This area went way too long with hardly any moisture and the wheat and other crops were in jeopardy. No longer. We have had significant rain every day for the past two weeks, and just in time to add some drama to the week of the Calgary Stampede. To add to the drama, on Tuesday we were deluged with white stuff, not snow but copious amounts of pea-sized hail. This was followed by about a half inch of rain in an hour. The water floated the hail into the low places and those areas accumulated unbelievable amounts of hail. It looked for all intents and purposes like snowdrifts. Traffic was backed up all over south Calgary due to pools of water across the roads. I’ll include a picture we took of some of what was left when it was time to close the office and go home.
On Monday evening we had tickets to the Calgary Stampede Chuck Wagon Races and the Grandstand Show. This was my third time seeing them and it rained each of the three times. Based on that experience, we purposefully chose tickets that would place us under the partial grandstand roof and it was a good thing we did. In the first picture below you can see the approaching storm. The overhead cover meant that we stayed dry and warm throughout and had a great time at the Stampede together with our office mates, Elder and Sister Peppinger. Prior to the Grandstand Show we also saw a dog show and a performance by the Peking Acrobats, and, of course, had to sample some of the food available on the midway.
There were 8 different heats of the Chuck Wagon races and, as the rain continued, the races got more and more wild with the wagons sliding and fish tailing through the required turns on the rodeo grounds, then all four teams hit the entrance to the race track at nearly the same time. From there the teams of horses are running at full gallop as they go around the racetrack. I won’t go into detail here but the race also involves a team and driver and two other horsemen, - a lead and a trailing rider. There are certain actions that are required before the teams run a tight figure-of-8 around the barrels before hitting the track gate. I encourage you to read about the races on the Internet. I don’t know if Blogger will not allow me to include a video clip of one of the heats that I shot. I will attempt to attach it to a Facebook entry right after the blog. In any case, the picture below shows the race track to the south and you can see the first heat chuck wagons approaching the arena. Also you can see the huge portable stage they tow into place for the Grandstand Show.
The Grandstand Show is remarkable each year. The show involves lots of music and dancing and aerial acts. The show goes on for 90 minutes or so and then ends with an incredible fireworks display each night. The rain added some beautiful highlights to the fireworks and the colorful bursts reflected off the pools of water. The rain continued on and off all evening but the show went on without any obvious problems. It rained each night for the entire week of the Stampede and the Grandstand Show.
Work went well this week despite the craziness of Stampede Week. We are gearing up for another transfer week. We are again receiving more missionaries than are returning home. President Miles wants to open up three new areas and this means three more cars are needed so I am taking three of the cars we were readying for sale and putting them back into service. We have 10 cars on order but it will be some time before they will arrive. Since the Church buys directly from the manufacturing plants we are having to wait for the 2017 model cars to become available.
Last night Kathy and I went to see a movie we had been wanting to see. It is called, “Me Before You,” which is about an English girl who is hired to take care of a quadriplegic man. I know, it sounds really boring but it turned out to be very good. We recommend it to you.
Today in our continuing desire to visit wards and branches around the mission, we drove to the Diamond Valley Branch. Diamond Valley is a beautiful valley next to the foothills before you get to the Canadian Rockies. The Branch building sits on the edge of a beautiful meadow at the foot of a mountain that looks very much like the Hill Cumorah. Our missionaries who serve the Branch also serve in the Cimarron Ward and were at the Ward today so we did not get to see them. Anyway, it is a wonderful Branch with a large number of youth. They had just returned from a rappelling event and were excited about it. They have four young men currently out on missions (the Canada Vancouver, Cape Verde Praia, Korea Seoul, and Belgium/Netherlands Missions) with another missionary preparing to leave, whom we met. They have had as many as seven missionaries out at one time serving from the Branch, and this is more than many wards can claim. This speaks to the effort of the youth leaders there. The picture below shows some of the youth taking part in the Church-wide indexing effort that is underway. They were all really into it.
And, finally, here is a picture of the Branch building and the beautiful surrounding area.
On our return trip we could see a downpour ahead of us, and as we entered the stormy area, it began to hail, first small hail and then the hail started to really pound the car. We immediately turned around and headed back down the road about a half-mile where we waited until the storm passed to the east and we were able to resume our return home. As we passed through the area, there was an inch or two of hail on the ground. The mission has several hail-damaged cars and we didn’t want to have our car be one of them. I inspected the car as we got back and, luckily; I think we escaped any damage.
Have a wonderful week!