Moose Jawing


Pittsburgh has signed Evgeni Malkin to an 8-year, 76-million dollar contract extension, which works out to 9.5 million a year until the time he becomes 34. By then he should have enough money to buy a medium-sized country and make himself king.

I wonder at what point does a young fellow go from being relatively normal to letting money like that change him forever. When money becomes almost meaningless, where to buy a luxury car or three doesn’t even put a dent in the wallet. And where without even trying, can’t relate anymore to any of his old friends from the pool hall or local zabegalovka who make fifteen or twenty bucks an hour.

I’m guessing it happens without warning to the majority of these guys, who can’t spend it fast enough. Two-week paychecks fat enough to buy a house with cash, or live in 5-star hotels all summer. Imagine – with just one two-week paycheck. Yes I”m jealous, if that’s what you’re thinking.

We’ve stopped for the night in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. What a great name. An iconic name. Mentioned in books, movies, and comedy bits.

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

I love the prairies. I don’t find them boring at all as we make our way through. Beautiful, clean highways with subtle curves. Rolling hills and farmers’ fields. The sky as big as can be.

My only disappointment is it seems the old, classic grain elevator has mostly become a thing of the past. There’s a big, slightly newer one in the photo, but the smaller ones you used to see seem to be gone now. Or maybe I just have to take some side roads to see them.

I don’t have time. Boston Pizza is right next door to where we are and we’re about to pay them a visit.

Moose Jaw has tunnels underneath that were originally built for workers to move about without going outside in the winter. Later, Chinese immigrants would live in them, and soon after that, Al Capone apparently did some bootlegging through them during U.S. prohibition. They have tours.

We’re not going to see them either. 🙂

Years ago, me and four buddies were down in the park in Orillia and met an older fellow we called Swan Balls, who was drunk and leaving his wife and driving to Vancouver the next morning. We volunteered to go with him and he agreed for some reason.

The six of us made it to Vancouver and lived there for a couple of months, at which point Swan Balls came to his senses and announced he wasn’t going to pay the rent and buy food and smokes for us anymore, and was flying back to his wife. Which meant we had to hitchhike back to Orillia.

Frank and I teamed up and made it to Swift Current, Sask., where we hopped a freight train going east and had a fine ride until we saw the lights of Moose Jaw coming up. Getting busted by a yard bull wouldn’t be good, so we decided to jump off the train before it rolled into the yard. Frank jumped first and landed in some sort of shallow cow pond, making him wet and smelling like a sewage plant. Fifteen feet later the train stopped and I walked off, dry as a bone.

Frank still hates to be reminded of this.




4 thoughts on “Moose Jawing”

  1. Looking a lot greener than when I was through there two months ago. Hope you’re having a good trip. The prairies are beautiful at this time of year.

  2. An excellent trip Robin. Thanks. I love the prairies in many ways. Although I might not say that in January. 🙂

  3. You’re a great storyteller, Dennis (though Frank probably wouldn’t agree). Thanks for sharing your travels and your memories….

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