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Wherever I have roamed…

September 20, 2008

A variety of things hit me during that hours-long walk to Mount Saint-Hilaire the other day.

I’ve spent the past few years pretty much considering myself and being considered by many (Ashley especially) a city person. After all, I was the guy "from Montreal", and Montreal is a big multi-million inhabitants urban area. Except…I’m not.

I’m very, very much an outer suburbs person. I grew up less than a mile away from open farmland (if somewhat vestigial farmland); and only a few miles from the out-and-out rural countryside. I’m *used* to farm vehicles being on the road, and one of the smells I most associate with spring is that of fertilizer (read: animal sh…), because pretty much no matter where the wind comes from, there are farms a few miles (as in, 1-to-5 miles) out in that direction.

True, I’ve never lived on a farm. That’s far from meaning I have never set foot on one. Quite the reverse; some of my earliest childhood picture (and some of the first after I learned to walk) are of me playing near a flock of hens on the farm of my mother’s best friend. The one city I attended school the most in is not Beloeil (1988-1993) or Montreal (2001-2007) – but Saint-Hyacinthe (1993-2001), a city that’s otherwise known as the agricultural capital of Quebec. No, it’s not my hometown, and the school themselves were not farms – but it’s a far cry from Montreal and the big city world.

More than this – my grandparents lived in the countryside, about fifteen minutes away from home. Which means that, first, we were there a lot, and second, that there was a farm right across the road from them. Do any one of you want to hazard any sort of bet as to how *often* my parents and grandparents heard variations on the themes of "Can we go see the cows" (younger us) or "We’re off to see the cows!"  (older us) from my siblings and I? I don’t have an exact number, but my closest approximation is a whole goddamny lots of times. The farmer knew us, of course – my parents were on first-name basis with him – and let us in more than once. And not only for the "clean" looks – I remember at least one live birth (that is, I remember some of us got to see one. Whether I got particularly vivid descriptions afterward or actually was there…that, I couldn’t tell).

And contary to what some of you (ie, Ashley, who is soooo getting an email copy of this post) may have thought – my family is not exactly *strangers* to horses. My father grew up on a farm. My mother’s parents owned racing horses (and I’m almost positive my mother actually had a horse of her own for a while).  My brother’s best friend is a trained rider, and do give lessons . And needless to say, given all this…there is no such thing as a member of my immediate family who has never been on a horse. And my cousin, with whom I pretty much grew up (she’s a year younger than I and lived two streets from us), is not only a (former – she had to stop) trained rider and (IIRC) riding teacher, but now works for one of Quebec’s chief cattle-industry players (and has acute opinion on the Ayrshire vs Holstein rivalry…)

(What do you think, Ash? Does she have a claim to being a Quebec Cowgirl? :-p)

So yeah. I’m not a farm kid by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t think "city kid" is all that much like me, either.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2008 3:18 pm

    Strangely enough, I never pictured you as living in a city. I’ve always imagined you as being in a suburb of some sort.

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