Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


In our Own Sweet Way

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Winnipeg definitely has its checks and balances. For example, we just had one of the mildest winters in recent memory. Relatively speaking, we hardly kept an accumulation of more than a foot or two of snow the whole time. It’s like we somehow pulled a fast one on the whole eastern seaboard and they wound up with our usual weather. They never saw it coming.

Which of us Winnipeggers didn’t feel a twinge of guilty pleasure as we watched the east coast just get hammered time and again with blizzard after blizzard along with mountains of snow and arctic temperatures? Who among us didn’t inwardly sneer at poor helpless Atlanta Georgia when the whole city shut down over the amount of snow that it took to frost a powdered donut? People were stranded on the highway for several days after a 45-car pile-up.

Yeah, we had an unseasonably mild winter. On the other hand, as a result of this unusually dry winter, the water levels are now so low that crops will be challenged to grow properly. The upshot of unusually low water levels is that backyard parties are now going to be so much more pleasant due to the scarcity of the customary swarms of mosquitoes. The counterbalance for that is that those parties are going to be so much more expensive because of the price of food…

Here in the ‘Peg, every check has a balance. Some say we sit right here in the middle of nowhere but I say we sit in the middle of everything. While others say we are a small town, I point out that we have a population of 750,000. We can go either way on the last two topics. We can either be isolated from the world or we can be the center of it. We can be a small large city or a large small town.

We must claim our place in the world as part of it. The world is a big scary place and I can see why many of us want to be separate from it. The news shows us places like Ferguson Missouri and we are reminded of our dealings with Canada’s First Nations population. The way I see it, many parts of Winnipeg are just as scary as any place in the rest of the world.

The borders of the world are imaginary. I don’t see them when I fly back and forth to the States. When I land in Saint Louis, New York, San Diego, or Atlanta, I meet Irish, Italian, Latino, Jewish, African American, Middle Eastern, Asian, British, First Nations, and others. Back in Winnipeg, I meet Irish, Italian, Latino, Jewish, African American, Middle Eastern, Asian, British, First Nation, and others…

When we imagine that we are not part of the world we invite ourselves to think of ourselves as better than everyone else. That’s the slippery slope that got us humans into this scary mess. I love the diversity of this world as we sing together in our own ways. That is the true essence of jazz. Thumb through this magazine. Find a place to hear what we all accomplish when we dream and create together.

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