‘We’ll have not meat for Thanksgiving Day’

From our October 2012 Issue

By Winnie Stevenson – Tisdale, Sask.

This happened the day before Thanksgiving 1933. We lived on a homestead seven miles northeast of Crooked River, Sask.

I don’t think my dad and many other men from the city of Hamilton, Ont., really knew what they were getting into when they heard they could get 160 acres of land for $10.

No one explained that this land was covered with large trees, with only an axe and crosscut saw to clear it. However, my parents and two other families filed on these homesteads.

My dad was a veteran of World War I and had been wounded and carried a bullet in his thigh to his grave.

We were seven miles from the nearest town, church, and school, so mother taught us what she could at home through The Sunday School by Post through the Anglican Church.

We were being taught about Thanksgiving. I was seven years old, my sister was nine, my brother was 11, and my youngest sister was a year-and-a-half.

Mother said we have a lot to be thankful for: dad has a job harvesting on a farm at Unity and we have our health, so who could ask for more?

As she told us of the Pilgrims and turkey and pumpkin pies she sighed and said, “We’ll have no meat for Thanksgiving Day.” Because it seemed to mean so much to her, I silently wished we could.

We finished our lesson and went out to play. Almost as soon as we got outside a Prairie chicken landed on the path. It walked a few steps, turned its head and looked back, walked a few more steps, turned and looked back, so we followed it, right into the barn.

We girls held the door shut. My brother went in and when the chicken flew to the window which had chicken wire over it he caught it and we had meat for Thanksgiving.

Years later, I wrote a poem about it, found here.