Hands across our land . . . Meeting people from across Canada seemed like a fine way to begin a New Year, even if only in print.

Hands across our land . . .

Meeting people from across Canada seemed like a fine way to begin a New Year, even if only in print.

It’s easy to do with a selection of some of the 700 plus Canadian Community Newspapers from small towns and cities in all provinces and territories.

You can read about people who could be your neighbour, and in doing so, you find, despite the vast geography of this place which helps keep us apart, you’re also sharing similar community, territorial, provincial or national concerns.

It’s a sense of sharing you’ll not find in any other media, especially on national television, in national newspapers.

For example, HELP FILL HANGERS was an attention-getting front-page headline. The half-page colour photograph of a lady holding two empty coat hangers complemented it.

“The appeal is to make sure every kid in Leduc has a warm coat this winter,” Linda Topping, chairperson of the local Kinette appeal, is quoted.

An article about their food bank on the Op-Ed pages of the Leduc Representative confirmed the need.

The other side of the coin came quickly enough. “Town Council Contemplates Hiking Pay” came in the next paper off the pile, the South Peace News. The subject surfaced in others too, telling us about the $1,000 Christmas bonuses handed out by the Canadian Wheat Board “in recognition of the ‘stress’ they have been under during the Winnipeg-based agency’s fight with the federal government.”

Although the Ontario MLAs topped the “be-kind-to-yourself” list, voting themselves a 25-per-cent raise on their second-last day of sitting, and then scampered off to celebrate Christmas.

To be fair, this is simply proof positive of the continually voiced need for us to pay big money to get big-thinking people to run big governments and big businesses for us, eh?

This money thing popped up quite regularly amidst local sports pages, the Alberta papers with more want ads than you could shake a stick at, and then a story in Saskatchewan’s  Shaunavon Standard stopped me, and my unscientific study, cold.

Buried in the back pages, an enterprising reporter introduced us to the story of a man who was “born to farm.” Here was just what the doctor ordered to kick a new year into high gear: an inspiring tale of a man and a woman.

John Iverson, the story begins, just completed his 76th harvest on his farm on the south Saskatchewan prairie.

Apparently John’s achievement came and went without fanfare except for this half-page story in his local newspaper.

As the piece, without a byline, tells us: “He’s outlasted the Depression, world wars, 14 prime ministers, and two pacemakers.

“Only recently did John begin curtailing his workload. He sold most of his cattle three or four years ago, but still maintains a small herd of five cows and five calves.

“‘I just got to the age where I couldn’t do as much as I used to,’” he explained.

Last spring he sold 21 quarters of his land, although he kept six quarters — half cultivated and half grassland — and harvested 104 hectares of wheat this past summer.

The secret of his longevity, he told the readers, is his wife Anna, who shared in every step of their work and journey together.

Now that’s a legacy, but it’s also a family farm that’s … well, here’s John again: “At one time I was hoping my son would stay on the farm, but I never said anything. It was up to him.

“But when I look at things now, it’s just as well that he didn’t get involved. He made the right decision. It’s just too hard to make a living at farming these days. Grain prices are so low and your costs are so high.”

While various magazines, newspapers, television networks seek men and women of the year, to shower with accolades and brass statues, I nominate in their place this couple, and the thousands like them, who feed us.

I wonder where, and who, will control our food supply in coming decades when men and women like them are gone? I hope it’s still people like them, although I think they’d feel uncomfortable around a place so far removed from the land as a big boardroom table, although I’ll bet the decisions would be people-oriented as well as money-oriented.

A tip of the hat to you, and to 2007.  May you be lucky enough to meet people like John and Anna wherever you go, and may our leaders be inspired by, and listen to, people like them, the salt-of-the-earth.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media after delivering the budget in the legislature in Whitehorse on March 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Territorial budget predicts deficit of $12.7 million, reduced pandemic spending in 2021-2022

If recovery goes well, the territory could end up with a very small surplus.

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read