I like going “Home”. If anyone asks where I’m from I will always start with “I live in [current place] now, but I am from Superb.” Which is usually followed by, “Where? That’s not a real place!” But I don’t mind, for then I am able to let people know about a beautiful piece of West-Central Saskatchewan. And yes, the name of my community really is “Superb”. And yes, it is, thank you very much.
Superb was once a small prairie town, with a general store, a school, a grain elevator, etc. I don’t remember much except the grain elevator – the school was closed before I was born and people from the area started busing to the next town over. Over the years some friends have said to me – you went to school in Kerrobert, get your mail in Kerrobert, do your shopping in Kerrobert… you’re from Kerrobert. Nope. I’m from Superb. While the town isn’t there any more, the community I grew up in was a vibrant, family-filled, wonderful place.
During a class from my SCBI days, a teacher talked about how we are better able to understand each other if we know where each is coming from. I know that he meant we learn these things by talking, by sharing, by listening. But I have also felt that if you can physically come see where I am from, who my people are, then you will better understand me.
In my twenties, I lived and worked in North Battleford. I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t realize that I never called North Battleford “home”. I always said, “I’m going back to North Battleford today” or “I’m going home for the weekend and then back to North Battleford for work Monday”. It was only after my move to Rosthern, and apparently I easily called it home, that my mom told me how she had planned to get me an embroidered pillow that said:
So this isn’t Home Sweet Home. Get over it.
She should have. I think I would have laughed.
I have memories of being a little kid and sitting beside my dad in the dusty cab of the grain truck, bouncing down the back trail, which was a shortcut between our farm and the next road 1 mile to the east. Then a slight jog in the road and turn into Superb to the Pool elevator. I would watch the grain pouring out of the back of the truck and watch it disappear down into the floor, wondering how it would make it’s way up into the top of the building. Sometimes dad would take me into the elevator agent’s office where he would have coffee and I would listen to the men talk farming, grain prices, or weather. I’d sit on my Uncle Gerard’s knee, or stand quietly behind my dad’s shoulders, wishing I had brought a toy along.
I have a vivid memory of sitting in line at the elevator, with 5 or so grain trucks ahead of us, and more behind. Maybe it was harvest and we were all hauling straight to the elevator. Maybe they were trying to get a few more bushels in to fill their quota as some train cars had come in. I don’t remember. I do remember that I was playing with the radio and my dad got out of the cab to walk up the line, visiting with our neighbours as we waited our turn. You could tell when the current truck in the elevator had unloaded, as all of the men turned their heads, then quickly made their way back to their trucks to move up the line, after which they would get out of their cabs again and continue talking. (Come to think of it, it probably wasn’t harvest time; the farmers wouldn’t have been as relaxed if that were the case.) Sitting in the cab of that grain truck, I remember a sense of happiness. Of “rightness”. This was a good place with good people. I belonged here.
The railroad tracks are gone now and the elevator is closed, but for now the structure is still there and is still a beacon for me when I make the trip home.
I have that same feeling when I think of the church I grew up in. It is a good place, with good people, and it feels “right” when I am there. And yes, it is called the Superb Mennonite Church. I know, I know. But it’s true.
Like many others who have attended small country churches, I grew up being related to almost everyone in the church. Most of my cousins, aunts and uncles also grew up in the same area and attended this church. I felt safe, loved, secure, and knew where I belonged. The sounds and memories and emotions of that little building ringing with music is something that could fill up about 5 more blog posts. You other Superb people know exactly what I’m talking about.
A few memories:
- We sang hymns about “Bringing in the Cheese” and “Bergens are Lifted at Calgary”.
- A friend starting the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, that’ll be thy name.”
- Playing Red Light, Green Light on the churchyard on hot summer days during DVBS.
- Not wanting to sing alto because that’s what my sister sang, but then learning to sing alto by listening to my sister. And my many cousins. And Eileen T.
- Listening to (and singing along with, from the pew) the Men’s Choir. So beautiful.
- Going to use the outhouse with Tracy during Sunday School, but seeing (garter) snakes and being too afraid to go in, so just holding it for the rest of the morning.
- Looking forward to the Sunday where you were able to put your birthday pennies into the jar and having the best birthday song ever sung to you.
“Home” is also the actual yard that I grew up on. My Grandpa Wiebe homesteaded there, then my dad and uncle took over. Now my brother lives there and farms the land. I am fortunate to have a sister-in-law who understands my need for “home” and has said that the farm is still just that, and I am welcome back to visit whenever I would like.
I took the above pictures while out for a walk one cool September morning. I liked how the barley bent in the wind. I liked the old fence post against the green and yellow of the field. I went back to the house and showed the others. My brother hated them.
“Don’t you dare use that as your computer desktop picture; showing what a horrible field I have.” All my brother saw was the new growth of barley after the field had been mostly hailed out earlier in summer. A reminder of the hail damage, a loss of income, a choice to be made about what to do with a field like this as harvest was about to start.
I understood completely why my brother didn’t like it, but I still have the fence post picture as my desktop. Yes, it had received a lot of hail, had all this new growth, it wouldn’t be a profitable field. But it had come back from being completely flattened and even tried to start again. I like that. And truth be told, I like the grey fence post against the green and yellow. Also? That granary across the road in the upper left? That’s the yard. All those trees? That’s the garden.