I gotta say, friends – yesterday, I was really proud to be an Albertan. Winter roared in like a lion with snow falling all night and all day. The wind whipped around like nobody’s business causing it to feel like -20 and still, life went on as usual here – it truly never ceases to amaze me.
Conditions that would shut some entire countries down is just another day on the prairies for us. I, like everybody else, had to carry on with my parental duties regardless of the weather and made my way to Wal Mart not once, but three times. My daughter’s primary school still sent the kids out for recess and my teenage son, ignoringbhis mother’s pleas and carrying on, still walked to school with inappropriate, teenage winter clothing, a hoodie and a purposefully, unzipped ski-jacket, decreeing that it was not yet “glove” weather.
Approximatly 100 folks showed up for our town’s annual “Christmas Tree Light Up” on main street – we could barely see the entertainment for the evening, the school choir, for the blizzarding snow but they carrolled their little hearts out anyway and so did we. We all even hung around long enough to have some of the barbequed burgers that the town was offering up and to stand in line (outside no less) to get into the community hall so the kids could have a chance to sit on Santa’s knee ( totally worth it, he’s definintly the real deal).
A friend of mine is an Edmonton city fireman and yesterday was his day off. Instead of pulling the covers over his head at the sight of the winter storm that raged quitely outside, he elected to venture outside to shovel the driveway of six of his neighbours because they weren’t “lucky” enough to also have the day off. Aside from my friend’s true-Albertan, big heartedness, the sight that warmed the cockles of my heart most of all, was that of the parking lots for the local skating and curling rinks being totally full at 9:30 PM. When you’re Albertan, it’s never to cold for hockey or curling, I guess, or for sitting inside a cold place when it’s just as cold outside and I’m willing to bet my touque that no one in there was complainig about being there as long as they had a chance to grab their Timmy’s before they went.
I was so impressed with the turn out at the local rinks that it brought a tear to my eye. I couldn’t help but ask myself, what kind of people are we??!! We are such a hearty bunch- there’s no messing around in these parts and very little stops us from doing what needs doing. Winter, for all it’s challenges, seems to bring out the best in us. It’s as if we embrace the strength of character, the physial toughness and the staunch, dependable neighbourliness that best defines us this time of year, in order to get through it or even to rise above it.
If you’re tuning in from another province or even another part of the world and voud thinking of arranging a mortgage with us in order to live here in Alberta – don’t be intimidated – you’ll get used to it. You’ll find that any one of us are willing to point out the best snow shovel to buy and the correct hockey jersey to wear so that you’ll fit right in and soon, you’ll find your self being swept up by Alberta culture which I think should be defined by the following statement; In Alberta, you are only limited by your choice of winter tires…or your neighbour’s choice of winter tires because he’s probably willing to dig you out of that ditch and take you to your 9PM hockey game if you buy him a double double. Game on, winter!