In a couple of months I will be celebrating a very interesting 48th anniversary. It was a crisp and sunny November day, in 1964, that I passed the only driving test I was ever required to take. I was in my last year of high school, and from that moment on, I have been legal to operate heavy machinery.
It’s because of that realization, and perhaps because of my recent move back to a community of more than 700,000 people that I am more aware of my abilities behind the wheel.
The weather is still close to summer on many days, so there are tons of bicycles on the road, and there are many of those big yellow school buses.
A little over a year ago I actually gave serious thought to becoming a school bus driver, but I thought better of it. It’s a truly awesome responsibility, and I have great admiration for the men and women who transport our future, to and from the classroom.
Outside the cities, the ride on that bus can take more than an hour each way as the little red schoolhouses are just a distant memory. Sooner than any of us would like, the city streets and country roads will include snow and ice, not to mention fog patches and blowing snow. It’s a miracle how few school days we actually lose to weather and road problems on the prairies.
Winnipeg is considering reducing the speed limit on residential streets from 50 kph to 40 K, or possibly even 30 K. Other cities in both Canada and the U.S. have already made such a move, and it may just be an idea whose time has come.
Driving a personal vehicle gives us an incredible sense of freedom, but far too many of us take that freedom for granted. Way more than was the case 48 years ago, I drive very defensively when I get behind the wheel.
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Can there be a greater joy at this time of year than eating fresh, locally grown, corn on the cob? I picked up some delicious peaches and cream recently, four ears for a buck, at Wal-Mart of all places! Hopefully it didn’t come from further away than Taber Alberta, the self-proclaimed corn capital of the prairies.
This is the peak season for farmers markets as local growers gather to sell their produce before the snow flies.
Those markets are growing in popularity all across the country, and along with them comes the ongoing debate over whether the eat local or lovocore movement is really the smart way to go.
The naysayers argue that promoting locally grown food is actually a backward step in the massive effort that’s needed to feed the billions of people on this planet. It’s certainly more efficient to farm more intensively, even if it happens thousands of miles away.
The size of the carbon footprint that results from long hauling trucking is exaggerated they say. I say lighten up already! The hill that farmers markets and local independent grocery stores will have to climb is not going to get less steep as the years go by.
Safeway, Sobey’s and Superstore will undoubtedly increase their market share, and they do a wonderful job of providing affordable food and plenty of choice. Yes, as a percentage of our income, Canadians enjoy one of the cheapest food supplies in the world.
I will never cease to be amazed when I pick up grapes from Chile for not much more than a dollar a pound, virtually every month of the year. I love my coffee in the morning, and my dark chocolate.
But we should get out and enjoy that yummy local corn right now.
Please pass that Canadian-made, supply-managed butter while you’re at it.
Roger Currie is a writer, blogger and broadcaster.
He lives in Winnipeg and can be reached at .. firstname.lastname@example.org