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Mother passed away in 1919. Father returned to Goderich, Ontario, where he died in 1948 at the age of 92.

To my mother, whose unselfish devotion to duty won for her the respect and affection of all who knew her, and to my father, that man small in stature but big in heart, I dedicate these lines.

February 22, 1956 Contributed by

Wilfred Gaylord Cantelon Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


It was the summer of 1884 Thomas Johnston, homesteader and father of a growing family was very busy keeping his breaking plow going. The success of breaking sod with oxen is to keep them going and do it every day. As there was no other means of travel, it was either stop the breaking plow or send some of the children on errands as they arose. On this particular occasion the prairie mother needed a new wash-board and father needed a share point straightened and the blade pounded out. Breaking shares will dull when cutting sad, even if if was only a few rods south of where Boissevain's railway (Main St.) now runs. Also, since there was plenty of snow water in all the ponds why should not the little mother of seven children have a good wash-board? Of course she should. But from where and how? There were only two stores con­ sidered. Desford, eight miles southwest, and Rowland, eleven miles northeast. As our Uncle William lived in the direction of Rowland we children favored throwing our trade that way. If a vote was taken, Rowland won. It was so ruled. We children were joyful. Some of us, if not all (secretly we were all pulling for a wagon ride) would have a chance to "go see" our uncle and aunt and our two cousins. We always thought cousins were grand. But father wouldn't go and take the wagon so sister Rebecca and myself (Fred) were awarded the privilege of making this shopping trip. We Johnston families hadn't seen each other for some time. We didn't come in together, and getting settled homesteading did not allow any galavanting about.

On a given day it was planned that we should start and go as far as our uncle's (seven miles), have dinner with them, rest a bit and then press on to Rowland (four miles), do our shopping, and return the four miles to our uncle's where we would stay overnight, then come on home (seven miles) the next day, making a total of twenty-two miles in two days. It goes down easily enough on paper but the stepping off of those twenty-two miles makes a pair of old legs almost ache even to mention it. Rebecca was thirteen years old and I was nine. Besides we had a 12 quart pail of eggs to carry and that heavy plow share. We were supposed (if we could manage it) to get 10 or 15c per dozen for our eggs. We probably carried the