Dateline: Feb. 5, 2014.
I’m in dread of the imminent Winter Olympics.
Harold N. Walters
For more than two solid weeks, Dearest Duck and I will be parted. Dearest will be ensconced in her rocker-glider, her knitting needles clicking like hockey sticks. The kitchen will be abandoned, the oven idle. This scribbler will go un-kissed.
Apparently, the Olympics are being held on the other side of the planet from our house, some place where it will be tomorrow before Dearest Duck gets to see her favourite athletes perform — that Chan figuring skating fellow, or the young maid with the Newfoundland connection, for instance.
Day and/or night, Dearest Duck will sit, TV Olympic coverage enthralling her, entrancing her, enchanting her. All thoughts of home and Harry will be as distant from her noggin as Olympic snow is from the drift outside my window.
I say, my window, because I’ll be inside my ‘puter room with the door barred.
I realize I’m the odd man out, or, in this case, the odd curmudgeon barred in his room, but I don’t intend to watch the Olympics, not even for half-an-hour. Not even to stay in Dearest Duck’s good graces.
Hurl sticks, chuck rocks, my life won’t change a smidgen if Patrick Chan spins off his axel, or Kaetlyn Osmond falls — kerplunk! — on her salchow.
“Harry, that’s a sin for you,” Dearest’s voice chides me although she’s absent, prob’ly at Sobeys purchasing provender for the prolonged siege of our living room.
Before you empty the slops on me and castigate me for being jealous of those Olympic athletes who have skills which I completely lack, I tell you this: I can skate, albeit not as gracefully as a figure skater, not as mightily as a hockey player.
As a callow bay-boy, I learned to skate in on the pond, wearing a pair of hand-me-down skates only a couple of generations removed from blades with double runners.
Pathetically, I never learned to stop. Mostly my forward glides ended among the go-widdy edging the pond, or I ended up drenched to the armpits in the open water of a brook.
Mostly, the Big Boys wouldn’t allow me to play hockey because … well, because my abilities aped those a skating potato might exhibit.
During the 2010 Olympics, Dearest Duck baited me with frozen chocolate chip cookies and taunts of patriotism and lured me to the TV to watch the b’ys ride toboggans down the chutes on … Whistler Mountain, was it?
“I did that when I was a boy,” I said, snatched the cookies and hie-dee-hoed back to my sanctuary.
Except when I was a boy, we hurtled down the slopes of the handiest steep hill crammed aboard a dog-cat. One boy-o rode the front bar, one buck-o rode the rear, another laddie-o, hanging on to the horns, rode the runners’ heels, scoating his leg like a rudder.
No molded chutes guided us. Sometimes only Laddie standing on the runners, chaffing the side out of his rubber root, prevented us from over-shooting the finish line and foundering to a cold, watery stop in the cove.
“Harry, I’m home.”
I’m hitting “Save” and heading for a hug. Embraces will be scarce in coming days, and lonesome “Replay” evenings.
“I must get back to work, my Duck,” I say, squeezing done.
“Work, my granny’s fanny,” says Dearest Duck, dismissing me.
I’m a tad uncertain how Olympic times will affect my seclusion, considering the Games will be played — are being played, as you read — half a world away from my time zone. Will live coverage force me to abandon my Lay-Z-Boy from dawn to dark? From twilight to midnight? Will replaying, recapping, revamping and endless looping require that I spend my days and nights barricaded among my books, reading and, occasionally pausing in said pursuit to coax Angry Birds into slaying vile green piggies?
“Your choice, my love,” says Dearest, handing me — God love ‘er after all — a steaming mug of Tension Tamer tea.
The Games will be on the other side of the world. According to what I’ve heard, in Russia, I think. I s’pose I could dart over to Mr. Google’s house and check it out.
If not Russia, maybe Japan. Someplace called Sushi, anyway.
“Harry, my inattentive love, don’t be so ignorant!”
“It’s Sochi, not Sushi, you chowderhead.”
Thank you for reading.
— Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org