One of the positive, lasting gifts our premier gave Alberta before he left office was an extra day of vacation. Since there are no holidays in February, our government decided to invent one. They called it Family Day
In the spirit of the day, our family contemplated various family vocations that might please everyone.
The boys vetoed shopping, but managed to convince the girls to play football that first year. They outnumbered us five to three. We didn’t stand a chance.
To actually get something resembling a team together, we called up my husband’s brother and his friends, and convinced them that since the weather was so unseasonably warm there in the middle of winter, they should have a game with us.
We were the only ones on the high school football field on that bright sunny Monday afternoon, playing touch football with three oldies, six teens, and three little guys. Somehow the teens ended up together on one team, forcing the rest of us to teach them a lesson.
There were lessons.
Number 1: Although a prairie football field in winter may look bare and inviting, the ground is frozen solid under it, and there is a lot of hidden ice underfoot.
Number 2: Small folks are fast, and old folks used to be, and still think they are and so try to be.
Number 3: The human body has many, many muscles, and many, many are not often used.
We lost, but only just. The score was 86 to 35.
By the time we drove back to the house, my body was completely seized, and I had considerable trouble getting onto a couch in front of the television. Showing sympathy for my complaints, my husband quipped, “Hey honey, there can’t be many old broads out there playing football. You should feel proud of yourself.”
I was feeling sorry for myself as a matter of fact. And increasingly stiffer.
My sister in law cheered us all up by procuring a bag of carrots and a large stash of junk food (you choose) and turning on Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah did a lot to cheer many of us up, because she was broadcasting from Nassau at a beautiful resort. Her programme? A contest to select “The Sexiest Man In The Caribbean.” (Gasp.)
When Greg limped through and asked if we were ready to leave yet, our daughter threw her hands back against the couch and said, with more conviction than you would credit a 13 year old having, “We’re not moving!”
And so we sat and watched as eight very scantily clad men paraded by and flexed all those muscles I didn’t know we had. The women in the audience – and in our room – were very appreciative. My brother in law however, took it upon himself to explain a few things.
“The upkeep on those bodies is incredible.” His voice was muffled somewhat by the fistful of chips he had just popped into his mouth. “I mean, do you know how much work it takes to get that way?”
“Ya”, I heard my daughter say absently.
“Why, they probably don’t do anything else!” he added.
“Oh, I’m sure they keep busy with a lot of things,” was his wife’s dry reply.
When the king of the Caribbean was finally crowned, and the last chip and cheesie downed, it was time to leave.
“I like Family Day,” said one of our youngest. “Every day should be Family Day.”
“It is,” I grunted as the crane was lowered to pull me out of the couch. “But sometimes on Family Day, Moms and Dads act like kids and then it takes them a long, long time to recover – their body and their memory. That’s why we only really celebrate it once a year.”