Before Leona Morrison’s husband passed away 30 years ago, he made her promise that when he was gone, she would get out and do things. She has certainly kept that promise. The 86-year-old Davidson, Saskatchewan woman has been so active in her community, it’s difficult to itemize all her accomplishments.
When Harold passed away, Leona left the farm to her sons and moved to Davidson where she joined a variety of associations, became active in the Lutheran Church, volunteered with Meals on Wheels, led the 4-H Calf and Garden Club, and much more.
“One of the things I loved doing was putting on Christmas programs,” she said. “I’ve done 23 in all, and I did that for the seniors’ group.”
She also started a singing group, and organized travel tours for seniors.
A self-confessed collector, Morrison began accumulating arrowheads when her oldest son came home one day with an arrowhead he’d found on one of their blown-out fields. “We went back and found ever so many,” she says. “Every time it blew after that, we went out to hunt for arrowheads.”
A visiting geology student helped her catalogue the historic finds. She has examples of Cody and Agate basin arrowheads dated at 8000 to 6000 BC; Oxbow McKean (5000 to 4000 BC); Besant (2000 BC); right up to semi-modern Hudson’s Bay Company-issue metal arrowheads.
Around Davidson, Morrison is known as The Crocus Lady because of the exquisite crocus pictures she paints. “I’ve done 160 crocus pictures,” she says, “many in pencil crayon on black emery paper.”
Over the years, Morrison has donated a number of her fine paintings to raise funds for the Lutheran Camp Kinisayo and Ducks Unlimited. Another was given as a gift to former lieutenant-governor Lynda Haverstock.
Besides crocuses, Morrison paints other florals and landscapes (106 of them).
“I never waste anything,” she says. “I grew up during the hard years. If I have any paint left over (it always seems to be blue) I’ll use it to start the sky or water on a new landscape.
“And because I don’t waste anything, I sometimes have to be innovative. While one oil landscape was drying on the kitchen counter, it got water spilled across the sky. That left a whole bunch of little spots. I couldn’t just throw the thing away, so I made every one of those 60-some drops into a goose.”
When special anniversaries come up around Davidson, people often ask Morrison to write a piece of poetry for the occasion. Doggerel, she calls it. One of her poems was commissioned by the local veterans to commemorate war brides.
Morrison also worked as a researcher on both editions of Davidson’s history book, Prairie Tapestry, and wrote contributions and did artwork, as well.
Her love of history prompted her to volunteer when the town was thinking about putting together time capsules to commemorate two separate homecomings. “I thought it was a wonderful thing to do,” Morrison says. “I collected things like pictures from catalogues of the styles of the day, clothing of the day, a Davidson Leader, a Regina Leader Post, a Saskatoon Star Phoenix, pictures of cars and the different churches and stores in Davidson. There were also pictures of Davidson’s town emblem, the giant coffee pot, along the highway at the north end of town. I put everything in a tin container and the capsules are stored in the town hall. They’ll be opened at a later date — one was in 15 years, I think; the other in 20 years.”
Darlene Polachic writes from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan