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My Mare & I

I was raised on a farm in north western Saskatchewan. I had one older sister and an older brother.  When I was fourteen years old my sister left home to attend school in the town nearby, and because money was scarce, my brother applied for and got a job in a sawmill miles north of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. I attended our country school and rode horseback to get there.

The morning that my brother went to his new job he was driven by my dad to our little CPR station in an open sleigh.  I tied my old grey mare, Queen, to the back. When we got to the station house I said goodbye to my brother, untied the rope holding Queen and was glad it was only about another half mile to the school.  When I got there I was chagrined to find a sign on the door saying that school was closed because of the intense cold. I could have called for shelter at one of the grain elevators but I wanted to go home.  After all, it was only another three miles to get there! I knew I was getting colder all the time, but kept going.

Fortunately for me, a neighbour boy came along in his sleigh, and said, “ Are you crazy? Don’t you know you could freeze to death? Jump in.  Come thaw out at our place. “ By this time I was definitely ready for help, so we tied Queen to the back and he covered me up.

When we got to his farm home his mother got me into bed, covered me with one of the down filled quilts she made, and left me to sleep. I was unaware that Queen had broken away from the neighbour’s sleigh and had galloped for our home.  My parents were understandably frantic with worry and the first place Dad tried in his search was the correct one, where he found me sound asleep . He had been so afraid he would find me lying somewhere in a snow bank.

The temperature?  Forty below zero!  And yes, it took weeks to recover from severe frostbite.