Our Small Town
Each September for the past several years, the Beatty Heritage House Society has hosted an event, participating in Alberta Culture Days, the annual province-wide celebration of Alberta’s arts and culture.
This year our theme was “Our Small Town”. In addition to sponsoring a concert featuring Alberta entertainers, “Me and the Mrs”, we invited people to share their impressions and feelings about Rimbey through stories, poems, and photos, to be on exhibition at the Beatty House.
We extend our sincere thanks to all who responded. So impressed were we with the submissions we received, that we have decided, with the permission of the exhibitors, and the co-operation of the Rimbey Review, to spotlight these artistic endeavours. They will appear in this paper over the coming weeks. This week we are pleased to feature Rimbey Review Editor, Treena Mielke’s wonderful “word-picture” of “Our Small Town”.
Florence Stemo Secretary, Beatty Heritage House Committee
Rimbey is a little bit country and a little bit not.
It is a tiny brush stroke of urban living splashed onto a huge canvas of country.
Rimbey is an urban interruption of a prairie landscape of dark green, light green and every shade of in-between green, of fields the colour of melted butter, and sunsets made of fire, their red and orange flames greedily licking the sky.
Rimbey is is a four-way stop and a flashing yellow light.
It is a main street that is inhabited by a great many big trucks. Trucks who roar importantly in and out of town, effectively eliminating any possibility of carrying on an intelligent (or otherwise) conversation with their presence.
Rimbey is soft — Pas Ka Poo Park, a tucked away treasure of history, quiet, still, rich with memories, manicured grounds, pleasing, eye candy.
The Beatty House – another beautiful ink drop of history, effectively smudging Main Street with a touch of class and culture and a reminder of all that is good and beautiful. And the music, ahhh, the music at the Beatty House, music that softens the edges of the harshest day.
Rimbey is strong — Churches, stalwart and comfortingly unchanging. Schools, within their brick and mortar walls and hallowed halls of learning lies the wonderful keys of learning, of knowledge, of progress, of moving forward.
The hospital and extended care, beacons of hope for all.
The arena: white ice to house tiny stars, shaky on skates, jerseys to their knees, ready to taste all that life has to offer as well as gobble up an after the game hotdog.
The curling rink: a tribute to recreation for seniors and youth and a reminder of a game, long loved by Albertans.
The Drop In – warm and cozy, smelling delicious, like somebody’s kitchen. Sounds of laughter and music. Forever young! Our Drop In!
The Community Centre: Busy, crowds, people meeting people, mingling and visiting, catching up. Babies and grandparents. A sense of community, of caring, of helping, of being there, of who we are, why we are here and what we stand for.
The town office: Seriousness. Tentative smiles, formality, body language, tense, issues, debate, whispers. The rustle of paper. Decisions. Silence and waiting.
The library: Shhhh! Little children! Giggles! And books! Books everywhere, a treasure chest of knowledge waiting to be explored.
Rimbey is hard – neon signs, bars and ear splitting music beating out into a black night, picking up the troubled heartbeat of crime. Drug deals coming down. Bad stuff. Stay home, away from the night, the dark and scary night.
And finally, RCMP: law and order, safety, discipline, tough love in action. There are no bad guys, only bad choices. Men in uniform here to deal with those bad choices.
At the heart of Rimbey lie its people: as wonderful and diverse as the town itself. Blue jeans and baseball caps. Pick up trucks and radios. Youth; shy, loud, happy, sad, victorious and strong, defeated and down. Finally. Unified. Together.
And adults. Days hemmed in with hard work and prayer. Neighbours. Friends. Laughter bubbling out of nowhere. Unbidden tears and saying goodbye. Hands, work worn and strong, reaching out, grasping another!
Families. Community. Helping. Caring. Growing. Suffering. Rejoicing. And, finally, coming together.
It’s you. It’s me. It’s Rimbey!