A normal thing I’ve done since childhood is eat my vegetables. I have likely brought up vegetables before. If should we meet and talk, it would be as easy a subject to bring up as a book or writer. Keri and I sometimes get our produce and meat from the downtown farmer’s market. I remember my first time at our favourite meat and egg stand. I was being given an explanation for the dark shade of the eggs. I replied that I was at his stand because I recognized what I saw from growing up. We aren’t even sure when we began shopping there, but it became an established destination, more so with the recent addition of a winter schedule for the market at City Hall. Access in either season is practical within our regular walking route.
Spring always means anticipating fresh berries. This is another childhood thing. Raspberries, strawberries, and gooseberries were available in the garden. In the summer, there were chokecherry bushes in the trees behind the house. You could just walk around and eat it right there in the sun. Now I pay money and eat it at home instead of standing in somebody’s garden. Either way, it’s local food arriving with the recurring seasons brought to us by people maintaining an ongoing relationship with nature.
Another ingrained habit is returning bottles. This goes all the way back to the days of eating springtime berries in the backyard. The farm I grew up on was in the middle of a piece of dirt road. I’m not kidding – it was unpaved until about two years after I left home. This piece of road was close enough to the Saskatchewan border to get backwoods, booze-cruising traffic. The drinking age in Saskatchewan at that time was 19 and in Manitoba was 18. The piece of road I grew up on connected Saskatchewan country kids to the bar and off-sales in nearby Elkhorn. As a result, that small piece of dirt road gathered up a lot of empties by spring and would be worth checking over the summer. It really just made enough money for comic books and junk food and I’m 11, 12, 13 years old at that time.
Bottles are sustainable items. Overall, it’s best to have them in use as long as possible. It’s nice that you can get a few dollars for the effort to keep the wastage down. Picking up locally-grown vegetables is good not just for local farmers and your health, it also tastes better.
These are simple things that I do regularly. I will also do a shout out to second-hand books. Used books are easy on trees!
Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.