Carrot River - Friday, January 21, 2005

The story about "change not decline" was a very good article and when I read it at 4:00 AM I had to peck out a response using the onscreen keyboard.

I don't believe it was because I was a bad salesman, but because I was talking about the future and the retailers I was talking to, were living and selling in the past.

This speaks exactly to what Sandra said ever since we wound up here (
see note 1): if a piece of poster board and a Sharpie, or a window grease pencil worked in the past then why change it? That mindset is heavily engrained here despite a massive shrinking of the town in the last four years and with uncertainty at the saw mill the hurt isn't over yet.

When we came here we came from the Mecca of high technology
(Silicon Valley), that and a Loonie would get you a cup of coffee. The tide has turned in rural Saskatchewan and I say nothing can bring it back.

ran a story a few months ago on how Nipawin was such a boom town: new school, new Co-op store, lots of housing starts. They never drove down main street. Stopping anywhere I saw easily six closed store fronts, the Chrysler dealership is now behind chain link and razor ribbon due to vandalism and on any given school day first nations kids of all age groups are wandering aimlessly about. The students, their parents, the teachers and their community care not one lick about their future. It goes beyond that though.

The whole province is moving away from the farm, and why not? In 1975 we bought a new Merc car and a Chevy Silverado. Total outlay was under $11,000 and we paid cash. A new JD 4430, another $16,000 and a combine to go behind it. Cash money. Farms in the area were six to eight quarters in size. Now thirty years later the farmer gets the same price for his product and $5000 at a GM dealership will get you an engine upgrade option.

In your other story on your ten year old van with under a hundred clicks on it needing ongoing repairs - you could argue that two ways. First don't buy Ford, they don't last, but you put two or three hundred thousand clicks on a car now and its just getting broke in. My van is a 1993, 160k on it, runs like new. But its diesel and the major components are based on time tested equipment. With the bearing surfaces and oils now, engines don't fail. If I could drive anything I'd drive a 1975 Nova with a new ZZ4 Crate Engine and an overdive transmission. Cheap insurance, it would never fail you. Install a good stereo, power windows, A/C and good seats, better than a new Buick.

Until the early 80's A/C was NOT universally installed. Suspension technology wasn't that great, vinyl bench seats, tires weren't as great - a trip to the city was a major undertaking. Today you jump in your extendacab 4X4, adjust the leather seats, set the A/C and drop a CD in the dash and you can cruise 130kph and be there in no time. Farms are much larger, towns are shrinking for the two above reasons.

Well that about sums it up, what I had dreampt up at 5:00 AM isn't there anymore, but I see nothing on the horizon to salvage rural sask.


Kevin McIntyre

Note 1 - Kevin and his wife Sandra moved back to Saskatchewan from the San Jose area of California after Kevin had lived there for two years and a year and a half ago they moved back to Kevin's home town of Carrot River
Silicon Valley - Sharon worked in the high tech computer world that stretches out south of San Francisco as a network administrator for a large educational institution and as part of her work did new software beta testing.


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