Lyle, Irene (Johnson)

(1900 - 1976)

"Hello, Mom," Irene Lyle's husband called from the bedroom where he was installing wallboard.

"Hi, Eric. How's things?" came the calm reply as Irene stepped into the house after a hunting trip. Then almost as an afterthought, she added, "I wonder if I can ask you to get me some water in a basin as I cut my hand."

- Gram's 'ventures: Irene Lyle, self-published, 1970.

That was something of an understatement. The "cut" was a bullet wound, sustained when Irene's rifle accidentally discharged as she was holding her hand over the end of the barrel. The bullet had cut a main artery. Still, by using her teeth and her good hand to tighten a polka-dot bandana around her wrist, Irene was able to slow the bleeding enough to get on her horse and cover the three miles (4.8 kilometres) home at a brisk lope. Now that she was home she maintained a calm exterior in the hopes of avoiding shocking her husband too badly.

This story exemplifies Irene Lyle's tough and adventurous nature. Whether she was riding rodeo broncos in her teens, coping with six babies born over seven years, completing long hours of farm work when her husband was sick with rheumatism or hunting and trapping to feed her family, Irene Lyle always maintained a sense of humour and enthusiasm.

Despite the volume of her work, she found energy to commit outrageous pranks, such as dumping a boxful of frogs into her husband's bed or dressing up like a bandit to "rob" the neighbours. She also taught dancing to teens at the local school and took up taxidermy, mounting a collection of animals for display at the Sundre Museum, where it stayed for several years.

Category: Sundre