A Prairie Thing

Move over ‘Newfie’.  Whether departing the confines of Smoking Tent or feeling exhausted after a long drive to finally reach Climax, one thing is certain—Saskatchewan just may be the best province or Territory in Canada for unique place names.

A person can travel from Cadillac to Kandahar or from Girvin to Mervin, spend a day communing with nature on Nut Mountain, Onion Lake, or Carrot River, get married and have a romantic honeymoon in Love, spend the rest of your life in Livelong or Young, pick yourself up from a way-too-long blue funk by moving the family from Wartime or Shackleton to Smiley or Unity, make a huge life decision in Major, Choiceland, or Cando, spend the winter in Summerberry or the summer in Winter or Burr, start a business in Success, Reward, or Bounty, live like a king or queen in Imperial, Star City, or Paradise Hill, spend the night brushing your teeth in Colgate, listen to classical music in Mozart, quench your thirst in Drinkwater, or even sip a cup of tea in Earl Grey.

Some towns purposely flaunt their unique names; for example, no one can miss the big sign an hour’s drive due west of Saskatoon that reads “New York is Big, But This is Biggar.”  Whether you are of masculine gender and want to visit Beverly, Francis, Mildred, Margo, Laura or Nora, or a woman who would like to linger in Leoville, Scott, Kyle, Bruno, Allan, Ralph, or Theodore, a person will have a good chuckle at the road signs to any destination in Saskatchewan but will likely have to wait for a date in Findlater.

Last weekend I drove to a small community called Elbow which leans on the eastern shores of Lake Diefenbaker north of Moose Jaw and just south of Eyebrow, a community that appears to be plucked out of the vast prairie landscape.  My purpose for going there was simple—I was missing the sea.  It had been over eight months since I set foot on the familiar fine sand of Crescent Beach in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, before my departure to Arizona last fall, my last embrace with the salty cool breeze, the warm squeaky white sand beneath my bare feet, and the soothing healing energy of the Atlantic Ocean.

Are we there yet?

I must be honest—when I first arrived in Saskatchewan, I seriously questioned my sanity regarding my decision to come to such a flat, desert like, and desolate-looking environment.  The long drive from the US border to Craik, Saskatchewan, was not only arduous on the poorly maintained secondary roads with their potholes and broken pavement but also in stark contrast to the rolling hills, lush pastureland, and snow-capped mountains of Utah, Idaho, and Montana.  But once I saw the water’s edge in Elbow, I felt as though I were right back on the shores of the Atlantic—my new home away from home.

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13 Responses to A Prairie Thing

  1. Pingback: A Town by Any Other Name… | Cultural Quirks

  2. Ginny says:

    Shanomi, as usual you have a very entertaining post, love it!!!! I did not realize there are so many unique place names in Saskatchewan. By the way, did you bring that poor earwig back to its rightful country Canada?

    • Shanomi says:

      Hi Ginny…I love looking at maps, and the more I looked at SK, the more interesting place names I found. There were just too many to include in one post. Thanks for your comment. Regarding the earwig? Haven’t seen hide nor hair, or should I say ‘crust and pinchers’, since I relocated it into the wilds of Arizona. Trust all is well with you.

  3. Peg says:

    Wow! Your literary talent is growing by leaps and bounds. Well written and witty as hell.
    Enjoyed it, plus, plus! Glad to know you’re back in the land o the Canucks even if it’s a fair piece from Crescent Beach. Passed by there today. Wild and beautiful as ever.
    Enjoy the Prairies, my girl and do keep us all posted.

    • Shanomi says:

      Thanks Peg. Being here in Saskatchewan is certainly a different visual experience for me. I’m learning to appreciate the prairie beauty more and more, even the miles of nothingness between towns. Can’t wait to see the mature wheat fields in action with the strong prairie winds.
      Blessings and thanks for tagging along.

  4. Wendy says:

    Loved this post — just goes to show you how very diverse we are both in landscape and thinking. Love the fact you’re back in Canada and discovering what an amazing land we live in. I love Sask!!! it really is beautiful. In the fall it’s the waving grasses that would remind you of the ocean; a vast land. W

    • Shanomi says:

      Thanks Wendy. I’m really starting to appreciate the beauty of the prairie landscape. The longer I’m in Saskatchewan, the more that is grabbing me since what first caught my eye on that initial drive from the US border. It’s all an experience, and that’s why I’m on this journey – to live in the moment and to appreciate all that I see and everyone I meet. Blessings to you. Shanomi

  5. Margaret says:

    Queen Vicki’s birthday – the Victoria Weekend – the sun is promising to actually shine for three days in a row! WOW – the apple blossoms are displaying their unique peachy-pink temptation to the birds and the bees – a promise of this year’s fresh crop of Adam and Eve’s temtation – the yard sales are side by side in good old Bridgewater – folks enjoying folks – catching up on the winter solstice news…..our wee gormet beer club across the road – Hell Bay Brewing is busting with customers – a pure gold product – all natural – Oh yes, and our mutual gal friend Shirley is hosting her Broad Cove plant sale – all is right with the world – don’t you think? The photos you send are heart warming – O’Canada – I recall the emotion that travels from my toes to the tear in my eyes when I catch a view of NS from the air. Cherry Hill is aboud with blossom – it is spring-soltice snow dancing on every branch – plus plucking at everyone sinus – kachoooo! As your previous T. Berrie asks – so where you to next, ducky, in NFLD’ees???? Safe travels – love your writing – with love the scribe from Cherry Hill!

    • Shanomi says:

      Good Victoria Day weekend to ya, ye Scribe from Cherry Hill. Me tinks tings is a jumpin’ der on de south shore, eh Ducky? Tanks fer havin’ a look at me last post. Why is me talkin’ li dis? Tanks fer startin’ sumpthin der TerriB.

  6. Terrie Zweep says:

    You ARE having fun with words with this piece of writing. Sure brought a smirk across my face.
    I don’t know, me tinks dos Newfs still ‘ave it namin’ dare towns, my ducky. After all where is your HEARTSDESIRE ? Certainly not by finding DILDO and you can’t find a dog in POUCH COVE, either !

    So where you to next, ducky ?


    • Shanomi says:

      Me tinks, Ducky, me mizwell stay wer me is ‘n Saskabush, furwhile anywez. Ova ta you, me Ducky girl.

      • sandy lewis says:

        Hi Shanomi,
        Wonderful descriptive, entertaining writtings. Some with lessons. Have shared the writtings about your decision makings, well said. So glad you are enjoying your new found life. Look forward to more.

      • Shanomi says:

        Hi Sandy. Thanks for your wonderful feedback. I’ve been thinking about you as I help my friends here in SK plant their gardens. Hope your growing season is an abundant one with the earwigs, slugs, and other hungry critters at a minimum. Will miss receiving your offerings of squash, lettuce, beans, etc.
        Blesssings to you both

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