Yesterday may be past, but it is not done with. (Francis Gay 1959)
Square pegs in round holes, or is it the other way around?
It was the story of the cowboy set me thinking.
Big Ray was this cowboy’s name. He’d been out on the range for years. He seldom came to town, and never went to the big city. He had friends in the city who kept coaxing him to visit their centre of provincial, if not national action. Big cities are feeling their oats. He finally accepted. Big Ray had never seen a mall, so being hard core city folk, their biggest mall was their first outing.
After killing the day wandering the place, prodding, poking, peering, walking, eating, trying, tasting, testing, sipping, buying, they noted he carried no bags of goodies and asked him why, and what he thought of the place.
“Well sir,” he mused, “I gotta admit I ain’t never seen so many things I don’t need.”
Now there’s a man carrying an attitude bigger than his horse.
An attitude shopping moguls would want him to keep at home on the range or else they’d be tarrin’ and featherin’ him, and riding him outta town on a rail if he parleyed that kind of talk in their boardrooms.
So I got to wondering what this cowboy would tell us is a gift worth having!
I’m guessing, but I’d bet my hat he’d tell us about the meeting he went to in his nearby small town before coming to the big city.
“So,” said the chairperson, “let’s wrap up our meeting with everyone telling us what’s the loveliest thing you’ve seen lately?”
“A sunset that would drive an artist wild,” Alice quickly responded. Mary told how she’d been deeply moved just watching two small children walking to school hand in hand on a crisp but sunny November morning. George was struck walking past the flower shop on the town’s short Main Street which was so full of colour on that miserable grey Tuesday last week, and Louise, a dyed-in-wool-do-it-her-way lady, brought the gathering to hearty laughter, with, “The loveliest thing I’ve seen recently was a pile of newly ironed clothes at the end of a wet day’s washing.”
“Them folk,” Big Ray announced, “have got their head in the right place.”
So using his criteria, and those folks at the meeting, what would your answer be to the question, what is the loveliest thing you’ve received from the Yukon this November?
At first blush I’d choose snow on Grey Mountain’s west side catching the morning pink from the sun as cedar waxwings, like new, fresh, flashing leaves covered our mayday trees gobbling berries as if there was no tomorrow, as a black ghost comes into the growing light the now friendly neighbourhood black fox, nose in a cardboard cup, with ravens bouncing about him trying to tease it away, then suddenly the unexpected — in the midst of the winged waxwing melee, and the black players, a flash of red grabs all eyes and attention. The loveliest sight, and the most unusual, of this month, a November robin.
Big Ray, and some of us who are hooked on his home-on-the-range message, are outnumbered eight to two.
While he and his partner hustle the herd in that magnificent part of the Canadian West where the foothills and the prairies meet, eight city folk are hustling into malls nationwide, dashing south across the border too, bringing shopping close to, if not making it the top activity vying to be crowned our national sport. I doubt if even a Chicken Soup for Cowboys could change the odds and swing the world his way.
But hey, let’s face it, shopoholics have a point. I mean there’s no way you can gift-wrap children walking hand in hand, a robin in a tree, and Louise’s pile of newly ironed clothes, well how hokey can you get, eh? So it’s a shopping, and a sharing we will go, ho, ho, ho!
A tip of the hat to all postmen, and women, and especially the one who’d been delivering mail in the small town apartment building for years, but not once had he mail for the door which opened one day and the elderly woman asked if there was any mail for her.
A reluctant no, was followed by an invitation to come in and see her newest pleasure — her first television set.
He admired it, visited awhile and, as he was leaving, she touched his arm and said, “Thank you for listening, I’m so excited and I had no one to share it with!”
May you, and I, and all we meet and greet have someone with whom we can share the pleasures of the coming season.