Rick Collins

The Blind Corner

“Down every road there’s always one more journey, life’s a highway, --” Crystal Gayle.

I was a bus driver and the parent of two sons who played through to Junior Hockey in rural Alberta.

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I have driven many a Canadian Prairie country road, I know this scene by heart! It’s the blind corner.

The sacred shelter belt built right to a farmer’s property line. You have a right to build such protection, when those cold Arctic Northwest winds sweep across the Prairie this is your only refuge from the bone chilling soul destroying cold. In rural communities, feuds go on for years if the County dare trim one tree. On a hundred and sixty acres nothing is more sacred than that corner property line!

You hold your breath, surely a vehicle coming up to a blind corner will stop. You look furtively for a flash of colour through the spruce that have long since gone from wind belt to dangerous old growth, your foot moves reflexively to cover the brake peddle.

You’ve been on cruise for ever on a road that runs forever, you are lulled by the warmth of the vehicle. Your anxious playoff infected hockey charges have been lulled into silence, you hear the overhead fans, the staccato of the road beneath your tires, you haven’t met or passed a car in dog miles. In the rear mirror you catch a glimpse of the sun sliding to the south west, the day is fading to evening, the road on this day has been clear, the frost heaves of spring just starting to show on an endless ribbon of asphalt.

Your thoughts turn to the end of the run, now just a few short kilometres away. This, as your instructor has warned, “the most dangerous part of your trip, gentlemen, most people die within 30 miles of home, never forget that gentlemen will we”!

You will drop your charges for the pre game meal at a familiar restaurant, sit off to one side with a stiff coffee and a complementary meal, as the Per Game buzz festers at the team table, you watch the bonding unfold for the game barely 2 hours on.

Then the unthinkable, death steps out from around a trees.

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