Altona hosted it's annual Manitoba Sunflower Festival this weekend. The 50th annual was the biggest ever with everything from a 2000 pounds of watermelon and 3600 rollkuchen given away on Sunday afternoon, a "fabulous" Saturday night show featuring Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and concluding with a breathtaking fireworks show.
We had company this morning -- company with a guitar! Manitoba singer/songwriter Ashley Robertson was our in studio guest, complete with a song that became popular in 2010 -- the Manitoba Homecoming -- It's called Back in Manitoba - and here is Ashley Robertson:
I’m at a cottage at the lake, gazing out over the waves, a breeze coming in over the lake. Sun is shining. Birds are singing. Perfect.
I am so grateful for this cottage that my parents have owned and let us use since I was a teenager a few (cough) dozen years ago. It’s better than owing your own cabin, really. Perfect.
My husband, Bruce, and I are here alone, at his suggestion. Maybe most couples are like this, but I tend to be the one who finds it harder to go away without the kids. But I’m thankful he initiated it – couples need that. Perfect.
There is one tiny glitch. The power has gone off. Now, you would say, “That’s not a glitch – that’s an adventure.” And you would be right. If the power stays off, we will be cooking our meal outside and spending the evening by candlelight. On this trip, we happened to bring our food in the Koolatron, so our meat and eggs and beverages are cooling away nicely, compliments of van battery. Perfect.
There is however, one eensy teensy problem. I need to have coffee. I don’t mean want – I mean need. I mean I can’t guarantee the safety of the people around me until I have cup. And by cup, I mean pot.
My plan is to make cowboy coffee over the fire in one of those old-timey tin coffee pots that you see on Bonanza or Gunsmoke. (Kids, just go ask your grandpa about Bonanza.)
But there is one thing standing in between me and my cowboy coffee – the wood pile. Well, not the wood pile exactly, but what lurks inside the wood pile. Have I mentioned that I have a mild, itty-bitty, debilitating fear of spiders?
Now before you go all ‘Oh brother…’ let me just give you some perspective on the size of the spiders that lurk in the wood pile. Picture your fist. OK, whatever – picture a newborn’s fist. I kid you not, I have seen a baby-fist-size spider in that wood pile.
Now maybe it’s because (against my parents’ admonitions) I watched Arachnophobia as a teen. I still remember the funny, funny guys sitting in the row behind us at the Morden theatre (aka The Show), and how we screamed when they touched the backs of our heads, as though spiders had landed on them. That was mean. Funny – but mean.
Or maybe it was the plethora of insect movies that came out in the 80’s – Attack of Killer Bees, Attack of the Killer Ants, Attack of the Killer Lady Bugs?? All I know is that when I head out to the wood pile, all I see is Aragog, a spider the size of a Fiat in the Harry Potter books.
Bruce is out on one of his 50-mile bike rides. Not perfect. Turning into a real problem actually.
This is mostly silly – spiders are more afraid of us than we are of them (Right? Yes? Right?) But this negativity is my gig – I do this all the time. I can have a bucket full of great things going on, and I won’t be able to get past the one thing that isn’t going right.
There are crappy, awful, life-altering things that happen in life, and there is a time for real grief – but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about worry, and expecting the worst, and that little pessimism that sucks the joy right out of stuff.
Sometimes I think maybe this focus on the negative has to do with my view of God. Or rather, my view of God’s view of me. For a long time, I’ve pictured God up there going, “Don’t screw up. The worst thing you could do is screw up. Don’t even bother coming to me if you’re gonna be all like that.” As though His biggest interest in me was the things I was doing wrong.
I don’t think that any more. As much. I see God more as someone in my corner, spending more time high-fiving victories than tracking errors. But old habits and brain patterns die hard, so the process is ongoing.
In his book, ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’, Philip Yancey says, “Brennan Manning tells the story of an Irish priest who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, ‘You must be very close to God.’ The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, ‘Yes, he’s very fond of me.’”
I like this picture of God’s picture of me. It shifts my focus to being grateful. And I can probably make that coffee on the barbecue. We’ll save fear-mastery for another day.
Summer is an exciting time of year with fairs and festivals happening all over Southern Manitoba -- and it's a special year for the MB Sunflower Festival in Altona -- the 50th year...and a band we ALL recognize is coming to play for us -- the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band....Now, despite their success, they have played, and continue to play in MANY small towns across Canada and the United States -- Tyler Hildebrand of our Golden West team spoke with Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, first off, asking him what they like about smaller crowds?
For a full list of events, visit the Town of Altona website:
Nadine Mandel shaved her head at the Morris Stampede this past weekend for cancer patients. She told Summer Fun host Mattea Nickel how she did it in memory of her father and her grandmother, who both passed away because of cancer. In addition to shaving her head, Nadine planned to raise $2,000... and has raised over $7,000 so far! Way to go!
It was another successful turn out for Saturday's Blues in Altona Park. A full day of blues music, food and drinks, and spending time with other "blues lovers". Also, an opportunity to bring a tin for the bin in support of Rhineland Area Food Bank.
A variety of groups performed, including Family Pride, The Committee, Third Degree, Tim Butler, The Perpetrators, Brent Parkin, and the Kelly Richey Band. Jayme Giesbrecht and Al Friesen shared the MC duties, Jayme even joined the Third Degree band onstage for a song -- and Al spoke with Brent Parkin about why he was intrigued to come back for a 2nd year:
The Manitoba Stampede was held this past weekend, and it was there that Al Friesen got to know about an organization that connects kids with disabilities and horses -- a therapeutic riding program.
It's called - MRDA - Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association. Graham Curnew is a member of the board and after making a presentation to a bunch of stampede folks including cowboys, gave us a snapshot of MRDA
Tractor Pulls, Truck Pulls, and Mud Bogs are common in Southern Manitoba at this time of year, and the 7th annual Mound Fest took place this past weekend in Pilot Mound. 18 competitors entered, not only for the $1000 grand prize, but for the enjoyment of the sport. Cory Knutt of our news team stopped in at the Mud Bog on Sunday, where he spoke with committee member Tyler Amell about how the weekend went:
Tyler Amell - Committee Member Mound Fest
Justin Pryor is the head of the Mud Bog committee, and Cory spoke with Justin about how the races work?
Justin Pryor -- Head of Mud Bog committee, on the quad with 2 year-old Elijah Wall
The Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition in Morris is Manitoba's only PRO RODEO, and as such attracts competitors and participants from all over Manitoba and Western Canada. Retired Golden West Sales consultant Ivan Strain is back in his familiar role as Public Address Announcer in the Draft Horse shows, and from further afield Gary Rempel is one of those cowboys who arrived direct from the Calgary Stampede. Al Friesen and Gary sat down to talk about the Calgary Stampede, life as a cowboy, and his experience in Morris
As we heard from Clayton Dreger, there are five provincial baseball championships this weekend in Manitoba, including Mosquito "AA" in Winkler, PeeWee "AA" in Altona, Bantam "AA" in Dauphin, Midget "AA" in Neepawa, and Senior "AA" All Stars in Stonewall. This year's provincials will be without one of their most visible symbols of volunteerism. Marc Comeault - the Speed Gun Guy who passed away last month. Baseball Manitoba included a tribute to Marc on it's website.
In Memory of "Radar"
Marc, you left us so suddenly We could never thank you enough, you see
But here's some words to remember you by The Man, the Kid, the "Radar Guy"
From Brandon to Grunthal, Altona, Plum Coulee You never knew just where he'd be
Lowe Farm, Morden, Stonewall, St. Malo And there'd be Marc to say "Hello"
The list goes on, province-wide he'd see Winkler, Winnipeg to his home town D.C.
He did what he loved, wanted nothing in return "Look, Radar's here!", often could be heard
For 20 years you pointed that gun To make the game for the kids more fun
It mattered not the speed of pitch Or if there'd be a radar glitch
Sonehow he'd get that gun to fire Patching up another loose wire
Good to go, for many more games And recording all those pitcher's names
The detailed stats, in few second time Another pitch, and..."What speed is mine ?!"
Yes, many questions would be asked Marc, you put the multi in multi-task
Not just in baseball but hockey, golf and tennis The fastest zamboni driver was a menace!
After Chinese buffet or Chicken Chow Mein There'd be Marc in the heat, cold or rain
Doing his thing, the Radar Man we could trust Like your name, you made a "mark" on all of us
Humor and wit you'd bring to the park As in, a Noah curve ball you'd call Noah's Arc
Lots of laughs, infectious charm Never do anyone any harm
A heart of gold, unselfish and kind That was our good ol' Radar Guy
There'll be an empty spot behind the fence Where all your work and time you spent
It won't seem right not to see you there Really was a family affair
Like the song from decades ago "Radar Love" was Marc's m.o.
You never made it to Altona's "Field of Dreams" But you've moved on to another team
Bet you're clocking Satchel and Cy Watching one of Ruth's big flies
And kids are still asking "What speed did I throw?!" Smiling, excited, cause...you just wanna know
Marc, we'll never forget you, you're one of a kind Loved by so many, your friend and mine....Marc Comeault
When the cities of Winkler, Altona, Morden, Carman, and the rest of Southern Manitoba want local news, weather, and sports online and on-demand, they turn to Pembina Valley Online. As the Pembina Valley’s website for local job listings, free classifieds, garage sales, family events, business directory and weather cancellations, Pembina Valley Online is your connection to local information.