I’ve been glued to the television and Twitter for the last 18 hours because my beloved city (and a large portion of Alberta) is in the middle of a major natural disaster. The flooding we’re experiencing is unprecedented, and close to 75,000 people have been displaced in Calgary alone.
You know the situation is dire when the fire department is using motorboats on city streets to rescue evacuees:
Roxboro in Calgary, Alberta – June 21, 2013
Have you ever said a word one too many times in a row, and it totally lost all meaning? Meaning. Meeening. MeNING. Miiiinuuunggg. Ugh.
It’s jarring when that happens because you sort of lose the run of yourself for a second. The familiar word becomes foreign, your tongue seems to have a mind of its own, and your brain suddenly switches to a language you don’t know. You know what I mean?
It’s also unnerving when you really think about a word you’ve mindlessly repeated for years. For instance, have you every really thought about the name of the place you grew up? I mean really thought about it? On the one hand, the name means so much more than the actual word. But on the other hand the word is really quite meaningless, right? Weird.
I’m pondering this random topic because of a great post I recently stumbled on that takes Saskatchewan town names and turns them into a story. That doesn’t really make much sense without some context, so you should probably take a few minutes to read Shanomi’s “A Prairie Thing” post for yourself before I continue…
Okay, now that you’ve done the assigned homework, I must say that Shanomi’s post has me thinking about my home province of Alberta in a totally different way. While some of the town names I grew up around have always sounded ridiculous (Lacombe, for example, never fails to bring to mind a French hairdresser’s tools), her post really made me think about all the towns I’m most familiar with. So, in the spirit of Shanomi’s post, allow me to introduce a few of Alberta’s unique places.