We live in what many would call a small town here in Outlook, surrounded by smaller communities that dot the local landscape.
But that doesn't mean that the calendar can't be filled right to the brim with events happening all at once inside the riverside community.
Such was the case last Saturday night, October 28.
On this particular evening, three events were being held at the exact same time in Outlook. First up was the Small Steps Early Learning Centre's annual Halloween party fundraiser, which was held at the Civic Centre. Next up, pausing the costumed celebrations were some local sports at the Jim Kook Rec Plex, with the new Under-22 girls hockey team, the Outlook Mainline Ice Hawks, hosting their season's home opener. Thirdly and lastly, and once again diving into the chamber of horrors, there was to be a Halloween rock concert at the Outlook bar, featuring two bands fronted by some supremely talented women.
For weeks, I'd been looking at this schedule and wondering to myself just how I would pull off covering all of them. After all, although I'm a large grizzly bear-esque type of man, there is still only one of me, and I can't be in three places at once.
But, perhaps miraculously, it got done. I think a little bit of lady luck was on my side as far as timing was concerned with some of the events at each of these stops, and I was able to take advantage.
The daycare event was fun at the Civic Centre, with the building being what I can only describe as "ghouled to the gills" with decorations and Halloween garb. It's not often that I go to a local event and see the likes of Michael Myers or Super Mario, so that's always cool. The entertainment that they had onstage was an act that I've seen before at a newspaper convention awards dinner up in Saskatoon back in 2015, and it seems to be that these twins who perform the comedy magic show known as Double Vision operate by the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto. People had fun, and that's really what matters in the end.
It was great to see that the hometown Ice Hawks won their home opener in front of the Outlook crowd. I know their first game of the season played elsewhere didn't end the way they hoped it would, with a 4-0 loss, but luckily, the Outlook girls came back in this game managed to best the squad from Kindersley at a close score of 4-3. Nicely done, ladies. The ceremonial puck drop from Samantha Ridgewell, a well-known hockey player from the area, was a nice touch that might have set the tone for the rest of the season. Here's to a great season ahead.
And the Halloween bash at the bar? Well, what can I say? Outlook's own Bad Influence killed it onstage, and the opening band known as Psycho Love was very impressive. It has to be said; gorgeous ladies make for awesome lead singers in rock bands. But what's more - and this is key, folks - is that if those ladies also have the singing chops, then it takes your group even higher and adds a whole other layer of legitimacy. I've seen groups come and go, and I've seen groups fronted by ladies lean heavily or almost exclusively on the "Hey, we're fronted by a hot chick, check us out!" vibe, and that really doesn't last long. But Psycho Love certainly has something, and of course, Bad Influence DEFINITELY has something, so I think we can check that these groups are going to be just fine going forward in the future.
What I found most interesting from all three events was the fact that there were big turnouts at all of them. Apparently, the sometimes-sleepy town of Outlook was the place to be on this night.
But it was also a night that reminded me of something.
I've been doing what I do for a very long time, and depending on who you ask, they might even say too long, but the night of October 28, 2023 in the riverside community of Outlook, Saskatchewan was a harsh reminder that there can be a wall of sorts between me and the amazing people of this community. I won't say that it's anyone's fault because there's no fault to go around. That's just the way it is sometimes. I was looking at my schedule, I knew I had to be at three separate events going on in the same town on the same night, and I decided that I had to be "on" in order to successfully make it to all three events. I was in work mode, and I couldn't stop and smell the proverbial roses without getting my notes and snapping my photos.
It was one of those nights that reminded me that while people have always been understanding that I have a role to fill and a job to do on nights like this, some of those people also wish that I could just sit down, have a few drinks with them, and unwind with everyone else. Looking around at the Civic Centre, even turning down a request to join a table with my friend Ty because I had to be "on", and then looking around at the bar at friends who were dressed up and having a great time, I couldn't help but really feel that invisible wall that goes up. I sometimes wonder if people would even believe me if I told them that I wish I could join them in having fun, but that's the road I chose in this life; the roving reporter, snapping photos left and right before he whisks away to another event, or in the case of this particular night, two of them.
People had a blast at the daycare bash, the hockey game, and the bar concert, and that's awesome. Life's short and it's all too unpredictable, so you have to enjoy those good nights all you can, especially these days.
But on the other side of the fence, it was a night that really gave me something to talk about in my upcoming book.
I hope you'll stay tuned.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.