Thursday Tidbits

Posted on August 12, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments



Overlooking Ballantyne’s Cove – August 10, 2021


“Ooh, what a lucky he was,

Ooh what a lucky man he was”.

Lucky Man – Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Three score and ten.

It has a nice ring to it.

Back in the day, the nominal life span for a human was three score and ten which translates into 70. The miracles of modern medicine and healthy lifestyles have pushed this number considerably higher. In many ways the current crop of seniors is healthier than their parents. Not as many people smoke, diets are better, and exercise has become prevalent.

Having kicked around this planet for 70 years (and two days!) I realize that the greatest gift, besides good health, which trumps everything, is friendship. My travels and my writing have put me in contact with so many amazing people in far flung places. Of course, home is home, and I am blessed to have many family, friends, and neighbors.

My epic walk around “The Cape” to mark my 70th birthday, put friendship on full display. Many of you commented that I was tough. An equal number opined about my sanity. I think I’m on the side of those who think I was nuts to do this.

I received well wishes from all over the world. On Day 2 of my walk as I was trudging up the hill at Ballantynes Cove, I received a message from a fellow Camino walker who lives in Italy, wishing me well. I sent her a picture of Ballantynes Cove. In real time, she was riding her bicycle through the streets of Venice. She sent me some stunning photos. It was magical.

There are simply too many people to thank who provided food, shelter, beverages, words of encouragement and donations along the way. I don’t think anyone would mind me giving a special shout out to my son, Pete, who drove out on three different occasions over the two days to bring sustenance.

I can’t lie. Day 1 was a breeze, relatively speaking. Walking 42 km is never easy but we were blessed with overcast skies and a freshening breeze almost the entire day. Day 2 was a completely different story. I was walking alone and after walking straight uphill for the first kilometer of the day, I realized that it was going to be a warm one. While “only” 35 km in length, the trip from Cape George Point to Antigonish via Lakevale, Cribbon’s etc has a higher level of difficulty with many steep climbs.

Two people who are no longer with us were front and center in my mind. When I had to dig deep to keep pushing forward, I thought of my late mother and my brother, Tom. These were two tough and remarkably energetic people. There was no quit in either one of them. As well, I was using the knapsack and hiking poles that Tom gave to me before he died.

At the 25 km mark, I could feel myself overheating. Luckily and mercifully, this was the exact spot where a few family and friends had agreed to meet me to join me for the last 10km. I phoned them and asked them to bring a cold wet towel, a bag of ice, more Gatorade and water. My brothers took considerable pleasure pouring ice cold water down my neck, head and in my face! Brotherly love never felt so good!

The final lap we turned and went into The Landing. The shade and absence of traffic was amazing and oh so welcome. Near the end of The Landing, I was met by two of my sisters and my niece who greeted me with balloons.

I wasn’t feeling too chipper when the walk ended. Despite my best efforts to stay hydrated, I believe my sodium was low and my electrolytes needed a major boost. It was a bit disappointing that I couldn’t join the family for my birthday dinner at a local restaurant. Instead of steak and red wine, I drank some more Gatorade and ate salty chips. It didn’t take too long for me to feel better.

I lay on my bed and started to read the hundreds of birthday messages. It was quite overwhelming. There is no way that I could possibly answer all of them, so I am sending a huge collective THANK YOU to each and every one of you.

And yes, you guys came through big time. We were able to collect $3500 in donations to go to two worthy projects in my adopted village of Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my walking partner on Day 1. Brenda Gould, who owns Elm Gardens, put up with me for the long, excruciating first day of my walk. This had nothing to do with the length of the walk or the weather. Despite the fact that her runners literally disintegrated during the trek, she never uttered a complaint and tolerated my good-natured ribbing at having brought along the wrong footwear the morning of the walk. A year ago, she struggled to walk from one end of Main Street to the other. If anyone needs inspiration, look no further than Brenda. With hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Truly, I am a lucky man.

Have a great weekend.

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