After 7 pm

Sept. 25 - Closed sign

Do you like wine? Yeah, me too. One problem though—if you live in La Salle and your craving comes after 7 pm, you’ll have to substitute your Merlot for some B&J wine coolers from the La Salle River Inn vendor.

Gross. Why would you do this, you ask.

Because the local liquor/grocery/hardware store closes at 7 pm, and you never seem to remember this useful little fact until around 7:10. It’s just another one of those lovely small town things.

I really shouldn’t complain. A friend of mine, Anya McNabb (, is from Minnedosa, and the liquor store there closes at
6 pm.

I’d be screwed – screwed and drinking B&J wine coolers.

Anya told me a funny story about having the liquor store is closed realization (let’s call this the LSCR). She had just moved to Winnipeg with her sister, and the two of them were chilling at home one Saturday evening. They were planning to go out later that night. Around 7 pm, Anya checked the time and started to freak out. With her Minnedosa instincts still fresh, she had a false LSCR. Luckily, she soon realized there was no need to freak out; she was in the city, where Liquor Marts stay open past 6 pm.

Again, I don’t mean to complain. Early liquor store closing times is really a non-problem. I just wanted to give a heads up – if you’re heading out to a small town, and you prefer wine over wine coolers, hit up the liquor store before it’s too late!


The Guy Who Knows

I know

When something big happens in small towns, everyone talks about it. When the thing that happened is something illegal, people talk about it more. They want to know about it so they can be the guy who knows about it. No one knows the exact details except the people involved, but the rumours still fly. For some reason, some people (not everyone) get a high from being that person who “knows” what’s going on.

It’s the grown-up version of the playground taunt “I know something you don’t know.” In this version, however, people tend to be a little more subtle, like this:

“Oh, so I guess you haven’t heard…”

“I know what happened. I can’t say, and I can’t tell you who told me, but I know.”

“Well… I heard this from Teresa’s brother who’s buddy’s girlfriend was actually there when it happened. So… I know.”

It’s a competition of who can sound like they know the most about a situation, based on the people they know. It’s entertaining, really. I should emphasize, however, not everyone who lives in small towns partakes in this game of being the guy who knows, but it seems to be a common trend in my experience.

Over this past summer, there was a mysterious happening in La Salle. There were a number of cop cars parked at a house on a quiet street for three days straight. As you could imagine, the rumours soared. By the third day, I was hearing everything from murder-suicide stories to grow-ops. The real story didn’t come out until months later, and it turned out to be a tragic one.

Before the truth came out in the Winnipeg Free Press sometime in late August, most of the people I talked to around town had already come to a general consensus on what happened. The consensus was wrong. Who do I blame for this misinformed idea of what happened? The guy who knows.

I think the problem is when you get too many people itching to be in the loop. The first guy who knows hears the rumour, and he runs into the next guy who knows. The first guy tells the second guy the rumour (so he can feel like a powerful guy who knows). The second guy doesn’t give the first guy the satisfaction of believing him, but then he runs into the third guy who knows, and tells him the rumour. The rumour continues to spread, and people believe it, because it’s coming from people who know. Heck, I believed it!

I’m being a little hard on the guy who knows, but I don’t hate him—he just fascinates me. I probably have a little bit of the guy who knows in me, too. When people around town came to this false conclusion about what had happened, I couldn’t help by say, “Yeah, I know,” when I heard the rumour again and again.

I think most people from small towns have a little bit of the guy who knows in them. It’s funny how that works, but it’s just another one of those small town things.


Small Town Things

Small towns are funny—they’re all different, but in some ways, they’re all the same. I’m going to blog about these similarities, the little quirks that seem to be small town trademarks—the “five-minute” grocery shop, the farm auction, the fall supper, the local gas station.

I grew up in a small town, La Salle, Manitoba. It’s about a ten minute drive south of Winnipeg’s Perimeter Highway. It’s a different kind of small town than say, Swan River, which is a six hour drive north-west of Winnipeg. Growing up, I had easy access to “the city.”  The Bargain Shop on Main Street wasn’t my only option for bell-bottom jeans when I hit my preteens, and when I got my driver’s license, I regularly went to the movies at Silver City St. Vital. Although all the amenities of the big bad city were readily available to me, La Salle still had the little quirks of a small town.

Once a week I’ll be talking about these little quirks, and I welcome my fellow small town girls and boys, as well as city folks, to take a read, comment, and share stories!