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OCTOBER 2009

Vancouver’s 50+ Active Lifestyle Magazine

THE ROAD HOME

John Pippus The Horse Whisperer


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OCTOBER 2009 MAGAZINE

(Vancouver & Lower Mainland) is published by Stratis Publishing. Other publications by Stratis Publishing:

• Senior Living (Vancouver Island) • Senior Lifestyle: A Housing Guide for Vancouver Island Publisher

DEPARTMENTS

FEATURES

Barbara Risto

4 The Road Home

Editor

Bobbie Jo Reid editor@seniorlivingmag.com

Playwright, actor and musician John Pippus is finally doing what he loves.

Proofreader

8 The Horse Whisperer

Allyson Mantle Barry Risto 250-479-4705 Toll Free 1-877-479-4705 sales@seniorlivingmag.com

12 Comox Rocks!

Vancouverites head to Vancouver Island for a healthful getaway filled with non-stop adventure and activity.

Ad Sales Staff

RaeLeigh Buchanan 250-479-4705 Terry Cushing 250-479-4705 Ron Joyce 604-986-3494 Ann Lester 250-390-1805 Mathieu Powell 250-589-7801

16 Sharing Stories

Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group motivates members to keep writing and share what they’ve penned in a supportive environment.

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Senior Living Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Phone 250-479-4705 Toll-free 1-877-479-4705 Fax 250-479-4808 E-mail office@seniorlivingmag.com Website www.seniorlivingmag.com

27 BBB Scam Alert 28 Crossword

Liz Mitten Ryan lives on a spiritual piece of property where she co-authored award-winning books – with her horses.

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26 Classifieds

18 Humble Superstar

COLUMNS 2 The Family Caregiver by Barbara Small

11 Forever Young by William Thomas

29 Ask Goldie

by Goldie Carlow

Champion lacrosse player Wayne Goss retired at the top of his game; a career cut short by tragedy – and triumph.

32 Reflections: Then & Now by Gipp Forster

24 Stage Presence

Comedian and storyteller Marylee Stephenson shares her view from the stage.

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No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Senior Living is an indepdendent publication and its articles imply no endoresement of any products or services. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Unsolicited articles are welcome and should be e-mailed to editor@seniorlivingmag.com Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland is distributed free in Vancouver, North & West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Delta, Twawwassen, White Rock, Surrey, Cloverdale and Ladner. ISSN 1911-6373 (Print) ISSN 1991-6381 (Online)

Building in a remote area can turn dream to nightmare when a family of four moves into a schoolbus until the project is complete. Cover: “Pick of the Fringe” award winner John Pippus at the seawall in Yaletown. Photo: Kevin McKay

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THE FAMILY CAREGIVER

I

n addition to the emotional and physical impact of caregiving, there can be a tremendous financial impact on both the care recipient and caregiver. This can include: • The cost of home support services, home nursing care, physiotherapy or other medical care that is not covered by the MSP or subsidized by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. VIHA provides services to help clients stay safely and comfortably in their homes as long as possible. These services are meant to supplement the clients’ efforts to care for themselves with the assistance of family and friends. VIHA conducts a standardized financial assessment to determine extent of eligibility for subsidized care. Home support services can also be purchased through private home support agencies. If 24-hour care is required, some families will hire and pay for a live-in care provider. • Out-of-pocket expenses for products or equipment purchased for the care recipient’s personal use, such as mobility aids, incontinence supplies, medical alert systems or bathroom safety equipment. These costs will vary dependent on the needs of the RY ECTniO zations SBuSsineDssIR E es & Orga BSeUniSorIN ed us -Foc

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care recipient. Some of these items can be borrowed from equipment loan services in the community. • Adaptations may need to be made to the home where the care recipient is living in order to make it more accessible, such as ramps for wheelchairs, stair lifts or making the bathroom accessible. • Caregivers may need to purchase other services such as childcare, yard work, or housekeeping in order to free up time for their caregiving responsibilities. • If the time comes when the care recipient can no longer stay in his or her own home, moving to an assisted living residence or residential care facility may become necessary. Similar to the home support services mentioned above, VIHA will conduct a financial assessment to determine if your family member is eligible for subsidy. If not, private care residences are available. Their monthly cost can range from $1,500 – $5,000 dependent on the amount of care needed and other services provided. • Almost 70 per cent of family car-

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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

BY BARBARA SMALL

egivers are employed and trying to balance the demands of a job and their caregiving responsibilities. This challenge can result in reduced hours, a leave of absence, job loss or early retirement in order to manage care responsibilities. In some care situations, families are also coping with the loss of the care recipient’s income. Preparing in advance is important to help mediate the financial impact of caregiving. Some options to explore include critical illness or long-term care insurance, use of RRSPs, reverse mortgages or home equity loans. Regardless of the type of caregiving situation, an effective financial plan needs to consider the many scenarios that might arise and the costs that might be incurred. The Family Caregivers’ Network, in partnership with Desjardins Financial Security, ElderSafe Support Services and Senior Living Magazine, is offering a free workshop entitled, Longevity and Lifestyle: How Caring for Family Will Impact You and Proactive Solutions to Meet the Challenge, on Oct. 15th. For more details, visit the Family Caregivers’ website: www.familycaregiversnetwork.org/ SL education Next month: Reducing Your Feelings of Guilt Barbara Small is the Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society located in Victoria, BC. www.familycaregiversnetwork.org


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OCTOBER 2009

3


THE ROAD HOME W

hen Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead were singing, “What a long strange trip it’s been,” they could well have been singing about the life of John Pippus. During his extraordinary journey through the first 59 years of his life, he has been an entrepreneur, a musician, an activist, a family man, a hippie, a salesman, a substance abuser, a student, a playwright and more. John has known success and tasted a little of the good life – and he has fallen to rock bottom, dwelling where few people ever go. His life is not easily defined but about it John says, “I was a middle class kid from Winnipeg with an entrepreneurial streak.” And this remains at his core, despite all he has been through and his abundant talent and creative abilities. John lived with his parents and three siblings in Winnipeg until he was 11, when Avis Rent-a-Car transferred his father to Vancouver so he could manage their operations in B.C. and the Yukon. “Even as a kid I was a bit of an entrepreneur,” says John. “I had a paper route and set up lemonade stands, bought and sold comics and even started my own little newspaper.” An early reader, John completed Grades 2 and 3 at the same time. It meant that he was always the youngest kid in his class. “Somehow it shaped me,” he says. “At Balmoral Junior High, there were two eccentric, colourful teachers. Mr. Kingan was my art teacher. I feared him but I loved him. My socials teacher, Mr. Perry, was a well-known sculptor. He was telling us about the Plains of Abraham and the English climbing the cliffs, and while he was telling us, he was literally climbing the blackboard. It made quite an impression on me.” At first, high school was not easy for John, but everything changed with a simple discovery. “I was in the out crowd, not popular. It was not really where I wanted to be, but I had to go. I started a band in Grade 10 with a drummer named Paul Baker,” he recalls. “I sang and played guitar and we would play at house parties. Music gave me my place. It was all about girls. If girls liked what we were doing, it was all right by me.” He graduated in 1967 (the summer of love), moved out and took a train to Montreal with his pal Paul to take in Expo ’67. From there, the two young men hitchhiked to New York City, and finally back across the country home. In 1968, he was washing dishes at the Coach House Hotel restaurant in North Vancouver when he decided to pursue a post-secondary education. “Thank God, I did,” he says now. He chose BCIT since two years seemed far more attractive than a four year program. “I read the calendar and looked at broadcast communications,” he says. “I liked watching TV and thought maybe I could do this. Thirty students got in, 4

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

STORY AND PHOTO BY KEVIN MCKAY

and I was 35th. I went to the department head and told him I wanted in badly. One of the 30 dropped out, and I was the one who got in.” John decided to focus on TV in his second year. “I finished, though I did a lot of partying. We had to wear jackets


and ties at the time. We were up in arms, protesting and so on.” At his practicum in the CBC film department on Georgia Street, he charmed everybody and had a lot of fun. The day after he graduated, he was hired and started working there with colourful coworkers who, he says, hated bureaucracy. After a couple of years working for the Mother Corporation, the long-haired John Pippus quit, packed up his guitar and a backpack and flew to Hawaii. The locals took one look at him and told him he needed to go to Makena Beach, which he did, only to discover it was home to about 100 nudists. It ended, John remembers, with a police raid. “I got busted along with my girlfriend, Peggy. We woke up with two other guys to find everyone else gone. They got word of a police raid. I was handcuffed to Peggy, marched to the paddy wagon and driven into town to face the music. The trial was the next day. The judge told me if I left the Islands, he would dismiss the charges, so I did.” John returned home in 1972, bought a van and took off with two friends. When they were turned back at the U.S. border, they headed east and ended up in Montreal. While there, John lived two separate lives – one mainstream and one underground. He hooked up with some friends from the CBC and formed part of a coffeehouse scene. “It was like a mini Andy Warhol type scene,” he says. “We all had grand perceptions. We had a band, poets, dancers, lots of girlfriends and [we] moved around, making music in a half-assed way.” At the same time, he was working as a successful salesman despite his long hair. “I was selling Cable vision door-to-door, and I was one of the top five salesmen. I put my hair in a ponytail to help me get in the door,” he recalls. “Before going back into the office, at the end of the day, I would wild up my hair and there would be my name on the board. The other salesmen hated me. I had a ball. My dad was a good door-to-door encyclopedia salesman back in the ’40s. And I was a good salesman too.” But deep down, John knew he was

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OCTOBER 2009

5


wasting his time. Eventually, he suffered a breakdown and moved back to Vancouver. Down and out, he lived in a rooming house, where he would sleep up to 18 hours a day and spent much of the rest of the time playing his guitar in front of downtown Vancouver stores. With some help from his parents, John got back on his feet, took an entry-level job with CKVU television in 1977 and worked his way up to editing in the news department. Along the way, he met Pamela in 1981, and they were married in 1982. She had a son from a previous relationship, and together they had a daughter and a son over the next

couple of years. With his family complete, John left CKVU to be a full-time househusband, something he did for a couple of years. Though John says it was good to be home with the kids, when they reached school age, he returned to the workforce. “In 1987, I went over to BCTV in Burnaby to work as a video editor in the newsroom. It wasn’t my passion, but it was an easy enough way to make a living. I was casual for 20 years, but got plenty of work – enough to get full-time pay with the flexibility I craved.” The next stop on the journey was time spent as an activist for children’s

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education. John saw plenty wrong with the education system and was not afraid to voice his opinion. “I was media savvy,” he says. “During the teachers strike, I spoke up for parents who couldn’t or wouldn’t speak out. I was like a she bear when I saw my daughter being hurt by the system because she was too smart. I was making waves, getting national press coverage. If they wanted a quote, they would come to me. Eventually, John received $140,000 in grant money from local foundations and started the Surrey Traditional School. “I debated Charles Ungerleider from the UBC Education Department (later the deputy minister of Education) and in spite of having no formal education in this field, I held my own.” This battle with the education field made John feel he needed a degree after his name to add credibility to what he was fighting for. He took some online courses from Kwantlen College before going to UBC where he received an Interdisciplinary Studies degree. “This time I was an A student because there were no girls to distract me from my studies,” he laughs. Over the past five years, John’s life has come full circle as he slowly eased into retirement by reducing his work schedule and returning to his music. “I started performing at open mics, recording, and writing songs. It’s my expensive hobby,” he says. “I host a coffee house on Granville Street every Friday night. Pamela does the sound, while I book the talent and perform.” About a year ago, while John was searching for new audiences for his music, Pamela mentioned that the Fringe Festival had an established audience. John agreed this was a good idea, so signed up to take an acting class at Langara College. At the end of the course, he asked his teacher, Rachel Scott, if she would direct his play for the Festival. “She said, ‘yes, I want to direct something right now.’ I was so excited. I can’t be so hopeless if this professional person is willing to put her name on the line.” After a lot of work involving eight major drafts and plenty of rehearsals, John launched his production, Oh, Winnipeg


at the Fringe Festivals in September in Victoria and Vancouver receiving the coveted “Pick of the Fringe” award at the Vancouver Fringe Fest’s Closing Awards Ceremony. This audience-selected award went to the four most popular productions, determined by ballot, from among the 68 plays presented at this year’s run. The back story of Oh, Winnipeg is all about John’s life, but what he enjoyed most was the chance to showcase his music. Now he has a CD, which is getting airplay and good reviews in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and he is hoping to hit the road again and travel to some of these places to promote it. But he won’t be going alone. “Going to some of these countries and playing live is very appealing to me, but this has to involve my wife. We need to agree that this is what we want to do. We want to travel in comfort, no more sleeping on the beach. Pamela is my stage manager, and I couldn’t do it without her. She keeps me grounded. I’m the dreamer.” His brief music career has already spawned a couple of highlights including co-writing a song with Ra McGuire of Trooper and performing on stage at a Wisconsin festival with Jackson Browne in front of 5,000 fans. “When you are connecting with an audience, the room kind of goes extra silent,” says John. “When it goes so silent, that is when you know you’ve got it. Those are the best moments. I love SL that. I live for it.”

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For more information, visit John’s website at www.johnpippus.com

OCTOBER 2009

7


THE HORSE WHISPERER

BY IRENE BUTLER

Above, Liz Mitten Ryan’s painting “Unbridled.” Right, Liz and her horses share a book. 8

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

four dogs and two cats that romp around like inseparable buddies. This is Gateway2 Ranch on the outskirts of Kamloops. Horse whisperer, author and artist Liz and her architect husband Kevin own the ranch. The Ryans were drawn from their small hobby farm in Gibsons, B.C. to this 320-acre ranch 10 years ago. Their decision to come here was influenced by Liz’s dream of being encased in nature, where her horses could run free, and her dogs could bark without dis-

turbing the neighbours. Liz was never a city girl at heart. Born and raised in Vancouver, her fondest childhood reminiscences are of days spent at her Grandma’s summer place on the Sunshine Coast. In adulthood, and as a mother of six, she and Kevin have always lived as rural as possible. Their seven grandchildren now come to this haven to garner magical memories. From a tender age, Liz’s passions were animals and art. She had a particular affinity with horses, and started riding lessons at the age of five, and by Grade 2, it was difficult to coax her away from her easel, where oils morphed into a variety of animals. After graduating from high school, her parents, concerned that she should have “something concrete to fall back on,” sent her to university and nursing school. Eventually, her passions won out. Liz studied art in London, England and was mentored by senior Photo: Courtesy of the Ryan Collection

P

rima trots over. Her powerful flanks move in an easy rhythm, her rich brown coat glistens in the sunlight. Her gentle brown eyes reflect the pastoral surroundings as she puts her nose close and whinnies a greeting. Paschar then nuzzles in, followed by Micah. Among these warmbloods (sport horse breeds), there are two Shetland Ponies, and surprisingly, a bull! His stocky form nonchalantly munching hay alongside several large equines. “That’s Tesoro, meaning treasure in Spanish,” says Liz Mitten Ryan, “and yes, he thinks he’s part of the herd.” Hearing his name, he looks towards her and trots over, no doubt associating Liz with fun and a carrot treat. The 15 horse/one bull Ryan menagerie also includes


instructor Peter Aspell at the Vancouver School of Art. As her children left the nest, she increasingly indulged in her passion of becoming a horse breeder and trainer, her expertise honed over many years of reading, and consulting with experts. Liz hopes the old method of “breaking” a horse to teach them skills will be replaced in every instance by the gentle and respectful horse whisperer techniques, whereby this highly intelligent animal and trainer “build” on each other’s strengths and become one in a co-operative way with superior results. Gateway2 is a perfect fit for the Ryans. Kevin pursues his architectural profession in their new hinterland, and multi-tasks on the ranch. Liz, after a decade of running, playing, training, and observing these joyful, reckless creatures knows their every nuance and has become, in her own words, “one with the herd” – a life-changing spiritual journey. But even given the close bond with her horses, Liz was surprised and shocked when she began to write about her experience, while her horses, by a type of telepathy or channelling, began to communicate their perspective. “My animals’ message to humans is that they want to be recognized as equal spirits,” says Liz. “They feel humans have been steadily removing themselves from the interconnection of everything in the universe – the divine spark of God in all things. They say the way to do this is to listen to our intuition or higher consciousness and be in our truth, as each animal species lives their truth in the way given to them by God.” She has co-authored four award-winning books in three years with her horses (with contributions by her dogs and cats) – One with the Herd, Unbridled, Sabbatical, and The Truth According to Horses. These books have won eight Independent Publishing awards at Book Expo America in Los Angeles in 2008. The Truth According to Horses was entirely conceived and authored by Premiere Edition (a.k.a. Prima) and the Herd,” says Liz. “It won a Nautilus Book Award for 2009, making Prima the first horse in history to win a literary award.” Other winners of this coveted award include the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra.

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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Photo: Rick Butler

Liz chats to Prima.

Throughout her life, Liz has always made time for her art, and many of her landscapes, equine and animal portraits appear in her books. She has raised millions of dollars for conservation groups and charities throughout the world, and was nationally acclaimed B.C. Wildlife Artist of the Year for two years, Habitat Canada conservation stamp winner, and Ducks Unlimited national artist for six years. Her print “Unbridled” was a 2008 National print for Ducks Unlimited. During the past year, the land that comprises Gateway2 has drawn attention. The Ryans have long been aware that their rolling terrain “felt” different, but when visitors also mentioned strange sensations, Liz invited Billa, a renowned shaman to walk the land. Billa, dowsing with L-rods detected the vortexes of two mega electro-magnetic fields. Later, Thyson, an expert in Geomancy (divination by means of lines, figures and geographic features) discovered other dynamics, such as a massive solitary boulder atop a hill containing a sizeable crystal. He claims this land is more complete with full spectrum natural wonders than any he had ever witnessed. Liz feels the powerful forces on this land may have heightened her and the horses’ capability to resonate on a higher level and clear the channels of communication – the link that allowed this horse whisperer to be directly inspired by equine SL wisdom. For more information on Liz Mitten Ryan’s art and books, visit www.lizmittenryan.com

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FOREVER BY WILLIAM THOMAS

Good riddance to dated lingo

L

ike me, the economy probably has you confused and just a tad frustrated. A year ago, I looked at my investments and savings and I saw that proverbial rainbow arching over my oncoming rainy days. I looked again yesterday. Then I drove to the largest bridge I could find, intending to jump. Unfortunately, Paul Martin, Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffett, Bernie Madoff, and my bank manager had gotten there before me. I had to take a number. Hoping the world will benefit from my demise, I’m trying to talk Martha Stewart into a tandem jump. You have to know the world economy is in deep, deep trouble when you read that last year’s biggest moneymakers were those pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. Think about that. When Somali pirating starts offering public shares – and given Wall Street’s track record, don’t think this couldn’t happen – I’m investing! Seriously, one of the most depressing aspects of the world’s sinking economy is the language that’s been used by the captains of industry to describe it. I’m sure by now you too are linguistically exasperated particularly if you have recently been deployed or made redundant and you’ve been identified as having a carbon footprint larger than a sasquatch ever since the muffler fell off your pre-owned pickup truck manufactured by the smallest of The Big Three. And you’re thinking and thinking, trying to take it to the next level, trying to break through the clutter, but the only thing that’s hap-

pening outside the box involves your cat and the litter. Well, at first blush, I’m as embarrassed about this as you are. Honest. I feel your pain. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. Which is why I’m taking incremental opportunity, as a merger of equals, to realize your shareholder value and explain the mangled language of the business world to you. Synergy? The Ink Spots had synergy. Fred and Ginger had synergy. Today’s world of corporations? Mostly just sin. Get on the same page? Unfortunately, we’re all on page 1 of a very big boring book. Paradigm. The word means “pattern” and is used by a blue-suiter who wants you to think he knows as much about Wall Street as he does about Main Street. Paradigm shift. His nickname is “Shifty.” Subprime? Slime. Pre-approved? Run for your life. Zero-percent financing? Would it kill them to say “no interest?” See forward-looking statements. Forecasts. Downsizing? Certainly not Oprah! Core competency? Like those fake gold core samples Bre-X used to bilk millions from investors. “The definition of a gold mine is a hole in the ground with a crook at the top.” –Mark Twain. Greed is good? The Wall Street motto that got us into this mess. Sorry, meltdown. The perfect storm. Storms are not perfect, they’re disasters. Game changing? Therein lies the problem. The game was banking with rules and regulations and then they changed the game – to gambling. Mort-

gages, insurance, investments, high-return risks that were also high – banks might as well take our money and go to Las Vegas, but Vegas has rules. The pendulum has swung too far? The pendulum can’t swing too far, genius. That’s why it’s on a string. The customer experience? Customer centric? No value-added here that I can see. Low-hanging fruit? Wouldn’t touch that with a high-reaching pole! An integrated solution? A non-integrated solution would be a fractionalized problem. Integration equals solution plus MC squared, Einstein. Grow your business? Grow your garden. Operate your business with a “people first” principle. We are reviewing our strategic alternatives. We’re spinning like a top and looking for quick answers from psychics and snow cones. A sea of change? The sea she is a changing, up one degree each year. The warming of the ocean causes massive natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and George Bush. Global warming is rooted in our addiction to oil and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. The integrated solution? Drill, baby! Drill! Optics? Fuzzy. Sea change? We’re seasick of it all. And where’s my bail out? So there it is. Sorry, it is what it is. I SL hope that made it pop for you. William Thomas is the author of nine books of humour including Margaret and Me about his wee Irish mother. www.williamthomas.ca OCTOBER 2009

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Comox Rocks! A Healthful Getaway STORY AND PHOTOS BY RICK & CHRIS MILLIKAN

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eeking soft but robust adventures, we first settle atop Forbidden Plateau. Our lodge’s floor-to-ceiling windows frame Comox Valley’s green forests, islands dotting Georgia Strait and faraway snow-capped coastal mountains. In this inspiring setting, our resort offers us a detailed program for improved fitness. Like many guests, we aspire to lose a few pounds. Gina assesses concerns, sets goals and records our weights, noting that participants generally shed three pounds weekly. Measuring waists, forearms and thighs, she describes several elements of the fitness program, “Therapeutic Swiss Balls and weights strengthens core muscles. Twice week12

ly massages sooth aches and work out knots; you’ll love soaking in the openair spa!” Our mornings begin with energizing sunrise yoga. Posing as warriors, frogs, triangles and mountains, Tracy instructs us to breathe deeply, stretch and find inner peace. Sessions conclude with palms together over our hearts, eyes closed, heads bowed and uttering “Namaste.” Owner and head chef Andrea serves nutritious, delicious meals in the splendid post-and-beam dining room. During breakfast, trek leader Mike briefs us. “Underfed, dehydrated hikers get grumpy, so everyone packs nutritional snacks and lunches, plus two litres of water! And today’s world class trail will

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

feed your soul!” Aboard the van, Mike points out Vancouver Island’s derelict first ski hill. “Now downhill bikers come for rip-roaring rides on its rugged mountain trails.” He also nourishes our brains with this area’s history. “Long ago, Comox warriors hid their families up in this haven while battling another tribe. Returning, their women and children had vanished. Algae tinted the snow blood red, so they thought bad spirits harmed them. This area became taboo – the Forbidden Plateau.” Passing by Mt. Washington’s ski lifts and chalets, we arrive in nearby Strathcona, British Columbia’s first Provincial Park. Using walking sticks, we amble off into Paradise Meadows, looping along boardwalks beside sub-alpine evergreens, burbling streams and reflective ponds. Under clear blue skies blossom carpets of pink heather and clusters of maroon shooting stars, dwarf dogwoods, marsh marigolds and yellow alpine buttercups. Mike points out another trail. “It extends to Coastal Trek on Strathcona’s eastern edge. Fitness builds, so I’m often leading guests along that 26-kilometre route to our lodge by the end of the week.” Up over a forested hill, we descend alongside a string of pristine lakes savouring snacks and our scrumptious picnic on two of the rocky shores. Our awe-inspiring nine-kilometre hike ends with us feeling tired, but triumphant. Next day, our five-star hike begins at Helliwell Park on Hornby Island. Trekking through dry forest, we emerge on its rocky southern shoreline, ascend onto spectacular black sedimentary bluffs offering sweeping ocean panoramas and return inland through wind-shaped shore pines, gnarly Garry oaks and amber hued arbutus; a five-kilometre loop. Driving onward, we lunch at Tribune Bay among driftwood logs facing its vast white sand beach, very inviting for summer dips. Bald eagles, turkey vultures and a rare osprey soar above. After admiring naturally sculpted Heron Rocks and hiking a portion of Shingle Spit Trail, we catch an afternoon ferry back. Departing the resort on Monday, we’re inspired to burn off more calories and hike


into nearby Nymph Falls. Enjoying forest birdsongs and wildflowers, we sight our first furry critter at the falls: a barking German shepherd, who soon befriends us as his master snaps our photo. Asking about the lack of deer, this local quips, “Cougars lurk hereabouts, smart deer hang out in Comox!” Crossing Courtenay River, we drive through Comox admiring this pretty retirement community. At Filberg Heritage Park, we immediately spot one wise Bambi entering through thick hedges. At the shoreline of this early lumber baron’s estate stands his century-old lodge, where a gardener reports, “Several deer mamas live on our grounds. One birthed a little fawn yesterday; another has week-old twins.” We’re delighted to see them grazing and romping fearlessly on enormous manicured lawns. Settled in Courtenay, a short walk takes us to the shore where kayaks await. After giving basic instructions, Mike White accompanies us onto the breezy river. Greenery covers steep banks, hiding the fact that the town-centre lies nearby. Exercising arms and torso, we propel our sleek watercraft forward and steer into a slough. Two kingfishers dart above; a rare green heron stalks along the muddy shore. A dockside pub appears around a bend, undoubtedly a popular kayaker destination. Manoeuvring around moored gill-netters, Mike explains that he guides tours and rents or sells kayaks to adventurers, who often travel out into the bay, sometimes collecting oysters. In the early evening, we stroll along Courtenay’s 1.3-kilometre Heritage Riverway. Perusing storyboards illustrating community history, we buy deli sandwiches in town and munch them on a waterside bench. On Tuesday, we go to Courtenay’s Museum for a booked fossil hunt. Guide Pat enthusiastically recounts how his twin brother discovered its prominent Elasmosaurus in a local river. The replicated skeleton swims and snarls above display cases full of fellow Permian Period denizens. Surrounding murals depict this dagger-toothed sea serpent, monster mosasaurs, strange fish, shelled creatures and other marine dwellers. Our fossil quest begins a few kilometres away. Wearing backpacks and high rubber

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Peace of mind, comfort and security are just part of daily life at Sunnyside Manor – your private apartment, nutritious meals, weekly housekeeping and caring staff available 24 hours a day.

Our services include recreational activities, social outings and Assisted Living care to meet your needs.

Come for a personal tour, and have lunch on us.

Call 604.531.7470 15340 - 17th Avenue White Rock, BC V4A 1T9 www.SunnysideManor.com Retirement Community A member of the Unicare Group of Companies • White Rock • West Vancouver • Nanaimo • Kelowna • Edmonton

Are you a Care Giver or expect to be one?

You are not alone!

Proof 1 Seniors Living Magazine: Vancouver/Lower Mainland RaeLeigh Buchanan 1-877-479-4705 toll free rbuchanan@seniorlivingmag.com

Embrace the Journey - A Care Giver’s Story

96 pages Softcover 5.5” x 8.5” Price $14.95

Valerie Green’s personal story as a care giver to her elderly parents is the most relevant book on “aging in place” I have read to date. It provides a powerful insight into the challenges faced by every care giver. It unveils the challenges, heartaches, struggles and agonizing decisions that often need to be made along the way. If you are currently a care giver, or anticipate being one in the near future, this book is a must-read. - Publisher Barbara Risto, Senior Living magazine

To order, please send cheque for $19.84 ($14.95 plus $3.95 S&H & GST) payable to Senior Living. Please include your clearly written shipping address and phone number. MAIL TO: Embrace Book Offer c/o Senior Living 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1

Allow two weeks for shipping.

OCTOBER 2009

13


boots, we wade through the Puntledge River’s fast-flowing shallows on layers of sandstone and shale. Already looking out for deep potholes, Pat warns, “Watch for slippery river snot! That white algae’ll cling to your boots.” Within minutes, he points out an ammonite impression and several dark stones in the shale. “These concretions often yield fossils.” Gripping small sledgehammers and chisels we pound countless primeval mud balls. Two split open, revealing a ghost shrimp and small clam. Meanwhile, Pat chips out Inoceramus vancouverensis, a giant clam for our growing primordial collection! Driving 40 kilometres south to Horne Lake Caves that afternoon, we join other eager spelunkers signing waivers and donning headlight helmets. On our kilometre hike up an early logging road, guide Janna stops to point out towering second-growth 85-year-old timber. Then she shows us a fragile one-inch calcite soda straw emphasizing, “This is over a century-old! Beware! Touching

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such cave structures destroys them.” Nearing Riverbend Cave, she explains, “Vancouver Island originated from an 80-million-year-old seabed off Baja California. Drifting northward, volcanic eruptions lifted this limestone plate. Glaciers later covered this new island. Its melting water and limestone combined as carbolic acid, carving out this island’s unique karst topography where 1,400 caves have been discovered.” Unlocking the cave’s steel door, bodies awkwardly twist one-by-one into the small opening and descend a steep iron ladder. Feeling our way in dim light and cautiously crawling over huge boulders, we find footholds and slither downward. Gathering in a series of three chambers, headlamps shine onto high ceilings and walls revealing dazzling limestone creations: creamy popcorn, bacon stone, moon rock, stalactites, draperies and stalagmites. Natural sculptures include a cigar smoking alligator, Winnie-thePooh and a white wolf. “That wolf

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

springs to life, devouring destructive cavers,” Janna warns. V-e-e-r-r-y carefully, we scramble upward. Toned and tanned after five exhilarating days around the activity-rich Comox Valley, we travel homeward. Getting into shape is challenging, yet fun. Our healthful getaway motivates us to eat wisely, exercise consistently and embrace further adventures outdoors! SL When You Go:

• For planning ~ www.comox-v alley-tourism.c a • Health prog ram details ~ www.coastaltr ekresort.com • Kayak rental s and tours ~ www.comoxva lleykayaks.co m • Fossil Hunts ~ www.courtenay museum.ca • See www.bcf ossils.ca for in fo regarding scie ntific collectin g • Spelunking details ~ www.hornelake .com


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Leading a life with vitality and purpose! What comes to mind when you hear the term “active aging”? Do you immediately think of a certain age group, particular lifestyle or pastime? From birthday cards to billboards the images of what it means to age well are often confusing and misleading. Adding “active” to the concept of aging can often distort what it means to age in a well balanced, personally fulfilling manner. Although many enjoy reading about exceptional people, such as the 100+ year old water skier or 70+ year old powerlifter, active aging is not exclusively reserved for those stoic few who embody pristine health, limitless energy, herculean strength and a thousand watt smile. In fact, the essence of active aging varies from person to person. The Amica Wellness & Vitality™ model encourages community members to assess their quality of life by considering how active they are in each dimension of wellbeing: physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, vocationally and intellectually. Just like our model, active aging is multi-dimensional. Therefore it is personally relevant to everyone, regardless of age or ability level. Why not take a moment and identify any lifestyle areas you would like to become more active in. Maybe an art class or book club would compliment your daily fitness routine, or attending a guest lecture series at the local community center, college or library may be just the intellectual stimulation you need. For others it may simply be making the effort each morning to join up with friends or colleagues for tea and coffee in an effort to socialize and form new friendships. Active aging cannot be defined exclusively as the sum total of daily activities, but rather the value, benefit and meaning added to life as a result of participating. Fall is a great time to branch

out and add something new to your lifestyle. Feel free to refer to our Wellness & Vitality model and reflect on your lifestyle in respect to the six dimensions of wellness: social, emotional, spiritual,

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OCTOBER 2009

15


SHARING STORIES BY MARY ANNE HAJER

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t’s just after 12:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and at the Minoru Place Activity Centre in Richmond, members of the Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group begin to drift into a large room at the end of the hall. Although all are 55 years of age or older (the one criteria for membership at the Minoru Place Activity Centre), there is a range of 35 years or more between the youngest members of this group and the oldest – a gap of close to two generations. The age difference is irrelevant, however, because these people share a common interest – a desire to put down on paper their stories, poems, essays or memoirs and to share them with an eager audience. On this day, Pearl Garland is the first to read. She is a prolific poet, and her offering is a new poem entitled Day Dreaming. “Time passes. The clock on the wall tells me so. Idle moments for wishful thinking As the clock hands move slow.” When she is finished, the others applaud and murmur their appreciation. Kay Berry is next. At 95, Kay is the only founding member of the writers’ group who still attends meetings. For years, she acted as co-ordinator, and still has new material to contribute most weeks. Today, she reads a story about her grandmother’s Bible. “When I was 21, my grandmother gave me her most prized possession, her Bible, as a birthday present,” she begins. She goes on to relate memories of her grandmother, who could neither read nor write. When she finishes, others speak of their grandparents, long gone and seldom remembered, but brought to mind by Kay’s story. 16

When it is Denny Lalonde’s turn, he lightens the mood by reading a few jokes he found on the Internet. He then goes on to read another chapter of his memoirs describing his childhood in England during the Second World War. This one tells about the local milkman who, with his horse, faithfully continued to deliver milk to his customers between bombing raids. By 2:45, everyone has had a chance to read. “It’s been a great meeting, so interesting,” someone says. The others agree, already anticipating next week’s gathering. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group, or Richmond Literary Club, as it was first known. The group recently adopted its current name in an attempt to reassure prospective members who might feel intimidated at the thought of joining a group of professional writers. While some do write for commercial publication, most do so for their own satisfaction. The majority are engaged in chronicling their own and their families’ life stories, hoping to preserve their personal histories for succeeding generations. Often, new members are apprehensive the first time they read one of their compositions aloud to the group. They quickly gain confidence, however, because the group doesn’t critique each other’s work unless asked to do so. Linda Hilford recalls her experiences with another writing group. “They were doing critiques on the writing every week. I was finding that

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

stressful,” she says. “I didn’t enjoy it.” The non-judgmental attitude of the Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group gave her the confidence to continue writing, and she has since had several articles published in a small-town newspaper in Saskatchewan. Pat Parent’s mind was teeming with story ideas, but she wondered if her sketchy educational background had equipped her with the literary skills she needed to write them down. With encouragement, she submitted one of her stories to a literary contest and won a prize! Her story was printed in the magazine, Canadian Stories, making Pat a published author. Genevieve Massot, a long-time member, was born and grew up in France. “To begin with I was shy because English is not my first language,” she says. “I like it that we do not critique each other. We

Peggy Petersen, one of the founding members of the Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group, passed away this summer. Storytelling came naturally to her, and the group always looked forward to hearing her tales of life in the Auxiliary Territorial Services in England during the Second World War or of her experiences as a war bride on the Canadian Prairies. Peggy will be missed. Memories of Glenn Miller by Peggy Petersen I found it in a thrift shop And brought it home to play. Would the music sound old-fashioned? Could we dance to it today? Hey, look at me! I’m young again! Just watch me swing and sway! Glenn Miller brings me memories That will never go away.


are respectful of each other.” Members write about anything that interests them: childhoods on farms and cities in Canada and other countries, hobbies and interests, families and pets. They write about times of joy and sorrow, about past triumphs and setbacks and dreams for the future, and they write about friendships, love affairs and quarrels, family rifts and reconciliations. It’s no wonder they come to know each other so well. Neil McKinnon, author of Tuckahoe Slidebottle and finalist for both the 2007 Stephen Leacock Humour Award and the 2007 Alberta Book Award, says, “As a writer, I’m primarily interested in stories – and seniors have more stories to tell than anybody. Where else can you hear about a family who lived in a cave during the Depression or a boy riding his bike around England during the Blitz? This is all great grist for a writer’s mill. I’ll never in 10 lifetimes be able to use all the ideas that the stories here generate.” Members also enjoy exchanging descriptions of festivals and holidays as celebrated in their particular culture or religion. Lois Carson Boyce says, “When I was growing up [in Ontario] there were groups of people my family didn’t have anything to do with, and I’m enjoying learning about them now and have come to realize what worthwhile people they are.” Many feel that belonging to a writers’ group is what keeps them writing. “I like a structured life and knowing there is a meeting coming up motivates me to write something,” says Muriel Clendenning. Peter Ludlow couldn’t forget his sojourn in Samoa in the ’80s. He wanted to write stories about his experience there, but wasn’t sure how to start. He took a short course on writing, but didn’t find it helpful. “Then I started coming here [to the meetings at the MPAC],” he says. “The little bit of pressure to write a story each week kept me writing and that’s really why I kept coming.” Alice Hawkins was searching for a way to cope with a recent tragedy. “I have kept a journal all my life,” she says, “so when I realized that there was a writers’ group meeting at the Minoru Place Activity Centre, I decided to attend, hoping it would help me to develop a new interest and new friends.” Perhaps Jeanne Schotte summarizes best the reasons members come back week after week, year after year, when she says, “I just love hearing other people’s stories and I love the camaraderie here and how we all just seem to fit and get along together and enjoy being here. This is a very positive thing.” Every year, the Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group publishes an anthology of their work entitled Perceptions. The 2005 edition contained 72 pages. The 2008 volume boasted 176 pages, evidence of the enthusiasm and commitment of the contributors. Perceptions can be found in the Richmond Public Library. Membership in the Minoru Amateur Writers’ Group is not limited to residents of Richmond. Newcomers are welcome to drop in 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. every Tuesday at the Minoru Place Activity Centre, 7660 Minoru Gate in Richmond. For SL more information, call 604-275-3236.

Imagine condominium living in the heart of White Rock. Peace of mind, comfort and security, nutritious meals, weekly housekeeping and caring staff. Just some of the exciting features at the elegant Pacific Carlton.

Come for a personal tour, and have lunch on us.

Call Call 604.531.1160 604.531.1160 15366 - 17th Avenue White Rock, BC V4A 1T9 www.PacificCarlton.com

Retirement Community

A member of the Unicare Group of Companies • White Rock • West Vancouver • Nanaimo • Kelowna • Edmonton

E T I S B WLE OOK FOR THIS LOGO

Proof 2 Seniors Living Magazine: Vancouver/Lower Mainland RaeLeigh Buchanan 1-877-479-4705 toll free rbuchanan@seniorlivingmag.com

When you see this logo on an advertisement in Senior Living, you will find additional information provided by this advertiser on our Website.

www.seniorlivingmag.com/ask-a-pro See these articles and others: ~ Teeth in a Day ~ A Look inside Salon Revive ~ How can I make my bathtub accessible? ~ Suffering from the Winter Blues? Try a Happy Light ~ Fast Forward Your Retirement Plan ~ Who is Bestway Tours & Safaris? ~ Why a River Cruise in Europe? Check back frequently for new additions as we continue to expand this new section of our website. OCTOBER 2009

17


Humble Superstar STORY AND PHOTO BY KEVIN MCKAY

Wayne Goss on the lacrosse floor at Queen’s Park Arena, New Westminster.

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ew, if any, Canadians would be surprised to learn that one of their greatest athletes, a man who played Canada’s national game, still holds more than 20 records and won several championships, goes by the name of Wayne, and whose last name starts with G. The athlete is not Wayne Gretzky, but rather Wayne Goss, arguably one of the finest lacrosse players in the long history of the sport. Between 1968 and 1981, Wayne tallied an astounding 612 goals and 799 assists for 1,411 points in only 335 regular season games. But statistics and records do not begin to tell the story of this ordinary superstar. Wayne, born on March 13, 1947, was raised, along with his 18

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

sister and three brothers, by his mother in New Westminster. Though he was a standout athlete from a young age, Wayne believes now that his absent father had plenty to do with his interest in sports. “I played basketball, track, soccer and field lacrosse at school and baseball, box lacrosse and hockey as well,” he says. “All of my coaches were like surrogate fathers to me. I imagine I was craving that father figure in my life, though that was not a conscious decision that I made. I realized at a young age that sports were something I could do very well, so that got me interested. I received lots of awards and recognition.” Though he was an excellent baseball player during his Lit-


tle League years, when he got to the next level they told him he had to choose either baseball or lacrosse. “It wasn’t a hard choice because I loved lacrosse so much,” says Wayne. “By far, it was my most favourite sport. Right from the time I was 12 years old I knew that lacrosse was it. When I was a young boy, I used to go and sell peanuts at the games so I could get in for nothing. I did most of my selling during intermissions so I could watch as much of the games as possible. It was very neat to be able to meet the players and get close to them. It was because of them that I always took the time to sign autographs for the kids when I was playing.” Though lacrosse would become what he was most famous for, Wayne had other concerns as a young man. At 21, he found himself married with a young daughter and no job prospects, as he had never really considered anything other than lacrosse while growing up. “The Shmyr brothers owned a construction job and ran a hockey team. I told Tony, ‘I need a job, you need a hockey player.’ I played with them and he got me a construction job.” Wayne went to carpentry school and got his carpentry ticket. Then, when he was 22, there were a few firemen involved in lacrosse, and Jack Fulton told him the department was hiring. They made a list of 10 guys and Wayne made the list near the bottom by putting newspapers in his shoes to make himself taller to meet the minimum height. “I walked in for an interview and though I didn’t realize [the interviewer] was really into weightlifting, the subject came up and I told him I worked out,” says Wayne. “By accident, I hit on his favourite topic, so it worked out well. That’s one of the reasons I got in to the department, I knew my career was set at a young age.” Wayne grew up playing for Royal City and, eventually, with the Junior Salmonbellies. At the time, each of the Senior lacrosse teams were allowed to sign two of their Junior age players each year. Ken Winzoski, a high scoring forward, was the most coveted player and he insisted that if the Senior Bellies wanted him they had to select Wayne as well. “They thought I was too small as I was only about 5 feet 8 inches tall and around 150 pounds,” he says. “They were thinking size, but Ken knew who they should pick. When I joined the team, I was a nervous wreck because it was such a thrill to be a Senior Salmonbellie. I grew up idolizing these guys and now I got to be one of them.” During his playing career, Wayne played on six Mann Cup Championship teams and, to this day, he still holds records for most career points, most career assists, most short-handed goals, most face-offs won, most first goals of a game, among many others. One humbling moment came, in 1974, when Wayne joined many of his friends and teammates as they formed a team to represent Canada at the World Field Lacrosse Championship. “We made it to the final but lost that game to the USA,” he recalls. “They were college field lacrosse players used to playing that game and they ran circles around us. We really didn’t un-

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Home Pi up an ck Retur d ns!

Oct 15-18th. WOW! What an explosion of color we experienced last year on this trip. We enjoyed the serene beauty of the resort at Lake Chelan so much we decided to add an extra day and take a cruise up the lake and explore the Stehekin Valley and Rainbow Falls. The Oktoberfest will still be in full swing on our last night in the Bavarian town of Leavenworth where you can take in the activities and browse the many European shops. $855 Cdn PP based on Dble Occ. No GST - 7 Meals

Dec 10-13, 2009. 4 Days. We have taken your favorite Christmas tours and combined them into one fabulous Christmas experience. This itinerary is guaranteed to lift your spirits and send you into the Christmas season with joy in your hearts. We have included; a Dinner Theatre at a camp covered in dazzling light displays and holidays sounds of Victorian Carolers, a horse drawn sleigh ride, the lighting festival of the Bavarian town of Leavenworth, Washington with a traditional Bavarian dinner. $715 Cdn PP based on Dble Occ. No GST. 6 meals.

Bob and Teresa Marshall as Driver and Escort

Call to book now!

604-596-9670 toll free 1-877-596-9670 teresa@pitmartours.com www.pitmartours.com

Fresh From the Oven SMELL THE WARM APPLE PIE. When you live at Shannon Oaks you’ll enjoy homebaked goodies, afternoon tea and friends to share them with. An independent seniors living community, you’ll live well in your beautifully appointed suite and enjoy amenities and services that provide for your every need including: delicious meals, daily activities, weekly housekeeping and 24-hour emergency response from our resident managers. Come see why you’ll want to make Shannon Oaks your home. VANCOUVER 604.324.6257

VICTORIA 250.595.6257

www.shannonoaks.com Baptist Housing | Enhanced Seniors Living | Since 1964

OCTOBER 2009

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derstand the game. We were playing a box lacrosse style in field lacrosse. I believe that if we had played them indoors it would have been a different story.” Wayne retired at the top of his sport in 1981 after winning his final Mann Cup and being named Most Valuable Player of the Cup Finals. Allegro And then disaster struck. In March 1982, while making preparations to coach the team he had just retired from, Wayne agreed to help a fellow firefighter build a cabin at a remote lake when he slipped and fell from the roof. “At the time, I was lieutenant in charge of first aid at the fire department. I had taught the firefighters I was with CPR, and Suites starting at $1750 they used it on me to save my life.” Wayne was brought to Vancouver General Hospital by helicopter and remained in a coma for a month. “I don’t even remember being on the roof,” he says. “I woke up in VGH to see a friend come in to visit me in the hospital. He told me he got a hat $* trick in a lacrosse game, when he normally didn’t get three goals in a year. They told me the Canucks were going for the Stanley Cup, so I was confused! I was really at sea. I sustained a lower brain stem injury, but no broken bones.” Wayne’s recovery was long and slow, not to mention pain13853 102 Avenue, Surrey ful. He spent months in Vancouver General before moving to the 604.581.1555 *Certain conditions apply | Applicable as a credit on base rent GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre for a year as an in-patient and Valid until November 30 2009 another year as an outpatient. Wayne met the challenge with the Member of BCSLA same determination he had shown as a player. Our undivided attention | residencesallegro.com “I overheard the doctor tell my wife I would probably not get APRIL 2009 out of the wheelchair again and that I would never be a fireman APRIL 2009 again,” he says. “I was determined to prove them wrong. I did, and got out of that wheelchair. I am a slow walker with an obvious disability, but I am walking. I use a cane when I FOR amAPRIL out in GARDENING TIPS (POST FORWINTER) APRIL public, but I got rid of my wheelchair.” GARDENING TIPS (POST WINTER) Since his recovery, Wayne focuses his energies on things he Herbal Remedies For Anxiety Newsletter for Senior Living Readers considers important. He loves spending time with his second Herbal Remedies For Anxiety Newsletter for Senior Living Readers wife, Carol, the woman he calls “the best thing that ever hapDesigned to Inspire, Entertain and Inform. COOL WEBSITES TO VISIT pened to me,” and he dotes on his four children and eight grandDesigned to Inspire, Entertain and Inform. My intention is to live forever. So far, so good! COOL WEBSITES TO VISIT children, including a talented teenager named Emily who also ����������� My intention is to live forever. So far, so good! ����������� EXPANSION TITLE shoots left like her famous grandpa. He also volunteers when he WEBSITE This month you will see some interThis will be something inspirational, like the Tiger WEBSITE EXPANSION TITLEblurb on the Business Newsletter. Blah, Woods INTERACTIVE additions to can, enjoys attending lacrosse games and speaks to young play- esting This month you will see some interThis will be something inspirational, likelife. the ITiger Blah, blah....And that’s how I look at my will our website. We will be adding an Woods the Business Newsletter. Blah, I esting INTERACTIVE additions be betterblurb as a on golfer, I will be better as a person, EVENTS section, where the com-to ers at events, such as the annual White Rock Pee Wee tournament munity Blah, blah....And that’s how I look at my life. I will our website. We will be adding an will be better as a father, I will be a better husband, can post information about better as aas golfer, I willwebsite be better a person, I EVENTS events. section,We where the by our at I be will be visi�ng better a friend. That’s the as beauty of tomorrow. There upcoming willSign alsocombeup today better asas a father, I willThe be alessons better husband, munityacan post component information called about that bears his name. iswill nobe such thing a setback. I learn today I will apadding “social” I will be better as a friend. That’s the beauty of tomorrow. There upcoming events. We will also be www.seniorlivingmag.com ply tomorrow, and I will be better.” OUT” where visitors can is no suchWoods thing as a setback. The lessons I learn today I will apadding a “social” component called In July 1983, a special ceremony was held in Queen’s Park to “SPEAK -Tiger post articles and comments. ply tomorrow, and I will be better.” “SPEAK OUT” where visitors can -Tiger Woods members our latest Each month, we emailTITLE signed-up articles and to comments. FRESH LOOK our Readers honour Wayne and the other Salmonbellies’ players. Wayne had Apost Newsletter. Tell us what you think... Another inspiring blurb....personal growth, etc. FRESH LOOK to ourcontaining: Readers newsle�er TITLE his number retired that evening along with three other former ANewsletter. “If you think of the story of David and Goliath, Tell us what you think... Anotherisinspiring blurb....personal growth,inetc. Goliath thesuccessful problem you havere�rement currently front • inspiring ar�cles on you David think of the story ofone David and Goliath, ASK A PROFESSIONAL greats – the first time the team had done so. Only two other of“Ifyou. needed only slingshot and Goliath the problem in travel front felled hisisproblem. Thenyou he have got tocurrently go and onto other • seasonal recipes • computer, gardening �ps ASK Aposted PROFESSIONAL this month: of you. David only each one slingshot problems. The needed point is that one of usand needs numbers have been retired since. When he first joined the team, New articles felled his problem. Then he got to go ontoon other • a new Sudoku puzzle every month to focus that magnifying glass of attention one Article 1 by Advertiser A New articles posted this month: problems. Thesolve pointit,isthen that go each onenext of usthing.” needs specific thing, to the 2 by Advertiser B Wayne says, “Ken and I went in for our jerseys and they had Article updates on changes to our magazine orHansen website to focus that magnifying glass of attention on one Article 1 by• Advertiser A - Mark Victor Article 3 by Advertiser C specific thing, solve it, then go to the next thing.” Article 2 by Advertiser B “ASK A PROFESSIONAL” number 12 reserved for him. There were about four other num- Article 4 by Advertiser • surveys toD secure your input • contests toVictor enter for prizes - Mark Hansen Article 3 by Advertiser C “ASK A PROFESSIONAL” Article 4 • by Advertiser YOUR HEALTH - Herbal Remedies For Anxiety And lists ofD our most recent senior-focused adver�sers bers for me to choose from and one was 13. Ken said to me, ‘why WELCOME NEW ADVERTISERES Stress YOUR HEALTH ar�cles - Herbal Remedies For website. Anxiety And • listsNEW ofADVERTISERES our most recent advice onhealth, our This has something on wellness, may be pharmadon’t you take that number and we will be in it together. I took WeWELCOME Stress welcome these new businesses to ceuticals, cosmetics, herbal options, etc. Put article on This has something on wellness, health,videos may be pharmaSenior Living. It’s because to of their sup• access interes�ng websites and online website to track We that welcome these new it to be different as no one wore that number then. There was port we can bring youbusinesses this maga-to ceuticals, cosmetics, herbal options, etc. Put article on [READ MORE] Senior Living. It’sWe because of their supevery month. encourage you, website to track port that we can bring you this magaSenior Living con�nues to develop more ways to stay in no superstition; I knew my abilities and what I could do. I was zine the reader, to let them know through [READ MORE] zine every month.ofWe encourage HOME REPAIRS (POST-WINTER) YOUR patronage their business you, that touch with our loyal readers. our rapidly the reader, to let them know through young and fairly cocky.” Seeing his number 13 being raised to you We will doJoin a section that’s related to growing home renovations, appreciate them as well. HOME REPAIRS (POST-WINTER) YOUR patronage of their business that repairs, etc. Handyman tips, etc. We will put these articles newsle�er membership today. Advertiser A We will do a section that’s related to home renovations, you appreciate them as well. SL the rafters was a very proud moment. on our website to track them. Advertiser B repairs, etc. Handyman tips, etc. We will put these articles

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[READ MORE] on our website to track them. [READ MORE] HOW FULL IS YOUR LIFE? OCTOBER 2009 21 This is an inspirational, motivational article designed to be HOW FULL IS YOUR LIFE? uplifting but thoughtful at the same time. We will put this This is an inspirational, motivational article designed to be article on our website to track it. uplifting but thoughtful at the same time. We will put this [READ MORE]

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23


Stage Presence N

ow, let’s welcome to the stage: Vancouver’s only 65-year-old lesbian comic with a PhD! This long introduction gives me several “hooks” to hang my comedy on. You need that for your act – a main topic, what’s happening with it, and how you feel about it. Like, you say, “well, 65 is the new 64!” Or, “I don’t care about all this equality rights, gay marriage and all. I have yet to find someone who could put up with me for more than three months!” It works. I’ve been doing standup for about six years, which isn’t very long in the comedy world. If you look a little deeper into the history of overnight comedic sensations, like Russell Peters, you’ll find they were going from café to club to bar for 18 years before they struck gold. And most of them never do. So, why take it up in the first place – and at 59 years old? Scratch a comic and they’ll always say, “when I was a kid, I could always make people laugh.” I can remember the exact moment when that realization struck. I was nine years old. We’d moved to a new town, new school, new church, and there were no friends my age. But my 13-year-old sister quickly gathered a group around her, and I was allowed to hang around with them. I couldn’t talk about clothes or hair styles or boys, but when I made smart remarks, they laughed. It was a lesson I’ve carried with me. And I’ve always been a show-off, or the star of the school 24

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

BY MARYLEE STEPHENSON

The author with her grand-nieces and nephew. Photo: Skeet Couper

play. I even sang in a folk song trio my senior year of high school, in the only coffee house in town. Those were the Beat Generation days, well before the hippies. Not that I could sing, mind you, but I was the only girl who played a string bass and it quickly became apparent that what I didn’t have in vocal skills, I made up for with a pretty solid stage presence. And I could joke now and then, though it wasn’t standup. I shudder to look back on it now. But six years ago, I saw an ad for an evening class in comedy, at Langara College. I signed up and learned the basics, though I’ve had to un-learn much of them because even if there is a formula, you have to twist and tweak it to fit you, or it won’t work. That assumes, of course, the “you” is someone people want to hear and share a laugh with. With you – not at you. Useful, also, was finding out about the comedy scene in Vancouver. There is a constantly moving collection of “rooms” that comics will start up in some café on a Monday night, a slow night where the owner will do anything to get live bodies in the door. The comic will emcee and rustle up six or eight other comics and the show goes on – and on, and on. Comics never have enough stage time. Sure, there are the big national chain clubs, and they have


weekly “pro-am” nights, which are a nightmare of losing what little confidence or self-esteem a comic may have had. Lining up at the door hours ahead, first come/first served. I did that for awhile, but eventually became known enough to be booked at one of the rooms, or even to do a fundraiser or showcase of comics. Of course, I’m not your typical comic – not at 65, lesbian and the PhD. I think comics, as a group, probably have above average intelligence, but they tend to be undereducated, poor and generally living at the edges of art, work, school and family. And it is very male-dominated. I estimate 10 male comics for every female. And, somehow, they all seem to be 22 years old, with uncertain facial hair, wearing toques, pants down to their knees, and every other word is unrepeatable. So, I fit right in! Well, I don’t fit in as far as being typical goes, but I’m always welcomed by the fellows. Hugs all around, complimentary comments if my set goes well, exchanges about a new room opening up, or one closing. And the women are mostly the same, though sometimes I feel a bit of a competitive edge there. Not sure why, maybe it’s just me. People ask me how I get the nerve to perform. It’s true that, at first, comedy was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Sure, I’ve taught classes of 250, given lectures at conferences, run workshops, led team-building exercises. It’s work, and I’m judged on it, but I’ve never found it difficult. Comedy is another matter – it’s four-dimensional: me, the audience, the content, and the stage setting that I move about in. They all have to be taken into account, and any change in one affects the others. You don’t get a laugh on the content? Try to interact with an audience member. People’s attention is flagging? Move a bit closer to the edge of the stage, lower your voice rather than raise it. Keep going, don’t laugh at your own jokes to fill up space, concentrate on that one person who seems to love you. I’m used to it now, so it has stopped being hard. It takes a lot of effort, and there are shows where I wish I could run from the stage, but it’s not scary. And I’ve learned that it’s better to turn down some gigs than to take every one. Comedy is contextual, and I’ve bombed in front of an audience that was one-quarter new Canadians, whose first language was not English. What I said had no meaning. How can you make a funny comment about some silly sign, if the audience doesn’t understand why it is silly? (“mud-wrestling for Christ” sign on a church, or “body piercing, while you wait” sign in some sleazy neigbourhood). I’ve learned that even if I may not fit in, being a senior comic has some advantages. I get a lot of attention whenever I say I’m a comic. It’s a social connector, and what seniors don’t want to keep expanding their social world? I make sure my material is upbeat and doesn’t make fun of ageing. No jokes about Depends or Viagra from me! I talk about how I’ve taken on the role of “Elder,” where I can finally legitimately tell young folks what they should and should not do. It’s my time in life to do that (not that I haven’t been doing that since I was five years old!). So, I warn them about tattoos. Sure, you start out as a

»

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25


young person, you get some giant tattoo that’s “crouching tiger, leaping dragon” and as your skin ages it becomes “wet kitten, dead lizard.” And those barbwire rings around the bicep? It turns into a bad case of varicose veins! I’ve also expanded into storytelling, to have more opportunities to be a show-off. Storytelling is different, but I love it. There’s more time to talk, more stage time, and it can be very serious. I write the material as a “vignette” and then practise telling it and acting out some parts. I’ve even had some of the vignettes published, and have been asked back a number of times. Even the sad ones that leave the audience (and me) teary-eyed work because they reach out and connect with people. And I’m working on becoming a motivational speaker, whatever that may be. I figure as a senior, I’ve been through enough, and continue with the struggles of keeping up my courage in the face of an aging body and a shrinking budget, that the things I’ve learned to do to carry on are worth sharing. I may inspire someone, give him or her a bit more courage, and even give some back to myself. Age doesn’t have to slow me down or stop me telling stories, or making people laugh or cry. Age is my storehouse of bridges. So, finding these bridges, and walking across them with others, is surely a good survival strategy for a 65 year old – comic or not, lesbian or not, doctorate or Grade 5. I’m finding a place where I SL do fit in.

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26

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND


BBB Better Better Better Better

Business Business Business Business

Bureau Bureau Bureau Bureau

SCAM ALERT

BY LYNDA PASACRETA

Want to cash in on Government Grants? BBB says think again.

D

o you think you are enti- contacted consumers by e-mail once most grants are given to help students tled to free money from they registered on their website. What pay for college or for specifically dethe Canadian government? is supposed to be access to a kit on fined reasons, such as research or to You may have seen a website or read how to secure grant money is actually help fund businesses in particular inan ad in a newspaper that offers ways a membership fee of $90 per month. dustries. The Grantsmoney.com website is to access government grants for eve• There’s no reason to pay for softrything from disabilities to paying off for a company called Positive Thinkware or guides when applying your debt. for government grants. Such While it may look like “free” information is available free Instead of receiving help to advice, Better Business Buon the Service Canada website: reau is cautioning consumers navigate through the Federal tax servicecanada.gc.ca about a number of companies system, consumers are exposing • If you are concerned about offering access to federal grant money through the purchase of a suspicious advertisement that themselves to financial risk. appears on a website you are grant kits. Instead of receiving help to navigate through the visiting, report it to the website administrators. Federal tax system, consumers are exposing themselves to financial ing Management Limited, which pur• If you believe that you are a victim risk. ports to be based in the United Kingof fraud contact phonebusters.com This scheme typically has a flashy dom. If you read the fine print of the • For more advice and to check out testimonial, sometimes with a picture website, consumers will have to go to of a person holding a government court in the United Kingdom to get company reports, visit the BBB webSL cheque for thousands of dollars. The their money back if they do not agree site at www.mbc.bbb.org company offers guaranteed money with the contract terms. back from the government, or offers Before paying any money for asLynda Pasacreta is President of the an exaggerated claim amount to entice sistance in earning government grants, Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. people to act. In the end, people give BBB offers the following advice: Contact the BBB to check a company report or Buyers’ Tip before you purchase out their credit card information to • While it’s true that the Federal or invest. www.bbbvan.org or 604-682these unqualified scammers. government does give out billions of 2711. To contact Lynda Pasacreta, e-mail One company, Grantsmoney.com, dollars in grant money every year, her at president@bbbvan.org

OCTOBER 2009

27


Mind GAMES

Crossword PUZZLE Across 2. Seizes with teeth 6. Shatter 11. Scent 13. Pretty girl 15. Spooky 17. Republic in W Africa 18. Sheep cry 19. Scheme 20. At what time 21. Roofing stone 22. Singer Cogan 23. Very cold 25. Something that is lost 26. Writing instrument 30. Melodies 32. Analyze a metalic compound 36. Detective 37. Area used for sports 38. Mixture of rain and snow 40. Lair

41. National Collegiate Athletic Association 47. Little value 49. To tip the hat 50. Rubbish 54. Child’s toy 55. To the inside of 56. Cavalry weapon 57. Doing nothing 58. Never 59. Regions 60. Scottish isle 61. Use again 62. National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Down 1. In spite of 2. A golf score 3. Metallic element 4. Recedes

5. Exchange for money 6. Narrow strip of wood 7. Unit of length 8. Flower-part 9. Greeting 10. Family of rulers 12. Double overhead camshaft 14. Escaping fluid 16. Hits 24. English regatta town 26. Cat sound 27. Inert gaseous element 28. Exclamations of surprise 29. In a dormant state 30. Light meal 31. Swindle 33. Traded 34. So be it 35. Nevertheless 39. An Irish girl 42. Fruit of the pine 43. Later 44. Before 45. Collection of maps 46. One of the divisions of a window 47. Russian liquor 48. Supporter 51. Uncommon 52. Scrutinize 53. Hitler henchman 54. Flat circular plate

ANSWERS

28

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND


Photo: Jason van der Valk

ASK

Goldie

BY GOLDIE CARLOW, M.ED

Dear Goldie: I need your help. My husband and I retired seven years ago. We are in our late sixties and life has become dull and boring for me. Before our retirement, we had plans to travel and see the world, but now my husband just sits in front of the TV all day and refuses to go anywhere. His only exercise is to the table. I checked with his doctor and his health is fine. Do you think I could plan my own life from now on, or am I obliged to be the maid? –N.O. Dear N.O.: I am sorry to hear about your disappointment since retiring. It is usually a time greatly anticipated and enjoyed. You know your husband’s health is okay, so it seems you can only make plans to travel on your own. Perhaps you can find a friend or relative to accompany you. Travel agencies can even arrange sharing to many world destinations and you have an opportunity to meet the person beforehand. Start now to obtain their pamphlets so you can compare their prices and details. Your husband has chosen how he wants to spend his retirement, so now it is only fair that you make your choices too. It is possible that he will change his mind and decide to accompany you when he hears your plans. In any case, begin as soon as you can to enjoy the years ahead. You have earned the right to plan your future. Dear Goldie: I am a widow in my late eighties, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to a large family. I have a will in which my children inherit property equally. My concern is how to divide personal items such as jewelry and china, some of which are quite valuable. –W.S. Dear W.S.: You have not stated that you discussed this with your children. I think it would be wise to begin with their choices and then move on to grandchildren and finally your greatgrandchildren. Many times, we worry about such matters by ourselves when open conversation with the people concerned could quickly solve it. Frequently, I’ve heard descendants com-

ment after a parent or grandparent’s death, “If she had only asked me, I could have helped.” Do not delay. Get your family together and finalize these matters. They can choose what they would like, and all your affairs will be in order. Your mind will be at rest, and you SL will have a happy memory of your time together. Senior Peer Counselling Centres (Lower Mainland) New Westminster 604-519-1064 North Vancouver 604-987-8138 Burnaby 604-291-2258 Richmond 604-279-7034 Vancouver West End 604-669-7339 Coquitlam – Tri-Cities 604-945-4480 Vancouver Westside 604-736-3588

Goldie Carlow is a retired registered nurse, clinical counsellor and senior peer counselling trainer. Send letters to Senior Living, Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC V8T 2C1.

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29


DREAM HOME in the forest BY NADINE JONES

30

Photo: Nadine Jones

M

y first challenge when we built our log house in northern B.C. was standing at the base of a 70-foot [21.3 m] cedar tree, peering up to its crown, and trying to decide whether it would look better in the living room or kitchen. Our trees were limbed where they were felled in the Nass River Valley and transported to our building site south of the Skeena River, where they lay for over a year to “check” or dry out. We learned, over time, that 12 months of checking wasn’t really enough, and for years, loud cracks, sounding like gunshots, rang out as the logs continued their drying and shrinking process. It was unsettling, but we got used to it. Naive, we sold the house we lived in and moved onto our property about 20 miles [32.2 km] out of town, figuring it would be fun “camping” for four months during the summer while our wonderful dream home was built. Our family of four – husband, wife and two girls ages 10 and 12 – squeezed into a converted school bus and a sagging construction shack for seven long months, which included the wettest summer on record. Our world was a sea of mud. We were babes in the wilderness. When I was alone during the day, black bears sniffed my clothesline strung between two trees. At night, wolves howled and Screech owls terrified us with their shrieking, whistling calls. Meanwhile, the house was taking shape with agonizing slowness. During this interlude, the girls and I collected river rocks to face the fireplace and cover the exposed cement foundation. Every time I started the pick-up truck and called the girls to join me, “Oh Mum, not again!” became their refrain. After countless trips to the

shores of the Copper River, the three of us collected five tons of rock – gorgeous variously coloured flat rocks the size and dimension of large dinner plates. When the time came, we hired a novice stonemason, Rick Dakin, who crafted what we thought was the most beautiful fireplace in the world with enough rocks left over for me to attempt facing the foundation. Old-timers had warned us that log house construction was an art form and builders had a tendency to be prima donnas. Once a job was started, no other craftsman dared move in to finish it, consequently, we couldn’t fire our highly- recommended builder. Unfortunately for us, he was an alcoholic who enjoyed a daily liquid lunch at a hotel pub in town and often returned to our site with a bevy of beer-happy friends to show off his work – while we paid him and watched – in the rain. The day the last log was put into place and secured, I fired him. He reciprocated by burning his initials in large

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

letters into the crossbeam directly above our future living room. As soon as possible, I obliterated his initials using a large steel plate from which I hung our main light fixture. Our banker was convinced we were holidaying in Hawaii as we went back for more and more money – almost $300,000 – far beyond our original estimate of less than $200,000. The building of a log house is interesting, even in the rain. A large V is cut into the length of the bottom of each log and filled with insulation before the next huge log is settled on top. Our walls were 10 logs high. We had a fourfoot [1.2 m] high cement foundation above ground on which the first log was placed and every subsequent log was at least 18 inches [45.7 cm] in diameter. Holes were cut for doors and windows. I wanted a large triangle window in the living room. Glass isn’t sold in triangles, but in squares from which the triangle is cut. Hence, the additional expense. The builder is finished when the last


tons-heavy log is gently manoeuvred into place by a crane with nothing but blue sky up above. That day eventually came and when it did, it came with a shock. A local builder electrified us by nonchalantly remarking, “You’ll never get a roof on that place.” Fortunately, an experienced crew from a company based in Prince George, had finished a previous job and was still in town. Their foreman inspected our roofless home and proclaimed his team could do the job; I hired them on the spot and watched as they swarmed in like locusts. They also built our cabinets and counters. The bank manager blanched at the cost of the Prince George crew, but the job was done in jig time. (And truth be told, the bank was in so deep, by this time, they had to have a finished product to secure their investment.) Winter was coming, but there were still major issues to be resolved. We had yet to dig a well, buy and install three telephone poles to carry electricity across the site, and install a septic system. At this point, the floor of our home was comprised of roughly-hewn 2 x 10 planks but we moved in anyway, out of the rain, and hauled water in green garbage cans, lit candles and continued to use the chemical toilet in the converted school bus. In retrospect, I don’t think it entered our city-oriented minds when we excavated the foundation that we would need a water-well, a service road and

telephone poles. We also needed a huge furnace because the peak of the interior of the house measured 20 feet [6.1 m] in height, meaning we had a lot of house to heat. We were out of the rain, but not out of the woods. Everything that could go wrong did. The septic system was installed in reverse with the outlet at the intake. The “dowser” or Water Diviner we hired to find water on the property was a drinker like the builder, and staggered around with a willow wand until we asked him politely to leave. Our 12year old daughter found that she could “dowse” too, and we had the well dug where the willow wand almost jumped out of her hand pointing to the ground. Water was there all right, after 200 feet [61 m] of clay, sand and gravel were removed by a cabled contraption that looked like a torpedo with a hole in the middle. It thudded down and emptied on the adjacent ground during the daylight hours, costing us a small fortune with each and every thump. Once completed, a “friend” came by to inspect it and dropped an irretrievable two-foot [61 cm] long pipe wrench down the 200-foot hole. To heat the house, we ordered a Valley Comfort furnace, the largest model the company had available at the time. It was situated incorrectly in the basement in such a position that the pipes went around a corner before entering the chimney. This caused the wood to burn more slowly than it should have, thus

creating ongoing creosote problems. My husband’s job meant he was out of town a lot, and one night when I was alone with the kids, I smelled something burning. When I went to investigate, the whole basement was filled with acrid white smoke. I raced upstairs and phoned a neighbour who lived a few country miles away. He told me to get the girls out of the house and into the bus and said he would come over right away. When he arrived, he donned asbestos gloves and dragged burning four foot [1.2 m] logs out of the furnace, throwing them outside the basement door, where I frantically shovelled snow to douse the flames. Panic over. In time, the septic tank was refitted, the well water ran pure, we were able to turn on switches for electricity and I kept the road to the house clear of snow in the winter on my bulldozer. The bank manager was heard to heave sighs of relief as we repaid our unexpectedly large loan. Because there were five cleared acres around the house, the girls were able to have horses and I became a farmer with friendly chickens, geese and pigs. When I think of “home,” my mind goes back to that beautiful log house in the forest. The bad memories have vanished and all that remains are images of the glorious early morning pink mountains viewed from the kitchen window; the horses gambolling in their corral; black bears wandering harmlessly by our front window, and all the peace and SL serenity of country living.

OCTOBER 2009

31


Reflections THEN & NOW

BY GIPP FORSTER

I

When not being used, the hockey remember as a kid trying to play street hockey on those cold stick was stored in the vestibule. A winter days in Ottawa. I use the young person asked me recently what term “try” because I was never good a vestibule was. I tried to explain that at it. In fact, I was awful and was only it took two doors to get into your home in the days of horse-drawn wagons. He ever chosen to even out a team. There was no goalie stick (who looked at me sadly, shook his head and could afford a goalie stick!). We used walked away mumbling something an ordinary hockey stick to protect the about senility. The young don’t always goal – measured between two lumps of believe there was a “yesterday” – at grey ice dug from a frozen snowbank. least before colour television. Anyway, the hockey stick was a Scrunched up newspaper or a Liberty magazine were tucked into knee- treasure to young males in the forties. My elder brother high socks worn was the actual over breeks as Oh, it was grand, that owner of the pads and the stick. Now and puck was a chunk old hockey stick! A then, he would of ice or a donafriend that could take let me use it, but tion made to the in the beginning, game by a horse all kinds of abuse and it was far too big that had passed still last to bring untold for me. by earlier. A As mentioned, horse pulled the hours of joy. I didn’t play too ice wagon that often. Occasionsupplied our iceboxes. So too was the bakery wagon ally, me and another misfit kid were and the milk wagon and the trash col- used as goalposts. That was the longlector’s wagon – almost the end of an est I ever played in any game. A hockey stick was like an article era, but not quite. A hockey stick (owning one, I of clothing worn by your big brother. mean) was a prize above all prizes. It was a hand-me-down. The hockey We’d tape the blade (or our dad would) stick had to last. Ours lasted. Right with black electrical tape, then tap, tap, down until, instead of a blade, there tap it on the icy street to make sure the was a pointed tooth on the end. But that wasn’t the end of it (no tape held. Street hockey didn’t demand skates. pun intended). Then it became a sumFootwear would do, mostly rubber mer thing instead of a winter thing. It boots with two or three pairs of socks changed reality into fantasy. It became underneath. It was usually all our par- a make-believe rifle for any war game ents could afford. We’d fold over the or cowboy game a nine or 10 year old tops to make them look like pirate could imagine. Oh, it was grand, that old hockey boots. If “cool” had been an expression then, we would have thought of stick! A friend that could take all kinds of abuse and still last to bring untold ourselves as “cool!” 32

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Photo: Krystle Wiseman

THE HOCKEY STICK

hours of joy. When it was worn down, our parents didn’t rush out to buy a new one. It had to do. Not just for one, but for two and often three kids. My grandsons play hockey today. Not on frozen streets or open-air rinks. They play in arenas with helmets, masks, jerseys and pads, state-of-theart skates and, of all things, state-ofthe-art hockey sticks! What it costs to deck out a kid for the hockey season now is equivalent to what my parents tried to save towards the full price of a house! Well, it’s all relative, I guess. At least that’s what I’m told. But in those days, the years were lean. They were war years and trying to understand peace years. Years in which one had to learn to make do. It’s hard to believe that era really existed. There’s no longer a hockey stick worn down to a tooth or taping and re-taping it to make you feel like Rocket Richard. No reminder that to struggle made life seem more real. But there is the memory. And sometimes, when I think it was all just a dream, I remember an old hockey stick and how it was worn down to a tooth. A hand-me-down, even in memory. SL


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October 2009 Senior Living Magazine Vancouver Edition  

50+ Active Lifestyle Magazine for Vancouver & Mainland BC Canada