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CHAPTER TEN

The Plagues!

This was the summer that we had the "plague of the flies"; it seemed like everything in the Tabernacle was covered with them, especially in the kitchen. We didn't want to revert back to using "worldly" things, to spray them - so, we tried to think of another way of getting rid of them. Finally, we decided to closed off all the windows in the Tabernacle, except one at the very end (which had a screen in it). Then we "shooed" them from one end of the Tabernacle, down to the open window (which was the only source of light coming into the Tabernacle)...then we killed all of them on the screen.

The following year, we had the "plague of the frogs"; they were everywhere. One night, we were sound asleep, in our cabin - we were awaken with a "bang" noise and then a clang...drag; clang...drag. We couldn't imagine what in the world was going on; we turned on a light. There, on the floor was our mousetrap...caught in it, was a large frog...he was still alive and was dragging the trap behind him; thus, making the clang noise, and then the dragging sound.

The following year, we had the "plague of the birds and gnats". Birds called Martins took a fancy for our quiet lifestyle on the farm, and they came in droves, one summer. One of the cabins was an especially good place to build their nests; so, they daubed away until many nests were across the front of the cabin. Now, birds are nice and cheerful sounding, but the lice or gnats they are apt to have on their bodies; wasn't all that conducive to human comfort - especially when your cabin gets infested with them. We had to keep knocking their nests down, to discourage them from settling in our neighborhood.

Some of us woman had been talking about how we had never ridden a horse or how we had a bad experience riding one and never wanted to again. It was decided that the entire farm would go horseback riding (this was after we had bought a lot of horses). Of course, us women couldn't wear slacks or jeans; but it was finally decided that it would be more "lady-like" if we wore them under our skirts. So, here we were, one giant self-help, therapy group...

I had been scared on the back of my step-grandfather's work horse, when I was about 10 years old. Somehow it didn't seem quite as scary when everybody around you had the same problem with horses. We were to go for a nice, quiet, slow ride; through the field and close to the bush, and then back.

Well, somebody's horse got a little skiddish when we got close to the bush - and somebody lacked common sense and said it was probably because there was a bear close by...you just don't say something like that. We had our minds so much on the bear, that I don't think any of us even thought about actually being on the back of a live horse. I was only too glad to get off that horse...and never had any inclination to ride another one. Granted, most of the fear was gone; but it was never replaced with a love for horses.

It was during our second winter that we had an accident on the farm. One of the men, with a wife and young children, was cleaning his Coleman lantern; apparently it still had the pressure built up inside it and something went drastically wrong. Some of the fuel shot across the room, igniting something else and a fire ensued. He tried to put it out right away, and part of his clothing caught on fire. He had burns on his hands and on his leg.

There was a nurse living on the farm and she took good care of him; also, his brother had a first aid certificate and helped. A few days later, we were able to talk him into seeing a doctor in town. The doctor treated him, re-bandaged him and he came right back to the farm. He just got worse and worse...then he didn't want to go to town...then he wasn't up to making a trip into town.

He used to listen to the Christian station on his radio and there was a song he especially liked; I can't remember the name of it. He asked all of us to pray for him, which we did all the time. It was getting harder and harder to take care of him; his wife needed help, so we sent her to another cabin, to get some sleep - some of the men took turns taking care of him, through the day...and then the elders were called to pray for him; we all gathered, holding hands, all around his cabin - singing the song he especially liked...and he passed into the presence of the Lord, right then.

His brother, with his first aid experience, tried to revive him many times, but he was gone. This was an entirely new experience for almost all of us. Some of the men went into town to notify the authorities - there were a lot of statements to sign - the RCMP came out to the farm. His body had to be brought into town, in one of our station wagons - there had to be an autopsy, because we was such a young man. (I think they had to send his body to one of the larger cities - Grande Prairie or Edmonton.)

Needless to say, it was a hard time for everybody...wondering if we had done all that we could do. Perhaps we should have insisted he go into town, even though he didn't want to...all of us were learning how to hear from the Lord, and we were given the opportunity to do just that, on the farm (sometimes we missed it - but, those times that we really heard from God, they were especially precious, and part of our spiritual growth).

Relatives were notified, announcements made about when the memorial service would be held. It was the middle of winter, snow was everywhere, the ground was frozen. We also needed to get permission to bury someone on the farm.

Being one of the builders on the farm, Joe offered to build the coffin - he had known the man quite well and would like the opportunity to do something for him...a lot of love went into the making of the box; the boards were crude, but sanded and there was nothing to line it with; Joe wanted something special for him, when the relatives went to view the body - he used the white and gold fiberglass drapes that had been in our school bus, to cover the body with.

The autopsy showed his kidneys and liver had given out; he had lived a wild life before he came to know the Lord, and his body had suffered from that; plus there was the possibility he was coming down with a sickness that hit the farm awhile later (scarlet fever)...anyhow, it was all too much for him, so his kidneys and liver had failed. They gave us permission to bury him on the farm. It was decided that the "bench" at the far end of the property, would be the best place.

His relatives arrived, and we had a very beautiful memorial service, with a lot of singing and his "special song". The relatives were uplifted and encouraged by the service - most of them were Christians and had a good understanding of the "hope" the man had; it was also a time for all of them to see just what it was that we were living out there for...to draw closer to the Lord and to each other (to be one - a family).

The coffin was loaded onto a wagon, pulled by two horses, and the march to the burial sight was under way. A few of the women stayed behind, I was one of them. I guess it took them quite awhile to get way out there - someone had been working on melting the ground (the last few days), and digging a hole...they wanted the body to face East, for the rising sun (another promise of hope and the resurrection). The coffin was lowered into the ground, prayers said, and dirt put to cover the coffin...in the Spring it would be finished, and later a stone was engraved and placed there.


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