Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
In 2010-2018 Iserved in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Special Gift

Every Christmas, James and Karin try to give us a gift that will not fit under the tree. Sometimes it has been a musical or theatrical performance. This time it was two nights in Banff with their family, including Karin's mother and grandmother, who are good friends of ours.

Thursday 5 January 2017
James’ family planned to meet us at the Cave and Basin in Banff about 2 PM.
The temperature was a constant 6C but with salt on the highway, there was a fairly constant spray on the windshield. I did not dare use cruise control, and that was a good thing. I was travelling in the right hand lane and had to slow down for a slow vehicle. Then I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a yellow Dodge RAM 1500 skidding frantically, trying not to hit us. Apparently, the driver was unaware that the traffic had slowed down. We were all blessed that he managed to regain control of his truck and slow down.

Because it is Canada’s 150th anniversary, access to the park was free. We got to the Cave and Basin a little early and spent some time there. Karin phoned that they were running late and would be there about 3 PM, so we watched the big (4 large screen) slideshow a few more times.
When they arrived, they invited us to visit parts of the building we were not aware of, which was fun.

We followed them to Gateway Lodge, just outside the park gates, where we met Teresa and Cathie, Karin’s mother and grandmother. We shared unit 102, with Teresa and Cathie. It was a nice two-story unit with living room (and gas fireplace), kitchen, dining area, and bathroom downstairs and two bedrooms and a full bedroom upstairs.
This is where the 8 of us had our meals and social time together.
Supper was spaghetti prepared by Karin.

We went back to Banff we all went swimming (soaking) in the upper hot spring at 39C for about an hour. Above us we could see the snow and ice of winter, and except for our hair freezing, we were warm and comfortable. Afterwards we stopped at the IGA supermarket to buy groceries.
Back at the motel, Cathie taught the children how to play Yahtzee.

Friday 6 January 2017
For breakfast we had waffles and sausages, prepared by Judy.
This was the big day. We all decided to go to Lake Louise. Judy and I rode with Teresa and Cathie.
The mountains were absolutely stunning in the bright sunshine and fresh white snow. At Lake Louise we enjoyed the ice sculptures, and James’ family did a little skating on a rink that was cleared on the lake. We caught a glimpse of some sled dogs getting ready for some event. Karin lost her mobile phone, but we were able to connect with the person who found it. While the younger people went skiing, the older generation could watch the ski slopes, chair lift and gondolas. But the place was crowded and noisy and expensive, so we went to a restaurant and ordered potato and bacon soup, which we all enjoyed.
Later we returned home to the motel, and watched a movie borrowed from the motel office, Home Alone 3 (chosen by the children).
We enjoyed the lovely time with family.

Saturday 7 January 2017
By the time Judy and I got up, Teresa and Cathie were already gone. Theresa needed to be back to Edmonton by 11 to manage a bottle drive she had organized in support of the Baghdad Christian refugees in Lebanon group, for her friend the Anglican Church vicar of Baghdad. It is amazing the connections she has through her several trips to Israel. This Anglican bishop told her that in their time of darkest need, only the Mormons reached out to help his people. (Of course, we try to be there to help Muslims and other groups when they need humanitarian assistance too.)

Our return trip became very exciting ... we counted 17 vehicles in the ditch along the Calgary bypass and the route to the next town north. (Remember that these are people accustomed to driving in snow.) That part wasn't fun, but we managed to avoid adding to the count. Although it was a near thing once, when a light touch on the brakes sent us into a skid. This new car handles well.
After travelling at 60-70 km/h from Calgary we stopped at Airdrie for food and fuel.
The cars were now traveling about 90 km/h. The highway became progressively better on our way back north, until it could be classed as "good winter driving condition".

We stopped in Leduc to visit my mother for about 30 minutes. She is not doing well. She said that she cannot even travel to the dining room in her wheelchair without becoming lost. She recognized us with no difficulty but she described a visit from a Tetreau family that almost had to be Brandon, Tiffany and William, but she had no idea who they were. She even said that she would like to be moved to the other  (psychiatric) wing so that she would be able to visit with her sister Vi. On earlier visits she would have opposed such a move. Now she seems to be lonely and confused. This is sad to see in someone you love who has always been very intelligent and very involved with other people. She needs our love and prayers at this difficult time.

We enjoyed this special Christmas gift, but it is nice to be home again.