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Wayne’s World ~ Walk tall and don’t fall

Posted on November 18, 2013 by Maple Creek

The entire province celebrated on Sunday when the Roughriders beat Calgary to win the Western conference.

The 35-13 upset guaranteed Saskatchewan football fans will experience an exciting hometown finish to the season when the Riders face Hamilton in the Grey Cup final. The game also served another purpose as it diverted people’s attention from political scandals and bad weather that has been dominating the news recently.

As for Maple Creek, winter arrived on the weekend – again – and I was happy. I had been saying that it would not snow until after Nov. 11 and that forecast proved to be way off. In reality, it was the forecaster who was way off. However, I have learned from Toronto’s mayor that it is acceptable (at least in his eyes) to repeatedly deny the truth and only acknowledge it when there is hard evidence that cannot be refuted. The blanket of snow that arrived prior to Remembrance Day may have been soft and fluffy, but it was certainly substantial proof of an incorrect weather prediction. Not even Rob Ford would be foolish enough to deny that.

My weather forecast was a little unrealistic given the nature of the last couple of winters. It was actually wishful thinking on my part, but I don’t believe there is anything wrong with a healthy dose of optimism when it comes to Mother Nature. After all, if the old girl is going to treat us to temperatures that are at least five degrees warmer than the rest of the province, we should live with that expectation. Of course there is an occasional reality check thrown at us as a reminder of how good we really have it, and that’s when the murmuring and grumbling begins (not by me of course).

Consider the winter that the areas east and north of us endured last year – it was long and brutal. It was the winter that would not stop and it pushed right into May and threatened to stop spring seeding before it got started. That was likely the real reason my Ox Heart tomatoes did not produce as well as expected. Oh well, next year will be a different story.

Time must be speeding up because I have been trying to deny the onset of winter and have been pushing forward with outdoor projects, despite being past the midway point of November. It is equally amazing to think that in only one month the days will begin to lengthen and my attitude should improve accordingly. It is a pain working by artificial light in the winter months, but it’s working in the dark in -30 to -40 C temperatures that really takes the fun out of the season.

What would I change about winter to make the season more enjoyable? I would eliminate extremely cold and windy days, and perhaps some of the super warm chinook winds that push the temperature into the double-digit range, on the positive side. While temperatures above freezing feel great in the winter, I hate dealing with the ice and slippery surfaces that are left behind. Then it snows and the ice becomes concealed and treacherous for  pedestrians who are brave enough to walk upright on sidewalks.

Equally bad are sidewalks that are not cleared of snow before a chinook hits. People walk through the snow and then it freezes forming a jumble of icy ridges and valleys that can make walking hazardous. It can be a real challenge to remain standing when traversing a long section of erratically shaped ice ridges. It becomes even more hazardous if it has snowed or a person has taken the precaution of adding alcohol to their fuel system to prevent a freeze-up.

I find it interesting the way people, guys in particular (myself included), react when they slip and fall in public. Barring a concussion or broken leg, the first thing that occurs is the fall victim gets up as quickly as possible and then looks around to see if anyone noticed. If someone witnessed the wipe-out and asks if he is OK, an automatic response is given without hesitation, “Oh yeah, I am fine.” It is an unstoppable reply that plays out like a message on a telephone answering machine.  The pain may be nine on a scale of one to 10, but the response is always the same, “I’m fine.”  It is a reaction that is programmed into the male mind during his preteen years and becomes an instinctive response. Half of the victim’s brain may be lying on the sidewalk or his arm bent backward at a 90-degree angle, but rest assured he is fine. Just ask and you will know.

The truth is he is fine until later when the garbage at home needs to be taken out or the sidewalk shovelled. Then the pain is intense. Heck, I sustained an injury in a similar fashion and it wasn’t fully healed until spring time and all the snow had melted.

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