A Little Bit Western


Paradise City

Dec 14, 2016

There has been a lot of upheaval and uncertainty around this world and indeed in our own province this last week. Rather than dwell on the unknown, I’m going to cover a topic that is as certain as death and taxes – the rancHER’s trip to the city.

Let me preface this by stating that I love to shop locally every chance I get. Groceries, parts, fuel, hardware, herbicide, prescriptions; the list of purchases I make in our two nearby small towns goes on. Prices are usually competitive, and I appreciate not having to drive an hour to buy the things we need. Plus, it’s usually friendly service with a smile with the exception of one local business that insists on addressing me as Old Lady Davidson…. but I digress.

Alas, operating a ranch inevitably requires taking a trip to the big city 100km away. Whether it’s for specific parts, banking, dental appointments, new chore clothes, or wine-making supplies (don’t judge me), eventually you have to hop into the pick-up and head off for the bright lights.

My love for lists is well known, and no list is more complex, organized, and edited, than my list for the city. The list is a “living” document if you will, continually evolving with new additions as time passes between trips. I like to categorize the list according to stops and priority. I usually aim high, and try to get everything done on my list, but as my caffeinated motivation, time, and spirits flag throughout the day, realistically there will be places that I don’t get to. I organize my list of stops made throughout the city so that the route makes sense, taking into account any closed overpasses, any Trans Canada highways that bisect my route, and of course, any stores that have potential restroom stops for my three passengers (or as every retailer predictably refers to them as, “mommy’s little helpers”).

My husband’s approach to a day in town is completely different. We rarely travel together to the city except for important business transactions, family funerals, or say, the birth of our children, so I always marvel at his cavalier method of shopping. As I’m furiously categorizing my list en route (basically taking all of the fun out of a family trip to town) my Other Half casually grabs a livestock manifest and randomly scribbles a few places to stop on the back of the book. When he accompanies me, I guarantee the kids and I spend way more time waiting in the truck, we spend way more money than I anticipated, and we come home with at least one item that my Other Half deemed 100% essential to the operation of our ranch, even though up until he buys it, I had no idea it even existed.

A few weeks had passed between my required urban journeys when we ended up making a recent unscheduled trip to the dentist. I was trying my best to get organized, get one child on his way to school, and the other two packed up for a big day of adventures in town. I quickly reviewed my quintessential list, set out things that I needed by the door, and got everyone dressed and ready to go. As I left, I looked for my list and realized it had disappeared. I looked in my usual places, I looked in odd places, upstairs and down, and I looked in the truck, in case I had set it in there earlier. I had just had it!

The clock was ticking. You really only have a few brief moments between having the kids ready to load in the truck and having them decide they should have one last drink of water or wear a different outfit. What could I remember from my list? Did I have an old manifest book in the truck that I could scrawl on?

I found the list. In the deep freeze.

A bit confused, we set off for another expensive day in the city so we could come back home and keep living the dream.

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