Saturday, November 26, 2011

uncle ben comes of age...

My Uncle Ben is celebrating his 80th birthday this weekend.  
That celebration is happening far away from here...
in Alberta.
He will be surrounded by his wife...
his children and his grandchildren.
He deserves to be celebrated...
big time!

I vaguely recall a time when Uncle Ben was still single...
and I was a wee thing...
and he liked to horse around with his nieces.

Of his wedding...
I have no memory.
Maybe I never attended.

But visiting him in the logging camp near Lac La Hache...
that I recall.

And later...
he moved to southern Alberta to farm...
becoming a potato farmer extraordinaire.
Over the years we had several occasions to find our way to his farm...
located near the hamlet of Hays...
where roads had no names.
And where the wind never ceases to blow!

We were always welcomed with open arms...
and treated to a good dose of southern Alberta hospitality.

Uncle Ben has always made a point of staying in touch with his nieces and nephews...
and usually gives us a call when he passes by our way.
Often...they stop by for coffee.

Turning eighty is a big deal.
But I know he will find himself in good company!

Uncle Ben was one of the Baerg boys.
There were enough of them to field their own ball team.
Nine brothers.

One brother is missing from this photo taken in the sixties.
Uncle Neil has lived in Florida most of his adult life...
and wasn't able to make every gathering of the clan.

Uncle Ben is the one in the center of the back row.
My dad is immediately to his right.
Dad was telling me the other day that with Ben turning 80...
there would be five brothers in their eighties.
Are there any other families out there with five brothers in their eighties?
Not likely.
Of the nine brothers...
three have passed on.
The youngest still has a few years to enjoy his seventies.

Here's what I can tell you about those brothers.
They know how to tell a good story...
and the stories get better with the passing of time.
They all drive a Ford...and nothing but.
They are easy to pick out in a crowd...
often standing taller than those around them.
They can sing.
They can fix most anything.
They'd still be playing hockey if they could.
They are all great examples of lifelong learning...
reading and learning new skills to this day.
They have something special...
a brotherly bond not many have had the opportunity to share.

Uncle Ben...
best wishes to you as you are inducted into the 'over eighty Baerg brothers club'.
May God bless you on your eightieth birthday...
and go before you as you journey on!


  1. Wow....five octogenarians in one family. What a nice tribute to your uncle....and his brothers.

  2. uncle Ben says thank you for the lovely blog thanks for all the kind words


  3. great is that, 9 boys. That's one woman that was outnumbered! A very Happy Birthday to your uncle!

  4. How proud their parents must have been! Five octogenarians in one family, and all brothers - that's something.

  5. A great blog about our uncles, the Baerg boys, and about Uncle Ben. Happy birthday, Uncle Ben! Wish I was nearer to hear your distinctive laughter and your joining in the story-telling... Thanks, Judy!

  6. Happy Birthday to Uncle Ben!!! How wonderful to have such a family!

  7. Happy 80th birthday to your Uncle Ben! He sounds like a fine man.

    The photo of your father with almost all of his brothers is such a treasure to have. With so many Uncles it's no wonder you have so many cousins, Judy! :)

  8. Happy Birthday Uncle Ben! Thanks Judy for this tribute to Uncle Ben and all the brothers for that matter - such a blessing to us all!

  9. That is just amazing. So many brothers. Wow. ..and to think he still has brothers to share his stories with.
    What a wonderful legacy and treasure to the Baerg family.

  10. I had my husband read this post, because it is so very unusual and interesting. What an amazing story about 8 brothers. Your Uncle Ben certainly looks good for his age. This was a kind and well written tribute to him and his family. You are right, we do not know any other family like this one.

    Happy Birthday Uncle Ben!

  11. Oh yes, I wanted to tell you that the banner picture of your home is beautiful!

  12. Beautiful family story and photos! What a huge blessing!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson