My dad befriended Harry Hesketh sometime in the 1940’s when he and Freda arrived in Osoyoos. My dad had arrived in 1929 and bought 12 acres of land, which he cleared, and which became the orchard. The land beside ours was for sale, so dad talked Harry into buying it.
Dad cleared the land for Harry, who was a returning war vet. He and Freda then built a house there, and they and my mom and dad were fast friends for decades. I grew up with the Hesketh kids and spent a lot of time riding horses with Bonnie, five years my senior, and playing with Laurie, one year my senior. Freddie spent a lot of time hanging out with Gerry who is two years younger than him.
The Heskeths came to our house every single Christmas Eve, and every Christmas Day we were invited there for turkey dinner. These are fantastic memories for me, because it was like having an extended family with whom to share traditions.
Our little family was just comprised of my granny and grampa, my parents, Freddie and me. The same with the Heskeths, as it was just the five of them with no extended family here either. When we combined the two families it became a huge event.
Bonnie and I owned horses, so we rode all over the mountains surrounding Osoyoos. We explored far away lakes tucked into the hills, never seeing another soul for the entire day.
Imagine the beauty of that life. There were no cell phones, and no one knew where we were, but just assumed we’d arrive home safely, as we always did. No wonder my memories of growing up in Osoyoos are so idyllic.
Laurie and I would get into a lot of mischief. For awhile the Heskths had cows and a barn, and there was a mammoth pulp shoot leading down to the corral. One afternoon we decided it’d be fun to actually walk down the shoot! I remember the thousands of slivers embedded into my arm from the rough pine as I’d slipped.
Another bit of fun was taking the lids off the Rist’s bee hives. On that day, I remember stepping right into a pile of cactus, and seeing Laurie convulsed with laughter. We then saw the hives, and I dared Laurie to take off the lid, which he did. Moments later we were both running and screaming , getting stung all over from the angered bees.
I wasn’t allowed to ride the Hesketh’s crazy horse, Heidi, but did so anyway and of course was bucked off, got a bruised kidney, and had to go to the hospital for 10 days. And who would I have been with for this bit of shenanigans? Laurie, of course.
So when mom said there was going to be a bench dedication ceremony for Freda and Harry, both Freddie and I said we’d be there. This was last Wednesday. Members of the Legion were there in uniform, as Freda is huge in the Legion.
After the outdoor ceremony (quite chilly!) with Freda bundled up in her wheel chair, we went to the Legion for some cake. Bonnie and Laurie were there, but Gerry was still picking grapes so couldn’t make it. Imagine picking in that frigid temperature.