The onset of cold, wet weather last week made me seriously think about what is just around the corner. I always maintain there is at least a month of good weather remaining after school resumes. While that may be true most years, everything seemed to be early this year and that could be true for the next season (I am not going to use that W word). It’s unfortunate that good weather which is conducive to harvesting in late summer and early fall doesn’t always occur in one consecutive stretch. While I do not farm, I know it can be especially hard on a person’s nerves when rain moves in after a few days of sunny conditions and stalls combining. Then nice weather returns and the cycle repeats itself or is broken by a beautiful Indian summer. I am counting on the latter and I know many producers are doing the same this year. One thing is for sure, in the months ahead the weather will get colder and I will be watching less T.V. programming.
We have over 100 television channels to choose from, and yet I am spending less and less time in front of the electronic babysitter. It’s the continuation of a process that began a few years ago when I became frustrated with satellite T.V. How could that happen to a guy who as a child had one channel to watch on a black and white television?
Firstly, the same programs are carried simultaneously on many of the stations we now receive, so that severely limits a person’s viewing options. Secondly, I don’t find much in the way of positive programing as many shows are dark and revolve around disturbing subject matter that I do not want to fill my brain with, even if it is fiction or fantasy. Thirdly, most television shows are not educational – they are recreational. I like to relax and put my mind and body in neutral after a long or difficult day and have found that I can relax well and also learn something while watching a documentary or educational program. Watching a good comedy is also a great way to relax and lighten up and I was reminded of that last week when we tuned in to Still Standing.
It is a CBC production featuring comedian Jonny Harris as he explores communities that are battling tough situations and overcoming. The season finale focused on Maple Creek and how the town survived the BSE (mad cow) crisis and the devastating flood of 2010. The humour in the show is a great example of how negative subjects can be addressed in a positive manner. It featured local businesses and their specialties, cattlemen, auctioneers and the rebuilding of damaged and destroyed homes and commercial enterprises.
Earlier in the year, Angela and I (along with our daughter and son-in-law) were among the spectators who packed the Legion Hall to capacity in order to see Harris and his team of writers perform stand-up comedy and share their views on the town and its western heritage. Our sides literally ached from laughing when the performance concluded. Snippets of that production were included in the television show.
Another production that totally impressed me was the Saskatchewan Student Leadership Conference which Maple Creek Composite School hosted. I was unable to attend any of the conference but have not heard a negative report from anyone who was there or contributed to the event. I am certainly impressed at how Maple Creek area businesses and residents got behind the event and supported it.
The 600 student leaders who attended and were billeted with residents in the town and surrounding area were friendly, courteous, grateful and made an outstanding impression on their hosts. That was certainly the case regarding the young women from Eatonia and Cupar who stayed with us. People who say society is going to hell may be right in the long run (time will tell), but the youth who attended the leadership conference are definitely bucking that trend and offer hope and optimism for the future.
The three-day event was conducted efficiently and smoothly and I extend congratulations to the organizers. They did an exceptional job. The conference featured a wide range of activities including a banquet, dance and notable speakers such as Amberley Synder. The world champion barrel racer was paralyzed below the waist in a vehicle accident in 2010, but battled back to beat her pre-accident times. She continues to compete in rodeo at the college level and is working on her master’s degree at Utah State University.
On a totally unrelated matter, it is really encouraging to see a lot of interest in the operation and governance of our small town. I was surprised to learn there are three candidates for mayor and eight people vying for positions on town council.
On that note, I hope recycling equipment will not be dismantled or sold off until time and experience conclusively prove it is more economical to use an out-of-town contractor than local residents to recycle. User rates have an uncanny way of substantially increasing when there are no other service options.