Posted by: mparlee37279 | April 26, 2012

Peace River Country Hospitality Revisited

Last weekend, Michael and I drove up to the Peace River Country to attend the Health and Wellness Conference in Rycroft. We had lived in the Peace Country from our births in the 1940’s until we moved to Bowden in 2005. The minute we arrived at the farm of our 82 year old, life-long friend, Mary Williams,  she started feeding us! We started with dessert, a delicious idea in itself, then proceeded to pizza hors d’oeuvres, to a full supper, then evening snack (in case we were still hungry!) and endless cups of tea, made from melted snow water! We looked through many books of obituaries and memorials and marvelled at the many people we had jointly known that have gone on before us. Our brains felt like pretzels trying to remember all the old connections, long buried under new experiences.

The next morning, I think our stomachs were still digesting last night’s fare when our host busily prepared bacon, eggs, porridge and home-made paska toast. Then it was off to the Health and Wellnes Conference in Rycroft. We wish to thank Sandy Isaac for getting in touch with Michael and giving him the opportunity to donate a copy of  his latest book, Son of Sister Maria, as one of the door prize for the conference. Two other former residents of the Peace also donated their books as door prizes: Tom Watson’s best-seller, Man Shoes, and Christine Falk’s Unremarkable in Light.

Roger Rymhs, Chairman of PALS (Peace Adult Learning Society) hosted the Conference.

The morning guest speaker, Karen Bass, author of three books; Run like Jager,  Summer of Fire, and drummer girl, (published by Coteau Books,)  richly described the hard work, discouragement, joy, and exhileration of writing.  She estimated that she wrote half a million words before she published her first novel, and showed us the box of manuscripts to prove it! She shared with us new research which shows that when we read about an event, our brains actually think we are there in the described action! That is the magic of reading, and for that matter, of writing. We disappear into the world we are creating! We smell, see, feel and hear what we are describing! Revising and re-doing a manuscript can go on for years. Getting a book published is another difficult task to accomplish…  No wonder it is a powerful moment when the author finally holds his/her published book, his/her baby, in his or her hands!

Lunch was delicious,  made more enjoyable by the performance of several intricate and graceful belly dances by three members of the Midnight Aurora Middle Eastern Dancers. When they finished, they solicited/dragged members of the audience to do a circle dance with them! When we were done, we breathlessly agreed that you have to be very physically fit, and a good sport too, to belly dance!

Exhibitors included Myofascial Release, Aromatherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, Hand and Foot Reflexology, Spirit River Library and Peace Library System, GPRC Fairview Campus, Alberta Health Services Promotional Display, Ceremonies (how they can enrich your life) by Christina Cedar, Crossroads Women’s Shelter, Sensory Learning Therapeutics, Weight Watchers, and Heilkunst & Homeopathic Medicine. It was a great opportunity to explore new self- care health options.

The afternoon guest speaker was a treat for anyone who remembered “Reach for the Top” on TV.  Colin McLean, host of Reach for the Top for 20 years, spoke on “Old Age Ain’t for Sissies.” He kept us laughing and listening intently for all the “short snappers” he told.  We also had a mini- Reach for the Top Quiz in which he divided the room in half and gave us questions to answer! I am proud to say our side won, but all in good- natured fun.

The final events of the day were the draws for the door prizes. Michael was called upon to make the presentation of his book, Son of Sister Maria, to the delighted recipient, Marian Skoworodko.  Again, thank you to Sandy Isaac for handing out promotional material about Son of Sister Maria to conference atendees. Unfortunately, our supply of Son of Sister Maria books did not arrive in time for us to bring them up to the conference. Thank you to Peace Adult Learnong Society coordinator, Gail Cooper, for highlighting local talent in such an enjoyable way! Peace Country hospitality warmed our hearts once more!    Pauline Parlee



  1. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your future writings.

    Enjoy Writing? Writers Wanted

  2. Thank you so much for making the trek to spend the day with us in Rycroft and for the book donation ” Son of Sister Maria”. Such an eloquent rendition of the day’s offerings certainly makes it all worthwhile; I am glad that you enjoyed the day and hope that you will consider a book signing at the Library later in the summer.
    Sandy Isaac

  3. Thank you to Writers Wanted and for your positive feedback on the article! They are much appreciated! Pauline Parlee

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