Martin Bystran, East Coulee, AB

I was born in Czechoslovakia in 1902. I first started coal mining in Wayne with friends who were from my village in the old country. I shovelled coal into boxcars outside. There were no loaders in those days.

Then I joined the army. In 1943, I came back to the coal mines in the Drumheller Valley. I went to the Empire Mine and the manager said, "I'm going to make a good driver out of you." Later, I worked at the Murray, Crown and Atlas mines.

Then in 1965, I said, "No more, I don't want to sweat no more!" I was laying track and the manager always gave me lazy men who didn't want to work. What the hell was I going to do?

When I retired, the manager called me and said, "Come, I'll give you any job, any shift you want." But no, when I retired, I didn't want to go back to work. I would have gone back to Czechoslovakia ten years ago if they'd given me my miner's pension.

Each fall, I make my own chokecherry wine. Let's have a drink — like to try it?