Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge

Faye, centre, amid her family: Brother-in-law, Mervin Swanson; sister, Pat Swanson; brother Barry Becker and sister-in-law, Nikki Becker; sister, Cindy Welter; Faye Becker; sister-in-law, Kaye Becker; brother, Jack and Karen Becker; and brother-in-law, Harvey Welter. Photo by Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan
Northern Advocate

Birthday parties can be wonderful celebrations of a person’s life.
I remember the parties I had as a child. Most people who ever attended one of my birthdays, remembers it all these years later. To say they were large – well the house was full for sure with friends, children and adults of all ages.
Recently I got to attend a very wonderful birthday party for my friend Faye Becker’s 75th birthday party. It’s over a year since I talked with Faye one day and she invited me to come to her Birthday on July 2, 2022. I would need to make reservations early at the hotel in Big River to make sure there was room, she said. We made the reservation right away.
Faye has been a wonderful friend to me for many years. When I worked in the United Church in Big River, I would get very special, regular phone calls from Faye.
“Just called to say hope you’re having a good day.” Or “You don’t need to call back, just have a good day.” Some greeting that would just put the sunshine into the day, even the sometimes sad, or busy days.
Faye’s family looked after the arrangements for this party, so we got regular messages about plans for the event. We spent time looking at the best route to travel to get over to Big River and were surprised by some of the information. Finally, it was Birthday time!!!
The hall in Big River was filled with people, Faye’s family, relatives and friends. She had happily told me there were more than 100 people coming to the party.
Faye is a traveller. She has visited many places and met many people and found friendships that have lasted for a long time.
Like many of us, Faye has challenges in life, but she keeps a strong, positive view on life, and it shows through. She’s an inspiration.
We are saddened by the loss of the bus service and it’s harder for Faye to travel, but she is resourceful and still travels.
The party was a wonderful opportunity for people, who have not been able to visit because of the Pandemic, to get together and enjoy each other’s company.
Faye’s brother, Barry, was MC for the event and noted that Faye has friends everywhere. The people gathered proved it; they were from as far away as Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and several places in British Columbia.
Many people got up to share their experiences with Faye at the Open Mic during the evening.
Her family, brothers, sisters and in-laws, sang their rendition of You are My Sunshine for Faye to lead off the evening.
For me, I remembered the wonderful phone calls. Faye as my Christmas Tree harvesting partner, when, on my first Christmas in Big River I wanted a live tree. Faye, always a good sport, came out with me and we found and cut down a tree that gave a Christmas tree to three families. I hope no conservation officer will come after us all these years later.
When Charlie Pride came to La Ronge, Faye told me, he was her favourite singer. We got a ticket and she bussed over to La Ronge. Out at the airport, when the singer arrived, there’s a photo that I never got and wish I had.
Charlie Pride got off the plane and went straight over to give Faye a hug, before he shook hands with anyone.
And Abel Charles interviewed her for MBC that day, as a visitor, who travelled to La Ronge to see Charlie Pride.
Faye’s birthday was a celebration full of wonderful memories, laughter and even a few tears with visitors as young as six days old to who knows …
Thank you Faye for being my good, true friend all these years and I look forward more wonderful phone calls and adventures.