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Poems

Prairie Giants by B J Smith

They called 'em prairie giants standing tall beside the tracks

Their bins were full of barley, durum wheat or maybe flax

And on their side the names of towns like Stettler, Brooks or Taber

Irricana, Vegreville and more where farmers labour

Each name displayed like billboards standing eighty five feet high

To all who passed in cars or trucks or airplanes in the sky

And if the agent was your Dad or someone that you knew

You might ride up the man life and then marvel at the view

'Cause from the window at the top the town spread at your feet

And all the people down below look tiny in the street

The office had a half a dozen chairs around the stove

Whose belly warmed the coffee pot and stories often wove

Of teams of horses hitched to tanks that lumbered up the breeze

Then one by one the trucks arrived and progress put the squeeze

On farmers who could make a living on a quarter section

Then bigger operations was an Aggies's sole obsession

The farms grew larger by each year some spread from town to town

Unneeded buyers at each post shut elevators down

The Railroad, not to be outdone, commenced to pull up rail

And now where prairie giants stood is but a ghostly tale

Alberta Wheat Pool, Alberta Pacific and the UGG

Have joined so many others that are now just history

Those soldiers of the prairies with their bottom flat side bins

Are monuments to progress but progress has its' sins

So maybe while we march ahead it wouldn't hurt to pause

And give our precious prairie past a future with a cause

Let's save the country elevator from the wrecker's ball

So coming generations have a past they can recall.

 

The P&H Elevator By Bill Kirtley and Vic Stuckey Printed in Issue #4

They worked all fall on building her tall

This place called the P&H Elevator

You could sell all your grain or come back again

To grind your feed in the mill that came later.

 

You could buy all your salt, iodized or cobalt

Throw in some minerals and concentrates too.

All the feed that is sold, either ground up or rolled

Or malting barley to make a home brew.

 

A coal shed was needed, and then was completed

In nineteen hundred and twenty and four.

It was all hauled away by truck or by sleigh

So they just sent out a box car for more.

 

Some kindly old soul would sell you some coal

So you could keep the home fires burning.

Although watered and fed, if youre cold in your bed

You'll spend all night just tossing and turning.

 

If you're not yeller, just head for the cellar

To pull back a swallow or two.

Play a little poker, so throw out the joker

Dealer's choice, its all up to you.

 

Just about every town was tearing them down

This building called the prairie sky scraper.

They pulled up the rails of old prairie trails.

I guess using trucks must have looked better on paper.

 

With lack of care, and needing repair

The old elevator was wasting away.

Thru lack of sobriety, they formed a society

To preserve what was once the pride of the day.

 

We are trying to save it all from the old wrecking ball

Going to make it look good as new.

But the sawing and cutting, pounding and puttying

Fall in to hands of a few.

 

They shingled the shed and painted er red

Just got it right out of the pail.

Some of us think it looked pretty in pink

But alas clearer heads did prevail.

 

The coffee is on from dusk until dawn

At least from nine to eleven.

So throw in a loonie, or even a toonie

If you feel rich, throw in six or seven.

 

We spin a few tales and make a few trails

Some old and some of them new.

To keep everything nice and add a little spice

We even let the ladies tell a few.

 

It's easy to see that it will take you and me

To keep our heritage from disappearing so fast.

If you want satisfaction, get into the action.

And help preserve a part of our past.

Legacy of the Grain Elevator By the Prince of Wales Elementary Grades 1 & 2

We are the children of this generation. Our story speaks on behalf of the few remaining grain elevators in this province. Alberta's old wooden grain elevators hold many stories from our past; stories of our ancestors and their pioneering spirit. Every time we destroy another old elevator, we lose another precious part of our Western Heritage.

 

I am an old Alberta grain elevator and this is my story. Before I was here the town was flat. Now I stand over the other buildings. I show people the way home. I am a signpost of the prairie.

 

I stand in the sunset. Wheat surrounds me. I stand tall and proud. Some call me Prairie Giant. Other people call me Prairie Castle. Before I was a grain elevator I was a tree and a farmer cut me down and built me. I was built with wood and nails. I was built for a province that has lots of grain. I am yellow and orange. I am 90 feet tall. Now that's tall! I can store 25,000 bushels of grain.

 

I fill the world with grain and this is how I do it. Trucks come to dump grain onto my scale. The worker scoops a little bit of grains and weighs it. The rest of the grain is stored in my annex. My job is babysitting grain. My other job is sorting grain. I like my job. Really I do!

 

Every Saturday I love seeing Tom and his grandpa come and drop off their grain. I feel so hungry when the trains come and take my grains, but I am happy because children get cereal and bread to eat.

 

The sun shines on me. People drive past me. I've lost my name because my paint is peeling off. I don't know what's going to happened to me because all of my friends are collapsing. I know I am the next to be knocked down. I'm not ready.

 

Tom's grandpa died last summer. I'm starting to fall down. I'm still standing though. Tom still comes and drops his grain off with his son every Saturday. I hope I do not fall down. I want to see Tom's son grow up.

 

I am a very important part of history. There are more things to learn about me. I hope that I will be standing forever. If not the history will be forgotten. History is grain elevators. History is a second ago. History is everything. I am an old Alberta grain elevator. Please don't forget my story.

 

Keep the legacy of the wooden grain elevator alive so that we the children can remember.

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