I don’t know if this is happening to anyone else, but as I
seem to be traveling more now with a 60ish-age crowd, even on holidays, the
conversation inevitability steers around to either grandchildren or pension plans.
And since I have neither on the go in my life at the moment
it is sometimes a struggle to stay with the conversation. I can’t wait until
the pendulum swings to two of my favorite topics — sports cars (like the new
Chevy Malibu) or hot chicks (like Shelia Fraser, the auditor general)….now we
Being on holidays this week in Radium, B.C. — not that
agricultural journalists ever really take a holiday, you are always doing
research on something — I am restocking the old mental reference library. It is
only Wednesday and I have less than one gigabyte of memory space left. Anything
that happens tomorrow could just be lost forever (that happened a week ago
Tuesday, I lost a whole day, so I know the risk is real).
I thought I should jot down a few observations in case the
old “hard drive” is wiped clean. We are camping with three other couples, all
long-time friends who have known each other for more than 30 years. We have
worked together, camped together and raised a total of eight children together,
and now with a collective age of about 485 years we get together at least once
a year to share our experience and insights into an ever-increasing range of
topics. The group includes the Vandenbergs of Cranbrook, the Gibbards of
Kimberley and the Cookes of Lethbridge.
Here are a few key points from this trip:
Ella, Aden and Abby are just amazing, and pretty well every move they make
is either incredible or hilarious. (I have to take the grandparents’ word
on that). Apparently the really special feature of grandchildren is you
can enjoy them when they are cute and good, and hand them back if they get
fussy or troublesome. I like that.
as you approach 60 a pension plan is a good thing. (I should start
thinking about that). Government pensions do not treat old people well or
fairly. Get your teeth fixed and eyes checked before you retire because it
gets too expensive afterwards.
crops are growing and cattle are grazing, Alberta and Saskatchewan farmers
come to Radium (or at least the Columbia Valley). There appears to be
several sitting in the shade next to their RVs reading up on tax shelters.
Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf Course is beautiful, but only for experienced
golfers, or at least those still agile enough to climb over the rail fence
on the fourth and fifth holes to find balls that may have gone out of
bounds into the hay field. I saw some poor buggers doing that. The steep
hill between the eighth and ninth holes is a real bear, but unavoidable,
unless you are lucky enough to die on the eighth hole.
mind golf at the Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf Course just go there for the
great lunch and excellent homemade pies (six kinds). Try not to go there
with a bunch of health conscience old people who get full too fast or like
“to eat in moderation”. It is no fun, and almost (I said ALMOST) makes you
think twice about having pie.
is a great and interesting selection of honey and honey products at the
Jubilee Mountain Apiary/Beeland store in the Spillimacheen Trading Post
about 25 kms north of Radium on Highway 95. Morley Winnick says it has
been a bad year for honey bees, mites are a consistent problem, and with
the late spring the bees nearly starved to death because mountain alpine
flowers and valley alfalfa fields were slow to bloom. The nectar is now
flowing, and there will be honey this year.
door to the honey store, four entrepreneurial women – Donna Ford, Nola
Art, Shirley Griese and Sharon Jamieson have opened the Spilli Bean coffee
shop and restaurant in the old forest service ranger station. Great place
for coffee, lunches and special dinners during the week. And a great view
overlooking the Columbia River. I canoed that stretch about 40 years ago
as part of a month-long trek from the source of the Columbia into
the Windermere Valley Golf Course, which used to be part of a ranch owned
by the Zehnders is a great place to spend the afternoon too. Not that food
is more important than golf, but they also have a nice restaurant at the
further south on Highway 95, another long time rancher, Bud Coy, near
Canal Flats has an excellent little par 3 golf course on one of the former
pastures. You walk through the corrals between the first and second hole.
I wish he had hacked down a few more trees in a couple places, my aim
ain’t that good. But Thursday is a golf and ribs night, so we may be all
problem camping with old, retired people they are not socially connected
and either do not own or do not carry cell phones. They just don’t get
modern, contemporary, happening people who like to sit around the campfire
with iphones and Blackberries. It’s like they don’t care what the world is
A third topic
old retired people like to talk about, which unfortunately I am able to relate
to more and more is “things that hurt when you move” or “parts that no longer
work as well, or at all”. Speaking of which, I best get my parts moving for the
day as best I can. Since we ate the donuts around the campfire last night, I
will have to find some other form of morning sustenance.
Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at [email protected]
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