Tracy Hyatt


I'm stepping into a time machine and I'm heading back in time to 1894 to find my dinner date. I want to know what it's like to be one of the first southern Alberta homesteaders. What are the joys and hardships people face? What fills their dreams and future wishes? But most importantly, I want those questions answered by a black person. I head to Bar U Ranch to break bread with John Ware, one a handful of blacks living in the Diamond Valley. Folks say John is one of the best horse-breakers around. A British man living near Turner Valley tells me a story about John. On a roundup last year, a steer broke away from the herd and John jumped off his horse and wrestled the steer down to the ground. "People in Calgary are talking about making that a sporting event," the Brit says. He and others I meet along to the way to Bar U ranch tell me that John is a hard worker and well-liked by all. When I eventually sit down at the dinner table with John, I meet a humble man, unaware of the folklore and myth about him that later generations will create.