By Wayne Litke
Was it just me or did the May 6 communication failure across the Southwest feel like we had stepped back 100 years? It was amazing how almost everything that required an electronic transfer of information was totally useless, unless a satellite link was used to access the Internet or telephone service. It is my guess that the only utility that may have greater impact on businesses and private life is electrical service. In any case, the failure of Internet, cellular phone service, long-distance phone calls and electronic data transfer showed how totally reliant we are on technology.
Looking forward, I hope everyone will make time to relax on the upcoming long weekend and visit some of the special areas and businesses that southwest Saskatchewan has to offer. The diverse beauty of this little part of the world is amazing and if a person doesn’t take advantage of opportunities to tour and explore when they arise, it seems winter is suddenly knocking on the door. At least that is how it is for me, so it is important to seize every opportunity and make the most of it. Check out this year’s Secrets of the Southwest and plan your adventures accordingly.
Adventure – that’s what we attempted last weekend when our daughter and son-in-law came to Maple Creek to spend Mother’s Day with us. They actually came to spend the day with Angela, but I was able to capitalize on the event and be included due to my close association with the woman who was being honoured. To make the day special, we went to Cypress Hills Park in the afternoon and went biking.
The weather and timing were both great. It wasn’t too hot or cold and there was little traffic on the roads so we pedaled around like kids looking for adventure. As we headed up the first significant incline, it did not take long to realize my leg muscles no longer have the stamina of my youth. I was able to somewhat offset that fact by using 14 gears (low to mid-range) that are not required on the flat streets of Maple Creek. Thankfully, I was able to top all the hills with my pride intact (which means a lot to any guy), but my legs felt rubbery and my lungs cried for air on more than a couple occasions. It’s difficult to admit that my age is beginning to show and I am no longer an iron man, not even in my own deluded world.
However, I made up for my lack of uphill energy when I crested the hill tops. Gravity acting upon my winter mass – supercharged with childhood zeal – resulted in a downhill bullet. Stopping was actually more interesting as the law of inertia took over and braking at high speed created a violent fishtail motion that threatened to toss me off the bike. It was truly adrenalin action that should be reserved for youth.
Reliving my glory days is starting to create some serious work: exercise and real training, diet restrictions and a lot of discipline. I purchased a gym membership and have started watching what I eat. I haven’t really changed my eating habits yet as I am currently in the process of taking note of the food (and pseudo foods) that I ingest. Before I consider reducing or eliminating the junk and edible food products that have slipped into my diet, I have to become aware of the volume and frequency on which I consume unhealthy and great-tasting junk.
My wife has remained cautiously reserved about the changes I am proposing to my lifestyle. Her lack of optimistic comments tells me she has lumped me in with repeat offenders who want to change, but never really do. You know the type: smokers who promise to quit the filthy habit when the last cigarette in the package has been smoked and addicts who desire to get clean, but cannot kick the habit. Junk food, ice-cream and carbohydrates (especially salty carbs – they’re the best) have been my Achilles heel in the past. However, I am in the process of turning over a new leaf and heading down a healthier road. My biggest challenge right now is actually turning over that leaf as it seems to be a little larger, heavier and harder to turn over than expected. But I am not worried, I have a lot of friends who can offer advice and assistance as required.
I know people who see me jogging, briskly walking or strolling past will not interrupt my training and offer me an energy drink or sugar-laden soft drink until I have completed my exercise for the day. Maintaining energy for my workout program will require supplements, so I will continue to accept cookies and pastries which can quickly replace lost calories. As my self-administered training intensifies, supplements may have to play a larger role in order to avoid malnourishment and the loss of muscle mass (as a body slowly consumes itself when caloric output continuously exceeds input). I was reminded of that process while watching the movie Unbroken and reading the book by the same name. Both are excellent.
Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, a child hellion who was given direction and encouragement and went on to become a long-distance running sensation. He had an incredible future as an athlete, but the Second World War initiated a series of events that forever changed the U.S. citizen. For me, learning about Zamperini started with the movie that Angelina Jolie produced – it is very well done. I was so fascinated by the tenacity of this guy, who died in July, 2014 at the age of 97, that I read and watched everything pertaining to him on the Internet (and there is a lot of information on-line). Then I purchased the book (Unbroken) by Laura Hillenbrand and have not been disappointed.
The fact the book can hold a person’s interest after digesting a huge amount of information from other sources is a testament to the author and her flare for writing. The book includes photos, notations, footnotes and information on the author and the writing of the biography.
The book has delayed my exercise program and a couple other projects, and I fully expect that will continue until I reach the last page. Speaking of the end, it’s time to sign off for another week.