Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Well, here we are. The last day of 2009. I'm not too sure what to make of the significance of this fact, but it's a Blue (Full) Moon today. There will be a lot of revellers out bringing in the New Year so be careful out there.
I think 2009 was a pretty good year. We became first-time grandparents on the 21st of April and couldn't be more proud of our grandson and his parents.
As a family, we have survived the recession and avoided the H1N1 virus. On top of that, the New York Yankees won the World Series, the 'Riders were this close to winning the Grey Cup and a movie was shot in our home town as "Rust" was shot in Kipling early in 2009. Yeah, I'd say it was an above average year, for me anyway.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Poem

Merry Christmas everyone!
Here's a little Christmas poem I've thrown together for you.

Random Thoughts-71
Dec 20-2009

Three Kings, shepherds and a babe in the manger.
The Eastern star and presents from strangers.
Carols and fruitcakes, poinsettias and holly,
And the chubby little guy so happy and jolly.
Christmas traditions that began years ago,
We follow and add to each year as we go.

Mistletoe, stockings and the nativity scene
Houses decorated in bright red and green.
The Grinch and the reindeer and Christmas cards too.
Candy canes and eggnog, to name just a few.
Now a new Christmas tradition we can add to them all
Is the latest tradition of the trip to the mall.

We could have started earlier to avoid the frustration
If it hadn’t have been for that procrastination.
Our time’s running out because we’ve delayed
So this rushed shopping trip just has to be made.
We’ll scream to the city and jump into the fray
And hope to get it done in one single day.

We brave the cold weather and the traffic so thick
And there’s no way at all that it’s going to be quick.
The parking lot’s jammed and the stores are all too
But we join in the lineups ‘cause there’s nothing we can do.
Now I’m off with a load of some gifts that we bought
But I’ve lost the damned car in this huge parking lot!

Yes, we will all meet up later, that’s what we will do,
But why would you pick the crowded food court zoo?
Now, we’re all back together comparing our lists
And because of the rushing there will be something that’s missed.
But we’ll take what we’ve got, we must get out of here
That’s about all we can take until this time next year.

But despite all the trappings of the trip to the mall
It will usually turn out to be not bad at all.
With the right attitude and a smile on your face
It can sometimes be good to be in the Rat Race.
Too many are alone at this time of year
So we should take all we can from all Christmas cheer.

From the Hubbard Family to you and yours. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Random Thoughts-70
November 30, 2009

Do you recall the article I wrote a few weeks back about how November really didn’t have anything to offer? I mentioned a couple of November events that were coming up but I had completely forgotten about the CFL playoffs! I know! How embarrassing! How can any rabid Canadian sports fan actually call himself a fan if he can’t even remember which month the Grey Cup is played in? Sheesh.
November, please accept my humble apology. You will not be considered a blah month ever again in my books. Especially when our Saskatchewan Roughriders played in three of the most memorable and thrilling football games that we ‘Rider Priders have seen back-to-back-to-back since, perhaps, the seventies.
First, we beat the hated Stampeders to finish first in the West Division for the first time since 1976. Then, “déjà vu all over again”, we beat the Stampeders, AGAIN, to win the Western Division Championship! (Pinch me this can’t be happening!!) Then, we win the Grey Cup. But wait! Hold on a second. You can’t be serious?! A WHAT? How many men? C’mon, we were this close…But, alas, it was not to be.
Even though our underdog ‘Riders weren’t supposed to get a playoff birth this season and Darian Durant wasn’t supposed to be a starting quarterback and the reigning Grey Cup Champion Stampeders were supposed to kick our butts all over the place and a bunch of “Canadian” receivers weren’t good enough and then the Alouettes were supposed to kick our butts too…we prevailed. Right down to the last second of the championship game. Yes, it was ours, albeit for only a nano-second, but it was OURS! And everybody knew it. And, yes I know, that’s small consolation, for it will not be the Saskatchewan Roughriders names that they will be engraving on the Grey Cup this year.
Now, back to that article I wrote a few weeks ago. In that article I recall requesting, or commanding, November to be a nice month…and it worked. Well, I can’t take all the credit, what with barometric pressures and oceanic temperatures and whatnot, but what the heck, it worked didn’t it. Our November weather was beautiful!
I recall another time, in one of my articles, when I had made a request for some ugly weather to ease my guilty conscious while watching hours and hours of hockey playoffs and…voila...it happened! Coincidence? I’m starting to wonder.
(Keep in mind that these aren’t wishes. I keep my wishes for family health, lottery tickets, more wishes and such).
I’m not exactly sure if these coincidences only work with weather but I’m going to make a request here anyway. I’m requesting a Grey Cup victory for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2010. A real victory, one where they write the names on the cup and everything. Just to make up for the almost one. Is that too much to ask?
“There is no substitute for victory.”-General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964).
Random Thoughts-69
November 16, 2009

I am not sure if I was thinking that I was still playing “Name That Tune” or if my head and body aches were reminding me that I wasn’t twenty years old anymore, but as I was waking up the day after the 23rd Annual Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey Tournament I couldn’t get the Garth Brooks’ song “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” out of my head.
I was absolutely sure that I was still playing the “Name That Tune” game when the next song to register in my brain was “HELP” by the Beatles. Then, as I slowly realized where I was, the tune changed to the old Marty Robbins’ hit “Cool Clear Water.” Which, by the way, I was in desperate need of.
A new ingredient to an old formula worked to perfection last Saturday night as the old rink lobby was filled with people who had gathered for the annual hockey tournament and then were entertained by Lyle Kapell and Nick Windjack’s hosting of the “Name That Tune” game.
While the usual dressing room antics reunited friends and family members together, many for the twenty-third time, the new wrinkle kept the people at the arena and drew some other community members in as well.
I will admit, though, that as the tournament was nearing I wasn’t approaching it with nearly the same enthusiasm as I have in the past. Oh, I was looking forward to reuniting with many of the guys that I have been hanging out and playing sports with since the ‘70s and I was even kind of looking forward to throwing on the old skates, but it was Sunday morning that I was scared of.
I know my friends and, worse, I know myself. I’ve been in this situation too many times to not know what was going to happen. And, sure enough, as per usual, too smart-too late, but then again, sacrifices have to be made.
The hockey, the camaraderie and the wobbly pops helped to overcome the realization that there was going to be a long recovery.
This tournament is a very special event. Over the years, it has raised a lot of money for the arena while providing an avenue for old friends to reacquaint and new friendships to be formed.
Personally, I would like to thank the Blackstock family, Linus in particular, for continuing this legacy. Rink Management, the user groups and all the volunteers are to be commended for, once again, providing a lot of people with a lot of great memories to be relived year after year.
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”-George Burns (1896-1996).
Random Thoughts-68
November 2, 2009

Until now, I never really had a problem with October. I thought it was always kind of a nice month. It’s colourful at the beginning and usually the weather is very comfortable for a game of football or a late game of golf, then, of course, October finishes with Halloween.
Good old “All Hallow’s Eve”, when you can dress up in a costume and go door to door and people put candy into your pillow case, or bag or plastic pumpkin for no other reason except that you yelled “TRICK OR TREAT”. I know! What could be better?
Then of course, every year in October, they crown a new World Series Champion. Well, technically, they drag it into November, now, so the greedy owners and TV execs and advertisers can milk more money out of the general public to pay the grossly overpaid players, but still, it was and will always remain “The October Classic.”
October usually brought the end of harvest (I said, usually, sorry farmers!) and October brings our Canadian version of Thanksgiving. Fresh pumpkin pies, new sweet Macintosh apples, sweet potatoes and so many more great seasonal dishes are at their tastiest during October.
Having said all of that, I was never so happy to see an October go by in my life as I was the gloomy 2009 version. According to the Weather Network, Broadview is supposed to average 167 hours of sunlight in the month of October. What did we get? Ten or twelve or something? Whatever it was it was the longest gloomiest October that I can remember. It was so rainy and gloomy that our solar lights wouldn’t even come on by the 31st. Seriously, I’m not kidding!
Although, I’ve never been to her place, I don’t think that Mother Nature has our human calendar on her wall to go by, but it seemed to me that as soon as November’s page turned up the sun came out. Coincidence? I think not.
I’ve never been a big fan of November, though. All you’ve got is Remembrance Day and the Blackstock Hockey Tournament. Okay, a couple of football games when the Americans decide it’s time to be thankful, but other than that, not too much to look forward to.
Perhaps this year will be different. Maybe November’s getting off on the right foot. We’ve had two, yes, count ‘em up, two sunny days in a row now. (I’m writing this on Monday night so there was yesterday and today). And the weather guys promise us that we’ll be seeing the thermometer rise to12C by the time this paper hits your mailbox. I certainly hope so.
There’s way too much crop still in the field and my vitamin D levels are already dangerously low and we still might have six months of winter to go! So c’mon now November, we’re counting on you to show us that you can be a worthy month, too. Do it for me. Do it for all of us.
“Weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed.”-E.B. White (1899-1985)
Random Thoughts-67
October 18, 2009

You know, three years have already passed since Kipling hosted “Saskatchewan’s Biggest Housewarming Party” celebrating Kyle MacDonald’s final trade from one red paperclip to a house. On that wild Labour Day Weekend in 2006 our son Nolan earned his role in Corbin Bernsen’s “Donna on Demand” movie as part of the trades that Kyle used to get his house.
If for some reason one of you reading this isn’t aware of the whole thing you can still log on to One Red Paper Clip.com and catch up, or you can buy Kyle’s book.
Coincidently, and totally lost in all of the brouhaha, was the fact that it was our 25th wedding anniversary on that weekend, too. Turns out, the timing couldn’t have been better. With a lot of our friends and family gathered around for the weekend, it was nice to be able to share the magic moments with so many people. It took our family a long time to come down from that cloud!
The filming had wrapped up and, to my knowledge, all of the final editing was completed before the end of 2007. So why would it take so long to finally get the finished product out to the public? My short and accurate answer is…I don’t know. And I’m not a Hollywood producer, either, but I am sure that they have their reasons.
One of the reasons may be that the content of “Donna on Demand” is pretty racy. Lots of swearing, some nudity and some violence with a killer twist at the end. Corbin himself has said that after he had spent some time in “wholesome” Kipling, “Donna” wasn’t the kind of movie that he would have used as his first choice for the winning role but the trade had been completed before he had even heard of Kipling.
The bottom line is that the movie is out now and available on DVD. And, yes, of course, there’s a twist. Or two. In order to get the movie you have to order it on the donnaondemand.com website. But wait! There’s more! By entering Nolan’s coupon code (NH1234) you will receive $2.00 off of the purchase price.
That’s it you ask?
Of course not!! There’s still more! For every DVD sold, with Nolan’s coupon code entered, he receives $3.00 from the sale of the movie!
Big deal you say?
Maybe so, but listen. Nolan is going to donate $1.00 from his take of every DVD sold and donate it to The Camp Easter Seal Foundation!
Howz that sound? What a deal! What are you waiting for? Hurry now and get your copy of Nolan’s first Hollywood movie while donating to a very worthy cause; all in the same transaction! Can’t get any better than that!
Once again, to order your movie-go to donnaondemand.com, enter your coupon code (NH1234) and…voila! It’ll come right to your mailbox. It’s that simple.
“So, you followed up your TV career with a couple of crappy movies. So what!? You made some money!”-Ned Palmer (Nolan’s character) to Ben Corbin (Corbin’s character).-Donna On Demand-2009.
Random Thoughts-66
October 5, 2009
We had managed to put off the inevitable for about as long as we could possibly stand it. You remember, don’t you? How procrastination is nasty business? Sure, putting something off always seems like a good idea at the time, but when you really think about it, and if you would have just rolled up your sleeves and got to it, it usually isn’t as big a deal as you thought it would be in the first place.
Whether you’re putting off telling your spouse about the dint in their car, or hanging the Christmas lights, or asking for directions, or finally getting around to 2004’s spring cleaning, after all is said and done, you will look back and say, “that wasn’t so bad now was it, why didn’t I do that earlier?” Every freaking time!
So it was at our house this past weekend. Yes, we had finally decided not to put off the 2004 spring edition of “THE BASEMENT CLEANING” any longer. I guess five-and-a-half years are enough!
Now, our basement isn’t the carpeted rumpus room with a spare bedroom, a half bath and some storage space like many people have. Don’t get me wrong, our basement was probably state of the art when it was built, but that was ninety years ago. Ours is basically one big storage unit with room for the boiler, washer and dryer.
It doesn’t help when both my wife and I hate to depart with almost anything! Old shoes, old costumes, old clothes, old books and especially anything that the kids used to have because it all seems to have such great sentimental value to us.
I even found a pair of skates that I had bought from D & S Sporting Goods (owned by Morley Dickie and Bill Salloum in Kipling) somewhere around 1977! Seriously! I guess you just never know when you’re going to need a worn out pair of twenty-two year old skates or something. I think I misted up a bit throwing those old skates onto the garbage pile in the truck.
And so it went. “What should we do with this?” “Pitch it!” “But…” PITCH IT!” “Okay”.
I made so many trips up and down those stairs that I didn’t feel guilty at all about throwing out the old exercising equipment. Who uses a “Stairmaster” anymore anyway?
Then, there we were, too many hours later looking at the beautifully clean basement. “That wasn’t so bad now was it?” “Yes!! It was!” But at least it’s done. Now we can move some of the stuff from the bedrooms down there!
My friend Lonnie Cameron has a saying about procrastination, sorry, but I can’t use it here. Ask him about it the next time you see him. I’ll use this one instead.
“Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”- Ellen DeGeneres.
Random Thoughts-65
September 21st, 2009

The recent and very welcome heat wave may have made us think that it was still summer but the calendar says that on September 22nd autumn began. As long as we continue to have daytime temperatures in the 20s I don’t care what they call it, just keep ‘em comin’!
Even as summer-like weather is blessing us, the usual seasonal chores have to be done. The potatoes are ready for the bin, the tomatoes are almost ready for the salsa jars and the chickens are getting fattened up for their inevitable trip to the freezer.
Just the other day a couple of us were recalling the old chicken butchering days. Notice I didn’t say “Good old”, because, to me they weren’t. Good that is.
While I was attending high school, Mom and Dad would buy baby chicks in the spring and have them raised on a local farm until the fall. Part of the deal was that when it came time to butcher them, Mom and Dad and their slaves/children would help with the nasty business. Mom and Dad had grown up on farms and thought that the experience would be character building or something. I had lived all of my life in a city or town and hadn’t really cared how that tasty fried chicken got its start.
Well, I soon found out and it ain’t pretty! Between the headless creatures flapping about the farmyard and the nauseating aroma of the feather scalding, I was close to passing out or throwing up well before the plucking and the gutting even got started!
Thankfully, I was able to “man-up” and managed to stay upright and keep my stomach contents in my stomach while looking as busy as possible doing nothing until all the butchering was done.
As I recall, I didn’t have much of an appetite when we were called to the supper table that day. Then, with the distinct smell of scalded feathers still stinging my nose, the main course of Chicken Paprikas was put on the table.
What!? You can’t be serious!? I know this was how it was always done, but CHICKEN!?…NOW!?… Thanks, but no thanks.
I know it was probably just part of the evolutionary process and all, but really, who would have been the first one to think that eating a dead bird would be a good idea? I mean, he must have been STARVING! How many tries would he have made before he just ate the meat? Or even tried cooking it!
Yes, you’re right, it’s maybe best not to think about that. I’ve recovered quite nicely from the old chicken pluckin’ days and I make a pretty mean Chicken Paprikas myself now. So, in the end, it turned out to be a character builder anyway, because all of life’s experiences, good, bad or otherwise, usually are.
“If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”-Abigail Van Buren (1918-)
Random Thoughts-64
August 1st, 2009
This past weekend we moved our daughter, Emily, to her new digs in Moose Jaw for the upcoming SIAST school year. I am very familiar with the Moose Jaw area as my family had lived at Marquis, just twenty miles northwest, for five years and I attended school in the city in grades seven and eight.
Especially at this time of year, I am reminded of the many experiences that I had while I worked for a few summers on my sister and brother-in-law’s Moose Jaw area farm fixing grain bins and driving truck during harvest.
I learned how to drive on old dirt roads in a ’48 Ford ½ ton while carrying all the tools of a wood grain bin repair man. Tin flashing, spare boards, tar, nails, hammer, .22 rifle, in case the rats got too close, you know.
It was always a very hectic, stressful and rewarding time of the year. So much depended on the weather, which was completely out of one’s control, and also added to my brother-in-law’s already too-high blood pressure. He was responsible for taking off his crop, his Dad’s, his uncle’s and worked with his brother on his crop, too. Two combines and one old grain truck took the entire crop off.
At the time, early to middle ‘70s, we had a field moisture tester which would tell you when the grain was dry enough to start up the combines. That was a bit of an advantage back then as not many farmers had testers, so then they would have to take a sample to the grain elevator to get tested and wait in line before the results would be given. It could take up quite a bit of time, depending on the location of the elevator and the number of farmers waiting in line, which could mean some crucial minutes or hours of harvesting time.
I am not sure how much my brother-in-law paid for the tester but he needn’t have bothered while his Uncle Mike was still around. Uncle Mike was in his eighties, a life-long bachelor and his only love was his farm. He lived to farm.
I can vividly recall seeing him squatting over a swath with a handful of kernels in his hand blowing away the chaff. He’d take one spring wheat kernel and bite down on it and predict the moisture content to within a half of a percentage of the tester’s reading! When it cracked hard enough he’d smile, wink and say, “Let’s go!”
We always unloaded the combines “on the go”, as they say, unloading the hopper into the truck as both vehicles slowly cruised down the field. I got pretty good at it, too, if I do say so myself. The only time I didn’t like doing that was when we were combining barley. That damn chaff and grain dust would give you such an itch! The only other thing that I remember making me itch that badly was a dip in the old dugout too far into July giving me “The Itch”!
I feel so fortunate to have had those experiences, the itching excluded. The cucumber sandwiches in the field, the teamwork, the late-night meals after a long day, the sense of accomplishment, even the exhaustion, when your head finally hit the pillow, felt good.
I’ve had my share of jobs over the years and they are not without their rewards but I don’t think anything can compare to the feelings I was lucky enough to experience during my harvesting days.
“Out of the strain of the Doing,
Into the peace of the Done.”- Julia Louise Woodruff- “Harvest Home”, Sunday at home, 1910.
Random Thoughts-63
August 24, 2009

Do you lead a stress free life? Are your decisions always right? Do your physical actions always follow your brain thought patterns? Yes? Really?! Then you mustn’t be a golfer!
As if our lives weren’t stressful enough, what with bills to pay, children to move, (again and again), on-going home improvements, job stress, car repairs, yard work, laundry, cooking, cleaning... the list is endless; this year, Deb and I decided to put in a lot more of our free time on the golf course.
Yes, in an effort to give us some relief from the struggles of everyday life, escaping to the golf course was supposed to be our stress reliever. I guess it is to a point. If you just want to admire the scenery on the course and the camaraderie of the club house deck, then that’s the place to be.
If, however, you want to play the game properly and put that stupid ball in the cup with the fewest swings of your club, you might want to look up what “stress relief” really means.
Usually, doing something over and over should improve the end result of a repeated action. Usually. I’ve repeated my golf swing, and many various versions of it, oh, I would say a few thousand times. Many, many thousands of times and I’m not sure if “improved” would be one of the adjectives that I would use when describing the end result of one of my many, many golf swings.
Oh sure, you know, every now and then, and this is true for every golfer, Tiger included, you hit that one sweet perfect ball that goes exactly where you aim and gets there in a hurry. For Tiger, it’s lots of times, for me, not so much. Just enough to think you’re getting better so you go back out to see if you can do it again!
Then again, you know what they say, “a bad day of golf is better than a good day at work.”
There are many very positive things about golf. Done right, it will improve your concentration. Done wrong, you get to use words that aren’t usually allowed in public. You get lots of fresh air, a little exercise and on those rare occasions when the sun and moon and stars are lined up just right, you can put a game together that makes you really think you can golf!
“Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.”-Jimmy Demaret.
Random Thoughts-62
August 17, 2009

You know how they say that, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”? Well the peace and serenity of our empty nest was disrupted, recently, when one of our flock came back home to roost for a while.
We happily took our youngest daughter Emily back into our household as she returned home for a month of respite between finishing up her job, in Regina, and going to post-secondary school in Moose Jaw in September.
I vividly remember the day when our baby left home and Deb and I were left standing alone in front of the house thinking, “now what?”
Well, that was two years ago, and, over that time, we had adjusted quite fine, thank you very much.
Gone were the fights over the TV remote. Gone from the bathroom were the curling irons, the hair straightening irons, the blow dryers, the make-up bags and the wet towels on the bathroom floor.
Gone were the nights when we lay awake waiting for the front door to bang shut, signifying her late-night return home.
Now, two weeks after Emily’s return, there it is...deja vu all over again!
I remember fondly having a shower without running out of hot water. Or going to the fridge for that last hidden cold beer and finding it there.
Nostalgically our TV yearns to show something other than the latest reality television show.
But, you know, it’s not all bad. Her bubbly personality still lights up the room when she’s around. Many of her life-long friends have started to come around again and add a little life to this old house. She even runs errands for us and does some chores.
Yes, the young high-school girl left and a mature, responsible young woman has returned in her place.
In another two weeks we will be standing on the front step watching her move on again to the next phase of her life. Will we be saddened once more? You bet. Will we enjoy having the house back to ourselves? Yes, we will, but probably not right away.
Despite the clutter and the tiny inconveniences we’ll definitely miss all of that activity she’s brought home with her. We’ll slowly adjust back to “normal” and then we will yearn for the days when there was a little more life around here.
“Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.”- Bill Cosby (1937-)
Random Thoughts-61
August 10, 2009
Wow! What a weekend! It was so fun I needed an extra week of R & R to fully recuperate.
I know it’s a bit late but congratulations, Kipling, on your 100th and hats off to the organizing committee members Max Krecsy, Debbie Hubbard, Mike Kearns, Graham Dayle, Vern Pusch, Joe Widdup, Conrad Widdup and Loretta Demyen. I am sure they would readily admit that it couldn’t have been done without the help of all of the volunteers at all of the venues. Again, thank you all for a job well done!
With so many relatives and friends returning for the weekend I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a conversation start with the words “Remember when…”
I feel blessed that my 87-year old Mom could attend the events with us. She has so many fond memories of the years that she and Dad lived here and still has lots of friends and acquaintances who remember their shared times together.
We now have new memories to add to the old ones. With so many activities to attend and so many people to see, a few days can hardly fulfill all of the things we wanted to do and all of the people we wanted to see.
It’s too bad that life doesn’t have a “pause” button so we could slow things down and savour the time a little more. But, alas, it’s just not to be.
As usual, time lingers on when you’re anxious for it to pass quickly and flies by when you want it to move at a much slower pace.
It’s kind of like waiting for one’s holidays to begin. The days seem to drag on as you lead up to the start of your vacation and then before you know it you’re packing up the old lunch kit and heading back to work.
Back to “normal”. I’m sure it’s just human nature that makes us want to get “back to normal” after special events because special events just wouldn’t be special if we lived them every day.
“We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted…each of us contains within…this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise,”-Edward Sellner.
Random Thoughts-60
July 26, 2009

In early 1970 my Dad and Mom made a decision that greatly impacted our family’s lives. They chose to accept the Kipling-Windthorst United Church Pastoral Charge’s invitation for Dad to become their minister.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that thrilled about moving again. My protestations were received and discarded and Dad and Mom and the last three of their nine children still living at home, Gordon, Perry and Shelly moved to Kipling.
Kipling would be the fourth community that I would be calling home in eight years. Going in to grade nine in Kipling High School made it the fifth public school that I would attend in twelve years. This is a fact that provided me with an excuse for my poor academic performances over the years. You see, I was so busy trying to fit in to the new environments I couldn’t possibly have time for the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic). See, I’m still using that excuse thirty-five years after I finished High School!
It didn’t take long for me to warm up to the community, though. Nearly forty years has passed since that hot, hot July day when we first moved into the United Church Manse house at 414 3rd St. and I’m still here.
I did leave Kipling for a few years between 1978 and 1985 and returned with my wife, Deb, our oldest daughter, Meghan, and added two more children to the mix, Nolan and Emily. This family unit has been happy residents for close to a quarter century.
I often think that maybe it was my parent’s nomadic ways that made me yearn for some deeper roots; you know, a firm home base. Maybe it was the life-long friendships that were formed, a lot of them that were started in that very first summer we spent here, that made me want to stay. I am sure that both of them have factored into the reasons why we still live here.
Would it have been different had we moved to Kindersley, or Shaunavon or some other community out there? Possibly, but that’s a question that will never require an answer. We moved HERE. We stayed HERE. We love it HERE!
As we move into the celebration weekend for Kipling’s 100th Anniversary I couldn’t be more proud to say where I’m from. We have a beautiful community.
Beautiful communities don’t just appear. They are grown. It takes a lot of hard work by many, many people to develop a community over 100 years.
We’ve worked hard to get to where we are right now. In 1970, the town sign stated: “Kipling--Parkland’s Progressive Centre.” I think that statement is as true now as it was then.
“Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.”-Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).
Random Thoughts-59
July 16, 2009

As kids growing up, my brother, my friends and I played many different games to provide us with our entertainment. In our computerless, one TV channel, Nintendoless lives we had other ways to occupy ourselves. We played sports. Lots of sports.
I’m not making a statement here about children being spoiled with electronic games or anything and I’m not going to do the old “back in the good old days” routine, either. It’s just a fact. Those electronic games were just not available to us. Table hockey and board games were about the closest thing we had to compare to today’s electronic games and those were usually played only when it was raining outside and the rink was closed.
It didn’t matter what season of the year we were in, we played the sport that was appropriate to the weather. Street hockey and shinny in winter, baseball in late spring and summer and football in the fall. Throw in some school sports like volleyball, basketball and track and we were running twelve months a year.
We were all involved in the organized aspect of the sports, too, either through local minor sports associations or school but the real fun was in the pick-up games in the street or in the school yard. Unsupervised, no umps, no refs, no parents and plenty of make-it-up-as-you-go rules that sometimes resulted in more than a few arguments and fights.
Whatever sport I was currently playing was my favourite at the time. The one nice hot day that we’ve recently had this summer reminded me of playing baseball back then. Usually, by the middle of July, the organized games were over but the fun games were just beginning.
During the summer, because of summer camps and family vacations, we very seldom had enough people for a 9 on 9 pickup game of baseball so we played either 500 or Scrub. We would play for hours at a time in the hot summer sun cooling off with the occasional glass of Kool Aid or running to the town well to douse our heads in the cold water.
It’s no secret that I’m an avid sports fan and I watch way too many televised sporting events but my passion for sports came from their purest form. Playing the game to play the game. Sure, I like to watch sports but I love to play them.
I’m lucky enough to share this passion with the members of the Eden Valley Senators Twilite Baseball team. We recently attended the SBA Provincial Playoff Tournament in Davidson where our won/loss record wasn’t so great but our shared love of the game and the camaraderie that accompanies it will keep us coming back time and again.
"For when the One Great Scorer comes, / To write against your name, / He marks - not that you won or lost - / But how you played the Game."- Grantland Rice-(1880-1954).
Random Thoughts-58
June 28, 2009

It’s finally here! I think. Maybe. Don’t hold your breath or anything but if you just go by the calendar Summer is officially here. Keep in mind that we are in Saskatchewan so anything’s possible; weather wise that is.
I am convinced that the worst and longest winter in my memory banks is behind us. It’s time for baseball, barbeques and beer! Bring on the heat.
Speaking of beer, have you watched the ads on TV from the beer company advertising that a particular portion of their cans turn a different colour when they have reached an appropriately cold temperature? Really?! Whatever happened to actually feeling the can itself?
Oh, I get it, maybe the can is cold enough but the beer in it isn’t? Is that it? Does the can know the difference? Does it only change when the can is just the right temperature or when the beer is the right temperature? I am going to have to make a point of watching the full commercial, instead of switching channels to the other ballgame during the ads, so I can find out.
Regardless, to my way of thinking, if you need a beer can to tell you how cold it is maybe you should reconsider popping the top on that puppy! It’s just a thought.
What is the optimum temperature? Who says? I like my beer so cold I get a popsicle headache when I gulp it. Which, by the way, I hardly ever do. Good Ol Phil Eger would only drink his beer if it was room temperature. I guess us odd fellows would just have to “old school” it and trust the feelings in our hands and our mouth. How novel!
And what about the visually impaired? How would they tell? Maybe they better start working on a can that will just shout out, “I’m Ready!!”, when it’s cold enough, too.
But we’re gimmick lovers aren’t we? (How else can you explain the Sham Wow guy, but that’s a story for another time.)
Another beer company is advertising a brand of beer of theirs with lime already in it. Thank God! It’s about time! After all the time we’ve lost in our lives by going out and buying the limes and cutting them up and then the arduous task of stuffing it in the bottle and having to lick the juices off of our fingers and everything. I know! It was agonizing! Man, what I could do with those twenty-seven minutes back in my life!
Yes, okay, sarcasm isn’t wit. Or so I was once told by a wise man. But, seriously folks, let’s do a little thinking on our own, okay? Take some initiative. Don’t always take the easy road. It’s been my experience that things are always a little better if you have to work a bit for it.
“Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”- Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)
Random Thoughts-57
June 7, 2009

My Dad, Lowell Denton Hubbard, passed away, at the far too young age of 71 years, on June 21st, 1990. Appropriately, this Father’s Day, it will have been 19 years to the day. Man, where does the time go?
One of my favorite photographs, of my father, is of him and my Mom, Rose, walking down a street in Calgary with Dad pushing the baby carriage that held their first child, John. It’s 1941 and Dad was wearing a fashionable fedora, suit and tie, Mom is in an equally fashionable double-breasted overcoat over the dress she was wearing. In today’s language, they could have easily passed as a Hollywood “Power Couple”.
I have many of my Dad’s traits, some of them by nature some of them by nurture. I’ve got his build, his hands and his kinda-big ears. I also have his attention to detail, his terrible impatience, his sense of humour, his love of all sports and his acute sense of style and grooming.
Sometimes, while I’m driving our car, I see his hands on my steering wheel, right down to the position of the freckles, the protruding veins and the thumbs hanging down at that peculiar angle. How many times had I looked at those hands from my standing position behind him as he drove?
I am not completely sure if one can get their food tastes through genetics, but if you can, I almost wish he would have kept his addiction to raw onions to himself. So does my wife.
My Dad was a writer, too. I didn’t read too much of what he wrote because I always got the oral version on Sundays in church. Yes, after he and Mom had had their nine, that’s right NINE, kids he joined the ministry. For sanities’ sake, you’d almost have to, don’t you think?!
Dad had a green thumb and loved his garden. That’s one of the things, unfortunately, I didn’t get. It was his escape. Nine kids!? You gotta go somewhere! Nary a weed could be found in the confines of his garden patch or lawn. I would imagine that a lot of his sermons were grown in that garden as well.
Dad was nearly forty years old when I was born so the age difference and generation gap led to some head butting over long hair (mine), lifestyle choices and my stubbornness in bucking authority. But as we aged, the gap lessened, my stubbornness subsided and we realized that we could both be right at the same time; well, most of the time, anyway.
Not unlike many father-son relationships ours strengthened over time as his lessons on duty, loyalty, compassion and commitment to family and community emerged in his eighth child.
Although it has been nineteen years since my father’s passing I still find myself wondering what he would do in certain situations. Without having the advantage of speaking to him about a given situation, I can still seem to find his guidance when needed. Someone whom one has been very close to doesn’t always have to be here to be here, if you know what I mean?
“A sweet thing, for whatever time, to revisit in dreams the dear Dad we have lost.”-Euripides (484BC-406 BC), Alecstis, 438BC.
Random Thoughts-56
May 18, 2009

So it began. The paint samples were, once again, laid out on the kitchen table in an attempt to determine which colour we would be using to repaint the outside of the house, the hallway and the kitchen cupboards.
Didn’t we just do this? I was sure we had because we are perpetually painting some area of this old house. Doesn’t my answer from the last time still have merit? I believe my response the last time was, “Whatever you want. I don’t really care.”
Apparently, this isn’t the correct response.
“Now, what do you think? I like “Goat Cheese” for the cupboards, “Duck Egg” for the hallway and “Blooming Flax” for the outside of the house. Or should we go with, “Salt Cellar” for the cupboards, “Soda Bread” for the hallway or “Steamed Milk” on the outside?”
“Huh? Are we still talking about paint!? Whatever happened to orange, blue, green, red and yellow? To me, this sounds like some kind of weird quiche recipe or something.”
I think I’ll stick to “Whatever you want. I don’t really care.”
Still it continues, “If we go with the “Steamed Milk”, on the outside, should we do the trim in “Ripe Oats” or stick with the white?”
“Is white even a colour? What do you mean about the comedy routine? I was just asking?”
“How about having this three-and-a-half hour conversation with one of your sisters, because I think I’m missing the hockey game and they probably care.”
Whoops, did I say that out loud? Once again, wrong answer!
Amazing as it may seem, when we went to purchase the paint, there were two other women there that had experienced virtually the same thing with their spouses. Who would’ve thought?
My suggestion, to them, then, was to form a splinter group off of “The Ladies Without Baseboards Club” name it the “What Colour Do YOU Like Club?” and then they could all meet and share and choose colours with people of like interests.
Apparently, this isn’t the correct response either.
Yes, I know, you don’t really care if we care; you just want us to engage, you know, play along, at least make it seem like we care. Well, I’m telling you, most of us just don’t.
So, go with the “Billy Goat” on the walls, with a border of “Always Mine” and the trim in “Boy Bait” (seriously, I’m not making these up!), if you want, but just tell me where you want me to start cutting in.
“Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.”-George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).

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