Sunday, June 12, 2016


Recently I found myself repeating a saying that I had often heard and used back in my lumber yard/building construction days… “An Expert is somebody who is more than 50 miles from home”. Generally speaking, people seldom give credit where credit is due; particularly when it comes to locals. Whether you’re good with a calculator, pencil and eraser, a hammer and nails or car selling or piano teaching it seems being a home-towner can sometimes have its disadvantages. Somebody somewhere has to be better.
What prompted me to share this information with you this week were a few small comments from a national radio host. I really like listening to this radio host, by the way, but his show comes from the East Coast and he has a discernable “eastern” slant to his points of view, if you know what I mean?
Anyway, he was talking about a young man from Bienfait, Saskatchewan, Andy Shauf, who is an amazing singer/songwriter/musician coming into his own on the national and international music scene. It seems our radio host is quite flabbergasted that such a talent could come out of the wheat fields of good old Sask-at-chee-wan. It would appear that in between Andy watching his dog run away for three days or freezing his tongue to a metal pipe somewhere in the playground, (because, let’s face it, what else is there for a kid to do in a small prairie town?), young Andy taught himself how to play a number of musical instruments, was playing in a band by 14, recording music by 16 and released three independent music albums before he was twenty-years-old. Not bad for a young flatlander.
Now, Tom, the host’s name, made some stereotypical references to small town life in Saskatchewan in his intro into Andy’s latest song and he just happened to catch a too-sensitive native of the province listening in while the host was just trying to be a little bit funny. Isn’t it funny how a funny man didn’t find anything funny in the host’s funny comments? I guess my feathers were rankled more by how he said what he said than what he actually said. Make sense? Hope so.
Had I been listening to a country music station the host could very well have been speaking about Alex Runions, winner of Saskatchewan Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. That’s not too shabby for a flatlander, either. Ditto, Jordan Toppings, award winning SCMA All Star Band guitarist. Please accept my too-late public congratulations.
I don’t know too much about Andy Shauf’s upbringing but I doubt that it was very different to Alex or Jordan’s Kipling upbringing. Playing school and community sports, science fairs, school band, drama, (in and out of school), field trips, goofing off and hanging with friends at the local hot spots…being kids, in other words.
There is little argument that there can be some advantages to living in larger centres with more resources closer to one’s disposal but narrow-minded thinking takes those advantages to levels that are not as relevant as they once were. Experts come in all sizes, shapes and colours and they come from the biggest of cities and the tiniest of towns.

 “An expert is somebody who is more than 50 miles from home, has no responsibility for implementing the advice he gives, and shows slides.”- Edwin Meese (1931- ) American Attorney General (1985-1989).


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