We take our children on a local holiday touring the southern areas of our home province—Alberta.
In Lethbridge, we stroll the Japanese park admiring the symmetry and beauty while learning a little more about the fate of the Japanese interned there during the war. Canada didn’t want them too close to the west coast so they were moved inland.
In Redcliff , we admire the pottery with a special connection. In the early 1900’s, my husband’s great aunt, a geologist , rode into Alberta from Saskatchewan on horseback. She discovered the clay fields in the area.
In Drumheller we explore the dinosaur park, visit the hoodoos, and take an excursion into an old coal mine. Down below we can’t help feeling the weight of the world, but it’s when the guide asks us to each pick up a child and then turns out the lights, that we fully understand the enormity of being so far underground. There is not a glimmer of light. Can we find our noses as the guide has asked?
Up above ground we heave a sigh of relief to see sunlight again and enter the sheds where the miners showered and changed before going home. Hanging in rows above the benches are baskets holding bars of coal smeared soap.
“Do you know what those are?” the guide asks.
“Nose bags for horses,” I reply.
The guide is astounded. It seems I’m the first ever to answer the question correctly. That’s what comes from living on a farm as a kid.
PS As well as for feeding, my father also used the nose bags to protect the horses from flies.