I love Winnipeg. I love Calgary. The cities of Manhattan, London and Paris have all filled me with joy. But Flin Flon holds my heart tight in its hockey mitted, art infused, fist. For those who live here, no explanation is necessary. For my out of town readers, please. Allow me to tell you why.
When my children were young, I ordered large boxes of dried soymilk from British Columbia and sold the surplus. With my white, powder filled baggies in hand, I headed to my local post office. "Kirsten,' I said, to a longtime employee everyone knows. "Would you weigh this product so I can figure out what to charge?' Raising her eyebrow just the tiniest bit, she did. It didn't occur to me until much later that a stranger might have found the whole activity suspicious. But we have an awesome post office, as everyone with any kind of business knows.
On another occasion, my family arrived at the drive-in movie theater without any money. Bill Leafe, the owner, waved us in, and the next time we went, wouldn't let us pay him back. The same thing happened to my dad and father in law. They were excited about the movie, 'Titanic,' and Bill was so happy to see them there, he wouldn't take their money. Later, he had to go and wake them up because it was over and everyone else had left. They missed the part where the ship went down, so he took some time to explain the whole, 'I'll never let you go,' love scene.
I don't have to dress up for anyone in Flin Flon, which is a really big deal to me. I can if I want to. But I don't have to, except for weddings and events like the Royal party where we all wore fancy hats and celebrated the Queen's Jubilee. As we nibbled on dainty sandwiches and drank tea, we waved to each other with gloved hands. The local cadets, scouts, and Knights of Columbus dressed to the nines and waited on everyone. It was a blast. But seriously, people only comment on an outfit if it's really cold outside and you don't look warm enough.
We have a lot going on in town. Hockey games, community social events sponsored by various service clubs like Rotary, Kinnettes and more. The arts council brings in plenty of entertainment and there are Home Routes concerts, Community Choir musicals and so much more that, frankly, my card is always full. As I said, I love Manhattan. But because I'm from Flin Flon, I don't just go there. I sing there. At Carnegie Hall. Or Lincoln Center. With my choir, of course, but still. No way would that happen if I lived in Winnipeg, because then I'd have to audition. No thank you.
It's the little things that add up to a great life. Just ask the people who had to move away. Most would come back if they could. After a vacation, I love driving down the hill into Creighton or heading into Flin Flon on number ten. Everything is just as it should be. There's the Hooter. The Flin Flon campground. The main streets with most of the same old stores and faces I've been seeing my whole life.
It's not that I don't celebrate new things. I do. I just like the old things better. But then, I already confessed to being a small town