In 1917 Mr. Moffat left the parish of Fort Qu'appelle and the Reverend Cox came in his place and stayed until 1924. He was the first rector I can remember. He stayed at our home Saturday nights. I think Mr. Moffat did the same. I think I was about two or three when I told Mr. Moffat that I was going to harrow the summer fallow next year. I guess I had seen my big brother doing the job and wished to do likewise.
I am not sure when Bill began driving horses by himself but it happened in the following manner. Dad had gone over to Goff's so Bill told mother he was going for a load of straw. Mother was pretty worried. Bill was just pulling into the yard from one direction just as Dad came in from the opposite direction. mother said dad just looked. he could not believe his eyes. After that Bill was allowed to drive alone.
In the early days Mr. Lochead had the Headlands post office. When Bill was old enough he used to go for the mail. The Leslie homestead was on the northeast quarter of section 26. Bill used to call in at Leslie's on his way for the mail and he and Andrew Leslie used to go for the mail together. Bill would stop and have dinner at Leslie's and he and Andrew would play together. Bob Drever homesteaded a little north of Leslie's in 1910. Bill used to fetch mail for him. I think it was in the summer of 1911 that Mother baked bread for Bob Drever. Bob used to come for his bread on Sunday evenings. one Sunday Mother and Bill were visiting Mrs. McNeil. Bob was sitting on the doorstep waiting for them. His remark was , "They say Mrs. Nevard never goes visiting but I never find her home".
In April of 1918 Dad bought another quarter section of land. It was the northwest quarter of 13. I think he broke 22 acres that year. In the fall of that year the War ended. In the early spring of that year our dog Nell died from a kick from a horse. It happened at night. Next morning Mother saw Nell laying in front of our house. She looked as if she was asleep. I can still se her in my mind's eye. Mother went out and looked at the dog. Dad remarked, "Its no good". I guess had already been out and seen here.
Worse was to befall us when two fine steers died of hemorrhagic septicemia. They either had to be buried deeply in the ground or burnt. The ground was frozen so Dad and Bill burnt them down on section 13. They made a large pile of straw and wood. Nell, some chickens and a pig were burnt at the same time.
Now to turn to a happier incident. When Uncle Arthur came back from overseas in the summer of 1919, I don't remember it but I do recall Uncle Horrie and Aunt Alice arriving at The Poplars on a bright and sunny September day. They had been married in England on January first of that year. At the time Dad and Bill were harvesting. Aunt Alice thought I looked rather puny. That evening after supper Mother had been down in the cellar emptying the cream. Aunt Alice was clearing the table and not noticing the open cellar door she tumbled down into it. She was bruised and shook up but nothing broken. The following Sunday we went to Church at Balrobie. I remember being disappointed that Aunt Alice did not come but she was feeling stiff and sore from the fall.
I was fond of Aunt Alice and used to tease her with an old alarm clock. When she was resting in her room I used to stand at the door and say "Aunt Ack can you hear me"? while setting off the alarm clock. There was an old Harry Lauder song called "Theres A Wee Drop In The Bottle For The Morning" and I used to sing it for her benefit because I knew she didn't like it.
Aunt Alice was very kind to me. I remember the next summer finding a wasp's nest and poking it with a stick when mischief got the better of me. When I came home crying from the stings Aunt Alice took me on her lap and got the bluing back and dabbed the sore spots with it. I never let on it was my fault.