June 14, 2011
Saskatchewan’s New Flag - Pam Mytroen
When was the last time you saw Saskatchewan’s provincial flower, the Western Red Lily? Or our bird, the sharp-tailed Grouse? How about our provincial tree? Did you even know Saskatchewan had a provincial tree? I think they’re still looking for that one.
I’d like to suggest a much more fitting symbol - “The Community Bulletin Board”. It represents life in small town Saskatchewan. Have you had a good look lately?
Let’s see, there are a couple hand-written flyers for garage sales, and slapped over those are announcements for a tea at a long-term care home, and a fundraising poster to help a local family. And there’s an announcement for a bridal shower, the latest art exhibition at the gallery, and dangling from the corner is a plea for help in weeding central park. The list flaps on and on like a colorful clothesline in the Saskatchewan breeze.
Flying by the bulletin board, we pause hardly long enough to realize that all of these events are put on by people who are helping each other and expecting nothing in return except to see our town as a safe and beautiful place. A place where your neighbors will help you vacuum your flooded basement.
When asked why they do these things, most people pause, searching for an intelligent answer. Their parents did it before them - that is, they too opened their homes and wallets for fundraisers, tuned their fiddles for the latest event, and donated countless hours helping others.
“Love your neighbor” was the guiding philosophy that shaped our culture, that raised barns and children to stand up tall and stable. Love sent pots of chicken-noodle soup and home-made bread to welcome a new family next door, and it swung hammers and shingled roof-tops to re-build a burnt home.
Whether it’s the Food Bank or the Art Gallery, Kinsmen/Kinettes or the Women’s Auxiliary, the 55 Club or Communities in Bloom, that sacred mandate still hums its ancient tune beneath the rhythm of our busy lives.
We are still neighbors. We still care for each other. “Love your neighbor” is the fire that continues to warm our winters and sustain us through the floods, and other surprises that Saskatchewan delivers.
Stop and stand by our new ‘flag’ when you see another announcement get tacked on. And consider the possibility of adding one yourself. Come to think of it, maybe that’s where all our provincial trees have gone.
by Pam Mytroen
Guest Editorial Friday June 10th in Assiniboia Times