Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In the Name of Research

Callie came home from school one day talking about the Heritage Fair that was going to be happening.  Basically the Heritage Fair is like a Science Fair with projects that are about Canadian History.  The topic is pretty broad and the kids can really do a project about anything they want as long as it somehow relates to Canada.  Callie said, "Mom, remember those flags we saw at the family picnic? I want to do my project about the Metis people."  So Callie and her friend began researching and learning about the history of the Metis people in Manitoba and have become very knowledgeable about the languages, flags, sashes, Red River carts and, of course, they are a bit obsessed with the fact that Lois Riel was hanged for treason.  Actually being hanged with a rope while other people watched is just not in the realm of  a nine year olds thinking. Gotta love history to broaden little minds.

After helping these girls with their research project, it became clear that we had to make a trip to visit my Grandma.  I explained to Callie that in this day and age, anyone can easily do a research project by Googling and cutting and pasting information.  Maybe she needed to do some first hand research. Imagine having a Grandma, jammed packed with all kinds of stories and history, and not tapping into all that knowledge?

So my mom and I packed up the girls and made the five our trip south to spend the weekend with my Grandma.  Callie came armed with a bunch of questions for her project and we all wanted to learn how to make bannock from the best!  Grandma made the first batch of bannock to show us how it was done and then she let the girls make their own.  Like most things in life, good bannock comes over time with practice and experience.  It's more about feel and texture than following a recipe.  And I have to say, for a first time, the girls did a pretty good job. Can you really go wrong with flour, Tenderflake and buttermilk?

We ate bannock with butter and homemade jam and asked grandma all about her life growing up. We learned so much and it made me think about all the technology we have today.  With the ability to record and photograph and video everything at the touch of a button I sometimes wonder if the Facebook moments we share are actually capturing anything of importance,  I take lots of pictures, that's no secret, and I share them, but it's the story of the photo that only I know that I love so much. And I wonder what part of the photos we take today will be of importance in the future.  

When I was looking through grandma's old photos, we talked about this picture...

We talked briefly about the people in the picture but the bigger story was about the fiddle hanging on the wall in the background.  We learned that the man who played the fiddle died and after his death no one ever played it again. But you have to wonder what songs were played, where the fiddle came from, and whatever happened to it.  

Someday maybe someone will see this picture of Callie holding a rolling pin, sitting next to her great grandma and they will wonder what the story was behind the rolling pin.  Where did it come from, what kinds of pastries did it make, and where did it end up?

We can all admit that Google is a powerful tool for researching but the stories we heard, the love we felt, the memories we made.... that stuff just can't be Googled.

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