By Marcia Love
What three words can make you happy when you’re sad, and sad when you’re happy?
Nothing is forever.
I read that riddle in one of my favourite mystery novels a number of years ago and it has always stuck with me, because in every situation we go through in life it rings true, one way or the other.
Except this time it applies both ways for me. I’ve always known it would be a very sad day when I left this community. But I also knew that in order for me to do that, it would have to be for a very good reason.
I’m sad to announce I will be leaving the Maple Creek News and this wonderful town next week. But I’m also happy to say it’s because I’ve received an excellent job opportunity that will allow me to expand my horizons and meet new challenges as a reporter and photographer in Spruce Grove, Alta.
The past six years have been amazing, and I’m so glad I had the chance to experience life in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. As I leave here, I say goodbye to dozens of friends who became like family when I was thousands of miles away from my own. (I’ve also probably made a couple enemies along the way who are glad to see me go, in which case it’s a win-win all around).
When I came here as a naive 22-year-old fresh out of college with little life experience, this community gave me a whole lot of it. I attended my first rodeo here, returning home mud-covered and grinning ear to ear. I was here when the flood ripped through Maple Creek. I watched the vision of a new health care facility become a reality. I cultivated new friendships and watched these amazing people go from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’, getting married and starting families of their own. I bought my first house here. I sold my first house here.
I honestly didn’t expect to last any longer than a year or two in this place, doing my time out West before moving back to Ontario like so many other reporters do. But this community surprised me, and I surprised myself.
I have to admit, being a reporter in a small town is pretty much the best gig ever. I can’t even say how many times I haven’t been able to get a hold of someone for an interview, then walked downtown to get my mail only to run into them at the post office. I’ve also retained an impressive amount of knowledge in the areas of cattle, crops, taxes, cougars and even masonry after all the research and interviews I’ve done while working on articles. And I’ve actually only had two people hang up on me, which says a lot in itself about the politeness of everyone in the Southwest.
But really, all I can say is thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve this community doing what I love. Thank you for allowing me to tell your stories; for inviting a near stranger into your homes so you could share them with me and give me the chance to share them with others; for taking time out of your day to chat with me on the phone. Thank you for making the effort to stop me on the street or in the store to offer a news tip or a thanks for something I wrote or photographed.
My job is a strange one in the sense that it means I’m often there on either one of the worst days of someone’s life or one of the best. It has meant dealing with a number of tragic events that were difficult to report on. But it has also meant letting people know about a lot of amazing things and the amazing people making them happen.
A rewarding part of my time here is knowing that bits and pieces of my work will live on in the scrapbooks and photo albums of residents — whether it’s something as simple as someone’s grandson playing in his first minor hockey tournament or something as historically significant as the flood of 2010. It all matters to someone.
Thank you for making me a part of your community. I will never forget this gem of a place and the people who made it a very memorable opportunity for me to grow as a person.
It’s been said people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Whichever describes you and I, thank you for having an impact on my life, and I hope I’ve touched yours in a positive way, too. Maybe we’ll see each other again someday.