Thursday, December 30, 2004


Hockey Night in Grandpa's House

My earliest memories of hockey is Ted (my twin) and I playing on the "unintentional pond" in the yard where the water tank for the cows accidently (on purpose) ran over. One of us had brother Bill's "real stick" and the other's was made out of a board and a poplar branch! Later on we graduated to the river just down the hill where Dad had cleaned of a patch of ice with the tractor and loader. One winter the river flooded over the ice and snow and refroze, making a perfect skating rink about half a mile long! The church young people came and enjoyed it and a roaring fire on shore one evening. Early another spring the slough out behind the barn filled and then froze again. We hand some heighbour boys over after school for lots of fun.

At school there was a shortage of water but the County hauled in water to make a rink when we were in Junior High. Our final year at that school included the luxury of boards. We had to learn how to play all over again because before that the last thing we wanted to do was shoot the puck off into the snow bank and have to retrieve it!

The first organized hockey I played was at Briercrest Bible College where I was in the "Junior League" which included anyone who wanted to play. Since then I've played a bit here and there. Last summer I played goal for the only time, and it was also my only time to play roller hockey(no ice). It was in Kalispell, Mt. and my twin brother who has always played goad was in the other net. Fortunately, most of the good shooters were on my team!

Indoors hockey takes two forms. One is watching it on TV, something we Canadians have done since the invention of the "magic box." But not this year because of the NHL lockout.

The other form of indoor hockey is the table game. I first saw some neighbour boys play it on the "Munro" hockey game back in the late 50's. The players were wooden pegs with wire "sticks" jutting out from their sides. When the one playing the game pulled a lever all 5 of his players would rotate, shooting the marble puck. A few years later Ted and I got a more advanced game for Christmas. The players could be moved up and down the ice and be rotated individually. And they were shaped and paited like real NHL players. We enjoyed that game for years. I think it's still around the old farm house somewhere!

Now, for his 6th Christmas, I got our grandson, Thomas, a nice plastic table hockey game. The last couple of evenings, He and Grandpa have had fun facing off against each other! It's exciting being all six players on the team at the same time. And I still had to be the announcer, giving the "play by play." But Thomas caught on fast. He was soon winning. And then he started doing the announcing too. When he succeeded, he knew how to shout out: "He scores." So at least in one Canadian household, our national winter sport is still very much alive and well!

Monday, December 27, 2004


Five Hundred Acres of Fun

What did we get for Christmas? Wabbit and I splurged on a new (old) computer for ourselves. Works well for blogging. Then our son, Captain Ron the Alpha Wolf, gave me a 500 acre virtual farm. It's great fun. Has all the features of the real farm with two advantages. 1) I don't have to leave the tractor seat (I mean the computer chair) and 2) if I go broke I simply switch off the computer and go back to my day job, carpentering and such!
Tractors and equipment (all authentic looking John Deere) were bought and sold. Virtual relatives came and helped out. Crops were seeded, fertilized, sprayed for weeds and bugs, and then harvested (what the tornado left), unless winter set in first! The action was very realistic, and fast enough for this "ole boy."
In a couple of hours several seasons had passed, the $300,000 I started with was used up and I'd lost the game. I'd farmed until the money was all gone, just like real life!

Friday, December 24, 2004


The Day Before Christmas

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the school
Not a creature was stirring, but the man with the tool.
The Gym was all decorated with branches and lights
Soon there'd be a wonderful Christmas wedding night.
(Yes, there's a Christmas wedding happing on the 28th.
and the trimmed up Gym lools awesome!)
The "tool man" scattered some salt and shoveled more snow.
Till t'was time for he and Wabbit, shopping to go.
The sky was crimson as the sun set on the snow
As they traveled into town. How the wind did blow!
They soon found themselves back there in front of Wal-Mart.
Suddenly they had a colission with a grocery cart.
No damage to the car, or the the runnaway cart.
But I'm sure it took a year of Elmer Fud's heart!
( I feel a song coming on: "Wabbit got run over by a shopping cart, buying groceries Christmas Eve...")
Through the store they ran, Elmer Fud chasing Wabbit.
That's what they always do. It's become a habbit.
To the till they went with the groceries piled high.
There was candy, bread and meat, but no pumpkin for the pie.
"Oh, oh!" said Wascally Wabbit, "I forgot my card."
If we can't get all these things, Christmas will be marred!
Fud still had the discound card, Wabbit for him got.
He pulled it out, paid the bill, and saved Wabbit's butt!
Now they sit at home and celebrate with delight.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Squirrel Up a Tree

It was now our fourth Christmas in the North! Jon was just four months old. And I'd gotten better at picking Christmas trees, mostly because I now took Wascally Wabbit with me on those quests.

It was Sunday noon, and as we stepped in through the front door, we saw a squirrel scurrying out through the kitchen and down the back steps. In disbelief we sat down on the couch and Wascally Wabbit reached for a chocolate candy from the candy dish. There were none! She reached further to the nut bowl. It was empty too!

Then we noticed them. Up and down our Christmas tree, at every branch, there was a nut or candy carefully placed between the needles! How I wished we'd had a movie camera focused on that tree but, alas, we didn't. So in my mind I picture this squirrel scurrying up and down the tree, securing his stash, before being interrupted by the rightful tenants of the home.

Whatever happened to the squirrel. Rumer has it that the squirrel fled all the way to Kentucky where a certain Kentucky Bear is helping her look for more nuts and candy.


O Christmas Tree! Oh!! Christmas Tree?

I had just come back from the forest. There it was in my hands: our first "real" Christmas tree. For several years Wascally Wabbit and I had enjoyed Christmas together beside a little artificial tree. It was barely two feet high so we would sit it on an end table or box to give it a little more height.

That was when we were in southern Saskatchewan, the land where you can see for miles in any direction and not see a single tree, let alone an evergreen that we could be cut down. But now we were in northern Saskatchewan, the land of lakes and trees, literally millions of them.

So we decides, no more little artificial tree! I would go out into the forest and hand pick the perfect tree. So another young man and I grabbed an axe, jumped into his truck, and off we went on the quest for luscious evergreen that would make Wascally Wabbit's heart go pitter patter!

Several hours later, shortly before the dusk that comes early in those northern regions, we returned with not one, but two of the very best trees we could find out in the wilds of Canada's great white north.

I proudly knocked on our door and then stood there holding a prized spruce tree upright with each hand.
Wascally Wabbit came to the door and stood there in stark silence. "Which one do you prefer?" I asked with a grin. More silence! The crisp winter air suddenly dropped several degrees, or so it seemed. What was she thinking? Was she disappointed? What did she expect? I'd gotten not one but two of the best trees I could possibly find!

Wascally Wabbit laughed and then asked: "Where's the real tree?" "These are the real trees. Take your pick!" I responded. She thought this was all a joke before we'd pull out the "good tree." But the truth was they were the "good trees." Well, I had to admit, they were a little small, and kind of scrawny, and the branches were few and far between, and they were a little lopsided. But they were real trees!

Was Elmer Fud in the dog house? For a while! But Wascally Wabbit reluctrantly made her choice. Then we set it up and decorated it (lots) and enjoyed our first Christmas with a real tree in our first church parsonage, in our first year in Uranium City. It was also Suzy Q's first Christmas (but Ron's third).

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