Wednesday 7 February 2024

Knock Yourself Out

        In about 1975, my third year of teaching in a one-room school in an isolated lumber mill camp in the middle of British Columbia, the mill owner decided to do something to provide a bit of outdoor recreation for the kids and workers who lived in the camp.  They built an ice skating rink.    Building a rink was an appreciated gesture, since there was no TV or radio reception in the camp, and about all we could do for outdoor recreation was to bushwhack snowshoeing and cross-country skiing without any trails.

    One night my wife and I decided to walk over to the skating rink to get some exercise.  It was a very windy night and after a half an hour of normal skating I decided to get creative.  One of the popular winter toys for my students, at the time, was a “Crazy Carpet.” sled, which consisted of a heavy plastic sheet with hand grips on the front.   Like the name suggests, the kids would sit on top of it and pull up the grips so the Crazy Carpet curved up in front of their legs like a toboggan.  

        I noticed that there was a Crazy Carpet laying on the side of the rink so I grabbed it and tried to use it like a sail, letting the wind propel me across the ice.  At some point in my ice-sailing, I slipped and fell slamming my cheek against the ice.   I don’t know what happened next.

        I assume my wife took me home to the teacherage, because I have no memory of the event, but I woke up on our couch, and and kept asking what had happened, and my wife would repeatedly tell me, that I fell on the ice and hit my head.  I then would doze off, wake up again, and ask her the same question.  I kept doing this over and over.

    Needless to say, she was getting pretty concerned.  There were no doctors in the camp, or within 120 miles of the camp, and no roads out to drive to a doctor.   The only way out of camp would was to fly.   

         The next morning I taught school for a half a day, and then was able to get a seat and fly out on the company’s DC-3 which traveled the 370 miles back and forth to Williams Lake, twice a week.  Once in Williams Lake, I went to the hospital and got an X-ray.  The doctor told me just to take it easy for a few days.  We spent the weekend in Williams Lake then flew back to camp in -30°F temperatures on Monday morning.

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