Let’s be honest. All pictures are memories, whether we like it or not. Some of them are nice, warm and fuzzy, others are shivering memories. Either because we were scared, moved or because we were just cold.
Most of the pictures in this post were from such a day. I think the temperatures were not that low, something like –12C or so. Yet a strong wind was blowing icicles onto my bones. This lead picture was from a very cold morning in Southwest Manitoba.
At first we were trying to get into the Pembina Valley, to observe the raptor migration. There were supposed to be Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles and many other raptors to come through. But the car seemed to have some steering issues that prohibited us from going down a muddy valley road. Down, we could have made it, back up – not so much.
Chicken Hill School
So we decided to stay above the valley, more or less on passable roads. The first thing we saw on our return from the valley edge was this old school house. Today it doesn’t look like much, but it was a fully functioning school from 1892 till 1962. A good 70 years of education dispensed in this single classroom school. We decided to go and have a peek inside, making sure not to disturb anything.
School Division 581
The floor was sagging seriously so we did not put a foot inside. Anyway, with the cameras we had, there was no need to go inside. Others apparently were not so fussy and made a mess inside. We considered this school to be private property, peeking inside was ok, anything more was to be avoided.
St Matthews, New Haven, MB
In the mean time, the cold was freezing our fingers. We had decided to not take any gloves as the temps were supposed to “warm up”. So much for that forecast… We drove away in a stiff breeze from the south. Granted, that wind was not cold, but wind chill was. Then we came across this lonely church, standing proud in the middle of… nowhere. Not a house or a farm to be seen for miles around.
St Matthews, New Haven, MB
It was most definitely not abandoned. So, after taking some mediocre shots of the outside, I looked at the entrance door. It had a latch on it. On the outside. Churches are usually not private property, so I decided to try the door. It was open. Back in the days, every church was open, wherever the church would be located. Vandals and criminals have made sure that today’s churches are mostly locked up unless there is a service.
Whatever one may think about one religion or another, vandalizing and disrespecting other people’s property should never be allowed. This church was in great shape. So I decided to look around inside. The first item of “interest” was the organ. This one replaced the previous organ from 1942. It was put in service in 1960 and is still in use today.
Being alone in a church would have plenty of people look in places where they usually have no access. I decided to respect the place and only go where the doors were open. In a little hallway to the right of the church, I saw this little tin can. Made for donations towards somebody’s birthday. I think this type of can was made long ago. Most definitely not in the past few years.
The pulpit was a work of art. The plaque commemorates the fallen of World War I (1914-1918). The plaque reads 1919, I am not sure why. Perhaps some(one) died long after the war was over as a result of his (their) injuries. I can’t tell.
On the wall in the church is another list of people that were ready to go to war. This time in World War II. This community has given many of its children to war. Many prayers will have been said for the safe return for each of them.
Was I trespassing in this church? I am convinced I was not. Some might argue that the door was closed and that this is private property. A church rarely is private property, unlike the disaffected churches we can find elsewhere. And someone from the area might have a pressing need to be in this church for some solace. The door is open for those people. Yet with the wind blowing as it was and the temperatures where it was, that door was physically, but symbolically closed.
If ever you come across an open church, just be respectful inside, don’t loot, don’t litter and don’t disturb anything. That is the best way to keep things pleasant for everyone.
Memories can make me shiver, even if the subjects in those thought/memories are from a different time and a different place. Some of these WWII enlistees might have given their lives to liberate my country. Who knows. (shiver).
Until next time…