Sometimes in life, you've just got to stop and take a good look at where you've been and where things currently stand.
A couple of years ago, my old film school pal Jesse wrote a post on Facebook that described what a typical day for him may have been like at a younger age. It was something like a 'day in the life' piece, just a glimpse of what his life may have been like on any random day while he was growing up.
I was inspired, and so I wrote my own piece. I wrote about being 10 years old on a balmy Friday afternoon in the early spring of 1996. School had just let out for the week in Conquest, a school that wasn't closed down just yet by the school division, and I described piling into the family minivan with my brothers before our dad took us to Outlook for movies and snacks. Mom and Dad would host a card night with the adults upstairs, and my brothers and I would watch movies and pig out on junk food downstairs. It was a Friday night in small town Saskatchewan.
I included that piece in an earlier column, I think it was about two years ago. I have to say, I enjoyed writing that particular piece. It was a look back at a very specific time in my life, taking part in some very specific activities that I enjoyed with my brothers. Now, a couple of years later, what I'd like to do now is advance further down the age line. That was me and my life on a day in 1996 when I was 10 years old. What were things like if we went forward a few more years? What are things like even NOW in the current climate I find myself in today? I say let's explore!
Now then, I'll just dig out my sands of the hourglass...
The year is 2002. You're 16 years old. You finally got your driver's license that spring and you've been tearing it up in the couple of months since you got your hands on that official, government-issued piece of paper that says you can legally drive without Mom or Dad beside you. It's a late Saturday afternoon in June. It's really warm out, but you don't mind because you know the truly hot temperatures are coming after Canada Day. You're arriving out at the barn just north of Conquest with jugs of cold water for the horses. Do they see the truck? Oh, there's the answer right there as three beautiful animals come barreling out of the field to greet you.
You back the truck up, undo the fence, unload the water and begin pouring it, big blue jug by big blue jug into the old green bathtub that serves as the trough. The horses walk up to the tub and start drinking as it's still being filled. Evidently, these three are thirsty today. You're done your work, but what's the big hurry? You sit on the end gate of the truck and just watch the horses as they drink away. You decide to spoil them with a few handfuls of oats and some sugar cubes.
You head back into town and go home to get ready for that evening's plans. After a shower and all the teenage "need to look juuuust right" moves are executed, you discuss things out at the barn with Dad. He doesn't let you leave the room without making you accept a twenty-dollar bill, despite the fact that he paid you already less than 24 hours earlier. Dad's reasoning, if we can call it that, is simple - 'You're going out, and you never know what can happen, so you got it if you need it.' You don't think you're going to get lost in the woods or come across any evil-doers that night, but you accept it because that's Dad for ya - always looking out for everyone else. I swear, the guy could be down to his last dollar and if someone else came calling and said that all they needed was a dollar, Jack would let it go. The man's an angel.
You go and gas up Brown Betty down at Sibbald Motors before taking off for Outlook. You go and meet up with the guys at the Modern for supper. It's smorg time, fellas! You all fill up your plates and devour that great food, especially those ribs. It isn't long before the five of you have put together a stack of spent plates. Upon, well, waddling out of the cafe, you all hop in Kyle's dad's truck and go cruising. Nice night, the sun's starting to say goodbye for the evening. You and the gang arrive at Mitch's and the evening's itinerary is set: darts, pool, and good tunes. As you listen to all the great tunes that 2002 had to offer, you talk amongst each other about things in your life, things you want to do when you get older. Hey, truth is you're all getting older, so it's only natural to be curious about what the next steps are in this crazy world. Graduation is only two short years away and after that, life is one colossal question mark.
But that's something to worry about later. On this night, with these guys and in this setting, life is good.
That was my life when I was 16 going on 17 that summer of '02. I remember those nights vividly. They were good times, and they provided moments in my life where I could almost feel the page turning as I approached this wild and crazy thing called adulthood.
Now, what happens when I apply the same kind of storytelling to my current life? Let's see and then we'll both know...
It's September 2021. You're 36 years old. The summer has just left us, but the heat still remains. Full disclosure: it was a rough couple of months. Mom sadly passed away back in March, but for whatever reason, the full impact of that loss didn't hit you until the late summer and when it did, it hit you H-A-R-D. The grief had impeccable timing too, because you had just started your annual two-week summer holiday from the office. You went and did some things, did some traveling here and there, and did it all with your brother Brendon, but deep down you know you weren't feeling any of it. You smiled and pretended through a lot of it.
You're better now, though. You're processing and you're accepting it. Work's going good. It seems to be quite busy now that school's back and the summer's over for everyone. There's always a story or two to tell in Outlook, that's for sure. It's a Friday afternoon, which means there's football to go and cover at the high school. You grab your camera and notepad and head over there, where there's an impressive-looking crowd. After the game's over, you stop in at the Modern and pick up some Chinese food for supper that night. Brendon's at home, waiting. There's a weekend to be had. We'll enjoy it and find something to do together. We've become so close these last few months, and for that, I'm grateful.
Life is okay. And that's okay for now.
Well, we can easily see how things change over time. Hey, that's life for you. You take things as they come, whether it's good, bad or ugly.
These days, I'm just taking things day by day.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.