Snowdrifts, five-mile trek didn’t stop Queen

From our December 2020 issue

Bob Oswell and Queen arrive home to the log house with Christmas gifts in 1938. His kids can be seen in the single pane windows.

By Lilian (Oswell) Beynon – Lloydminster, Alta.

Finding an old winter photo reminded me of the winters of my childhood in the ‘30s on the farm at Tangleflags, Sask. We lived in a log house that began as one room and grew into a four-roomed house as our family grew larger.

There were no storm windows. Single pane windows were covered with thick frost as the temperature hovered below minus-30. When our dog, Queen, barked, we scraped a hole in the frost to look out and see who was coming.

We trotted off to school through snowdrifts, barbed-wire fences, buck brush, and wild rose bushes to avoid the longer trip of going around by the road. My brother insisted we make a good trail and not step in each other’s footsteps.

One day after a heavy snowfall, my little sister sat down on her Roger’s Syrup lunch pail. She refused to go a step farther. It was Queen to the rescue! My brother loaded her onto the toboggan, harnessed up Queen, off they went the long way around. My brother was running behind and little sister smiling all the way.

Too tiring for horse team

We had a kind uncle in Vancouver who was a musician. With no family of his own, every Christmas he sent a gift for each of us. The big parcel would come on the train to Hillmond where dad picked it up.

Following a heavy snowstorm one year, dad decided it would be too tiring for the team of horses to pound their way through the snowdrifts for the five-mile trip. How and when would we get our Christmas gifts?

Soon enough, dad was putting on his snowshoes, harnessing up Queen to the toboggan, and off they went to bring home the gifts for us seven little kids!

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