Back when Flint Rock Ranch was my Grandparent’s home and I was still a child, my parents used to drag the family down from Calgary to visit. I say “drag” because, when you’re six, the two and a half hour drive seemed to drag on forever. When we’d finally pull in to the ranch, lining the side of the lodge would be all these old tractors and cars. Sure, my grandparents had old toys for us, the same ones my dad played with as a kid, but the real prize was those old tractors and cars.
My Grandfather, Lorne Mitchell, spent a lot of time in his later years working on antique cars and tractors, several of which can found at Heritage Acres Farm Museum if you want to check them out for yourself. As a kid, I spent countless hours bouncing up and down on the old metal seats and trying to figure out how to shift them in to gear. The history was lost on six year old me, but I did love flipping the switches and playing with the exhaust flaps on the old tractors.
And then there were the cars. My Grandfather had a collection of ancient cars to match his ancient tractors. These were the kind of cars with hoods that fold up on the sides and crank shafts to start the engines in the front. They also had running boards down the side, just like in the gangster movies (that was where I learned what the term shotgun meant). I must have thought my Grandparents were a lot older than they really were, because back then I could picture them driving back and forth from Calgary in these old cars.
There’s a lot more room beside the Lodge now that used to be full of the old tractors and cars. My Parents told me, and I’ve seen the pictures for proof, that my Grandparents used to drive these old cars into Pincher Creek for parades. I don’t think I ever actually saw a car or tractor move from its spot. They would be sitting in the same place every time we came to visit and, since I never got one in to gear, they would still be there when we left.
- Kevin Mitchell