Tag Archives: pelee island

Getting Nostalgic and Just a Little Sad

cousins peleeThis is my favorite photo from our family reunion weekend on Pelee Island in Ontario. One night as the sun was setting our children and their cousins made their way  down to the lake front to sit by a large inukshuk someone had built.  Watching them silhouetted against the sinking sun I got kind of nostalgic and sad.  I remembered all the happy times these thirtysomething adults had as kids… playing together, celebrating holidays and having fun on their grandparents’ farm.

Their grandparents have died now, all these cousins have families of their own, and several live in other provinces, so it will be harder and harder to bring everyone together. Our reunion this summer was a whole year in the planning. 

cousins peleeLater looking at this photo I thought of how lucky the Driedger cousins were to have been part of a family where they were loved so unconditionally by their grandparents and where aunts and uncles and cousins cared about them and were interested in them.  One of the purposes of inukshuks is to act as direction markers so people can find their way.  They are like northern compasses. I hope as our children look back on our many family gatherings over the years, they will have a sense that our time together served as a kind of marker or touchstone that helped them navigate through life. pelee island sunset

Other posts………

The Path of Life

The Driedger Amazing Race

Name That Driedger

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The Amazing Race Driedger Style

Posing with some of my Amazing Race teammates for the mannequin video challenge on a slip and slide mat

During our four days on Pelee Island with my husband’s family we participated in a number of fun events planned by two of my nephews and their partners.  One was The Driedger Amazing Race.  The more than thirty people in our family were divided into four teams and each was assigned a pick up truck to travel to various destinations around Pelee island. chloe team blueI was on the blue team and one of the first things we did was paint our faces to advertise our team color.  We got bonus points for our face art.  

champion swimmer

My niece is an accomplished triathlete so we were lucky to have her on our team for the distance swim.

Our first event had my niece swimming out to a buoy in Lake Erie to grab a plastic bag filled with puzzle pieces.  puzzle solvingThe three youngest members of our team had to assemble the puzzle before we could move on. 

justin ali and chloe word searchThen we were off to the Pelee Island School where we found a word search puzzle at the base of the flag pole with lots of words related to our family. We had to find and circle every one. 

icecream eating

My brother-in-law John the most senior team member working on his ice cream cone.

One challenge had the oldest member of our group downing an ice cream cone in under two minutes. 

bra tree photoPelee Island has a bra tree to promote breast cancer awareness and one of our challenges was to throw a bra up into its branches.  We decided to pose here as well for a team photo since we got bonus points for submitting interesting team photos. 

golf challengeThere was a golf challenge where we had to chip golf balls into hula hoops for bonus points cemetry runand a gravestone search in a cemetery where some of our Mennonite relatives are buried.

making zwiebachWe had a zwiebach challenge in honor of Dave’s Mom who made the best zwiebach in the world.  For my non-Mennonite readers zwiebach are buns that are two tiered.  We had to form them from play dohzwiebach toss and then toss them into a bucket some distance away. 

inuk shuk puzzleOur final challenge was fitting a big box full of painted pieces of wood into an outline to create an inukshuk within an alloted time.  solving the inukshuk puzzleWe figured it out with just seconds to spare. 

One of our other photo submissions was this one where we pretended to row a boat full of flowers

I happy to report that our blue team won the Driedger Amazing Race returning to home base a full sixteen minutes ahead of our competition. 

Other posts……..

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island

The Driedgers Go Hiking in Arizona

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A Family Party

I won’t be blogging for the next week or so as we head off to Pelee Island where we will be staying in a place with no wifi.  We are having a huge family party with all of my husband Dave’s siblings and their partners, our nieces and nephews and their partners, our great nieces and nephews and our own children and grandchildren. Lots of fun family time awaits.

I’ve put together a book telling Mom and Dad’s life stories

The family party is in honor of my mother-in-law Anne Driedger and my father-in-law Cornelius Driedger who have both passed away, Dad just one year ago.  The party has been in the planning since we met for Dad’s funeral last June.

My father-in-law’s family on Pelee Island in the 1930s.

One reason it is being held on Pelee Island in Lake Erie is because my father-in-law lived there for nearly a decade after his family immigrated to Canada.  

This family party will honor Mom and Dad’s  legacy. I am really looking forward to it. 

See you in a week!

Other posts……….

Anne Driedger

Good Bye Dad


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A Visit With Dad- The Next Grandpa Moses

dad's painting of the tobacco barnMy father-in-law had this painting attached to the front of the basket on his walker when we went to pick him up from the nursing home where he is a resident. “Dad who painted this picture?” I asked. “I did,” he told me. “It’s our tobacco barn on Pelee Island.” 

I hadn’t realized Dad was artistic but I guess you learn new things about people even when they are 92. Dad must have painted the picture in one of the activity times organized for the seniors at the home. From 1930-1938 Dad’s family lived and worked as sharecroppers on Pelee Island along with about 40 other Mennonite families.  It was a memory from that time he chose to paint.

coffee at tim hortons with dadMy husband Dave and I are in Leamington, Ontario visiting Dave’s family. Yesterday we took Dad to Tim Hortons for coffee and a bagel.  We met a couple of people who knew him and he couldn’t always remember their full names but he always knew something about them. Dad was a vegetable farmer and the pastor of a large local church for many years. He also worked as a chaplain in the Leamington Mennonite Home where he is now a resident. So he knows lots of people in the community and they know him. getting dad in the carAfter coffee we took Dad for a long drive. We went past his two younger brothers’ farms and the farms where his two sisters and their families used to live. driedger homestead

We drove onto the yard of the homestead where Mom and Dad lived most of their lives and raised their family. Dave’s brother Bill and his wife Julie live there now.united mennonite educational institute leamington ontario

We drove by Dad’s old church and the private Mennonite school where all of his sons were students. Later when I was helping Dad take off his jacket in his room he said, “We went on quite a journey.”

worship service orderThursday night my sister-in-law Shirley had arranged for us to be part of the weekly worship service at the nursing home. Dave and I, Shirley, and Dave’s brother Paul together with our Aunt Aggie and Uncle Abe formed a choir and sang three hymns for the residents. Dad seemed pleased his family was helping lead worship and I noticed he was singing along when we did Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. 

Dad has a very nice voice and sang in a community men’s choir for many years. Just another one of his artistic talents.

Other posts about Dad

Autographs from a Conscientious Objector Camp

Anne Driedger 1923-2011

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Wine Stories

wine bottles“Tell us a story about a bottle of wine.” Those were my instructions when we invited a group of friends for a wine tasting evening.  Five couples attended and each was asked to bring along a bottle of wine that had some significance for them.  It could be a wine they’d tasted on a trip or a wine they’d served at a celebration marking a special event. In my invitation I suggested the actual name of the wine or the picture on the label might prompt a personal story.      

   giroux wine   During our evening together we spaced our wine tasting out over four and half hours and my husband and I provided a course of the dinner meal along with each wine. Three of the couples had brought wines connected to their travels.  Trips to visit Italy, explore family roots in France and to cruise in the South Pacific were inspiration for an interesting trio of wines from different countries. One couple had even brought a book of photos of their travel experience.

An almost unbelievable story, about a displaced Mennonite from Giroux and a British Columbia winery won in a card game accompanied one bottle of wine. We weren’t sure if the lengthy tale was fact or fiction.

My husband Dave and I shared a bottle of Pelee Island wine. Pelee Island is the southern most point in Canada.  You take a ferry out to the island from Leamington, Ontario. Dave’s grandparents moved to Pelee Island in 1930 several years after arriving in Canada from Ukraine.  A group of about 40 Mennonite families lived on Pelee Island. They had their own church, and a German school. Dave’s grandmother was a midwife for the Mennonite women on the island. Dave’s grandparents left the island in 1938 and settled in Leamington.

In 1979 a family from Austria came to Pelee Island to begin planting vineyards and establish a winery.  My brother-in-law  bought a farm on the island at about the same time. During the 15 years my brother-in-law and his family had their home on Pelee we visited every year and always enjoyed our time on the island with its interesting history and unique natural habitat.

Considering our family connections to Pelee Island a wine from a vineyard there was a natural choice for us for the wine tasting party. We selected a bottle of Pelee Island wine decorated with monarch butterflies.  Every fall thousands of the butterflies rest on the island each night during their annual migration.

Sharing our stories and the wines that accompanied them with our friends was fun and helped us learn some new things about one another.

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Learning to Cook at De Lucas

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