Thursday, September 22, 2011

When Dairy Farmers Retire

I attended Olds College. From the first day of classes to this very moment in time, my life has been a strange mix of Mennonites and dairy farmers. An unholy mix if you consider I was raised on a cattle ranch and bore a Scottish surname. Time has blurred those battle lines!

Last weekend one of those elements came full circle when a Mennonite dairy farmer friend and former OC classmate from Chilliwack sold the last of his cows and the family pulled off a surprise retirement party.

Cultus Lake

We were, in fact, the decoys getting Allen out of the yard Sunday morning so the family and friends could do their magic getting the party tents and such set up. After a lovely breakfast at Cookies Grill, we took the looooooong way to Cultus Lake for a look-around. Truth be told, we hadn't ever been there. Barbie was driving so Allen and Bryan visited in the back of the Denali while we sauntered around the countryside.

Allen in the Captain's hat, honoree of the afternoon, with his uncle and aunt.

We arrived back at the farm before most of the guests because there just wasn't any more excuse to loiter around the valley. The band was warming up, the caterers had commandeered the kitchen and the kids were still tweaking the decorations. Still, Allen was surprised (or did a good job of appearing so).

The ultimate dairy farmer retirement cake!
 One of the highlights was the appearance of two former OC classmates - Rei and Sally. I hadn't seen them since we graduated in ... well, a few years and a grandchild or two ago.

The Three Piece Combo (name unknown- sorry!) provided a wonderful atmosphere to the afternoon gala.
Excellent spread (still in progress here) by Cookies Grill.
Note the Hawai'ian theme.
Allen's parents were there with many friends and family.
Barbie (red hair, green lei) 
Kids always add a fun element to an essentially-adult event. 
You can put the farm girl in Sunday School clothes but you can't keep her off the tractor.

There are no photos from that portion of the event - wine, cameraitis and brisk conversation took over.

Allen, his oldest grandson and the grandson's other grandmother.
The local vet stopped by, drawn by the sight of all the vehicles in the yard, sat down with the OC reunion contingent and we learned his sister had also been in our class! Sally and Bryan became instant best friends over a bottle of wine (not everyone there was Mennonite!) and we exchanged contact information. And if you're reading this ladies, it was a hoot and we'll keep in touch!

It was a quick trip there and back but well worth it. Well Done! Barbie, Cathy-Ann, Dan & Jennifer, Eric and Felice.


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