I lived in Red Deer, Alberta for 2 years in my early 20’s. I liked Alberta. Yes, it was cold in the winter, but we also had chinooks – warm winds that raised the frigid -20C temperatures to a positively balmy +10-20, over night. But when it was cold, it was really cold. Sometimes I’d go out to start the car in the morning (we had to plug it in at night to keep it warm), and the tires would be flat.
In the winter I cross-country skied almost every day after classes at Red Deer Community College where I studied drama and environmental science. There was a great cross-country trail nearby that went round the Riverbend Golf Course. It was about 45 minutes once round. I sometimes did it twice.
I also went skiing in the Rockies, up on the glacier. We’d drive as far as we could, then ski – gear on our backs – to a camp hut, where we slept for the night, a wood fire burning to keep us warm. The next day we made tracks in virgin snow, the sun so hot we skied in short-sleeved T-shirts, sunscreen slathered on every exposed piece of flesh – or went to bed with skin burning, yet air so cold it froze our breath.
In the summer the sandy beaches and cool waters of Sylvan Lake were my playground. The only speeding ticket I ever got was when driving to the lake. I was always in such a hurry to get there and enjoy the pristine water, and my metallic green Camaro was pretty fast, but I only got caught once!
In those pre-veggie days I relished a juicy rib eye steak of Alberta beef. But my favorite supper spot was the Old Spaghetti Factory. It was pretty lousy spaghetti compared to my standards today: over cooked pasta with too much sauce. Mushroom and tomato was my favorite, though it must have been the garlic bread and carafe of red wine that kept me going back.
I also worked as a florist for Central Alberta Flowers, and did a stint as a food waitress in a Chinese Food Restaurant and as a cocktail waitress in a disco. That was something else! There was a live country and western band that played a set, then a Saturday Night Fever type disco set, then another C & W set, and so on.
Life in Alberta! The great outdoors and cowboys!
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