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Sunday, September 4, 2022

 My mom turned 90 this weekend.

Saturday, I drove to Chippewa Falls -- with help from a friend who loaned me some money to make my car highway worthy -- to pick up my brother and celebrate with them this distinctive mark in my mom's life.

And ran into friends.

First things first, my brother and I had lunch at a bar that serves decent hot beefs. Sadly, the bar where I wanted to buy hot beefs -- including one for mom -- was closed. But any hot beef can be elevated with enough horseradish. And I'm not talking about horseradish sauce that's creamy and subtle. I mean a Silver Springs horseradish that's processed and hot and stings your tongue like an angry hornet. But then the sting goes away and you take another bite.

While eating at the Sand Bar on Lake Wissota, my brother and I ran into an old friend of mine from high school, Nancy. A nice hug and catching up from thirty to forty years was a nice dessert to our lunch.

We stopped and saw my friend Tom who lives a couple hundred feet away and then off to see a good hunk of the Arntz family across the road.

Then on to mom in the old folks home where we surprised her with her own hot beef as well as some Saskatoon berry tarts.

Um, what?

My mom was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, 90 years ago on Sept. 5, 1932. She grew up during the Great Depression not knowing the family was poor and during the war when a kid doesn't understand what is war.

Mom left Canada for a United States job sometime in the early 1950s -- it's fuzzy for her now -- and probably hasn't had a Saskatoon berry in 70 years.

According to, the "Saskatoon berry (Amelanchier alnifolia) is a deciduous native shrub that grows from western Ontario to British Columbia and the Yukon. The city of Saskatoon takes its name from a Cree word for the sweet, fleshy fruits, which were of prime importance to Aboriginal people and early settlers. On the prairies, saskatoons were a major ingredient in pemmican. Saskatoons are very hardy plants that can survive winter temperatures of -50 to -60º Celsius with a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. Plant size ranges from a small to large shrub or tree 4 to 6 m high."

She loved them, praising the baker who made them.

That baker, whom I've never met, is married to a trucker friend from Canada, Brian, an occasional drinking buddy at Angler's here in Hayward.  In one discussion, Brian found out my mom was from Saskatoon so his wife baked and he trucked in a personal order from my mom.

She took great joy in biting the tasty little cakes that reminded her of youth.

What struck me was a tour of friendship, from friends I've known for more than half a decade to a new friend I met in Hayward, the Canadian trucker.

And how they've all added to my life.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace unto old and new friends my brothers and sisters.


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