We Were so Lucky to Have Such Great Parents
I can’t remember how old I was when we first started coming to the Calgary Stampede, for all I know it could have been almost from the time I was born. My parents loved it out west and always talked of moving out here. They had six children really close in age, we were 1 – 2 years apart and I don’t know how mom did it. Dad worked all the time and mom washed our clothes by hand, hung them to dry. Made bread from scratch, mmmmm good. Every year they loaded us up, along with the big old canvas tent, cook stove, sleeping bags for 8 and supplies in the old wood paneled green station wagon and drove all the way out to the Calgary Stampede from a little town called Fort Frances, Ontario. I don’t know where they found the space for it all but they did. Dad would always do the final once over on the car before we would take off for the long trip.
We were all so excited, cowboy hats and boots in tow, wore them whenever we could. I always remember getting near Calgary, it always seemed to be night time, and if we were sleeping dad would wake us up showing us that glorious Calgary skyline with all the lights in the distance. It always looked so beautiful, to this day it is still something that puts a surge of excitement through me.
The Calgary Stampede, with so many people, was sooooo exciting starting with the Parade, the horses, the bands, the floats, the natives, the cowboys, everyone in their beautiful costumes, all so proud. The excitement didn’t stop there, free pancake breakfasts everywhere (thankfully), along with free hamburger meals around the city and entertainment everywhere. Such beauty......all in one city. We were also very lucky to have wonderful family here in Calgary, we would camp outside their house and attend many events with them. So many great memories with them all. We were able to somehow enjoy the rides, chuckwagons, Grandstand shows, dog trick shows, Fireworks, it seems that we didn’t miss anything. Somehow mom found a way to let us enjoy it all.
This year I want mom to come out and enjoy all that Calgary Stampede has to offer, she is 74 years old and having problems with her feet and legs so getting around is a concern for her but I know we can figure a way around it if we can get her out here from Ontario (it’s difficult as it is 4 hrs from a major airport). Dad passed away 5 years ago now from cancer. I know mom wants to come out but is concerned about being a burden, after all she has done for us I’m sure we will find a way for her to enjoy something that means so much to her. It’s funny and I give her a hard time about it as she probably won’t wear them more than once or twice and they are expensive but every time she comes out to Calgary she wants to go try on cowboy boots.
We were so lucky to have such great parents. We did not have much money, mom always says that if dad had known how little she had in our account before we left that we probably would not have gone on the trip. I don’t know how she did it but I truly thank them both for it. Without them I probably would not have been where I am today......in Calgary.....a city that I am still proud of because of its beauty and I love being here with all the excitement of the Calgary Stampede.
Thank you Calgary Stampede,