Welcome to Saskatoon My Friends!

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

I do not entertain company often enough, and your arrival creates an opportunity to visit, which I love. My first thought is to take you to the little antique shop close to where I grew up in our beautiful city of Saskatoon. They offer a variety of teas and coffees to pique your interest and satisfy your taste buds, as well as offering many flavours of ice cream — which I much prefer over a hot beverage.

But there are antique stores in many communities, and coffee shops galore. You have traveled all this way to have a face to face visit, and I want to show you something unique about this city where I grew up, and have returned to again. For our chat, let’s go for a 10 minute drive south of the city to the Berry Barn.

The big, red-hip roofed barn sits at the edge of the Saskatchewan River. Inside, the wide plank floors, banks of south facing windows, and old fashioned, press-back chairs at wooden tables offer a homey place to spend some time getting to know each other better.

What do you know about our native Saskatoon berry? Have you ever tasted its unique flavor before? They almost look like a blueberry, but not quite and grow best on the prairies, especially here in Saskatchewan. As you browse through the menu, you will find many options to taste this treat. Hungry for wings? They have ones that are flavoured with the berries. Waffles or cheesecake can send you for a trip to the topping bar, which includes Saskatoon berry syrup or berry compote among other things to tempt you.

It is almost lunch time so I suggest we indulge in the meal I enjoy when I visit this restaurant, a waffle and farmer’s sausage or maybe half a one so you can save room for Saskatoon berry pie. I’ll have the lemonade, but you go ahead, order yourself a tea. As we wait for our food, let your eyes travel around the room to investigate all the photos, plaques with catchy sayings, and other decorative wall art pieces. We can sit quietly for a few minutes while we inspect all the pieces decorating the room. There is a lot of time to visit.

We spend time enjoying the food. I am anxious to know what you think of our local flavour favourite. I’ll enjoy sharing some of the stories of our area and city, and how it has changed since I was a girl. We might even drive around a bit when we finish our lunch, visiting and wandering through the gift shop. But what about you? How does this compare to where you call home? What brought you here to explore? What else might you want to know? My curiosity wants to know more about you, your part of the country, and your journey to what you are doing now.

Stories are a part of who I am. I love to hear them and tell them. A few about my adult children or my grandchildren will weave their way into the conversation as family is important to me, and never far from my mind.

This year I had the opportunity to take train trips across Canada with my husband, and those stories salt the visiting time. It gave me an insight into the vast proportions of our country, the differences international visitors find, and a chance to see a variety of wildlife. I am trying to decide how all this can become part of the fabric of stories I write, interactions with others I meet, and the speaking I hope to expand upon as I continue to figure out what this will all look like.

Wow, our time has flown by. We have tasted the goodness of the Saskatoon berry, chuckled at funny sayings along the wall, and wandered through the gift shop where you found treats to take home with you. We have visited and shared stories of our homes, our communities, families, and journey to fulfilling our dreams. Now it is time to go. Well, maybe I will prolong this visit just a bit more and take you for a drive past our castle on the river in downtown Saskatoon, the Bessborough Hotel built during the 1930s as a make-work project. We might swing by the limestone buildings of the University of Saskatchewan with a few more stories thrown in. I am proud to show you where I live, have you taste the uniqueness of the Saskatoon berry, and tell some of the history of the area. Most of all, I have enjoyed sharing the personal stories of tough times and hope, dreams and steps taken to work towards them.

Thanks so much for coming. Safe journeys as you travel to visit the next person.

Written by: Carol Harrison; Carol’s Corner


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