There is something to be said for living in small town, Alberta.
Well, actually, perhaps I shouldn’t specify Alberta.
I think it could be small town, anywhere.
When I started out on the long journey of married life, it was in a city.
And it was okay. I figured out the bus routes, managed to sleep through the wail of police cars and ambulances and tried to adopt the ‘one day at a time’ attitude and just be happy.
But, sometimes when I found myself in the living room of our tiny apartment, folding what seemed like a mountain of diapers and Gordon Lightfoot would be croning the song, “Don’t it make you want to go home,” I would think to myself, “yes, oh yes!
And so one day we packed up our three kids, our pets and the other possessions we had accumulated along the way which weren’t very much at all and left the concrete jungle of the city far behind us.
And drove to small town Alberta.
And it was good.
It still is.
It’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what is good about it.
It could be when you walk down the street and people know your name and seem to find the time to stop and ask how you are doing.
It could be just the feeling you get. Friendliness. Hospitality. Genuine caring.
And even if it’s minus 40, these feelings are warm and good and remind us, in a comforting way, that some things, the important things, never change.
There is, of course, always the downside of living anywhere. Crime, break-ins, theft and more of the same.
People get hungry. People get desperate. People have issues. Addiction. Alcoholism. And the list goes on. No doubt, these afflictions are not just limited to city life.
I am well aware that it is good to be cognizant of those facts.
The other day I was looking out my kitchen window at the large expanse of snow that covered my back yard. It was a perfectly laid out white blanket, undisturbed , except for these prints that seemed to travel in a kind of weird pattern. I was sure they were elongated foot prints.
“Oh my goodness,” I thought to myself. ‘Someone is trying to break in.
I stared at the tracks critically, though nearsightedly, noticing how they circled around carefully by the fence looking for the best break-in spot.”
The patio doors? The downstairs bedroom window?
I visualized intruders stalking through my back yard when I was fast asleep in my bed, blissfully unaware of what was going on.
I froze on the spot as all the possibilities went through my mind.
My husband said he thought they were deer tracks.
But I, in my wisdom, said, “no, I don’t think so. I think they are human.”
I took pictures on my phone and sent them to this person we know who is kind of like a ‘track’ expert kind of guy.
“Deer tracks,” he said decidedly. “Those are deer tracks.”
The deer ,apparently, did not want to break in, but only wanted to nibble on the cherry tree in the back yard, no doubt, looking for some possible substance.
Speaking of visitors, we’ve had lots lately, mostly of the human variety.
We’ve had our neighbour who, being neighbourly and good at such things, fixed our furnace, not once, but several times.
We’ve had our niece. She works in town, but lives in the country, and, one night, found herself in need of a warm bed after an unexpected snow storm blew out all its white fury over the roads and highways giving them the potential to be the places for accidents waiting to happen.
We’ve had my sister and her son, who came for an early morning visit, bringing smiles, donuts and coffee. I love having the company and found the conversation that cautiously edged around the peripheral edges of politics in Alberta, but then actually dove right in, to be stimulating and thought provoking.
Yes. It is true. Crime is a concern, no matter where you live and for lots of us, financial ends never seem to meet.
But, thank goodness for family, for neighbours, and for friends.
It makes the road ahead a little easier and the journey, itself, quite delightful.
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.