Laetitia and her group left Narrows West, heading for Manitoba’s Riding Mountain National Park. On arrival they entered through the ornate rustic gate constructed during the 1930s as part of Canada’s Depression Relief Program. Their primary purpose was wildlife viewing, and the park is a great location for this activity. It serves as home for many large mammal species, such as black bear, moose, bison, and elk, and is a summer residence for trumpeter swans. After spending most of the day in the park, they drove north and east to Sainte Rose du Lac, their evening’s destination.
Saint Rose of Lima was a Peruvian woman born in the sixteenth century who was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1667. She was the first American Catholic to become a saint. Focusing on its economy rather than its religious heritage, Sainte Rose du Lac bills itself as the Cattle Capital of Manitoba, Canada. It has 1200 residents and is located on the banks of the Turtle River. When pioneers arrived to settle the area in 1889, they were baffled to find no turtles in the vicinity of the Turtle River. They concluded that the name originally given by French trappers, “Tortueux,” meaning tortuous rapids, with mispronunciation over time morphed into “Tortue,” meaning turtle.
Sipping a Canadian blended whiskey at a local bar, Laetitia was having difficulty coming up with a limerick. Sainte Rose du Lac’s self-acclaimed position as “cattle capital” provided no inspiration, nor did the Turtle River. Then Rose walked in. She wasn’t a saint like the town’s namesake. According to the bartender, she went off to college in Winnipeg but came back here to work when she finished because her mother was ill. She obviously learned a few things that weren’t part of the college curriculum. Laetitia marveled as the delicious creature deftly defused the barrage of self-aggrandizing lies and specious logic put forth as bait by trolling males in the bar. Laetitia transformed the scene into the limerick of the day.
T’was a wonder to watch canny Rose
As each gambit she moved to dispose
From the boys in the bar
For they didn’t get far
With attempts to lead her by the nose.