Family rock finds its way home to Calgary man after 50 years

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A local family with a love of treasure hunting made a surprising discovery on their property last Sunday. As Jessie Weisner explains, the discovery reconnected a stranger with a piece of his childhood. – May 8, 2020

A rock engraved with the names of a Calgary family has returned to its owner more than 50 years later, thanks to a seven-year-old boy’s discovery.

Hudson McLeod recently spotted the rock while searching for treasure on his family’s property in De Winton, Alta.

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“It was Friday evening and Hudson — he’s a bit of an amateur treasure hunter with his metal detector — he asked if we could go down to the pond and look for some treasure in an area we hadn’t explored yet. So we headed down and parked the little ATV and hopped off,” Hudson’s father Greg said.

“I don’t even think we were out of the seat and Hudson pointed and said, ‘Hey dad, check this out. I found something really cool.’
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“So we wandered over and saw this big piece of concrete that had some writing on it.”
That writing was the names of Ron MacDonald and his three family members, along with the words, Nov. 1967 — the date the family had decided to etch their names in stone.

After finding the concrete stone, Hudson and his dad decided to do some investigating with hopes of finding the family displayed on the rock, and within 10 minutes, they found Ron MacDonald.

The MacDonald family.

When Ron received the call that the rock had been found, he couldn’t believe his luck. He said he remembers the exact day his family decided to sign their names on the concrete slate more than 50 years ago.

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“My parents bought a new house out in Maple Ridge and my father had an intention to build a patio in the backyard,” Ron said.

“I remember when he did build the patio, he engraved our names in the patio, in the stone.

“We ended up moving to Lethbridge in 1970, and I remember also saying as a kid, ‘Well, is the rock coming with us?’

“Unfortunately, it couldn’t come with us, so that was basically the end of it and we carried on.”

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Ron said last weekend, his wife received a Facebook message from the McLeod family with a picture of the rock, and instantly, a lot of memories came flooding back of his childhood in Calgary.

He added that sometime after his family moved away, the patio was demolished, but the stone wasn’t gone forever.

The fragments of the deck ended up a part of a pond on the McLeods’ property, but now, the rock has been returned to one of its owners, McLeod said.

“They came out on Sunday and verified it was part of Ron’s childhood home,” he said. “We got to spend a little time with them, which was really nice.”

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Ron now lives in Calgary with his wife Maureen. He said he’s excited to see the rock return to the same city he called home when this stone was first engraved.

“I think about my parents, and I really wish they were alive to see this.
“I’m sure they would have been pretty happy to see that again, and I’m sure that they’re quite proud that the rock is back in our family again.”
Ron said he’s grateful to the McLeod family, especially Hudson, for being so adventurous and persistent in reuniting him with this family heirloom.
“We’re going to keep it in the backyard here,” he said. “It’s just going to be a subject for good conversation… It will be passed on in our family, our son will have it in the future for his family.”
— With files from Jessie Weisner

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