I was married and had a couple of kids before I came to the amazing realization that not everyone sat glued to their television screen every Saturday night watching Hockey Night in Canada.
I grew up being fed a steady diet of the Original Six. Dessert was, of course, Foster Hewitt and the Saturday night hockey game. And as winter moaned and groaned and the wind whipped up piles of white fury against the walls on those long ago Saturday nights, me and my brothers and my dad sat snug and warm in our little old house with the magic of our little old TV.
What? No Saturday night hockey game? Unthinkable.
However, when I left childhood and innocence behind and the little black and white TV got relegated to an antique store somewhere, I learned not everyone invited hockey night in Canada into their living room every Saturday night.
The NHL lockout means today’s addicted hockey fans won’t get their fix, but in reality, lots of people out there don’t really care.
For them, they have other issues that spell anger and disillusionment.
Health care. Job security. Sickness.
I pondered these questions the other day as I sat behind my steering wheel looking out my cracked windshield at a day that was deceptively beautiful.
How can this perfect kaleidoscope of brilliance exist when there is so much wrong with the world I ponder. I arrived at my daughter’s house feeling disillusioned and sad and very, very old.
He met me at the door. My grandson, the one with hair the color of burnished wheat and eyes so blue they rival the sky.
“Run to the top of the hill with me, grandma,” he said as a greeting.
“What?” I replied, thinking, but not saying, “I’m old, tired and disillusioned. I can’t do that.”
He looked at me and grinned and I knew that he knew, no matter how old, tired and disillusioned I felt, I would never say no to him. He knew it and I knew it so away we went across the street to the hill.
And, as fall, with all its glory swirled around us, I kicked off my shoes and my inhibitions simultaneously and ran.
I was pleased with myself that I made it to the top without huffing and puffing too much, but my self congratulations were cut short because of this earnest little voice that said, “you have three choices now grandma, you can run down, I can roll down and you can chase me, or we can both roll down.”
“What?” I said, breathing hard, but once again I complied. “Let’s roll,” I said.
And so we did.
And as I rolled the sky and the leaves and the bright sunny day got all mixed up and the faster I rolled the more mixed up they became. And, the more I rolled, and the more mixed up everything got, the more I laughed.
When I started to roll down that hill, I was feeling tired, stressed and very, very old.
When I got to the bottom, I had dissolved into a helpless fit of giggles.
And, nothing had changed. There still is a lockout.
Sylvan Lake still has no urgent care. Politicians still lie. Disease and sickness do not go away no matter how many walks people go on.
But, thanks to a little boy with hair the color of burnished wheat and a smile that outshines the sun, I learned to remember what I had momentarily forgotten: the joy, the absolute joy of ‘just playing.’ And that, despite amazing scientific discoveries regarding health care, laughter truly is the best medicine of all.
And, for that, I am, and always will be, immensely grateful.