Northern Alberta: Beyond Blood & Oil

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It’s approaching a year since returning from Northern Alberta, reflecting back to what impressed me the most about the province was the sheer vast amount of open space and land. There are no shortages of socio-economic challenges in the region but that is the case anywhere cities are not immune to homelessness, drug abuse and people living in shelters. I can’t help but smile reflecting on how great the experience was to be around so many honest and hardworking people, raising families, living life and doing whatever it takes to survive and thrive specially in what can be at times an unforgiving landscape. I had an old Truck, affectionately named “Old Red”, my dog, love a goal and purpose. This July 2016 will be the anniversary date and I’ll be eligible to complete my Red Seal had I gone the same route in Ontario it wouldn’t be possible until maybe July 2019. 

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Photo: Taken outside Reed Energy work shop,working as a safety watch because it was a confined space, the welder was fixing a flange inside the tank, pictured in the back and Old Red, 96 Single Cab Ford F-150 in the front.

It wasn’t until his passing that I learned why my grandfathers nickname as a young man was “Hank”, his friends called him that because of his secret love of Country Music, Hank Williams was  a legend for many I don’t know his music but he’s in the Hall of Fame for a reason I suppose. Now don’t get my wrong, my grandfather loved good Soul, R&B, Blues and Jazz grew up with it, he also ran a night club that played it all the time however he did have a soft spot for country tunes. As a kid sitting in the passenger side of his car I can recall when News Talk Radio wasn’t playing  he would be humming the melody to a country song., maybe it was at that time my affection and soft spot for the slow country lifestyle began. Although camping and cottaging was something I enjoyed, this type of country living of the north was blue collar hardworking and resonated with me and many others  across Canada, and really throughout the world.    Continue reading