‘Mom couldn’t keep track of so many of us’

From our November 2012 issue

By Grace (Huckabay) Haugen – Sundre, Alta.

On the homestead at Meadow Lake, Sask., where my parents lived for 20 years, in the Dunfield school district, we had horses, cows, pigs, a dog, and cat.

We called the cat Tommy, figuring it was a male. Our dog was called Tony and he’d play for hours chasing us, when we called him different names. We’d jump into the back of the sleigh to escape him. I think he acted like he didn’t like us calling him names just to get us running, as he never acted mean.

We had an older horse named June that my brother, Allen, liked to tease. One day as he was teasing her, she jumped over the fence and Allen started running. She grabbed him by the shirt and shook him. Talk about horse sense! I don’t think he ever teased her again.

There were 12 of us kids, but four of us had left to go to work before the last four were born. I stayed to help mom until the 11th one was born to help. We eight older kids only got Grade 8 and then we’d go to work.

As we grew up, we’d ride the pigs and the yearling calves that quickly got rid of us by sweeping us against a tree. As soon as we could, we were riding the horses whom we loved.

Tony our dog eventually passed away and some months later our tomcat ‘Tommy’ had kittens! We believe Tony scared off any male cats that may have came around.

We made our own entertainment and got into mischief and had fun doing it. Mom couldn’t keep track of so many of us. She was usually expecting a baby or nursing a little one.