Editor’s note: This week’s Ficiur column is not sports-related, but is his personal account of living in the Bow Island area for more than two decades.
By Rob Ficiur
Twenty five years ago this week our family moved to Foremost. Moving to a small community from the big city (Lethbridge) was going to be a temporary relocation. After a few years in rural Alberta, our plan was to move back to the city (where life is happening). I never did apply for a job in any city and we have been here for 25 years. After a quarter of a century this newcomer can make the following observations about life the Foremost / Bow Island area:
1. Preamble – In June 1989 (two and a half months before our move) I went with our Lethbridge church group on a Fathers and Son’s Camp out at Writing on Stone. Next to our eating area a water fight broke out. This wasn’t a teenager water fight, it involved old people (they were over 30) and it was a big water fight. One of our Lethbridge group was cousins with the head water fighters…from somewhere called Foremost. I sighed glad that I would never have to deal with rowdy’s like that again in my life. Two and a half months later we moved into the same community (and same church) that was holding what was their annual water fight. Two and a half decades later, these rowdies are among the best people I have known in my life.
2. Weather – We have experienced many new weather patterns living in this area:
-Mannyberries Chinook – Living in Lethbridge a Chinook meant a warm wind that melted the snow. We learned quickly that Mannyberries Chinook was the opposite of what we are used to. That south east wind can blow through any amount of clothing and any housing built by man. During our first Mannyberries Chinook all the water pipes in the South East corner of the house froze solid.
-Flood Waters – We have experienced three once in a life time hail storms in Bow Island. After the 2006 storm of a life time (Storm #1) the water was so high on our block that our son got to go canoeing on the street.
3. Directions – When we first asked long-time residents for directions they usually began something like “A block east of the Old Jones place… or right across the street from where the Butcher shop used to be.” As a new comer I did not have a clue who Jones was or where he lived. I had no idea where the butcher shop used to be – because it wasn’t there anymore.
4. Community Involvement – As our six children grew up in this area, we found ourselves involved in diverse community activities including: sports, theatre, camps, fund raisers and celebrations. We would get to know a family by doing one activity – and then a few years later our paths would once again cross in another area (probably involving a different one of our children). Serving within our community helped us appreciate what a great place we lived in.
5. Hard Times – One thing I hate to hear is the sound of an ambulance or fire truck. Too many times the sound of a siren has been followed by a heart breaking story. Because we had been involved in different community activities, we would often know those who lost loved ones through accidents or illness. We mourned and offered what support we could for them.
Only after we went through a death in the family did we realize how wide spread the out pouring of support could be. An elderly widow (who I had never met before) brought us cookies to show her compassion for our loss. I don’t remember what the cookies tasted like, but her thoughtfulness brought light at a dark time.
6. Newcomer? – After the centennial celebrations that occurred in Burdett, Bow Island and Foremost areas in recent years – I realize that we are still newcomers to this area. However, I am beginning to settle in. When asked for directions I now say “That is where the video store used to be… or a block from east of where Mrs. Johnson lived…then the second house in…” and I know what location I mean even when those asking for directions give me a blank look.