Thursday 28 February 2019

How'd They Ever Make A Movie Out Of That?

    My brain doesn’t always fire on all four cylinders.  
    Today is the McBride Library’s Book Club gathering.  This month we were to read a book that was used as the basis for a 2018 movie.  I perused the list of 2018 films then went to the library’s Overdrive site to see if I could find any of the relevant books there that I could download.  I found “The Measure of a Man” by JJ Lee.  That I thought was the novel that a movie called “One Fat Summer” was based on.
    I downloaded the book and started reading.  After a while, I began to wonder to myself, “How in the world did they make a movie out of this,?” 
    The film producer must have used an incredible amount of artistic license in order to create a movie long enough and interesting enough to keep an audience in the theater seats for film based on this book.  The book just didn’t seem to me to be movie material.
      The book is a light-weight hodge-podge of family history, clothing history, and information about dress suit construction and style; not exactly my first choice in reading material. 
     JJ Lee is a Chinese Canadian who ends up with one of his dead father’s suits, which hangs in his closet. The suit becomes an obsession with JJ.   Although JJ has a degree in architecture, he instead dedicates his time to become an apprentice tailor working in a rather obscure Chinese tailor shop in Vancouver.  
      Thinking he has gained enough basic knowledge in tailoring, he begins to take his father’s old suit apart with the aim of re-designing and re-making it for himself.  This task of remaking his father’s suit, brings up memories of is drunken abusive father, who destroyed the family. 
    When I finally finished the book, I still wondered why anyone would make a movie out of it.  My curiosity led me to do more research about the whole book/movie thing.  
    I discovered that the movie, “One Fat Summer” was based not on the book “The Measure of A Man,” but on a novel called, “The Measure of Man.”
    I had spent weeks reading the wrong book.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Blue, Blue, Blue

    Our weather seems to be stuck.  We have been having day after day of clear, sunny, blue skies, and cold (-20C, -4F) nights.  The days are beautiful, feel mild, and even spring-like, as long as there is no wind.  It makes me want to be outside, but there isn’t much I can do out there because there is still about 2 feet (60 cm) of snow on the ground.  
    I can’t help but notice how blue everything is.  The sky is an intense hue of blue, the mountains are blue, and all the shadows on the snow are blue.     

Tuesday 26 February 2019

The Two Amelia's

    I recently blogged about the summer job I had mowing Evansville’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, while in elementary school.  As I pushed the lawn mower around the cemetery, I would entertain myself by reading the tombstones and thinking about what the people buried there were like.  One of the most thought provoking graves stones was that of Amelia C. Erhardt.  I didn’t know anything about her, but when my young brain first became aware of Amelia Earhart, the famous female aviator who mysteriously disappeared in the Pacific, I immediately flashed back to that tombstone I used to mow around, and wondered if I had solved the mystery.  The next time I mowed I discovered the difference in the spelling of the two names.
    Of course they were two different people, but the way their names were pronounced was the same, and they were contemporaries.  The aviator was born just 4 years later the one buried in the cemetery.  I wonder what is was like for the “cemetery Amelia” when all the publicity about the aviators exploded on the media.  I suspect a lot of her friends and acquaintances made jokes to her.
    All the time I was growing up I assumed I was the only person in the world with my name since  “Marchant” is not a real common name.  I didn’t even know of anyone else with that last name except for my grandparents.  All through my schooling and university, I never ran into anyone with the last name.  Of course the internet changed that and I now know there are lots of David Marchants out there.  I was further surprised when 20 or so years ago, a woman whose last name was Marchant moved to our Village of McBride.  What are the chances of that happening in an isolated little place with just 600 people. 

Monday 25 February 2019

Big Jade

    The photo above shows our friends Dave and Luyba proudly standing beside their enormous Jade plant (tree?).   It is the biggest  Jade plant I have ever seen.  The other day Dave went into the room to find it laying on the floor.  One side had grown so much it tipped the whole plant over. 
    Dave's thumb is exceptionally green, and he really knows how to make plants grow.  If you look closely you might be able to see some of the blooms on the Jade.
    Below is a shot of the trunks of the plant.  Some of the bigger ones are about 3.5 inches (9 cm) in diameter.  It’s getting so heavy Dave says if it ever falls over again, he will have to find some help to set it right again.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Seedy Saturday, 2019

    I spent the day yesterday inside the old Dunster School house, immersed in talk and discussions of soil, germination, planting, pruning, composting, and other garden related topics.  As always it was a very interesting, educational, and beneficial experience.
    What a shock it was after the gathering was over, to walk outside to the white wintery world that is still our reality.  There has still no visible signs of spring around here.  It has been weeks since the temperatures have risen above the freezing levels, and there is no sign it is supposed to in the seven day forecast.  This morning we woke up this morning to -26C (-15 F).

Saturday 23 February 2019

Tracks in the Ice

    The other day when we were doing our walk down an icy windblown road, we came across these animal tracks frozen in the ice.  In an earlier blog I had declared that I was not an expert in identifying animal tracks and I repeat that statement now.  I looked in my animal tracks reference book to help me out and I am concluding that maybe they are wolf tracks.  
    The toe pads are spread like a cougar, but the claws are visible like a wolf, so I am going for that.  The keys I put down to help scale the track.  The black key is 3.5 inches (9 cm), so the track would be about 4.5 inches (11 cm) long.
    I thought it was unusual the way the tracks were presented; in ice with a snow fill.  We could see the tracks just about the whole length of the short section of road.

Friday 22 February 2019

Kite Skiing

    When we go for our afternoon walk, we sometimes see something totally unexpected.  That was the case yesterday when we walked down Horseshoe Lake Road.  Over in an adjacent field one of the local teens was kite skiing.  He was using a paraglider-type kite and the wind to propel him across the field.  
    The wind wasn’t very constant yesterday, so several times the kite collapsed onto the snow when the gusts stopped, but it looked like he had a lot of good runs.  I don’t know how popular this form of recreation is, but we would sometimes see the late Ben Blixrud doing this, along with kite sledding on the ice, kite skateboarding on the airfield tarmac, and other forms of wind-propelled navigation for fun.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Website Woes

    I knew that eventually this problem would happen.  I am talking about my website software.  I don’t even remember when it was that I began my website, but it was way before 2011, when I began my daily blog.  Whenever it was, over the years the site has built up more than 2,700 pages, mostly blogs.  During all that time I have been using Apple’s iWeb software to create my website and daily blogs.
    Some time ago, Apple announced that it would no longer support iWeb.  That was when the fear inside me began to grow.  Luckily, since then, as Apple kept updating its operating systems, iWeb kept working for me, but I knew sooner or later I would run into trouble.  I stopped updating my operating system when I got a warning that iWeb would not work on newer updates, hoping to delay the problem.
    Then I was informed that my web host had been taken over by another outfit and that they would be my new host and my website would be moved by them.  Somehow a problem occurred on my website, and in my efforts to solve it, I hit a button on iWeb that would re-post the entire massive website.  Trying to upload everything seems to have caused a problem in iWeb that crashes every time I try to post a new blog, so people trying to get to my blog get an error message.  There is nothing I can do from stopping iWeb from uploading my whole site, each time I just want to upload a blog, and each time it crashes.
    My blog can still be read on but since I can’t update my website, I have no way of telling people about my alternate blog site.  
    Its been a very frustrating week trying to deal with the problem, I have pretty much tried everything I can think of to get my blog up on my website, and  I am at the point now that I think all I can do is re-create my whole website using another program--what a bummer.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

What'cha Doing in There?

    In previous blogs I have mentioned how the hungry deer have been hanging around the house this winter, well yesterday an example presented itself as my wife was in the living room sewing a quilt square.  The young deer was very curious about what was going on inside the house and was looking in the window.

Monday 18 February 2019

Mowing the Cemetery

    During the summer vacation after the fifth grade, I got my first job as a “contractor”.  I took on the job of mowing Oak Ridge, the local cemetery for $3 a mow.  At the time our family lived just one house away, so whenever the cemetery needed mowing, I would push our lawn mower along the side of the road, carrying a can of gasoline over to the cemetery. When I was lucky the mower would start after the first couple of pulls on the rope, and I would begin mowing.  I think it took me about an hour and a half to complete the job.
    To keep my mind active as I mowed, I would often look down at the tombstones and wonder about the lives of the people whose names were carved in the stones.  Over beside the wooded area in the front southern side of the cemetery I would find the oldest graves.  I was amazed to see that some of those people where born in the 1700’s.  Many of those tombstones where so weathered, lichen-covered, cracked, and partially buried, that I could no longer read the information carved on them.
    In those days the cemetery was bordered on two sides by a dark oak and maple forest.  Which gave it a peaceful feel.  Unfortunately the forest was logged and it is not as attractive as it once was.
    Whenever I think back of those days of my youth, I remember pushing that lawnmower around the tombstones, getting as close as I could so I wouldn’t have to trim the weeds, in hopes of finishing the job quickly, during those hot humid summer days with the sweat dripping down my face.  I also think how rich I felt each time I was handed that $3 after completing the job.  I think the mower gets $75 a mow these days.
    Throughout my life I have always had the knack of remembering jokes and humorous events.  When I returned to school after that first summer of mowing, Mr. Mohr, our new sixth grade teacher, went around the classroom asking each of his students what they did over the summer.  When he asked me, I replied that I got a job and mowed a cemetery.  
    I was left speechless when Mr. Mohr quipped, “Wow, you worked with a lot of people under you.”

Saturday 16 February 2019

My Never Ending Trailer Saga

    Back in September Costco had an online deal on utility trailers. They were selling at a reduced price, but the thing that really hooked me was the fact that there was free delivery to my door.  (This was an amazing thing for someone who lived so far away from any big city.)  I ordered it, and when it came I assembled it.  The next thing I had to do was license it.  I had no idea what a hassle that would become.
    I took all the information I figured I needed down to the Village Office to get a license, and they sent me back home to get additional information (the form from the Chinese manufacturer), I brought that in to them, then they needed the VIN number on the trailer, so I again I left the office with no license.  This back and forth happened about five times, until they finally able to get a license.  I was much relieved, assuming that all those problems were behind me--I was wrong.
    In January, I got a letter which included a form that the office had failed to have me sign.  I signed it and mailed it in.  Okay, I thought NOW its all over--I was wrong again.
    Last week I got a letter from ICBC (British Columbia’s licensing authority)  They said that they needed the receipt for my purchase of the trailer.  I went back to the Village Office to get some clarification.  Yes, they said ICBC required the signed receipt.  I explained again, that I bought it online and didn’t have a signed receipt.  They said bring in the email receipt I had received.
    This created a problem because I get an email sale ad or two from Costco every day, and after they pile up in my mailbox and I delete en masse when they pile up .  I was sure that receipt was among the Costco emails I had deleted-- this time I was right.
    I went to my Costco online account, and was able to download the order form showing that I had bought the trailer, paid for the trailer, and it had been delivered.  With that printed piece of paper in hand I went back to the Village Office and gave it to them.  
    To my dismay, that wasn’t good enough.  Even though it had all the information that a receipt would have, it wasn’t a signed receipt, and it didn’t have the VIN number or the signature of the person selling me the trailer.  Discouraged and beaten, I went back home.
    I contacted Costco, and they re-emailed me the original receipt.  It also didn’t have the VIN number or a signature of the seller.  Nevertheless, I forwarded that to the Village Office.  The next day they asked me to send them a photo of the VIN number on the trailer.  (This had previously been done way back in October, but I sent them another copy.)  Even though that email receipt (like all email receipts) didn’t have the signature of the seller or the VIN, the Village Office was going to try to make it work with the bureaucrats at ICBC.  
    I can’t help but shake my head in hopes of bringing it back to life, after all this ridiculous BS.  I find it hard to believe that I was the only person in BC to ever buy a trailer from Costco.  Obviously ICBC is way behind the times as far as online shopping, and it sorely needs to update its rules.
    Look at my paintings:

Friday 15 February 2019

Commonality in my Paintings

       I paint each day and when I am done, I put the painting on an easel that is sitting at the top of the stairs.  I like to look up at the painting as I walk past down below, and as I climb the steps, to analyze it. 
      The other day when I glanced up at the painting, I also noticed the older painting that was hanging on the wall behind it.  Looking at both of them together, it struck me how similar they were to each other.  That made me think about how there is a commonality that runs through a lot of my paintings.
     I have painted a lot of different images, and so they don't all have the same traits, but certainly most of them are about light falling on plants, highlighting them against a darker background.  And I seem to really like the yellow-green color.
     I am not alone in liking the same sort of things over and over.  People often know who painted a picture before they see the signature, because of the similarity to their other works.  Musicians also tend to use the same chords or certain melody segments in their music.  
     I guess that everyone is sort of "hard-wired" to those things that they like and project them over and over.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett

    Our cold weather has had me doing a lot of reading.  Follett’s Place Called Freedom was an enjoyable escape during all of those hours spent in the house.  I read it as an ebook and the book was a lot better than it’s boring cover that you see above.  Here is my review:

     Mack McAsh, was a young coal miner who dreamed of living free.  In Scotland during the 1700’s, the sons of coal miners became at birth, subjects of the mine owner, and if they worked in the mine a year and a day after their twenty-first birthday, they could never leave to do anything else. This seemed unfair to Mack, whose mother had taught him to read and write, and prompted him to write a letter to a progressive lawyer in London. 
        The reply he got confirmed that the practice was against the law and Mack went public; reading the letter out in church, which forever turned the wealthy mine owners against him.  The two sons of the owner both had their eyes on, and sought to wed the lovely Lizzie, the curious and rebellious daughter of a poor, but land owning widow. 
        When Lizzie confronted Mac after church about upsetting the church service, he rebuked her by saying she didn’t know what she was talking about, because she had never been down in a mine to see the horrible and deadly working conditions.  This accusation led her to dress like a man and get one of the owner’s sons to take her down into a mine.  
       She was naturally appalled at the horrid and dangerous working conditions, and just her luck, there was a mine explosion when she was down there.  Mack, though injured, ended up saving her and some other miners in the disaster. This led Lizzie to change her opinion of Mack, who had just completed his year in the mine, had to leave or be forever a mine slave, so he told the owner’s son he was quitting.
       He managed to escape after being tortured by the owners who were trying to prevent his departure. Mack eventually made his way to the chaotic streets of London, where he struggled to make money.   However, his life was to be forever destined to be entwined with both the powerful and mean mine owners, and the lovely and spirited Lizzie.  He ends up being framed for a crime by the mine owner’s son, and transported as a convict-slave to South Carolina.
       There he again struggles to free himself from the grip of the powerful mining family (and into the arms of the rebellious Lizzie who has married one of the mining family sons).  It is they who have become his masters, as plantation owners. 
       A Place Called Freedom is an adventure story, with lots of action. The narrative moves quickly and was nice escape on a winter’s day. 

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Wednesday 13 February 2019

Window of Ice and Snow

    Yesterday I had a “luncheon” meeting at the local Kilin Chinese restaurant.  The restaurant has a panoramic curved glass window in the front and all our cold weather has caused ice and snow to form on the glass, giving it an ice-house feel.  There are icicles on lower glass, and above the ice you can see dark areas that look like they could be mountains, but they are snow that built up on the ice.  Bluish mountains can be seen peeking through, above the dark gray snow buildup.  

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Tuesday 12 February 2019

Ripples in the Snow

    Despite the really cold nights, during the day it has been quite pleasant outside.  The sun was blasting down from the blue sky and there was no wind, so after more than a week of hibernation we decided to go out for a walk down Jervis Road.  As we walked I noticed the ripples carved in the snow by the wind.

You can see my paintings at:

Monday 11 February 2019

Guitar Case/Cat Bed

    A couple of days ago my wife was at her “Quilting Weekend” and so I was left alone to my own devices.  I decided that the devices I was going to get up to were my electric guitar and amplifier.  I played some rock and roll and when I was done, I just left the guitar against the sofa, since I figured I would probably do it again on the following day. As a result I left the electric guitar case open on the table.
    At night when I was in bed, reading before I went to sleep, I heard some shuffling noises and looked up and discovered that our cat Lucifer, was making herself comfortable in the fuzzy black insides of my electric guitar case.  Here she is.

You can see my paintings at:

Sunday 10 February 2019

It's Too Damn Cold

    Above you can see our thermometer:  -36C (-33F) and inside our house it was 14C (57F).  I guess I am getting soft in my old age, because it feels way too cold outside.  My wife is attending one of her quilting weekends, and I had to drive her into McBride this morning.  We stopped at the grocery store to pick up some supplies, and I couldn’t help but notice that all of the big glass windows in the front of the store were frosted up.  Below is a photo.

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Saturday 9 February 2019

And Good Morning to You Too

    Our frigid temperatures continue; -33C (-27F) this morning.  
    I was surprised when I went outside this morning to feed the birds.  When I stepped off of the carport there was a mule deer waiting for me, standing beside the peanut butter bird feeder.  Normally I don’t see deer until later in the day, but I guess they are hungry and know that my bird feeders and compost pile are a regular source of food.
    Its a real dilemma.  I don’t want to feed the deer because it makes pests of them, but at the same time I know conditions are harsh for them this time of year and they are just doing what they can to stay alive.  So I continue to daily feed the birds and compost pile and let them do what they will.

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Friday 8 February 2019

Dentist Cartoon

    I couldn’t think of anything to blog about today so I thought I would dig out one of my old cartoons.

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Thursday 7 February 2019

Yankee Doodle Dandy Mystery Solved

    Every since I first heard the American Revolutionary War song “Yankee Doodle Dandy”  as young child, I was confused about the lyrics.
    Stuck a feather in his hat and called it ‘Macaroni’”---Macaroni?  that made no sense to me at all.  
    No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t make the connection in my mind, between a feather in the hat and pasta.  I lived with that bewilderment for 65 years.  
    Well, the other day I read something that finally made those “Yankee Doodle Dandy” lyrics make sense.  I was reading a book called “The Measure of a Man”.  It was a book I really wasn’t very excited about, because it dealt with a lot of things that didn’t really interest me, ie dress suits, tailoring, fashion, etc., but I was reading it for our book club at the library, so a persisted.  
    Anyway, the book presented a lot of the history of clothes making, and it seems that back in the 1700’s when young men in England were sent to Europe for a “Grand Tour” as part of their education,  the young men who came back from Italy raved about eating macaroni and even formed a club called the Macaroni Club.  Members of the club of were often dandies, “dressed to the nines” in high fashion, with tall powdered wigs.  They were often referred to as “Macaronis”.
    When the British soldiers were sent to the Americas to fight the revolutionaries, they sang this song which poked fun at the Americans, who they saw as so dumb that they thought that sticking a feather in their hats made them think they were Macaronis.  The Americans didn’t really get the joke and made the song popular among themselves.
    There you go, if you too wondered about the song’s lyrics, at least now you have an explanation.

You can see my photo-realistic paintings at:

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Enough Already

    I hate this really cold weather (-34C, -29F) this morning.  Every day I anxiously look at the weather forecast hoping to see that the cold spell will break and things will get back to normal.  
    “Okay, we just have to get through the night then tomorrow night will be warmer,” I tell myself, then the next day looking at the forecast, I get the ugly surprise that no, the cold temperatures are going to be sticking around for another day.  This happened several times over the last few days.  Again today, the forecast shows a “warming” trend, hopefully this time it will come to fruition.
    It’s not that we are really suffering. We have down coats, felt-pack boots, toasty gloves, and can plug in the block heater in the car to warm the engine.  Fortunately, when it gets this cold it is a “dry cold” which doesn’t go through you like a damp cold.  Another big plus is that when the temperature dips this low, there is no wind, so it is very still, and that really makes a big difference.
    Luckily, there isn’t much I need to do outside, just feed the birds, bring in firewood, and take out scraps to the compose pile, so I spend my time inside, reading books, watching the news on TV, playing the guitar, until it is time to eat a meal, after which I start those activities all over again.

Visit to see my paintings.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Compost Visitor

    This morning the temperature was -35C (-31F), way too cold for my liking.
    A couple of afternoons ago I decided I should take the garbage out to the compost pile while it was light and relatively mild.  I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, I had my eyes peeled to my feet as I was navigating my way through the deep snow.  When I did happen to glance up to my surprise I discovered that fifteen feet (4 meters) in front of me stood a mule deer, also heading for the compost pile.  
    As it stood there like a statue, I just slowly continued onward.  I proceeded to dump the scrap veggies onto the snow covered pile and then decided to just walk over to the greenhouse and stand to see if the deer would brave coming over to the compost with me standing just 10 feet (3 meters) away.  The deer was eager for the food so it slowly and warily approached the pile and began to eat.  I slowly raised my camera and took the photo.
    I always wonder about the wildlife when the winter conditions are so harsh.  The snow is 2 feet deep with some hard icy layers, which limits the availability of food, and the weather has been abnormally cold.  It’s amazing how tough animals have to be to get through the winter.

You can view my paintings at:

Monday 4 February 2019

Paying For Our Mild Winter Start

    Brrrr, winter’s nastiness has hit the Robson Valley.  All of the smugness we were experiencing at having really mild winter temperatures have disappeared with the blast of arctic air that has fallen over us.  This morning when we ripped ourselves out of a warm bed, the outside temperature was -32C (-25F), and the inside temperature was 15C (59F) so I had to quickly stir up the glowing coals in the wood stove to get producing heat again.
    Today’s forecasted “High” temperature is supposed to be -20C (-4F), normal high for the day is supposed to be -3C (26F) with the normal low at -13C (8F).  
    All of these temperatures are actual, not the “Wind Chill” temperatures, which seem to have taken over the media to make things sound more dramatic.
    While it’s cold enough now, when we first moved to McBride we used to get -40 (the same in both C. and F) every winter.  Its been decades since we have gotten that cold.  When it did get that cold, it seemed that everything seemed to break or go wrong.  The car wouldn’t start, our water would freeze, at work (when I was working in a mill), the machines broke and we were told to go home.
    Those times are still so deeply ingrained in my memory that even today when we get a cold spell like this, I feel very apprehensive and uneasy.

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Sunday 3 February 2019

Catching Up On Snowfall

    It was a bit worrying, after not having a white Christmas here in the Interior of British Columbia, that we were not going to get our allotted amount of snow this winter.  However, things have slowly returned to normal.  We usually have around 24 inches (60cm) of snow on the ground by this time and as you can see from the measure stuck in the snow, we are just about there.  
    This is all very unscientific.  I try to measure in the same spot, but that is just guesswork, and in past winters I have measured the snow weeks later, and measured amount is a more, but I think we are on the usual track.
    Along with the snow we have started to get some colder temperatures.  This morning it was -26C (-15F), so I have been feeding my wood stove with lots of birch firewood.

You can see my paintings at:

Saturday 2 February 2019

Really Throwing the Snow

    Winter has returned and as a result I had to crank-up my snowblower yesterday to clear the driveway.  The deflector on the top of the chute where the snow shoots out of the snowblower was frozen in its upper most position and so the snow was being shot high into the air.  Still, I was surprised later when I noticed the snow plastered way up on the second level of the barn.  My snowblower was really throwing the snow.

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Friday 1 February 2019

The Yellowhead Loppet, Conclusion

 Continued from yesterday’s blog:

       Surely now, my troubles were over. I rounded a corner and discovered to my dismay, that the trail headed straight up the base of Bell Mountain. This was the steepest incline I had ever  encountered in my short skiing career, but I didn't panic.    Everyone else, even the Jackrabbits, had evidently made it up the slope, so I tried to think good thoughts, and I began the climb.
           It was extremely difficult to achieve any gain in elevation without loosing it in a back slide. The slope seemed to be too much to cope with for the little grooves on the bottom of my "No Wax" skis, which gave up their grip each time I tried to advanced a ski forward. I knew how to herringbone up a slope, but there was no evidence that anyone else had used the technique to climb the hill, so dammit, neither was I.
         Instead, I developed my own climbing technique, I call it the " pull and prop" method. Here's how it works: you advance one ski forward, then using that side’s pole as a prop, you pull that side of your body forward until your weight is over that ski, while at the same time your other arm uses every remaining ounce of strength to brace against a back- slide with the other pole. 
          I successfully pulled and propped my way halfway up the slope, then I was forced by exhaustion to stop to allow my arms and shoulders to recover. Unfortunately, it only took a second of relaxation of my prop arm, for the pull of gravity to send me rocketing backwards down the slope, until one of the back ends of my skis dug into the snow, causing me to somersault backwards, which continued until I finally came to rest in a tangled pile at the bottom of the hill.
        I had to take off my skis to get back into the standing position again.  I brushed the snow from my clothes with my toque, snapped the skis back on, and herring-boned up the hill. I was beginning to seriously question the sales pitch I had been given about "No Wax" skis.
         The trail leveled out at the top of the hill and the vegetation changed from  brush to a dark cedar and spruce forest. I plodded along and for the first time during the race I was enjoying the scenery. Several times the trail forked, there was no signs or persons to give me direction, so I just chose what appeared to be the most travelled fork and proceeded through the forest. It seemed I was alone in the universe, but I was happy to have the solitude and quiet.

         After a brief period of pleasant skiing, the snow on the trail started to become more and more icy. Then the ski trail suddenly took an abrupt turn to the left and plunged steeply, straight down the hill, sharply veering to the left when it confronted a large cedar. This didn't look good, but, there was no way I was going to go back the way I came, so my only option was to go down this slope.
My brain, in an obvious attempt to save itself, sorted through all its past information and came up with a plausible solution to how I could get down the hill-- Snowplow! 
        I had read in the "How to Cross Country Ski" booklet about how you could slow and control your speed going down hill by spreading your legs apart, putting the points of the skis together, riding on the inside edges of your skis, thus pushing snow in front of you instead of gliding over the top of it. I would just snowplow down this hill. Full of confidence, I pushed myself over the edge. 
  It took about a nanosecond for me to reach the speed at which I decided I'd better start to move my skis into the snowplow position. As I careened down the  slope, I watched in fascination as my legs parted and the tips of my skis slowly and carefully moved together, while skating over the ever accelerating ice which was moving, ever faster, under them.
I raised up onto the inside edges of the skis, but because of the icy track, I was plowing no snow. I was moving more and more rapidly down the hard packed slope toward the grandfather of all cedar trees.
         It seemed an unjust world that offered such an ignoble end to one who was willing to sacrifice a Sunday for his community and the Adult Male Category.  I decided rather than take the cedar tree with me INTO THE VOID, I would veer off to the side of the trail and sacrifice only myself, but before I had a chance to determine my own fate, the back edge of my ski caught up in a downed branch anchored in the snow, and for the second time during the race I was somersaulting down a hill, although this time I was going forward.
         My speed was slowed by brush and deeper snow along the edge of the trail and I came to a twisted stop just to the right of the mighty cedar. I remained in my sprawled position for a moment, amazed at the physics of rolling down a hill at great speed with a 2 metre ski attached to each foot and a bamboo pole flailing wildly from each hand. It seemed a miracle that I was unhurt.
        Not wanting to push fate too far, I took off my skis and walked down the rest of the hill to the flats. I put the skis back on and shuffled down to where the trail leveled off and snaked through another stand of willows and alder. The trail made a left turn and I could see through the brush that I was about to enter the field again for the final leg before the finish line.
        Upon entering the field, I my spirits were lifted when I realized that the crowd of onlookers had vanished. Good, I thought, I can just quietly ski across the field, and finish the race without drawing attention to myself. With a bit more confidence, I made the turn and started across the open field.
        "There he is", someone shouted. Then a small crowd of people I hadn't noticed all turned their eyes toward me. Some kid from the crowd began to ski toward me.
        "We were just getting ready to send a search party out to find you. What happened? Did you get lost?" he asked.
        "No," I replied, "I was just taking my time and enjoying the scenery.
        "The timekeeper and most everyone else has already gone home," the kid volunteered. 
"That's okay, I said, "I was just skiing for the fun of it.”
        The small group of people politely clapped for me as I passed over the finish line thus ending my first and last ski race. 

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