A Time to Retire

I made the decision to retire from Canada Safeway at the end of June of this year. After 36 years working in IT for the same great company, it was time. I started on July 7, 1977 and close the same date 36 years later I start a new career, one that I look forward to as eagerly as I did my IT career with Safeway.

Sadly, just as I filed all my papers to make my retirement final, word came that Canada Safeway had been sold to Sobeys. There had been speculation in the press for some time now that a sale would happen, however it was still a shock when it did. I feel for all those who still work in the backstage side at Canada Safeway and hope they get continued employment as the two companies merge.

My choice of retirement time was purely coincidental. I did find out that I would have been offered continued employment by Safeway Inc. if I had not retired. That makes me feel great knowing that I was still considered a valued part of the IT group.

The Ides of March – 2013

The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July and October, and the 13th day of the other months. The most famous of the ides is that of March, 44 BC when Julius Caesar was killed in the Roman Senate.

March around here came in like a lamb and aside from a little skiff of snow and strong winds during the latter part, it left with heavy snow falls and cold temperatures.  Lucky us!  

Here it is now 13 days into April and we got another 8 inches of snow today. Will this never end? As a precaution, we’ve booked our vacation time and are heading into the interior of BC end of next week. We at least know the snow there is done for the year, at least at the lower elevations, and the temperatures are approaching 20c.

Our trailer and boat await us out there after a winter of heavy snows and now just coming out of the rainy spring. It will be a busy week there with our 3 dogs and all the chores that need to be done in preparation for another great summer of boating and laying about in the sun.

2009 – Highs and Lows

As in all cases we never know what each New Year will bring with it. We hope that it will bring in wealth, health and happiness. We may in fact actually fulfill all of those hopes, to some degree, during the year.

In my case, 2009 started out well and finished well. There were highs and some very deep lows.

We renovated the interior of our house from top to bottom this year. March to September was a time the house was in rebuild phase. We lived on take out food or meals cooked in the microwave during that time.

We bought ourselves a new boat and trailer. We had some fun with it and look forward to lots more this coming year.

I got a print job to produce 110 fine art sport memorabilia prints of Wayne Gretzky. I shipped them to his company in Phoenix for him to sign. I actually saw one of the prints signed and framed recently. It looked great.

I got the opportunity to photograph an artist friend Shannon Lawlor and Ian Tyson at his ranch while they rode horses. One of the shots is being published in Western Horse Review along with an article about Shannon.

It was also a year in which we lost 3 of our 4 old pets (1 cat, 2 dogs) to illnesses. While we have one great old cat left, this big house of ours is now quiet, too quiet for us. So we decided to get another dog.

This time around we decided on a rescued dog. We chose one that has health issues that caused her to be passed over by potential adoptive families. Having dealt with aging animals and their medical needs, we knew we could handle this new opportunity.

Her name, well our new name for her, is Mercy. She is a Collie cross about 18 months old, weighs in about 40 lbs. This is small compared to our previous pooches who checked in at over a hundred pounds each. We pick her up tomorrow in Calgary where she is with a rescue society foster family.

We plan to make her life a full and happy one just like that of our late pets Glory, Percy, Gracie and most recently PD. If things work out, we will most likely get another dog from the rescue society. Dogs are pack animals so we feel dogs should have one of their own as a companion. I’ve already checked out one I like and will be looking into that adoption process shortly.

Turning 60

Well, here I am, 60 years old and now a senior citizen, how the heck did that happen so fast?

I remember my mother, in her 70′s, saying that in her mind she still felt 20 years old. How very true she was as I feel exactly the same way. While outwardly looking older, from my view looking out onto the world, I am still a 20 year old. That is the secret to keep feeling young.

Our Gang

Speaking of feeling young, here’s a picture (circa 1955) of the group of kids on my street that grew up together. It was taken at the curb of our driveway, that is my family’s house in the background. Front row: David Tucker, Robert Tucker, Patrick Hinson, Ken Logie (my younger brother who passed away in May 2007), me. Middle row: Don Mundy (passed away in Aug 2006), Rich Logie (my next older brother), Walter Hinson, Back row: Tom Logie (my oldest brother).

December Snows

I love winter! I live in a region of Canada (Alberta) that has four distinct seasons, the longest of which is obviously winter. While many people would think me insane, I just love this season. I guess it all comes from growing up in Montreal where, for me, winter was all about hockey and playing outdoors. I would play hockey anywhere and anytime. It was a passion for me. When I wasn’t playing on my East End Boy’s Club team, I’d play on snow packed streets, sidewalks, backyard rinks, frozen ponds  or at the local park outdoor rink.

I would get up early on Saturday mornings and dress for a day at the public outdoor rink at Parc St. Victor. I would head off with skates, stick, hockey gloves, the required tuque and spend the entire day at the rink playing hockey with 30 or 40 other kids. Quite often there was a parish priest on the ice as well, playing hockey with the kids while still wearing his cassock. I recall the priests were quite good at the game and of course no one would ever dare check them!

Beside the rink there was a small hut that was used for changing in and out of your skates as well as warming up when you had to. The inside of the hut, heated by an oil stove, was always toasty and smelled of old wood. The floors were all carved up by the many years of skate blades crossing over them. There were benches inside to sit on and you would store your boots under them while out playing. There were no lockers with padlocks, it was based on trust.

On those Saturdays, after a day of being at the rink, I’d head home and watch my favourite team, the Montreal Canadiens, playing one of the other original six NHL teams on CBC’ TV’s Hockey Night in Canada. I would watch the game with my Dad who would pick for any team other than Montreal. 

I idolized goaltenders like Jacques Plante, Charlie Hodge, and Gump Worsley. I never missed the Saturday evening broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada which in Montreal had Danny Gallivan as the play by-play announcer. Naturally I much preferred him over Foster Hewitt who called the play in Toronto. One thing Gallivan had in his favour was that he could properly pronounce the names of all the French Canadian players whereas Hewitt would butcher them. Hewitt was especially bad at pronouncing Canadiens’ player Yvon Cournoyer’s name, he’d always say ‘corn-o-yer’. It should be pronounced ‘coor nwah yay’.

Each Saturday, included in the Montreal Star newspaper was an insert called the Star Weekly. During the winter months the Star Weekly usually included a write up on an NHL player like Henri Richard, Gordie Howe, Johnny Bower or Andy Bathgate along with a full page photo of them in their team uniform.  They were all keepers to me. I’d collect the photos in put them in my scrapbook. I still have my scrapbook as well as a publicity photo handout of Henri Richard that he signed.

A real highlight was when I was about 12 years old and playing organized hockey at the East End Boys and Girls Club. To celebrate the opening of the new EEBGC’s indoor arena, the Montreal Canadiens came and played an inter squad game. There I was sitting by the boards during the game with my heros skating by just a few feet away.

I sure was a lucky kid to have had so much fun in winter…mostly because of hockey!