It’s not easy growing up in Winnipeg. Ok, so anyone who knows me knows I did not technically ‘grow up’ in the ‘Peg. Life as I know it started out in the little dust bowl town of Robstown Texas just alongside Corpus Christi in the US of A. I spent a very short tenure in Texas before being whisked off to the open skies (and tornados!) of Kansas and the land of Oz. I moved to Winnipeg at the young, but married and with child, age of 24.
And there the ‘growing up’ began. As I like to say I was born in Texas, raised in Kansas but grew up in Winnipeg.
I immigrated on September 1, 1989 in the year hell froze over or at least I was pretty convinced it would. This young lad had never seen -40c, as a matter of fact, I’m not sure I realized it could happen. I certainly was not prepared for it. It was September 21st when I first realized that a mistake had been made. I was standing at the sink doing dishes – as I often do – when I noticed white stuff floating around in the air outside. There seemed to be quite a lot of it actually. Concerned that it may be ash from a nearby fire I called my wife over to inspect and comment on this oddity.
She laughed. (You see, she’s from northern Manitoba)
Then she laughed some more. She looked at me with that look I now give my American friends and family who just don’t get what Winnipeg’s all about and said, “It’s snow sweetie.”
For the love of god….it’s the middle of summer….in Kansas. And for the first time I realized ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto’!
That winter, and the next two and a half years that followed, was nothing less than the most miserable time of my life. My life turned into one long battle to simply survive. I battled deep sadness if not out right depression. I struggled with a career change, a new child, and fought to keep my marriage intact. It was really, really cold and it felt like hell.
Spring took a very long time to come. But as spring did come and began to spread into summer I began to realize that I could do this. I could do Winnipeg. I began to run outside…year round. I started cycling (outside….year round!) Yes, I became one of those crazy fools who said, ‘I can be more, I can do more than simply survive this. I can live here!’ Winnipeg grew me up. It fed my soul (think force fed). It took a boy and turned him into a man.
So then Parkinson’s came along. Really? In so many ways I’ve so already been there and done that. The Amazing Race Canada, sure, that should be fun. You see, I’m from the ‘Peg and if you let it it’ll make a Winner out of you.
WINTERpeg It’s WINNERpeg to those who know!
I think you will like this little interview I did on CBC’s Definitely Not The Opera or DNTO. I’ll look forward to your thoughts.