A few weeks ago, I flew home to Saskatchewan to surprise my Mom for her 65th birthday. My Dad and brother and I had it all planned out. We made sure to NOT tell the nephews, because we didn’t think they could keep the secret 🙂
I flew in on Friday night – Dad had to make an excuse to get Mom to leave my brother’s place, so that my brother and his family could pick me up from the airport!
On Saturday morning, we headed out to a restaurant for breakfast, and waited for the birthday girl to arrive. The surprise was exactly as I hoped it would have been. The look of recognition, then confusion, then shock, then realization (all within a second or two)… Then the tears came (for both of us!). It was priceless 🙂
For Mom’s birthday in the evening, my Dad had booked the entire family on the Southern Prairie Railway train ride through southern Saskatchewan. The train starts in Ogema (a bustling community of 400 people, about an hour southwest of Regina) and travels to Horizon or Pangman, depending on the tour. We did the evening train ride, which heads out to Horizon for a “Settler’s Dinner” in an old church (aka a classic Prairie Church dinner, complete with an epic pie table).
On the way out to Ogema, we had to wait for road construction, so had a few minutes to snap some pictures of the local scenery.
Once in Ogema, we had a bit of time to kill before the train ride started. So, we checked out the main street of Ogema, played on the wooden train structure, and had a peak at the restored train engine that would be whisking us away through the prairie fields.
The Southern Prairie Railway is completely run by volunteers – the two train conductors (one driving the train, one punching tickets) were both retired CP Rail conductors, and another woman (a local from Ogema) was our tour guide. She pointed out bits of info about the area as we were passing through the countryside.
The train ride took about an hour to get out to Horizon. We could either walk over to the church for dinner, or take a school bus. With three young nephews who had energy to burn, we chose the walk 🙂
The train ride back to Ogema showcased a perfect prairie evening – big, open skies and a setting sun.
It was a great weekend to spend with the family!