Grandson Alexander, Number 14. He got his swimming prowess from me.
Upon hearing about the death of Queen Elizabeth, I dug around in the basement and rifled through my old work files and collectibles. I found the press ID tag for my first big official assignment as a reporter for the Fairview Post in July 1978. I had just turned 19, and after a thorough police check, I was handed my badge and sent off to cover the visit by the Queen and Prince Phillip. If I recall, they were opening a provincial park in northern Alberta as part of their Canadian visit. There were only a few reporters allowed and we were posted behind a rope to await the arrival of the Royal Couple. Dignitaries waited to greet them. I was short, and couldn’t see very well so when they did emerge from the car, I ducked under the rope, got a better vantage point and took photos. It was a second later, a hand gripped my elbow and a security officer asked me what I was doing. “Taking pictures.” I was ushered firmly but politely back to my spot behind the rope. It’s not like I had a digital camera and could check the image I hoped I had, but back in the darkroom at the newspaper, there it was: Her Majesty greeting Fairview Mayor Jim Reynolds, and the Queen shaking the hand of the mayor’s wife Doris as she curtsied. There was Premier Peter Loughheed and his wife Jeanne following on the carpet. Not great, but it did make the front page.
I remember, too, after being put back in place, listening to the Royals chat to the people lined up along the path. One included a very excited little girl who stood beside me. As the Queen approached, I thought the little girl might just levitate and float, she was that thrilled. The Queen stopped and asked her where she lived. “Hines Creek!” the girl gushed. “Hines Creek,” the Queen said. “How wonderful. Do you like living there?” “Oh yes!” “That is lovely. It is important to love your home.”
As I remembered that exchange, I also thought of the occasion in Saskatoon when then Prince Charles came to walk along the Meewasin Trail down at the weir. 2001, I think. There were speeches, and he was presented with a willow walking staff. The future King accepted it graciously and said, “Oh, a stick! How wonderful!”
In May 2005, my husband Rick, son Jim and I walked over to the University of Saskatchewan campus to see the Queen and Prince Phillip as they toured the new Canadian Light Source. We were struck yet again to think how much the Queen and Rick’s mother looked alike in later years. We miss them both as dependable constants in our lives.
Back home again in Indiana
Last month, Rick, Jim and I donned masks and made our way back to his birthplace for the 76th Annual Schwier Reunion. Yep, they’ve been getting together for green bean casserole, German potato salad, fried chicken and jello salads for that long! This year, 225 made the trek to Greendale, Indiana, each branch of the original Schwiers decked out in the same family colours we wore to the 50th. We got special mention for being the only foreigners from Canada, but got beat out for the longest-travelled Schwiers to get to the event. The California cousins won that prize. A copy of my novel was raffled off and won by Cousin Linda, who jumped to it when her ticket number was announced by Cousin Becky with the Bullhorn. A fitting prize for the day since my late father-in-law Fred Schwier shared a lot of old farm stories with details that helped colour the setting and characters.
The fall issue of Saskatoon HOME magazine is out and about. It’s starting to appear in subscriber mailboxes and in racks for pickup throughout Saskatoon and area. This is another fun issue with stories about living with urban wildlife (we’ve all seen those moose videos), the phenomenon that is the Little Free Libraries movement, and you can take a peek inside a jaw-dropping custom home at Blackstrap Lake. And if you have always wondered about how the Bessborough Hotel came to be, City Archivist Jeff O’Brien takes us through the grand old castle on the river. There be ghosts, too! If you’re thinking your house or garage looks a little off kilter lately, or cracks are showing up where they shouldn’t be, let contractor Bert Poth explain the ways home builders need to appease Mother Nature. And just in the for those cooler autumn evenings, let Maureen Haddock show you how to bake a delicious, soul-warming phyllo pastry vegetable pie.
Real life inspiration
I’m pleased to have worked with Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild publications editor Shirley Fehr on a piece for the summer issue of Freelance magazine. Here’s what Shirley says about what you can find in this issue: “…You’ll read how award-winning writer Karin Melberg Schwier drew inspiration from real life to write Small Reckonings; how four writers in Southwest Saskatchewan came together during a pandemic to share, read and celebrate their love of writing – written by Caitlin McCullam-Arnal; and helpful tips on navigating the world of submitting your short fiction by Helen Power. And, if you’re wondering where all the book reviews have gone, check out the piece by William Robertson. Whether you’re reading Freelance from your deck in the city, your cottage at the lake, or your desk during your lunch break at work, I hope you enjoy the articles and find your own inspiration to share your love of writing.”
There she goes again
Once again, my friend Jessica makes headlines. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity happened in Cannes, France in late June. Jessica says:
“I am so excited to tell you that the campaign I was part of called Mindsets won a Bronze Lion Award in this year’s Cannes Health & Wellness category. It recognizes work that drove awareness, raised funds, and advanced research for important causes and subjects.”
The campaign was created by the advertising agency FCB Canada, The Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Angila Ruskin University (England) and brainHQ.
And if you do, say you’re sorry
Meanwhile in Saskatoon, citizens are encouraged to remain polite.
Well, that seemed oddly normal! Canada Day in Saskatoon called for wearing red and white, making a batch of Saskatoon berry tarts, then braving the crowded Traffic Bridge to see the festivities at River Landing. The first big hoopla since 2019. A walk along the trail in Gabriel Dumont Park just off Saskatchewan Crescent West, one of Saskatoon’s best kept secrets. Home again for Rick’s famous ribs on the barbeque followed by viewing the fireworks from our upper deck (we can see the high ones), and then settling in for half an hour to watch everyone going by our house trying to get home. Ed even had a nice time.
Happy to receive my second booster this week. Thanks to our friends at Walker’s on Clarence.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad
In his 95th year and still going! A cool, cloudy day today so we’re saving the Dairy Queen shakes for a warmer afternoon.