Tuesday, November 26, 2013

12 Facts About Me

I was tagged, and the prize/penalty was to share 12 random and generally unknown facts about myself. 

Here's my dozen ....

[1] At age 7, my brother and I played fishing in our back yard. 
I was the fisherman.  He was the fish.  He put the hook in his mouth.
To this day I don't know what possessed me, but I needed to 'set the hook'.  I leaned back, snapped the rod, and 2 barbed hooks went through his lower lip.

After a trip to the hospital to remove the barbed hooks, a brief family meeting concluded we had a lifetime ban on our fishing game.

[2] At age 8, I should have died on the freeway. 
On a family vacation in California we stopped at a roadside rest area for a picnic.  My mom told me to put something in the garbage can.
The can she saw was about 10 feet away.  
The can I saw was at the roadside rest area on the opposite side of the freeway, across 6 lanes of traffic.
I dodged vehicles traveling both ways, returning surprised to see the horror on her face as she realized I had innocently done exactly what she asked me to do.

[3] I was the first hockey player in my hometown to wear a helmet.  Fifty years ago, nobody wore a hockey helmet.  But I took a severe concussion while  playing hockey (with bleeding from both ears and both nostrils, and 5 days in a hospital). 

My dad bought me a helmet (made of felt and leather), and gave me a clear choice - wear the helmet or don't play hockey. 

With today's awareness of Concussions and Head Injuries from hockey and football, this seemed like an obvious solution - but at the time it was radical and I missed the hair flowing when skating with speed.  But within a few years, many players joined the helmet-on look.

[4] At age 11, I was fired as a baby-sitter.  My mom went out for just 15 minutes and I was to take care of my 3 younger siblings.
One sister drank a bottle of iodine, and my other sister burned concentric rings on her bare foot as she stepped on a hot burner on our counter-top stove. My brother was OK. 
Apparently a 1-out-of-3 success-rate did not meet the standards expected by my mom.

[5] At age 15-16, I had a palomino quarterhorse
I joined 4H, competed in all the gymkhana events, and rode in the musical ride as mentored by the RCMP officers stationed in our town.  In winter, I rode bareback and without a bridle - she was an amazing horse, responding to voice, hand and leg signals.  

[6] At age 16, I completed a full 26-mile marathon ... without training or preparation. I had moved from a small town to a big city, and on a whim thought it would be a fun outing.  I haven't run a marathon since.

[7] I worked as a driller & blaster (explosives expert) for 5 summers while a university student.  

In a nickel mine at Thompson Manitoba, 5800 feet (1 mile or 1.6Kms) underground.

Rough work, but I made 5 times the minimum wage that most students worked for.

[8] At age 59 I traded Cancer for a Colostomy.  It was a good trade.  

I had rectal bleeding for 2 years, and assuming it was only hemorrhoids, avoided and declined all medical examinations and tests.

Earlier detection with a colonoscopy may have 'saved my ass'.

[9] I have a connection and respect for ravens (highly intelligent birds that can live 70 years).  Every March, 2-3 ravens are hatched on a cliff easily visible from our cabin. We watch their growth until they learn to fly and join the adults.

I have left stale donuts and watched ravens carry 
them 1-at-a-time and hide them in trees (there is an intelligence to thinking of the future).  One smarter raven learned to put his beak thru a donut-hole then grab a second donut in his beak, and carry them 2-at-a-time! 
I have left ice-fishing rigs unattended, and ravens flew circles over our cabin, squawking persistently ... yes, it meant a fish was on the line, and the ravens got a meal!  
After harvesting a moose, I packed out the meat, left the carcass, and started to drive my boat the 8 kms back to our cabin.  A few, then 11, Ravens flocked together overhead and followed me home. As I sat on my dock, they flew 3 circles, in unison, over my head, then all flew back toward the moose carcass.  They would have food for a month ... was that a raven's thank-you salute?

[10] Social media is too fast for me.  

I am more comfortable canoeing or trekking
and without cellphone or internet access.

My lifetime favourite is Nepal.

[11] Hockey has been hard on my body. 
I made a quick count of injuries during 57 years of hockey ...
3 concussions requiring hospitalization, 
12 broken bones, 
3 shoulder separations, 
2 missing teeth, 
1 torn knee, 
and over 100 stitches.  

A colostomy hasn’t changed that style.

[12] My favourite quotation ...

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave
safely in a well-preserved body, 

but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, 
shouting "Holy Shit ... What a Ride!"

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