Saskatchewhat?

Sept. 1990

rick_mugWhen I wrote this I had just moved from Calgary to Saskatoon, the summer of 1990 — expecting to stay 1 year.  I ended up staying 10 years. 

I was a tourist in Saskatchewan.

I drive home alone from Saskatoon to Calgary, in September, in the late afternoon. I take the smaller, stair-casing highways, speeding with impunity. There seems to be no R.C.M.P. left in Saskatchewan.

I drive through towns with great names like Bounty, Wartime and Conquest. Who got to name these places?


The prairies are a never ending stream of checkerboard fields, barns, churches, cows, dust-devils, road kill and ponderous, overloaded farm trucks. The heat rises off the roadway and seems to evaporate the mirage pools of water before I can enjoy splashing through them. The smells are … well, unique to the Prairies. And I never knew there were so many hawks in all of the world.

Grand daddy grasshoppers wing by as big as birds. Slower, less experienced insects splatter my windshield. The freshly oiled gravel roads splatters my car as well, but I don’t care.

I stop at Outlook, Saskatchewan and sit out in the middle of a sandbar in the middle of the Old Man River. The air is calm, the sun is smoking and the song in my head is called …

I never believed that I’d grow old.

The sandbar is the highlight of the drive. Glorious. The last day of the longest summer of my life. I wish it would never end.

If I could make a wish,
I think I’d pass …

Like everyone else in Saskatchewan, I listen to CBC AM radio constantly. The weather is updated every 15 minutes. They report that the canola is too dry to reap. It will shatter if harvested. But the wheat is still too moist to take off the field. Saskatchewan weather is one big Catch-22.

Driving West into the setting sun, I find myself alone with my thoughts. I dream a grand scheme.

As night falls, I approach Drumheller and the badlands. The warmth from my big mug of tea is comforting.

It’s harvest here. Dusty farmers take dinner on the tractor this evening and plan to work all night. I see the bright lights of combines bobbing along in the dark in every field.

I drive home alone from Saskatoon to Calgary in September.

Happy March 193rd

#ManPlansGodLaughs

I had big plans for 2020. All postponed.

Instead I’ve spent most of the year in small town Parksville B.C. at my parent’s home. All is well with me and family. We have had very few COVID positive cases in this part of Canada. Almost everything is open.

We’re staying safe as possible in these troubling times.

Since March I’ve made about 15 overnight bikepacking trips. And now feel very confident in this new-to-me hobby.

cycling Vancouver to Calgary 2020

As days grow short I’ll cycle less, run more. Add more playground conditioning. Add basketball. Perhaps add Golf.

I’d hoped to get to Nepal for November. But they can’t get the virus under control.

I’m now looking at Hawaii.

Stay safe.

I’m a Humanist

Author Yuval Noah Harari would say my religion is Humanism.

My bible the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The first Humanist Manifesto was issued by a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1933.

Signatories included the philosopher John Dewey, but the majority were ministers (chiefly Unitarian) and theologians.

They identified humanism as an ideology that espouses reasonethics, and social and economic justice, and they called for science to replace dogma and the supernatural as the basis of morality and decision-making.

So far, so good.

In 1941, the American Humanist Association was organised. Noted members of The AHA included Isaac Asimov, who was the president from 1985 until his death in 1992, and writer Kurt Vonnegut, who followed as honorary president until his death in 2007.

They advocate in Washington, D.C., for separation of church and state.

There is a sub-set called secular humanism that consciously rejects supernatural and religiosity.

I wouldn’t go that far, myself.

But I do believe strongly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

 

My Spring Allergies – MEDICATIONS?

In 2020 I tried Diphenhydramine HCI 25 Mg – Kirkland Brand.

They did seem to work. It helped my Dad, as well.

My brother bought Kirkland in the States, inexpensively.  Over the counter. Pink tablets.

Some people do experience side effects.

As I couldn’t find it quickly in Canada, I ordered something that looks identical from Amazon.ca.

More expensive.

Basic Care Diphedryl Tablets,

400 Count

 

I acquired allergies later in life.  In Calgary they start about May 15th, end about July 1st.

In B.C. with a much milder climate, everything is about 2 months earlier. In 2020 I was suddenly mostly better about May 1st.  And stopped taking the pills.

Before this year I mainly treated Spring Allergies by fleeing somewhere else in the world. OR … a combination of exercise and frequent showers.

Saturday mornings when I was in High School

If I wasn’t watching Saturday morning cartoons, we would catch a bus to downtown Calgary because pool was free from 9am – noon at one hall.

What hall was that?

At noon I’d head over to Jaffe’s Book & Music Exchange to spend most of my $1 / week allowance on used comics.

It was located at 225 – 8th Ave. S.E.

Here’s Sam Osherow, manager.