I don’t know how many residents fell victim to the same bug that invaded my personal living quarters – my body to be specific – but I am sure the number is quite high from the reports I have been hearing. The lingering results of my cold are finally leaving after a month of dealing with a virus that was annoying and energy draining. It seems victory only came after I got a head start on hibernation and turned 15-minute rest periods into substantial sleep sessions that lasted up to four hours. As a matter of fact, I laid down for a cat nap after lunch on Sunday and managed to wake up just in time for supper. It was a little embarrassing since I had planned on taking the camper off our truck and winterizing it, but that is now postponed for a few more sleeps.
We had planned on billeting some students who will be attending the Saskatchewan Student Leadership Conference Maple Creek Composite School is hosting this week. Approximately 600 delegates are expected and we thought eight boys could stay at our house. However, plans changed and that number was downsized to five – five girls. Now I am not sure what to expect, but one thing I know for sure is the chatter and noise level will definitely exceed my expectations and likely require a set of earplugs so I can get to sleep. For people who may think that is an uneducated, sexist statement, I assure you it is a well-informed speculation based on the noise our daughter and her girlfriends made at sleepovers.
It was truly awesome to have Cowboy Poetry return to Maple Creek this past weekend after a one-year hiatus. The town was bustling with visitors who appreciate and promote the western way of life, and some even commented on the visible improvements in the community. Those changes have largely been made possible by initiatives by Communities in Bloom, the Town and the Maple Creek Main Street Program. As residents, we see the changes implemented over time and tend to forget what the town actually looked like 10 years ago. Take the take the time to reflect back a decade or more and I think you will agree the changes are significant, even at the business and retail level. I am sorry to say that readers who do not agree are likely suffering from memory loss or poor eye sight.
Speaking of changes and improvements, where would our town and this region be without The Salvation Army? It has grown in size and scope of services provided to residents and people passing through the area. I was reminded of that while attending a centennial celebration for the Maple Creek organization on Sept. 10. One hundred years is a long time for any organization or business to be in operation, especially one that is service oriented.
Assisting and serving people in need is what The Salvation Army is known for around the world, and it would be interesting to know how many people or families the church has helped in the last century in our area. If that information was available I am sure we would all be shocked at the number of individuals who have been given a hand up in a time of need.
It was a treat to have a live band perform various songs throughout the evening and a video presentation by Kristi Yarshenko that showed the organization’s local history was educational and entertaining. Also, I thought Mayor Barry Rudd delivered one of his best speeches at the Saturday night gala as he explained the significant role The Salvation Army has played in the Maple Creek area. Perhaps that perception was only in my head and may have been caused by a sudden reduction in my sinus pressure resulting in the ability to focus. In any case, I have to agree with our mayor that the church and the services it provides are a huge asset to our town and area. I hope and trust the organization will still be going strong in another 100 years.
Going strong – that reminds me of a milestone that occurred at the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver at the end of August. A 100-year-old runner from India captured gold in the 100-metre sprint by completing the event in 1:21 (one minute and 21 seconds). That can hardly be called a sprint when compared to Olympic standards, but it’s darn impressive for a centurian. Furthermore, Man Kaur never broke her pace or became distracted by other runners since there were no other competitors in her age category. At her age, I think there would be nothing wrong with taking a rest or two en route to the finish line. Even a nap would be acceptable in my opinion.
Kaur began running seven years ago and has since won more than 20 gold medals including top honours at Vancouver this year in shot put, javelin and the 100-metre sprint. She began running at the suggestion of her 78-year-old son who also competes. She attributes her good health to exercise and a good diet: no fried food and no junk food.
I hope she inspires others to step out and try something new, even if health issues are a challenge. It seems to me that being unwilling (or worse, unable) to break out of an unproductive daily routine must be disappointing and frustrating. As I watch my own father age, I am reminded that we all need a purpose in life and sometimes we have to try a new challenge – something unfamiliar – in order to rediscover happiness and fulfillment. At any age, we have to do whatever it takes to keep going strong.