Posted in family, rural life, Travel

The Road Most Traveled

I know that’s not the way the famous lines from Robert Frost’s poem begins, but for me, it’s been a constant in my life: that road most traveled.

40 years ago this summer, we moved to Saskatoon, which is approximately, depending on conditions and traveling speed, about 4 hours north of where I grew up. Which is smack dab kind of in the middle of nowhere, but that matters not as we returned there often.

I would wager that it would average out to 6 times a year: there were years it was more like when my dad was failing. I should have been there more when my mom was failing.

There were certain occasions we went home for: spring calving, fair weekend, my mom’s birthday or Thanksgiving, and Christmas were the standards. Our children grew to know the names of each passing town, and now our 6 and 4 year old grandchildren also know the names. They know which old barns are Nan’s favourites and where we turn for the two different main routes.

I can fall asleep when my other half is driving and wake up to knowing exactly where I am as soon as my eyes open. It’s slightly, for me, too far for a one day trip but I have done it.

There have been a few memorable times on that road. -35 howling winds with 2 little kids and a vehicle that dies. Bloody roaring blizzard that actually forced us to abandon the trip and safely return home. The time it was fine until after a lenghty pit stop and then we hit glare ice: 4 kids, 4 bikes and my cousin who helped keep my sanity. My neck was like a vice for days after that. The amazing time when I drove for 20+ minutes and never once ran out of migrating geese in the sky. It was dark with how many there were. Or the time, eons ago, that the Snowbirds buzzed us on a road south of Moose Jaw. That was so cool. We’ve seen more deer and antelope, but fingers crossed, never hit one. We’ve watched seeding, spraying, haying, and harvest time after time after time. I’ve seen a lot of amazing sunsets but very few sunrises. We know where the cops hang out, so that helps with knowing when one can “make time” and when one hangs around the limit.

But this weekend’s road trip marks an end to a very big part of the rituals. This was the last calving season for my brother as he is hanging up his ranching hat. He’s had a rough year with his health and has decided enough is enough. No more baby calves to name or bottle feed, no more morning chores with Uncle.

I can confess that I choked up many times this weekend. It has been a constant in our lives. He and I started out on the 4-H beef cattle road many years ago, and he has always had a deep abiding love for his cattle. He quit dairy when my dad retired, and he quit grain farming shortly after that. He built up an outstanding pure breed herd and put his heart and soul into it. But his body just can’t handle it anymore, and so that ends our trips to the farm.

My sister and brother in law will now reside in my Mom’s house, and my brother will move to the lake with his wife. My Mom is settled in the long-term care home in the next town. So there will still be trips down the road most travelled, but they will have a different flavour to them at the end. No side trips with Uncle to check water in the pastures or driving him out to the swather or baler. No baby calves to watch being born. No herds to move to pasture or bring home.

The road stays the same, but somehow, this changes the destination. No matter though, as we are unlikely to forget which town comes next on the road most traveled.

This is my take on Terri’s s blog prompt for roads, paths, and streets. Which I had zero intention of posting about as i am trying to clean up a backlog of draft posts but the words kept writing themselves in my head.



I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

15 thoughts on “The Road Most Traveled

    1. I think today is the sale day, which will be hard for my brother. Life does move on, and I hope he adjusts well. We hope our daughter and son in law get a few head as they have talked about it. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Last year, after around 150 years, our family said goodbye to the beef cattle farm, eldest brother in law had a bad accident, recovered, but not enough for cattle farming ( far north of England, last before Scotland
    Reiving family – so some ancestral journeys were less than friendly – cattle rustling – reciprocal.
    Shorter journeys to ‘ home’ in the crowded UK – but also known by heart, especially by bored/tired/car sick youngsters.


    1. Ah, so my story of travel to the family home rings true around the world. As a bonus, our kids and now grandkids have been awesome travelers. Perhaps because 4 hour car trips become the norm early on.


  2. I’m glad you ended up posting this. Sorry to hear that your brother is done with ranching which will impact some of your regular visits. It’s good that he’s taking care of his body and health though. And hey, life is typically about the journey rather than the destination anyway.


  3. This post is beautiful. It choked me up – I suspect we are close in age as we seem to be in a similar life phase. Your writing is lovely and I can feel the joys you experienced on the farm as well as the sad feelings knowing parts of this lifestyle are coming to a close. I am glad you wrote the post Bernie.


    1. Bernie – thank you for the wonderful compliment about my writing. Yes it’s from the heart with warts and all. I am 64, my kids mid 30’s and my grandkids 6, 4 and wee J is now 2 weeks old! My mom, who we all go to visit, is 96. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thanks, Tracy. I appreciate that. My grandfather settled there in 1901. My sister will be one of 4 sets of cousins left and only one that is still actively ranching. Bernie


  4. I’m glad you shared this with us, Bernie! The road’s end for visiting family and enjoying annual rituals comes all too soon don’t they? Your brother made a smart move to quit while he was ahead. Our lives are a journey unto themselves and the roads more traveled will always be etched in our memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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