Monday 31 December 2018

In Retrospect

A small selection of photos from my guest posts over the past year.  The only criteria I adhered to for this particular group of photos was this: "I can remember taking these pictures like it was yesterday."

Above is Saint Columba Anglican Church and Cemetery located north of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The church had its one hundred and twentieth anniversary this year and is very much original to the day it was built.  The cemetery and church grounds are still taken care of by descendants of the early church members.

Directly below is the Goose Lake School sign photographed just before a heavy rain. The sign can be seen along Eagle Butte Road in southern Alberta. The lumber from the original school here was salvaged to repair and restore another school that is now a private residence.

A shot taken on the American Thanksgiving weekend out along Mission Road in northern Montana. This cemetery is part of the larger Saint Peter's Catholic Mission that was established in the late 1800's.  Just down the road are the original log church and the remains of the stone-walled mission buildings.

Joseph Memorial Cemetery of Whitlash with the Sweet Grass Hills in the distance. Located just a few miles off Strawberry Road in northern Montana. Just north of here is the Whitlash/Aden border crossing which is mainly used by locals on both sides of the border. When a stranger (like me) shows up the first question is: "Why are you using this border crossing?"  I should mention here that this border crossing is the second least used in all of Canada. So, the question is justified in the eyes of a border official.  I've only crossed here a few times but they always look at me wide-eyed when I say, "the scenery here is just wonderful."

Looking at the photo now I can still remember the sweet fragrance of tall phlox in the air.  Not too far north from Elkwater, Alberta on a dead end road. Great place for a rest, have a picnic and/or just enjoy.

The Blusson School sign in late afternoon light. This is one of well over a hundred school signs in Vulcan County, Alberta. Almost all of the pioneer schools are gone now but some gracious soul with a vision and a lot of volunteers helped to preserve some of Alberta's past.

I consider it my good fortune to have seen this stark and beautiful sight in late November last year.  Comrey Cemetery is not only remote in location but "feels" even more so.

When I was just a few miles from the cemetery I saw a set of headlights approaching through the fog.  It was a one ton silver-coloured Dodge truck with a bale loader on back.  We stopped and had a little chat.  He and his sister and her dog, a border collie mix, were heading out to feed the cattle.  I said I was on my way to the cemetery to take some photographs and he said, "Too bad the sun wasn't out so you could get some really good pictures."

The pioneers always found a way to get a church built, no matter how remote the location.  For most it was the centre on all social gatherings during their lives out on the prairie.  I can imagine that lots of friendly, neighbourly get-togethers took place here in Bethany Lutheran Church in northern Montana.  (Hi BW, remember Gus Blaze Road?)     

The pink fields in late spring along Eagle Butte Road. This big show of colour is something I look forward to each and every year.

The Annenthal Baptist Church sign is a mile from any main road in any direction.  The church is long gone but the cemetery is very well maintained by a local family.

I always enjoy arriving at a place that was important in the lives of the pioneers.  For me, these spots should be remembered, not as some romantic vision of the past, but for the stability they provided for the people at the time. Going to church on Sunday was most likely a highlight for most and the only time that people really were able to socialize for an hour or two. Christmas was "the" social event of the year. And if you were one of the lucky kids, you'd get to play Joseph in the Christmas pageant (like I did).

Looking westward at Saint Margaret's Church and Cemetery in the Cypress Hills of Alberta.

Back in the late-70's, when I first saw it, the church was in very poor condition and the cemetery was all but lost in the tall grass; it had been forgotten as a relic from the past until . . . David Carter arrived on the scene and over many years and even more volunteer hours the building was completely renovated to become a fully functional, all-year-round church.  The cemetery is now well maintained and beautiful to say the least.  Throughout the year, the Very Reverend Carter still performs special services here that are well attended.  The recent Christmas service was "a full house."

Thanks to BW for hosting my posts, and to all, my best wishes over the holiday season.  Cheers!

- Michael Truman


  1. Looking forward to all the great photos you will take in 2019. Happy New Year, Michael!

  2. Happy New Year Michael! Looking forward to seeing more from your travels.