a memoir by Michael Zrymiak
This is a story about new beginnings and new life in Saskatchewan, the province that was developed by newcomers and that, in turn, enabled the development of newcomers. The harshness of the climate and the austerity of the land dictated that survival was literally a life and death struggle in the early going.
For those who were strong and determined, the land brought forth multiple rewards. It permitted newcomers to prosper in material ways, and to raise children and see their dreams for their children fulfilled. Against unbelievable odds, including limited personal resources, the severe economic conditions of the 30s and the harsh weather, these families established roots and contributed to the economic and cultural mosaic which is Canada today.
Michael Zrymiak is a Saskatchewan native son. He was born into an immigrant farming family and educated in a school called Hard Rock, before enrolling in the Air Force as a pilot and leaving the province. But Saskatchewan never left his soul and his feelings for the austere magnificence of the Canadian prairies remain vibrant and fresh.
"Nostalgia wasn't invented in Saskatchewan, but it infects everyone who has lived there. Why else would someone from Saskatchewan write a book about Saskatchewan roots? Because people love the memories. Remember the one-room School, riding horses to school, when kids' tricks were fun, not mean. Where you wore out your clothes instead of discarding them? Remember a place where gardens were so big you had to give most of it away, and where the unhurried friendliness of folk meant it was okay to drop in anytime, and you'd always be offered borscht or Saskatoon berry pie or farmer sausage?
So now you live in a city, choking on fumes and suffering from road rage. Why not go back to where the car ahead of you drives on the shoulder so you can pass easily, and where you hear crickets and see the endless sky again? Why not go back. It's easy.
Mike Zrymiak takes you there in Prairie Roots. Read & enjoy. Get infected all over again. And if you're not from Saskatchewan, you'll wish you were."
– Benno Friesen
Paperback 5.5 x 8.5 in
– Benno Friesen
About the Author
Michael Zrymiak is a Saskatchewan native son. He earned his RCAF pilot wings in 1955, when he began an interesting three and a half decade air force career during the Cold War era. Highlights included flying with the VIP transport squadron in Ottawa, as a pilot for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and dignitaries such as Pierre E. Trudeau.
He attended National Defense College and in 1985 was selected as the base commander of Canadian Forces Base Edmonton. He retired in 1987 and transferred to the Air Reserve to serve another four years representing British Columbia interests.
"Having grown up on farm in rural Manitoba, Prairie Roots brought back many very fond memories of my beginnings and similar family interactions that had a profound impact on my life. Michael relates the circumstances of his upbringing in a typical down-home style that will warm the heart of every reader."
– Larry Proke
"A very interesting and passionate accounting of the childhood and teen years of one son of Eastern European immigrants who settled and broke land in Saskatchewan. This life, like so many lives of the children of the Great Plains, reveals a profound love of family, of nature and of the prairies. It reminds one that sacrifice, adversity, challenges and commitment to values, family and faith build character, provinces and nations. A good read."
– K. Aaron Turnbull
"I have known Mike for a long time, initially as a fellow RCAF pilot and officer and more recently in our retirement in British Columbia. Except that Mike did not really retire. As an avid sportsman, artisan and outdoorsman, Mike puts his "all" into his many endeavors. He has managed an airport, bought and restored two acreages as well as being a prolific painter, photographer and writer of books and poetry.
Mike grew up on the prairies of Saskatchewan; now with accuracy and good humor, he takes us back to that time in his book, Prairie Roots."
– Robert R. Riddell