Just Rambling - The Adventurer

By Gipp Forster


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APRIL 2007 EDITION OF SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VICTORIA BC

I have always been an adventurous kind of guy!

When I was three years old, I rocked my crib to the top of a flight of stairs and, without hesitation, went over the edge. I broke my collarbone.

When I was about five, I ventured into the pen of a Boston bulldog after I was told not to. The dog bit me in the leg and I had to be taken to the hospital, but was back within the hour.

When no one was looking, I went back into the pen and the dog bit me again - right over the bandage of the first bite. On the return trip to the hospital, I heard my uncle say to his friend, "How stupid can you be?" My uncle didn't understand bravery or the heart of an adventurer.

On my first date when I was 14, I was brazen enough to try to steal a kiss in a dark movie theatre. My date, however, didn't know my moves and wasn't ready. I bumped her eye with my front teeth, and she never talked to me again. It was then I decided that romance wasn't all it was cracked up to be!

Now that I am older (but never old), I find that same spirit of adventure remains with me. Three times in the past year, I've stayed up 'til after midnight. I go to Safeway without my walker. I venture to the Mayfair Mall alone. And it only takes me two or three hours to find the exit where I parked my car. I tuned into a rock and roll radio station on my car radio for almost five minutes recently, and I even chewed gum!

My adventures are too numerous to name. My wife admires my spirit, I know, even though she goes to great pains to hide it.

I heard her say to someone on the phone the other day, "I don't know what he's going to get into next! It's beginning to frighten me." That just shows how dangerous my adventures can be. I smiled at her and gently said, "Don't worry!" She, in turn, suggested I take a nap. Then asked how long it had been since I had a check-up. She's always thinking about me. But when adventure calls - no matter my age - I must bravely answer. It's the code of the brave and the true.

As a younger man, adventure led me to different parts of Canada, the United States, Australia and New Guinea. I travelled with a carney and worked in pulp mills. I even stayed overnight in Duncan! If the truth were known, I went to the store for a quart of milk and a loaf of bread and lost my direction.

I wandered the earth searching for my way back home. I guess I could be called a "reluctant adventurer."

When I was in Australia, I signed a contract with the Collier Watson Coffee Plantation in New Guinea. They were in need of an accountant. It wasn't very honest on my part. I almost have to remove my shoes and socks to count to 20. But it sure was adventurous! That combined with being kicked out of New Guinea. I eventually ran off, left the plantation, and got a job with a white trader near Kundiawa. I might still be there if it hadn't been for another adventure.

I drove a Land Rover over a vine and grass bridge and went sailing down into the Chimbu River. Word travelled by drum across the highlands that the stupid white man had done it again. Like my uncle, they didn't understand. I miscalculated. That's all! It was very exciting being escorted out of the country.

In 1986, I killed a bear coming down from Banff in my best friend's vintage station wagon. It was about three in the morning and bitterly cold when I got out of my vehicle with the crushed fender and went back to see if I could help the bear. I nudged him a few times with my foot, but he was dead. I was told later that was a dumb thing to do. I can't believe so many people don't understand adventure and insist on playing it safe. I sure wish I hadn't killed the bear though.

I guess I'll continue being adventurous until the good Lord calls and tells me it's time to come in.

Yesterday, I let my gas tank go below half full and last night, I dared to watch Millionaire and not Jeopardy. Talk about living on the edge! Tonight, I'm going to shock my wife and have my milk cold instead of warm, and I'm not going to get into my pajamas until at least 8:30.

Life, I guess, is one big adventure, when you stop to think about it. But the senior years are the best because most accomplishments are harder earned, and adventures far more appreciated; like wearing shorts and sandals without socks or trying to arm wrestle your wife.

I'm an adventurer for sure. That's the way the Lord made me. And who can question that?

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