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Rural Routes – Prairie lingo

Posted on April 16, 2015 by Maple Creek

By Christalee Froese

Most of the time I think the way I talk is the way everyone talks.
And then, I find myself in a different zip code and I realize that if you didn’t grow up in Saskatchewan, you might not have a clue what I’m talking about. Let me give you some examples.
Follow the correction line until you hit blacktop – for many people on this planet, correction line might mean a string of criminals seeking reform, but not so for us prairie folk. To us, a correction line is: provisions in the public land survey system made to correct for the curvature of the Earth; one cannot have perfect rectangles over a curved surface. Every fourth township line (24 miles apart) is used as a correction line on which the spaces between the east and west range lines are corrected to a full and proper six miles. The effect is that the grid lines do not match up until they meet at the principal meridian.
Of course, that’s what a correction line is – what else could it possibly be?
And then there is the blacktop. Most would assume this is some sort of hat worn by a gentlemanly fellow or a snowman. But no, not here in Saskatchewan. It’s pavement, of course.
Be sure to bring your bunny hug and thongs. This statement could create a great deal of confusion if said in the presence of the wrong company. They might start imagining real-life rabbits and scantily clad swimmers. But we all know that it simply means, don’t forget your sweater and flip flops.
Are you calving? I dare you to try this question in a mixed crowd. You’d most certainly be greeted with a great deal of raised eyebrows and perhaps even a glare or two. But if you live in Saskatchewan and you happen to run into your farmer friends at the post office, this is a polite way to strike up a conversation. If they are indeed calving, you have a whole line of questioning to go into that includes how many calves they have, are there any with frozen ears and when will calving be over.
The combine is gibbled so I’m going to the city for parts – To a city dweller, this phrase would likely have very little meaning. The city could mean any city in Saskatchewan, but for us prairie people, it’s the closest city in the vicinity and when we say city, we mean 5,000 people or more. And we say parts, we mean agricultural parts, of course. What did you think we meant? Body parts? How disturbing.
Have you been getting stuck? This might seem like an extraordinarily compassionate question if you live anywhere other than a farming community. It could be a gentle way of asking if you’ve been feeling productive and alive while undertaking life’s sometimes difficult tasks. Is life getting you down? Do you feel stuck?
Not here in Saskatchewan – it means ‘has your tractor been up to its axles in mud.’ If the answer starts with yes, you should prepare yourself for some colourful language and for some fascinating stories about what it takes to get a ‘dually’ (that’s a tractor with dual wheels) out of a slough (that’s a marshy area filled with water).
Well, I gotta split, I wanna hit the LB and the Co-op to get a 2-4, spits and some Vico before heading to the game in the city! (Translation: I’m going to a Saskatchewan Roughrider game in Regina and I need beer, sunflowers seeds and chocolate milk in order to make the three hours in freezing conditions bearable).
Email Christalee Froese at Lcfroese@sasktel.net or visit 21days2joy.wordpress.com.

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