There be mud

Editor of The Parksville Qualicum Beach News heads off to serve his country

Chris Burger calls me crazy. Teunis Westbroek asks me about it, and secretly, I think he wonders if I’m off my nut as well.

Friends cock their heads to the side and wonder why — why did I join the Canadian Forces as an infantry reservist? I am, apparently, a quiet, retiring soul who doesn’t appear to be all that aggressive. That, and I’m old, darnit. Playing army is supposed to be a young person’s game. But, since I’m a newspaper editor and basketball referee, I’m used to being yelled at, so why not join the army?

Most people I know, however, just think I’m crazy to run around and roll in the mud, trying to keep up with 20-somethings and enduring minus 40-degree Celsius temperatures while sleeping in a tent with no floor.

Those are just some of the things I’ve done as a reservist with the Canadian Scottish Regiment on Vancouver Island (they celebrate their 100th anniversary this fall, by the way). It’s certainly the challenge  I was hoping for when I joined up — and boy, is it fun. And you don’t have to be a right-wing, gun-toting, aggro-spouting macho-type to be in the Forces. You just have to want to serve. Believe me, my unit has all types, and they don’t all vote Conservative.

I’m off on another month’s training as of this weekend. This time, I’ll be learning the nuts and bolts of an infanteer and when I’m done, I’ll be a full-fledged private. Nope, not the boss. Just a cog. And that suits me just fine.

I certainly never pegged myself as crazy. I’ve just always wanted to serve the country in some way — and this is a small way of doing that, while still enjoying a civilian career. It also goes to show that a body can try new things and succeed — and that making big changes isn’t just a young person’s domain. I strongly believe you’re never too old to face a challenge or learn something new. What you choose in that regard should be just as rewarding.

Just like the challenge ahead for assistant editor Neil Horner, who will fill in for me when I’m gone. Watch out for him, he’s meaner than I am.


editorial by Steven Heywood



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