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Say you’re sitting on someone’s deck, enjoying the Indian Summer sunshine and the gorgeous leaves. Probably the first topic of conversation is how nice the fall has been. Inevitably it shifts to matters of health – how such and such a friend is doing – jokes about the difficulties everybody seems to be having remembering things. More jokes about prostate problems. Inevitably, though you might not want it to, the conversation will veer into politics and the next thing you know you’re talking about the situation south of the border.
It’s like a train wreck, with mutilated bodies lying all over the place. No matter how much you think you should avert your gaze from the carnage and indignity….you can’t!
It would be an interesting study to record how quickly any conversation gets from the weather to politics. And how long it stays on politics before somebody says.. ‘Enough of that! Let’s talk about something else! Are the fish biting?’

Speaking of fish, somebody was showing us pictures of brook trout he caught at Lily Lake the other day. All were released after posing for photos. It’s a nice-looking fish, the brookie, and all the more appreciated by those who catch it for the effort it takes to get in there (a three-km hike with hills).
We remember a guy telling us a story about hiking in there in the middle of winter to fish through the ice for trout. He was an instructor at Northern Lakes College, from Chile, and thought it was the great novelty of the world – and kind of crazy at the same time – to be doing such a thing.
There are people who spend their whole lives trying to find the ideal fishing spot. We know one guy who has been doing that for about 50 years on Lesser Slave, looking for the elusive yellow perch, carefully, methodically, scientifically. He told us the story about going to the shore (at Marten Beach) and finding his boat missing. It turned out three guys had mistaken it for their own boat (hard to believe, but that’s what they told him.). They were all drunk and – wouldn’t you know it – had hit the perch spot he had been after for decades without much success. They had a nice catch of perch in the boat. ‘Where did you catch those?’ he said, figuring the least they could do would be to tell him, having used his boat. Of course they had no idea, and as far as we know he’s still looking.

It is what it is. There’s no arguing with that, is there? It’s pretty much the same as saying ‘C’est la vie,’ or ‘That’s the way she goes.’

We’re not exactly sure what the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta is, but that probably doesn’t matter as much as the fact it has money to give away. The CFNA announced last week it has $229,000 to dole out “across northwestern Alberta.” The deadline for applications is Oct. 30. The news release does not set out any criteria, but mentions the foundation has previously helped organizations dealing with “food security, communication upgrades, connection with local citizens, and mental health, to name a few.”

‘You know how rumours start.’ That was an RCMP officer last week, talking to us about an incident somewhere in the vicinity of one of Slave Lake’s schools.
We certainly do. Or rather we know that they do and can often be wildly off the mark.
This sort of thing has happened many times; somebody gets hold of us and tells us they heard something really awful had happened. Somebody got shot, for example. So we get hold of the RCMP. ‘Nope. Nobody got shot as far as we know.’
On the other hand, sometimes it really is as bad as the rumours suggest.

How about those Hwy. 88 bridges? Surely they’ll be finished this month?
Then we can get back to focusing on all the other problems in the highways in the area. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage.

Apparently, making jokes about pickle ball injuries is irresistible. We hear one or two every time we go to a town council meeting, where mayor Tyler Warman is still recovering from his mishap on the pickle ball court. And of course your long-time Leader reporter went down last year to a muscle tear sustained in lunging to return a Brian Zack smash. Who else? Shawn Gramlich?
But despite all the injuries and jokes about them, the new pickle ball program at the Slave Lake MRC is fully subscribed.

A lot of people who know a lot about the game of hockey did not win top spot in the Rotary Club’s NHL Playoff Pool. Who did? A guy who grew up in iceless Australia. Jon Ord says somebody at the coffee shop asked him what his secret is. ‘Being from Australia,’ was his answer. Maybe that’s it. How much you don’t know about the game is the key, not how much you do. Congratulations, by the way.

Here’s a strange one: the other day somebody traveling west in the Cornerstone shopping centre blew through the stop sign at a fairly high rate of speed, carrying on past the Chrysler dealership and beyond, as if in a big hurry to get away from somewhere or something. Two or three vehicles could have been in the line of fire, but held back. You assume someone is going to stop….until one day they don’t.

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