One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
DEC. 18, 2010
There were a few times living in Westlock, AB, that I heard folks say Wildrose Country was “The Texas of the North.”
Based on my experience in the States, I’d like to make another argument: That outside of cattle and oil, Alberta really shares few similarities with the Lone Star State – that it is really the Deep South of the North.
When my travel partner and I first entered Mississippi, he saw a sign for “The Truckers’ Kitchen,” and he insisted that we stop there for lunch.
Other than a few items on the menu, I found little difference between this place and Apollo’s Café in Westlock. People were downright friendly. They promoted local foods, like farmed catfish and fried chicken (whereas in Alberta it would be locally-farmed beef and garlic toast).
Nature-loving hunters were abundant at the little restaurant, not so different from the hamlet of Busby.
Moreover, listening to the radio, I heard men argue that guns should be treated like hammers, which could also be used as a violent weapon. “The Gun Report,” it was called, and its theme was a line from The Beatles: “Happiness is a warm gun, mama.” As I was driving down the road, I couldn’t help thinking about the time I played poker with friends in Edmonton, and one of the guys mentioned that the streetlamp was out on his corner because he shot it out.
True, Texas also has Austin, a city that shines comparably to Edmonton, cultural mecca in the middle of art-hating people.
Texas is very Spanish, very Mexican, as one would expect as it once was a part of Mexico.
The south, on the other hand, is predominantly English (or some variant thereof), except for a few small pockets in Louisiana where French is spoken. French names and words still linger on the signs in places like Lafayette and Breaux Bridge.
Similarly, the French influence still has a hold in Alberta. There are places like the French mural capital of Canada, Legal (pronounced “Légal”), or Lac La Biche, where a nearby community broadcasts a day of purely French radio each month.
Lastly, I turn to the music. Albertans (at least those I met) loved their country music. And yes, so do Texans to a degree. But I heard more of a strange musical phenomenon I call “Mexican polka with tuba” than country music in that state. Tennessee, on the other hand, is home to country. It’s birthplace. Important.
And so, I’ll let my argument rest. Until Alberta really does decide to separate and create its own Confederacy-type dollar, I’ll have to stand alone in these beliefs.