Our Mel of the Pretty Voice

Here’s the latest music video from Melanie Hankewich (calling herself Belle Plaine, professionally), who grew up in the Fosston area just north of Wadena.

There actually is a little village in southern Saskatchewan named Belle Plaine, which apparently Melanie was driving past one day while trying to come up with a stage name.


Birdie: “Saying your writing is unimportant drivel is saying your life is unimportant drivel, which it’s not. Not at all.”

It reminds me of the common attitude that what is personal is unimportant compared to what is public and collective; the old idea, still very much in existence, that what generally is top priority to women doesn’t compare in gravity to what men tend to focus upon. You see it reflected everywhere, still, even though there are many excellent blogs written by men who appear to realize that if your personal life sucks, what you accomplish professionally won’t seem all that important. This is a big subject, particularly if you believe, as I do, that the personal IS political. The effort of the person who does the dishes is just as essential and valuable as that of the person who fixes the sewer pump. It’s like the difference between the doctor of everyday preventive medicine and the emergency room physician; the labour of each is required, but the actions of one are more dramatic and more admired. I appreciate the person who has the skills to fix that goddamn sewer pump, and equally do I acknowledge that someone wipes the kitchen counters every day, which in the long run is just as important to the health and convenience of the family that lives in this house. Maybe my blog is the kitchen-counter variety!

“How about you do a post for your new readers about the name of your blog.”

This is probably a good time to point out that the orange bar on the left side of the page, if you click on it, opens up to give readers come background information. Why Stubblejumpers Cafe? explains where the name of the blog came from.

It doesn’t answer the question, What is a stubblejumper? It’s a Canadian slang term meaning “prairie farmer.” I come from many generations of farmer families on both sides, way way back to Sweden, Norway and England; probably my Irish ancestors were farmers too, or were part of farming families.

“And instead of the things that you feel you need to work on, how about the things you do really well?”

I have to think about that. What do I do really well? Nothing springs instantly to mind. I’m a pretty average person, living an average but very fortunate life. A couple nights ago I was reminded that if I’m lucky enough to live to 90, my life is almost two-thirds over. It was a sobering thought. What do I want to be different in my future? Anything? Questions I take seriously … today. Tomorrow? I’ll just be busy living, not thinking much about the whys and what-fors.




2 thoughts on “Our Mel of the Pretty Voice

  1. Beautiful voice, loved the song. Ive always admired your writing. Your honesty and depiction of life in the country is spellbinding.



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