Life On a Train Bridge

I’ve been thinking about how lucky I’ve been in this life.

Oh, sure … I’ve had a few problems (mostly psychological, I’ve been told), and I never did learn how to make any money. Overall, though, I’m amazed at how fortunate I’ve been.

I walk. A lot. It’s one of the things that I can do, so … I do it.

Saskatoon has got to be one of the best places on the planet to walk. (OK, the beaches at Kihei are pretty great, too!) The river is beautiful, and the paths can be as easy – or as challenging – as you like.

I have an easy 5 minute walk to the river, which is pretty great.

One of my favourite walks includes the train bridge near the weir. As a kid, I was afraid of heights, so I always pushed myself to go higher. While heights don’t bother me now, it’s still a bit of a thrill to look down at the water flowing by.

You can look at the weir (now that the water level is normalizing, you can actually see that there IS a weir) and watch the pelicans fishing. Pretty great.

The bridge itself is like a public message board. It’s covered with all sorts of sayings, feelings, and emotions. Some of them … ahem … I can’t repeat here, but there are two that I always notice.

One says “No Fear”. I’m not sure I agree with that. I’ve been afraid a lot in my life. After all, I’ve been married for 26 years. I’d like to think, though, that there are things / circumstances / causes / beliefs that are worth facing your fear for.

Going on in spite of fear is my definition of courage. Not the absence of fear.

The other one – my favourite – says “The Power of Positivity“. It is written in a very nice green colour and is bedazzled with a cool smiley face.

It’s sort of become my mantra. I believe that you don’t get to always choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose how you respond to them.

Power of positivity reminds me how I’d like to respond to life.

I did mention that this is a TRAIN bridge, did I not? I’ve loved trains since I was a kid. In fact, I was pretty certain, from about ages 6-10, that I was going to be an engineer. The wind in my face, seeing the country. What a life!

I even had a hat. And yes, I was very cute in it. Just ask my Mom.

It doesn’t happen often, but it is a rush to have a freight train rumble by, with you just a few feet away. When it happens, there is always a goofy, middle aged guy who never grew up – you may know him – who is making the universal “blow the horn” arm pump with a huge grin on his face.

The horn from that close is awesome! Or so I’ve heard … from that same goofy guy.

As I go down from the bridge, there is one more nice surprise. OK, it’s not a surprise anymore, but …

I give thanks to Olivia and Greg Yuel and family. I don’t know who they are, or how they are connected, but there is a water fountain with their names on it at the base of the bridge.

It’s amazing how good cold water tastes after about 5 K in the warm sun.

I sit down and watch the water go by at the weir for about 10 or 15 minutes, clearing my mind and breathing deeply. Then I’m off for the second half.

My friends, I don’t know what’s going on in your lives. I hope that things are going well, and that you are happy, healthy, and prosperous. If not, and you live in or near Saskatoon (possibly there are similar places elsewhere … although probably not as great as Saskatoon. And if you live in Regina, my condolences.), take a walk across the train bridge and remind yourself that life is pretty good.

Especially if there’s a train going by.

Lame Jokes, Immaturity, and Charlie’s Angels

One of the advantages of getting old is the great people that you meet through the years. Some of you I’ve known – literally – my whole life. Some for a shorter time. And some I knew briefly and you have returned unexpectedly here in these pages.

I am grateful for all of you.

I’m a big believer that we are complex – yet simple – beings: a body, a mind, and a spirit.

Bodily … well … although the calendar only says 47, as the saying goes “It ain’t the years, baby, it’s the mileage!” Some days, I confess, I feel a bit dyslexic – more like 74 than 47.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but one show I do watch is Mike Holmes. I love how he walks into a place and says “Yeah, it looks good on the outside, but what about the structure? It’s all got to come down.”

Sometimes I think he’s talking directly to me. Sure, I look good (some would say great – thanks Mom) on the outside, but what about the structure?

However … I can still get around. I can have a laugh and sing a song (Sorry, Carole Burnett). I can give and receive a hug, and I can still tell lame jokes.

My sons are convinced I’ll be able to tell bad jokes with my last breath. I hope they are right.

Life, when you look at it in a big chunk, is pretty great. Oh sure, there are times that are tougher than others; that just sets you up for a greater experience as you get through it.

How could you appreciate the highs if you didn’t know the lows?

I haven’t learned a lot, but I do know this: You get to choose whether to laugh or cry through life.

Both are appropriate at different times.

Given the choice – and, let’s face it, we always have the choice – I choose to laugh as much as I can.

If I’m 47 bodily (or 74 – you decide), I am … sadly … stuck at a much younger age mentally. I always say that most guys I know are stuck at their shoe size. OK, I don’t always say that, but it’s probably pretty close.

Personally, I’m probably stuck – mentally – around 12.

I’m mature for my size.

This means I like shows where a guy gets:
1) a pie in the face
2) a ball in the groin
3) a slap in the face for farting during a meal at a fancy restaurant

Yes, you should definitely feel for my wife. She’s a saint, I tell you. (Are women saints, or is that a male term?)

And spiritually? I’m younger still. Maybe 6. I still love to make up stories and tell them. I like to laugh and get others to do the same. And I probably live in a make-believe world.

Children and old ladies love me. It’s just everyone else in between …

Ain’t life grand!

Thanks to you, friends. You have made the first 47 fly by – exciting and fun like they were when you couldn’t wait for school to start when you were a kid. Or when you knew that the big gift in the living room was a new bike. Or when you were driving to pick up the date that you knew was “the One.” Or when your kids were born.

Or when a re-run of Charlie’s Angels comes on. You know – one with Cheryl Ladd. Oh yeah. That brings back ….

Sorry, lost my train of thought.

So many great memories, and I look forward to creating at least another 47 years’ worth with you.

Thanks for the birthday wishes. Be good to each other.