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Rural Routes – The highway goes both ways

Posted on April 30, 2015 by Maple Creek

By Christalee Froese

There are two lanes on most highways.
Obvious, I know!
But how easily we forget.
Just last week, I could have sworn on the deer that nearly hit my car that all highways in rural Saskatchewan are one-way.
Seems like I’m always headed ‘out’ of town on some mission. It might be with a trunk full of cans for recycling. It could be with a kid who needs a tooth filled. Or perhaps, I’m even accompanied by a worm-infested dog who needs veterinarian treatment.
It’s impossible for all of our small towns to have everything we need. But that’s when I started thinking about that other lane in the highway. What if that east-bound thoroughfare was used as much as I’ve been using the westbound, urban-destined lane?
Yes, the city has everything I could ever want (and much, much more – my last Superstore bill listing brie cheese, a pair of ‘breathable’ socks and a bottle of green olive tapenade is proof enough of that).
But when you start to take account of it all (leaving the aisles of cheese, vats of olives and walls of socks out of your mind for a moment), you see that our rural communities have a lot to offer too.
Maybe it’s on a smaller scale? Maybe the selection isn’t as wide, or as deep? Maybe the goods aren’t piled as high or found on as many wooden pallets? But, then again, maybe I don’t need a 32-oz container of cayenne pepper, a case of mangoes or a flour-sack-sized bag of pecans?
Maybe I just need a few litres of milk, some fresh-made bread and a couple of cans of tuna (I could live on that for days – I’m thinking I might have a future on Survivor?).
But as I think of our small towns, there’s so much more. In mine alone, I can get milk, handmade bread, tuna AND … designer dresses, sweet potato fries, environmentally friendly footwear, handmade beads, the latest iPhone, bubble bath, Play-Doh, not to mention farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef and bison.
And in other small towns in the province, I know you’ll find Jones New York suits, Adidas runners, authentic Mexican cuisine, Silver jeans and Diesel shirts, art by renowned local painters, leather sofas and an endless assortment of locally-produced goods from Saskatoon berry chocolates to honey mustard spread and garlic-infused camelina oil (visit http://www.saskmade.ca/shop for more local products than you ever imagined).
So if you’re thinking at all of using the other lane some time, please be aware that if you do, you’ll not only find all of these goods and less traffic, but you’ll find rural hospitality and service that won’t leave you lined up at customer service (which might be more aptly named ‘wait-for service’).
I’m not going to give up my urban trips anytime soon (after all, how could I possibly survive without my wheel of brie and my breathable socks?!).
But if you’re starting to think that all roads destined toward designer brands and unique goods end with a city, I’d just like you to think again.
Email Christalee Froese at Lcfroese@sasktel.net or visit 21days2joy.wordpress.com.

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