hat Mall.
Note: “Country Roads” may be ordered from a number of bookstores or from the publisher, Nimbus Publishing www.nimbus.ca