Oh Canada: Adjusting to Life In My Hometown

(Following is my column, which appeared in the Tues., Sept. 4th edition of the Devils Lake Journal http://www.devilslakejournal.com/ where I sell ads and write stories.  For more info about my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota, visit http://www.devilslakend.com/)

One of the local radio stations I’ve been listening to gives the weather forecast for area North Dakota towns along with a few towns in Manitoba. I wasn’t familiar with the Canadian towns, so I got out my atlas and located them just across the border in Manitoba.

Here in Devils Lake we are about 70 miles from the Canadian border. However, in my former homes of Denver and Washington, D.C., I wasn’t anywhere near a foreign country. Although D.C. does have a real ethnic feel to it because of the large and varied immigrant population.

When I was growing up in Devils Lake, my family frequently went camping in Manitoba, usually to a place called Max Lake. My Dad used to listen to Johnny Cash during the car drive there and back, which always seemed like such a long trip when you’re a kid!. One camping trip at Max Lake was the scene of the infamous marshmallow incident. I was roasting a marshmallow on a stick over a roaring campfire. The marshmallow caught fire and when I lifted it up to blow the fire out, I stepped back and tripped slightly and the flaming mallow landed smack dap on my cheek. I immediately tried to peel the flaming mallow off and burned my fingers too! Ouch!

Other Manitoba visits as a kid included a few trips to the International Peace Gardens, and in college occasional road trips to Winnipeg to go to the horse races at Assiniboia Downs.

It would be fun to go camping in Canada again or go to the horse races, or just go exploring. When I move to a new city and state, I always enjoy exploring the area. In Colorado, it was mostly mountain trips for hiking or skiing or venturing on up to Wyoming. In D.C., the metro area alone includes Maryland and Virginia and encompasses a variety of terrain and interesting historical sites, including those related to the Civil War. You also have ocean getaways to Maryland and Delaware, and in Virginia, you have the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

When you return to your hometown and state to live and work, you have to venture a little further to explore new territory. I think I need to make a trip to Canada. Now you need a passport to go to Canada, so I guess I better get myself one.

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