This past weekend was sad for one reason only: Saturday was Final Dog Day. That’s the day on which the final outdoor hot dog of the season is consumed. With the beginnings of a tear in my eye, I approached the dog vendor outside the old Strathcona farmer’s market. He was just warming up for the day – it was 11:00 am. Never too early for a Fat Frank’s I always say, and knowing that this Saturday would likely be the last day for such a joy, I had to do it. One jumbo, fiver from my jeans, on the cart. Whole wheat bun or nothing my good man, and he toasts the sucker a bit before serving. Ah, the ripe and wild hot dog. Ever so beautiful on a sharp October day like this. The falltime brings many pleasures, but one lament is the disappearance of the jumbo dog street stands. A true shame, but it has to be. One cannot appreciate anything unless one goes without for a time. The absence of dogs in the winter makes their reappearance in spring all the more sweet. Long live the hot dog roaster and his charges. May his children winter well, and may the spring come swift and ripe with relish and onion.
Mike Gravel eating the last dog of the season, October 2007
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?