I’m feeling a bit over, as in overextended, overwhelmed, overburdened, and really over the pain I’m dealing with in my foot. Nothing serious and nothing in particular just lots on my mind, plates in the air, and a 14-week-old puppy who is as sweet and cute as can be and who has turned out house inside out for the time being. (No regrets, just keeping it real.)
This morning, I took advantage of an opportunity to drive through my old neighbourhood and reground myself. I grew up on north hill here in Moose Jaw, in an area they now call “The Avenues”. I visit there now and then, drive up and down streets, and think about what it was like there a half-century ago.
What struck me this morning was how many cars are parked along the streets. It wasn’t like that when I was growing up. Back then, cars were parked in driveways or garages and the streets were mostly bare of vehiclesm at least that’s the way I remember it.
Now, bylaws are being passed for some of the narrowest streets, prohibiting parking on both sides because it’s nearly impossible to navigate when both sides of the street are lined with cars. Why so many cars? I wondered. It’s the same number of houses. Then it struck me.
Many of these once-upon-a-time-single-family homes are now rented out to students who attend the nearby Saskatchewan Polytechnic school (Saskatchewan Training Institute or STI when I was a kid). Multiple students probably equates to multiple cars per home. That’s got to me at least part of the reason.
I drove up and down tree-lined streets with boulevards. I drove the street I used to walk to go to school, and passed the school that reminds me of the one Ralphie went to in The Christmas Story. I remembered my friend Rayne Hack who lived in a house that’s been well kept up. Rayne had aquariums that fascinated me. I remembered Janice Birch who had a collection of Barbie dolls I envied.
I drove past what was once Small’s grocery store at the end of 7th Avenue and is now a daycare; past what used to be Scotty’s Hardware where I once spied a pretty blue decanter in the window that I coveted for my mom for Christmas; past the one-time Church of the Nazarene but what is now a private residence; and past the house dad built where I grew up. Past the now-demolished Tom’s corner store. Past the Minto United Church where I sang in the choir. Past, my best friend, Nona’s house. Past Elgin park. Past. Past. Past.
From there, I needed some present and a prairie fix, so I drove to south hill, the part of the city where we live now.
Here in Moose Jaw there’s this north hill vs south hill thing. When we were looking for a home I wouldn’t even consider looking at anything on south hill until all our options on north hill were exhausted. It all worked out and I love where we live now, south hill or not.
It was funny when my cousin (also a Moose Javian) visited this summer.
“I can’t believe you’re a south hillian!” he said. “It’s hardly even Moose Jaw.”
I understood completely. But a south hillian I am, and yes, Les, it is still Moose Jaw. 🙂
Anyway, back to this morning. I drove to the most south westerly part of the city—our neighbourhood. It’s hop, skip, and jump to the city limits from out house. The road opens to the wide open prairie, and I can breathe there. To quote the title of Lorna Crozier’s prairie memoir, I feel Small Beneath the Sky and am comforted by my smallness.
The subdivision we live in is on the other side of those trees in the distance. It’s difficult to tell, but there’s construction happening over there. They’re building a brand new joint-use school and a development of new houses. For now, it’s just beautiful prairie.
A short distance from here, I drove to the edge of the Wakamow Valley where, once-upon-a-time-when-I-was-a-kid, there was a wild animal park. Today, it’s full of hiking trails and Gerry frequents the area with a group of like-minded hiker types he’s connected with to form an unofficial Moose Jaw Hiking Club (anyone who knows him, saw that coming). The fall colours are at their peak.
Home now. The Bee Gees are playing on my Alexa, because sometimes you just need some Bee Gees. Molly’s snoozing after a rousing playtime, Gerry just arrived home from pilates class, and I’ve pulled together ingredients to make soup in my Instant Pot (love that thing). We’re expecting company from Kamloops.
Mind if I share another picture of Miss Molly before I go?