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Prince Albert Voice

Janice DePeel

Have You Ever Wondered…?

Last week was especially challenging for me as I was without internet for almost three days (I heard a lot of you collectively gasp! Ha, ha!). Being disconnected wasn’t terribly difficult for me but missing deadlines for work and school presented challenges I hadn’t anticipated, including mentally and emotionally.  Returning to email and reconnecting meant sifting through almost four hundred email, three of which were relevant and I moved them to my inbox.  The rest were trash and were deleted from that folder as well.  I miss the days when we received real mail from the mailbox.  Growing up, mail delivery day was a special event every week.  And sometimes, if Mom was really, really busy she would send one of us children to get the mail.  It didn’t happen very often but when it did, I always felt a ripple of excitement run up my back.  Even today, when I see someone has actually sent something in the mail, and there is ink on the envelope, I save that letter to the very last as I sort through everything else.  That ‘real’ letter has the honour of being savoured and enjoyed along side a cup of tea.  I read through it quickly, take a few sips of tea and re-read the message, taking my time and really letting the words sink into my mind and roll around in my head.  I enjoy the feel of the stationary against my finger tips and I listen for the crinkle of the paper as I turn the page, it just makes me feel happy.  Some things in life are like that … simple little gifts that bring joy to our everyday life.  And it doesn’t have to be a letter, it could be a phone call just to say, “hello” or a flower tucked in a mailbox with a note saying “I’m thinking of you.”  

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Sharing Our Space… Even With Weeds

Have you ever considered what our early pioneer settlers encountered when they came to this area to live?  A lot of space, few people and a lot of wildlife, as well as other challenges, made life a bit difficult until all of it became familiar.  That’s sort of how I feel in our new community.  Generally, stores close much earlier so, if I run out of milk at 9:30, there’s no quick run to Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick more up.  Yet, I do enjoy the quiet.  We are not too close to people, so there are no distractions and, at the same time, SaskTel is just a phone call away when my internet goes down.  Even if the solution is plugging the power cord back into the wall when it was inadvertently unplugged, leaving me without internet for two days!  Which also translated to no television, youtube or online learning for my homeschooled children. They were sure upset when I had other tasks they could do!  Despite the differences that I’m learning to become accustomed to, there are a lot of similarities.  The ones I enjoy the most are the wildlife, of course.  It’s lovely to see all of the birds that come by our home and we always see some creature along the way between Prince Albert and La Ronge.  I hadn’t thought we’d see so much animal activity after the wildfires so it’s encouraging to notice that even in a small space of time a habitat and ecosystem can begin to quickly recover.

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Look Out For Each Other

Fire has always been a part of who I am.  Growing up at Candle Lake, fire meant warmth for our family home, as it was heated by a wood burning furnace all winter.  In the summer,  we’d gather at my Uncle’s cabin where we’d sit at the fire pit sharing stories, laughter and songs.  Somewhere along the way I gained a reputation for being able to build a good fire with little effort.  I’m sort of a ‘one match wonder’ and I won’t lie, I feel a sense of pride when I’m able to light a fire with just one match.  In my family, I’m the fire keeper.  And it’s a role I cherish and enjoy very much.  The smell of the smoke, the colour of the flames, the way the wood snaps and crackles reminds me of a time when life was so simple without the heavy burdens of responsibility associated with adulting.  

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Learning Outside My Comfort Zone

I have long admired the creative talents of people who can put pencil to paper and, with a few quick movements of their hand, some shading and mimicking points of light they’re able to capture a scene, a portrait or landscape.  It must be an incredible gift to be able to draw and paint.  Unfortunately I lack such said talent and don’t even have the ability to draw a straight line using a ruler.  So when I read the University of Saskatchewan was offering non-credited online courses this fall, I took note.  Perusing the list of subject matter they have to offer, I was intrigued by several selections.  Some cost more than others and it’s out of pocket, which means I can only choose one.  But which one?

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Not to Be Disgusting But…!

Have you ever been in a learning situation where the whole class goes off topic for a moment - and in those few minutes you learned more information than you ever wanted to know?  It’s a shock to the system and then (at least for me) my curiosity goes into overdrive.  I MUST know MORE!

The digression from a video essay on colour saturation and mood (I know, juicy and salacious content that holds me at the edge of my seat as I devour pixel after pixel of information… NOT!)  was quickly held hostage when a classmate took a bite of his open faced melted cheese bread and ooey, gooey cheese strings followed when he lowered his snack.  We are all online so he might as well have been sitting in the same room as us, we saw the deliciousness and, as a collective, were outraged he didn’t offer us some.  Immediately the chat lit up with comments and before long, he was sharing the recipe… garlic bread or a slice of your choice but the thicker the bread, the better, apparently.  The bread MUST be evenly buttered to the very edges of the crusts, followed by a teaspoon or so of Miracle Whip.  Then, thinly sliced Black Diamond marble cheese tops the salad dressing and the bread is placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven.  The bread is not broiled, it is allowed to slowly toast and the cheese melts.  It’s how the ooey, gooey richness of the cheese develops so that, when the toasted bread is ready to be eaten, each bite has long strings of ‘telephone wires,’ which is essential to the “perfect” sandwich.  From there, the conversation went downhill fast. 

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Wednesday November 17, 2021