I’m Tall and Don’t Smoke with Linda Bennett

June 10, 2018

I love the way this story started. Two southern Alberta kids meet up at a Thanksgiving dinner in Edmonton. The young man is tired of dating. All he’d like to do is meet a tall girl who didn’t smoke and didn’t want to get married. The tall young lady is planning to go to school to study X-ray technology. And she didn’t smoke. In the early 70’s you could not enter that program of studies as a married woman. So she didn’t go to school. They got married instead!

Shortly after that Linda and Garth Bennett moved to Sundance, AB so he would work at the power plant. The houses were built by the company, their backyard was Lake Wabamun, and Garth worked right down the road. They enjoyed young married life there but were thrilled when TransAlta (Calgary Power) changed the “stand by rules” slightly to allow workers to live within 20 minutes from the plant “as the bird flies”. The couple found a beautiful acreage to build their own home with the help of a whole lot of friends (who still complain of their sore backs!).

Linda knew immediately her new community (close to Spring Lake) was a safe and caring place to live. As they slept in their Suburban, while finishing their house, three trucks came bombing down the driveway. At first Linda thought she was a goner until she realized it was the neighbourhood pose coming to check in because they worried someone was trying to steal their building supplies. Linda was convinced that her neighbours care! They were able to make that house and community their forever home in 1977.

Linda and Garth had five children over quite a few years. The year they sent their oldest to university they were sending their youngest to kindergarten. Linda began volunteering at Blueberry Community School in the mid 90’s. She loved the school because they were family oriented, supportive, cooperative, and safe with helpful parents. Everything had a small town feeling. She ended up working there as an Educational Assistant for 18 years.

Those kids from the south have enjoyed northern AB where there are rolling hills, green summers, long hikes and canoeing on Hasse Lake. The water table was much higher when the kids were little and they would have lots of fun “bowling the birds” as the canoe slipped through the water.

An important part of life in the Bennett home is their faith and activities associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Linda has been deeply involved at many levels over the years by leading Scouts, Cubs, Young Women’s Groups, camps, and serving as the Primary Education Area Director. Garth served as the Liason with the contractor when the church was built in the early 80’s and, more recently, has served as Bishopric for a few years. In this church you learn by attending and doing. Linda can brag that she has participated in the Christmas Pageant for the last 25 years…..but this Christmas she won’t be there.

Linda credits the church for helping her step out of her comfort zone and try many things that she would never have chosen herself. This style of thinking opens one to opportunities. Linda and Garth are taking one of these opportunities on a different side of the equator and of the world in just a few weeks. They will go on a mission for 18 months to New Zealand. Linda says she has a huge faith in Christ and just wants to share and help people in any way she can. “The Lord has been really good to me and I want to give back.”

This lovely couple will be wonderful at this overseas mission because they believe that “people are what the world is about”.

“In growth I hope we do not lose that small town feeling.”

“Talk over your fence. Find out who your neighbour is.”

“Know and respect your neighbour. Watch out for one another. Call people by name.”

“My biggest fear is to become detached. Connection is so much fun! I love the Looney Swim at the TriLeisure. Some complain that there are so many people, but I think that is what makes it wonderful! To be able to do things without money. Taking care of each other that way so that more people can be involved.”

Linda believes in the Walton style of family living where the generations can help each other. They have built a loft over the garage so that in their elder years one of their kids can live in the house while she and Garth occupy the loft. She smiles at the brilliance of her idea! She’s tall, doesn’t smoke and is pretty smart! Her life will always be about people.

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