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  • Helen Row Toews

Prairie Wool

Never enough time!

When you earn your living from the land, it seems as though there are never enough hours in a day to do all that needs doing. There are animals to care for, crops to plant and tend, buildings to maintain, fences to fix, and machinery that needs constant attention. Then, low and behold, you get a good stretch of warm weather, hurry to the field, and something breaks down. By the time you get it fixed and pull out of the yard again – it starts to rain. How frustrating!

As Daylight Saving Time came and went this year, I remembered long ago when my father complained bitterly about the leap forward in spring. This disruption in his daily routine and the loss of one perfectly good hour was a great annoyance to him. He flatly refused to comply. Griping about losing much-needed sleep, he stood glaring up at the clock on our kitchen wall. His refusal was accepted by the rest of the family, with minimal eye-rolling, but it soon posed a significant problem. My brother and I were still in school, mom held a part-time job in Lloydminster, and we had various events to attend.

“Alright, Les,” my mother said in exasperation as she prepared school lunches one morning, “You have to get the kids to school for nine, which is eight to you, and then you’ll be working with cattle till noon. But is that your noon or mine? Lunch congealed on the stove for an hour yesterday waiting for you.” She paused, and Dad purposefully made for the door, head down, eyes averted. Mom fell into step right behind him.

“Oh, and don’t forget we have a concert in town tonight at the hall. We need to be there at seven which of course is six to you, so you’d better be in to clean up by four-thirty your time because if you show up at five like you did last week, that’s six to us, and we’ll have missed the whole bloody thing.”

She drew a long exaggerated breath, eyeing him darkly as she waved a peanut butter sandwich at his retreating back. Needless to say, this schedule couldn’t be maintained over the long haul and quickly passed into historic memoirs later referenced as, A Season of Trouble.

Time is also a problem as we age. When young, I wanted to make my living as a writer but didn’t take the time. While I enjoy my job very much, I can honestly say that I did not, as a teenager, lie awake at night dreaming of becoming a bus driver. Also, returning as an EA to the elementary school I frequented as a child didn’t figure even remotely into future plans I’d mapped out. In fact, as I shook the dust from my feet on the last day of grade nine, I recall vowing never to return. Nonetheless, we play the hand we’re dealt, and I’m happy where I am.

Is there some point to this tale, you may ask? Why yes, I believe there is. I have an excellent solution handed to me many years ago. I unearthed it recently from a dusty cardboard box where it had been forgotten. (No wonder I’ve slidden so far behind!) Now I’ve found it again, I expect to accomplish much more. It’s simply this – a Round Tuit. This particular “Round Tuit” comes in the form of a small circular plaque, which is easily transportable and may be applied to any time-constrained situation you find yourself in.

It’s rare, mind you. I’ve only ever seen one, but I’m sure you could locate another if you looked hard enough. In every situation where you say, “I’d have finished that project long ago if I could get – around to it,” or “This job needs doing, but I just can’t get – around to it,” you now have no excuse. Think of the possibilities! If you acquired your very own round tuit, a lack of time would never plague you again. Henceforth, I shall carry mine with me everywhere.

Helen lives on the family farm near Marshall, Saskatchewan, where she works as an author, columnist, and in education. Find her online at helentoews.com. There, you can learn more about her humorous Prairie Wool Books, or newly released fantasy series, Runestaff Chronicles.

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