Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is Being First The Best?

  I was rushing off to town one day, I wanted to be first in line at the bank so I could get all my running around done  and be home in time to work show cattle. Chores had been a blur, I had a super fast shower and sure enough I made it. I was the first in line at the door. While I was waiting the line grew along the street and people were restless. We all have such busy lives with so much to do in a day, we all want to be first at  everything. Standing in line almost seems counterproductive. Shouldn't we be filling this time with more work and getting more done?

As the line grew I remembered something my father had said to me as we were on our way to get a load of hay. He turned to me and said "You know cars ruined our life, yes they made a mess of things." He grumbled something under his breath and I could tell it wasn't complimentary. So I had to ask him what he meant.

It was simple really and when he answered it made perfect sense. When you hauled grain to town with horses you couldn't pass your neighbour without stopping to talk. Even if you rode to town on a fast Saddle horse passing by another rider without stopping was unheard of.  If you loaded up the wagon with your family on a monthly trip for supplies it was a social event looked forward to by everyone. You didn't rush in to town, speed through your shopping just to rush home again. It was an event enjoyed by  every member of the family from the oldest Grandmother to the youngest children. A trip to town was an adventure! You most certainly did not rush to town to be first in line anywhere, lines were unheard of.

I am not sure how many firsts my Father had but I do know he had some memorable "Lasts". He was the last man to haul grain with horses to our local Grain elevator in Cowley.  (9 miles away) He was the last man to have grain Threshed with a Threshing machine in the Porcupine Hills. I can remember that day myself, I was sure the Thresher was going to eat me with its huge maw gobbling up the bundles of wheat. Straw spewing out the back into a Golden pile reaching the sky!
He was the last man to actually farm with horses in our hills and didn't get his first Tractor until 1946. He supplemented the work that tractor did with horses until I  was 6 years old and even then we still used the team to feed the cows and pick rocks. (He didn't get his second tractor until 1984 and the first tractor was still going strong)

He never did see the merit in being run off your feet. He was a hard working man but he also knew to really enjoy your life you have got to live your life, savor the small things, go slowly now and then. Stop and visit with your neighbour. I stood there in that line and it dawned on me...that line was a bit like a saddle horse, we couldn't stand there and ignore each other so I started to visit with the people waiting. It was the oddest thing, it was like everyone was starved for the relaxation of a conversation. In no time at all we were all yakking it up like long lost friends. The bank opened and half of us kept visiting out there on the sidewalk. People were laughing when they went to the tellers and the entire mood had changed to one of happy enjoyment. 

So maybe my Father had something when he remarked about cars making life too go out there today and be last at might just surprise you what happens!

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