Tuesday 13 August 2013

Black Diamond

Years ago, shortly after Arwen was born and shortly before Maegan and Brendan were born, we lived in a small town just south and a little west of Calgary, called Black Diamond. We didn’t move there out of any desire to return to Mayberry, or to get away from the rat race. We moved because it was the only place we could afford to buy a house at the time.
Black Diamond was and is a wonderful little town. We had friends there and made new friends as time went by. The house left a little to be desired, but it had a large back yard and it was ours. It was a small house, but we had a small family and it suited us just fine. The house like many homes in the area had been built with material stolen from the oil field in nearby Turner Valley. I had to replace some drywall and found that instead of 8 foot 2 X 4 studs, they used two five footers nailed together. It may have been okay back in the day, but it wasn’t up to today’s code. They broke a hole in the basement wall for the furnace which sat on a dirt floor. It wasn’t perfect, but like I say, it was ours.

We learned to be parents in that house. I only lost Arwen once and burned her face with a cigarette at the local Post Office. Not on purpose, and I still feel terrible about it to this day. Ruined a perfectly good smoke!

When we lived there, a faction of people wanted to merge Black Diamond and Turner Valley so that we could pool our resources and I imagine cut costs. Most people wanted to call the merged town Diamond Valley, but I favoured Black Valley. As far as I know, no one wanted Diamond Turner or Black Turner. They still haven’t made a decision and it’s been over thirty years. I guess there’s no sense in rushing things.
Back then, all of the side streets in town were gravel. Twice each year, in the spring and late summer the town would come around and spray oil on the roads which would cut down on the dust. The ladies that hung the laundry on outdoor lines were happy about the oil. It was a pain in the ass for a day or two after they were sprayed, but I did learn how to get oil off of the car. The oil turned the gravel roads into a solid, almost paved road. It was great.
Shortly after we moved away, the practice of oiling the roads was stopped, because I guess it isn’t an ecologically friendly thing to do. I suppose that if at some time in the future, if we decided that we should grow crops where the roads are, we would be in trouble. I was in Black Diamond about a month ago and they don’t have to worry about toxic crops grown on the roads any more because all of the roads are paved now. It does keep the dust down, but in a way we have lost some small town charm.

Behind our house, the alley is gravel. Every year they come by and grade it, making sure that all of the potholes are gone and that it slopes down to the middle. I live two houses in from the end and I have never worried about the dust. We don’t hang our clothes on a line and it is windy enough to blow any loose dust from the yard into the house where it belongs. Over the years there have been petitions passed around trying to get the alley paved. I have been against and for the process at various stages of my life here. Right now, I don’t see that it is worth $5000 to keep the dust down. I may change my mind by tomorrow, but right now, that $5000 will buy a lot of Pledge.

Yesterday, they came by and put oil on the alley. Imagine that! This is a big deal; in 27 years it’s not been done. They didn’t cover the whole alley, just about ten or twelve evenly spaced lines of oil. It isn’t enough to keep the dust down, but it might be enough to keep the whiners from any more complaining or petitions.

One thing is sure though, it seems that they don’t care what happens to any crops we may plant in the alley or us for that matter.

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