Monday, September 28, 2009

Yesterday we went off on our southern Manitoba adventure with Uncle Vic and Aunt Liesel. We met at a mall on Bishop Grandin and then took their car to St. Malo. Our first stop was a Catholic grotto. It was amazingly like the things we have seen in Laos. There was a little chapel and down toward the river was a crucifix and further down the hill beneath it was the grotto with a statue in it.

At the bottom of the hill beside the river were benches facing the three tiers of the grotto, crucifix and chapel. The stations of the cross were spaced along the steps leading down.

From St. Malo we headed off to Rosseau to see a swinging bridge. We had instructions from people, but there was poor signage and we had to find it for ourselves. We met a couple who were there to see the river and the woman was one of the kids that had used the bridge to get to school, back in the 1940s.

The bridge was restored in 2005 and each plank has the names of donors who funded the restoration. Many of the people who contributed were from Arnaud, so Liesel knew them.

You have to go down a wooded path to find the bridge, and the fall colours were just beginning to show, so it was very nice.

We headed back to St. Malo for lunch at a local hotel restaurant and then headed off to Arnaud in search of the biggest tree in Manitoba.

This took some doing. It is not marked at all, and we had to do some trespassing as well as asking of locals and phoning of locals. We did find it in the end though. Tante Liesel had taught at a school there her first year teaching and knew approximately where it was, although she hadn't been back since 1954 or so. A huge part of the tree had fallen down, but there was still a lot left standing.

We then went into Arnaud and went to the cemetery at the Mennonite Church and saw the graves of 8 of my relatives.

We also went to the United church there and saw my great grandfather's grave. I had no idea he was buried there. His daughter had planted a little evergreen at the foot of his grave in 1933 and today it is a huge tree.

We saw where Tante Liesel taught her second year, and where she roomed with an aunt. That was weird, because the place used to be a store long ago - now it is abandoned, but the shop is full of hardware things and the windows unbroken. From there we went to see my great grandfather's original farm yard which still had a building from the old days on it, and thus ended our tour of southern Manitoba.

We really had a good time, and the weather was beautiful.

-- Arthur