Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, by Margaret Ullrich, part 17, Transplanting

Sometimes life just gives you little gifts.
During our walk this morning there was an excellent cloud cover.
The clouds softened the worst of the heat wave we've been having.

We each got a free Slurpee at our local 7-11.
Today is July 11.
That's 7/11.
It was their official birthday.
A Slurpee's brain freeze is like a slap in the face when summer is blasting away.
A Slurpee on 11/7 just wouldn't be the same.

The Mama Robin is bringing worms to her nest.
I don't think she's snacking while she watches us through the window.
The eggs must have hatched.
But no sign of the babies, yet.

It was a cool brisk day forty years ago.
After driving from Ontario to Saskatchewan, we were very tired.
I didn't write much about Saskatchewan.
I'm blaming our being tired for that.

Our neighboring province has a charm of its own.
Brent Butt created a sitcom Corner Gas about life in small town Saskatchewan.
The theme song Not a Lot Goin' On has that self-deprecating prairie humor:

First you tell me that your dog ran away.
Then tell me that it took three days.

And then there's the ending song:

It's a great big place.
Full of nothing but space.
And it's my happy place.

We've found the prairies to be our happy place, too.

We arrived in Prairie Oasis Trailer Park, Saskatchewan a little after noon.
it was a nice park with all the amenities.
Not as fancy as the first trailer park Lucy and Ricky visited.
No PA system telling folks to pick up their mail.
It had a small grocery store and the sites had been paved with asphalt.

We noticed the other campers had a piece of wood under the post.
The pieces of wood looked like coasters under a glass of beer.
We didn't have a piece of wood.
we just set up the same as we always did.
Until then we'd been in more rustic campgrounds.
Dirt and gravel are a little tougher than asphalt.
Especially in the prairies in the summer.

After Paul set up the trailer, we went to have lunch in Moose Jaw.
Moose Jaw was down the hill from the campground.
We were so pleased to find a Woolworth's.
What 7-11 is to kids in Winnipeg, Woolworth's cafeteria is to kids in New York.
A Woolworth strawberry shortcake was like home cooking.

We went on a shopping spree at a small hardware store:
a welcome mat and a spray nozzle for the sink.
Paul was thrilled when he saw they had pocketwatches.
To him it was something real railroad men had.
Did I mention Paul is a rail fan?

An engine on exhibit in Manitoba.
Real pocketwatches in Saskatchewan.
Paul was beginning to like the prairies.

We picked up some reading material at a used book store and headed back to camp.
While I wrote a letter home, Paul drew a moose on our campground receipt.

Since we were in the Central Time Zone, we called home earlier.
Ma said, "I haven't heard from you in such a long time."
I told Ma they didn't have a phone where we'd been the day before.
No point telling her about backing out of a farmer's field in the dark.
Our trip wasn't quite as orderly as a professionally planned cruise would've been.

Ma was following our progress on a large map of Canada.
She asked where we were.
I told her, "Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan."
She said, "Moose Mouth, Sasa Hoose."
"No," I said, "Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan."
It took her a little while to find us on the map.

Back in the trailer, we checked out the television shows.
They were reruns of what we'd watched in New York: 
The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Marcus Welby, The Brady Bunch,
Mary Tyler Moore and The Persuaders.

We decided to walked around before we turned in for the night.
Walking is a better way than driving to end the day.
We enjoyed the prairie sunset.

The prairies is our happy place.

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