Farm Vacations

I was visiting my friend Marguerite Manning in her Assiniboine Avenue office. She was telling me about a good time on one of Manitoba’s vacation farms during an inspection as Executive Director of the Manitoba Farm Vacations Association

“I wish I could be doing what you are doing,” I said. (I was between jobs.)

Her eyes lit up.

“Get your paperwork in because I’m retiring,” she said.

I brought her my resume, which she faxed to MFVA President Kathleen Jorgenson in Morris, Manitoba.

Next day I got a call: “You have to go to Morris tonight. Kathleen wants to interview you,” Marguerite said. The following week there was an MFVA board meeting and I got the job.

It was great. It took me to some of Manitoba’s nicest farms where the meals were great and the company inspiring, as I heard farmers talk about life in the country.

The MFVA was one of 10 provincial associations across Canada, so I went to annual conventions from west to east to meet my counterparts. Local fare was always on the tables of restaurants where we enjoyed each other’s company.

Sometimes I reserved a farm meal for 12 when my family gathered for a reunion. I often took visitors from far away to Deerbank Farm in Morris.

There was a travel branch attached to the MFVA, which my late wife Diane managed, taking people on tours to the Maritimes and European destinations.

Eventually my tenure with the MFVA ended, but my friendship with the Jorgensons lasted.. Later in life, after Ed died in 1995, I moved into Deerbank’s granny suite.

It was a big funeral in the Morris United Church when Kathleen died in 2020, grieved by her son and seven daughters.

Her years as president were at the height of the popularity of farm vacationing in Manitoba, and I was lucky to be associated many years with Manitoba’s salt-of-the-earth people.

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