Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: gopher

A flatlander looks at life

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I am a native of the Canadian prairies, like the young fella gazing across the plains in the picture above. We call him a gopher, technically he is a Richardson ground squirrel. When the government asked people to vote for an animal emblem for Saskatchewan, some folks suggested the gopher. He is kinda pesky, kinda cute and you just can’t get rid of him, much like the people of this province. For all folks try to get him out of the way, he just keeps popping up again.

The majority vote was for the white-tailed deer. He is just as picturesque and just as pesky. I’m sorry if I offend you Bambi lovers out there, but we look upon the deer as large cloven-hoofed rodents. Try to plant trees, bushes or a garden in rural Saskatchewan and you’ll soon find out why we are not so fond of deer.

I have travelled a little farther afield than the gopher. For the first ten years of my life my family liven in the hill country of southwestern Saskatchewan, the Missouri Coteau. Then we moved into the flatlands, where, when you left one town you could see the wooden grain elevator in the next town 15 km away.

There is more to the flatlands than meets the eye of someone just passing through. There are ravines and coulees meandering through this country, some of the coulees are a mile wide and have a little river wandering along the bottom.

In my adult years I have done farm work, managed one of those wooden country elevators, worked as a postal clerk and in quality assurance in an auto parts factory. In the process, I have lived in five provinces of Canada.

My father was descended from English Puritans who settled in Massachusetts in 1638. His mother was descended from a man who had been a swordsman in Napoleon’s army. My mother was of Dutch-German ancestry, her grandparents came to Manitoba from Ukraine in 1874. I figure my mixed ancestry makes me pretty much a typical Canadian. My father’s mother spoke French, but he never learned more than a few words. I have learned quite a bit more than that.

My parents were both religious people who were disappointed with the churches of their parents. They both longed for something better, without knowing exactly what that would look like. I didn’t know what I was looking for either when I became an adult, but my wife and I went on searching in a way that seemed haphazard, until we found a place where we could worship God in spirit and in truth and have fellowship with other believers.

We can see for miles and miles out here on the prairies. Perhaps that gives us a little different perspective than folks who spend most of their life in one little valley. Perhaps the variety of my life experiences and my spiritual searching give me a little different perspective than folks who have never ventured far from the beliefs their parents taught them.

This blog is an attempt to give you a few glimpses of the way I see things. Not everyone will agree with me and that’s OK. I just want to do my best to let you see what I see so you won’t think that I’m a little touched in the head for not seeing things exactly as you do.

(Note to readers: this is the first draft of the introduction to a book I am compiling from some of the posts that have appeared on this blog.)

How much do cats really know?

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I took Angus to the vet this morning; Angus being the middle of our three cats, officially described as domestic short hair, but mostly Siamese in temperament. He knows what’s in store when the cat carrier appears and did not enter it willingly. Once the car was moving he commenced a deep-voiced mournful wail that he repeated frequently during the 15 minute trip.

Once we got to the vet office he was quiet, probably not wanting to draw the attention of the big dog that came in just after us. Once in the examining room he willingly walked out of the carrier and quietly submitted to the attentions of the nice lady vet, including the two needles she gave him for booster shots. Then he walked back into the carrier and was reasonably quiet on the way home. He knows the drill, just likes to let us know that this is not his idea of a fun way to start the day.

Two years ago, on the way home from the vet clinic with Angus, we decided to go on to Swanson to pick up our mail. As soon as we passed the O’Malley Road corner he began an agitated wail and only calmed down when we made the right turn on our return. How did he know?

Several weeks ago, my wife mentioned that she hadn’t seen any gophers this year and wondered if there none around our acreage. The next day Angus appeared at our front door with a freshly killed gopher in his mouth. He didn’t get any further that day. The following day he managed to smuggle another freshly killed gopher into the house, gopher-888841_640.jpgwalked up to my wife seated in front of her computer, and dropped the gopher at her feet. The gift was not appreciated, but Angus had made his point – he knows more about what goes on around this acreage than we do.

Next my wife foolishly wondered if there were any mourning doves around this year, she hadn’t seen or heard any. A couple days later Angus walks across our front yard meowing loudly, or as loud as he could with his mouth full of a feathery creature. My wife dashed out, crying “No birds, Angus. No birds!” Angus dutifully opened his mouth and the mourning dove flew away. It appeared that he was more interested in show and tell than in a feather sandwich.

How did he know what she was talking about? mourning-dove-1601916_640.jpgOr are these all total coincidences?

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