Yesterday (Sunday) I flew in a cigar tube from Denver to Winnipeg. A fifty seat plane for an international flight. Not something we Australians experience often. It was a baby plane and I had to duck when standing, or bump my head on the cabin roof. Thankfully I paid and extra US$19.95 to get a seat with more leg room, it was the second row from the back. With two seats on each side of the plane, it was cosy and led to speaking with your traveling neighbour.
Stephen is 65, retired and lives about three hours south of Denver. He has been an avid fisherman since a child and was heading to Lake of the Woods, about a ninety minute drive south-east of Winnipeg. Three generations of his family have owned a small island in the lake complex and they fish there (for Bass) for up to six weeks a year. He was astounded that I had never fished. I’ve tried it but got sea-sick when in a boat and from the river bank I find having a beer, or wine and reading a book more enjoyable.
The previous day his son and wife had been walking one of the trails in the adjacent park to the lake, when they came across a bear and her two cubs. “The bears and Stephen’s son and his wife froze,” according to Stephen. Thankfully a larger group of people walked around the slight bend in the path at the appropriate time and the bears sauntered off. The encounter made the local newspaper.
His first career was as a teacher. Stephen said that it was the most satisfying and rewarding job he had, working with primary (grade) school kids. However, he only lasted six years: “the pay was terrible, I don’t know how the others survived and paid car payments, or a mortgage?” He made the decision to leave teaching and worked in sales for ‘clip-on-tools’ for forty years.
He was fascinated with Australia and wanted to know about our wild life, the country and our outback. The two-and-a-half hours went too fast.