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Ruthe is . . .
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prays a lot,
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dreams of love and marriage,
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Friesen Reunion 2009

The last weekend in May it was time again for our Friesens' Cousins Reunion in Alberta. It was held again at the Southern Alberta Bible Camp on a large reservoir lake south of Lomond, AB.

For me it was the fourth time. I was at the very first one in 2001. Then the next one for which all of Dad's Friesen cousins and their descendants were invited was two years later in 2003. And there was a special one for Dad and me in 2006, as all his siblings alive at that time, were present. Dad was 90 and it was the last time he saw them all, for he died in February of 2007.

This time I brought my brother Tom along, and we were the only ones present to represent our branch, or the Heinrich W. Friesen descendants.

The trip took a little longer on Friday than I had anticipated, and for the last hour I thought we would arrive late for supper, but it was at 6 p.m., and we got there at 5:15 p.m. so we were fine. Then we moved into our rooms in the lodge and the visiting began! Lots of visiting with various cousins of Dad's and our second cousins and some of their children.

All who were present for this reunion. At least i think everyone got into this one.
On the Saturday morning we had a photo opportunity for the various sub-clans and then ALL the Friesens attending this reunion. (For this particular report, I'll just include the all-inclusive photo. Tom, in the wheelchair, and I are on the far right.

The turnout was a little disappointing, but I've offered to help out with promotion for the next one.

While more small group photos were being taken I spotted our cousin Robert Kroeker who is actually on my mother's side, standing off to one side. We had been arranging by email that we would drop in on their farm nearby on the Sunday afternoon, when this reunion was over. He took us to see his wife Linda, and their two children Deshawn and Georgia where he had parked on the other side of the lodge. They came to tell us that they would not be at their farm after all,which is just the other side of the lake, and wondered if we'd leave the reunion to come see their weekend-summer place right away.

Tom, with Georgia, Deshawn, Linda and Robert Kroeker.
Well. I'd looked forward to and prepared for this reunion and we'd paid our registration, so I declined. However, Tom and I visited with them, and I took a photo re remember our short time together. (Yes, the children are fostered).

5 jars of peppernuts, small spicy (anise) cookies about the size of nuts
Because I knew what to expect, I had baked and prepared some Peppernuts to offer at the auction to raise the deposit for the next reunion. At the last minute I also prepared some prints of some sketches I had done a number of years ago of two of our Friesen ancestors.

The largest jar went for $17 I think. The rest for $10 or 11.

Otto Friesen and Ken Sinclair kept us in stitches while they auctioned off the items we had brought.
Otto Friesen and Ken Sinclair kept us in stitches while they auctioned off the items we had brought. I ended up buying a backpack with wheels and a extensionable handle.

After that we headed out to the lakeside to watch the more daring ones go up in this tall - TALL swing. It must be three-stories high by my own guess! I took a lot of photos for this activity, but will only include a few here to give you a hint of what it was like. You can be sure no one talked me into going up!!

first you get harnessed up and climb a few steps up this ladder
First the volunteer gets harnessed up and climbs a few steps up this ladder, listens to instructions and then the ladder is taken away.

helpers pull on the cables to hoist the swinger as high as he's willing to go
Helpers pull on the cables to hoist the swinger as high as he's willing to go. . . .

pull the lever - and away you swing!
The person up there has to lay one hand on chest, and pull leaver with the other.

swinging high and then gradually lower and lower.
Instantly, he's swinging way out over the lake and back again. Gradually he comes lower and lower. . . . And then the ladder is brought in place again and the person can come down to the ground once more.

Mary Ellen Goslin and Edwin Friesen Country music duo On Saturday night we had some entertainment from Edwin (Dad's cousin, who has been a singing cowboy all his life, now retired from cowboy work), and his new music partner, Mary Ellen Goslin. Edwin's wife Darleen is their booking agent and in charge of CD sales.

I'm normally not so keen on country music, but I do like Edwin's style, and now with this gal who giggled like a happy child, and was able to add meaningful stories and patter between the songs, I was quite impressed. She started out singing classical and now Edwin has persuaded her to learn to do country gospel and blue grass, and even some yodelling. I was one of the first to ask for a CD when they finished.

When they had sung for about an hour Edwin persuaded his sister Rose to pick up her accordian, and his daughter Juanita to play at the piano, and with Mary Ellen on her autoharp, and of course, Edwin on his guitar, we gathered around and just sang one hymn after another. A rather special memory.

Sunset on the lake, Saturday night
Later I stepped out on the deck to catch some great sunset pictures like this one!

Sunday morning we had a brunch at 9:30 am. which gave most of us time to pack and load our cars beforehand. Afterwards we gathered in the lower level of the lodge for an inspirational worship time. Most of that was turned over to a guest family singing group, the Fehrs from Milk River, AB. I had never heard of them before, but they were truly excellent. I appreciated their strong Christian testimonies between the songs, and the fine words of their songs too.

Fehr Family music on Sunday morning
They have seven children, but only three of them were with them, and their son's wife, Becky and their two young children, a girl aged one and a half, and a baby boy, just six weeks old. The children were held in their arms, and the girl even had a mike to hold for the first song or two.

Bernie Fehr, the father talked about his grandparents, Veers, having homesteaded at Borden, SK. I know that is just a stone's toss from Great Deer where Dad's great-grandfather, John von de Veer had settled. So I spoke to him afterwards and promised to make time to see if we may be related.

They were done at 11;30 a.m. and then it was time for good byes and hitting the road home. Tom and I were back in Saskatoon at 8:00 p.m.

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