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Sharing our favourite memories of autumn

This week's Hammertime looks at the fond memories of autumn.

We are always just a little sad when those hot and hazy crazy days of summer slowly slip away, but even though there may now be a little nip in the air, the blustery arrival of fall can quickly evolve into a fun and invigorating season for young and old. Of course the day to day action around the house and the community will quiet down just a little as those excited young students from grades 1 to 12 and beyond have headed back to school and are hopefully looking forward to ten glorious months of new books and buddies, sassy school dances and sports, and of course lots and lots of learning.

But once we bundle up a little more and head outside for a stroll who can resist the amazing transformation and colors of the trees, the smells and glory of the harvest, the magnificent spectacle of the Northern Lights, and so many other neat and new exciting adventures, events, and sports that can be enjoyed by everyone amongst that crisp and crunchy world of ice and snow. All of us do however hope and insist that there will indeed be a couple more months of ‘Indian summer’ just in time for a few more tee times and to rake up all the leaves with the kids. After the hot summer toys have been put away and the crops are all in the bin we will likely hit the fall sales and pick out our warm but flashy winter wardrobes for the long and frigid haul between now and spring 2017?

Those great days at the rink

What I will always miss when the leaves begin to fall are the great years that I spent working for the Town of Ponoka Recreation Department on the staff of the then brand new Arena Complex. I will never forget spending countless hours preparing this big facility for the always busy fall/winter season of activities, which of course included making ice for both rinks, as well as assuring that everything was ready for Don Pederson and his crew to do the same over at the curling side. Les Oberst and the rest of our staff team will always be among the best people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and even after spending many hours flooding ice or on our knees painting the lines, we always had lots of laughs, and appreciated it when the user groups claimed that ours was the best ice in the Province.

Even while the hot sun was still blazing outside, as soon as our trusty Zamboni had dropped its first big load of wet snow outside (snowball fights in August) everyone was very antsy to get out there and get on with their hockey, figure skating, broomball, and other indoor recreational activities. When those big front doors opened to the public it was always a real treat to see those excited skaters of all ages (from tiny mites to hopefully in shape old pros) shuffling in with their humongous equipment bags and sticks, some bigger than them, and others being carried by their hyped and dedicated parents, who couldn’t wait to get them to the right dressing room, then grab a coffee at the busy concession stand before checking the big schedule in the lobby.

As soon as they all hit the ice with great gusto the coaches and managers will be seen racing around with their clip-boards or sitting up in the bleachers trying to fairly pick their teams for the long season ahead, for which we had to do a quick fix of the schedule and try to fit everyone in, including practises, tournaments, and special events.

For so many years in and around our community our Ponoka Minor Hockey Association, The Ponoka Figure Skating Club, the Ponoka Curling Club, and all the other user groups of the facility as well as their countless volunteers, officials, parents, and avid fans deserve a great deal of credit for their dedication and efforts to always carry on the proud tradition of giving thousands of participants the exciting opportunity of having fun playing their game. Everyone is invited from now until the geese come back home to drop into the Complex anytime, enjoy the great action, cheer for the team of your choice, and then try to socialize with everyone at the rink. In the mean-time warm up with a friendly game of ‘neighbourhood’ road hockey, dig up the spuds, clear a spot for the outdoor rink, and have a great week, all of you.

Reader clarifies name

A big thank you to one of our readers for giving us a call last week telling us about one of the great old players who we couldn’t identify in our August 3, 2016 Reflections feature honouring our early baseball times. Seated between Pat Paterson and Don Moller in the photo of the Ponoka Lion’s team of the 1950’s was Keith MacGregor, who pitched at all the tournaments at home or on the road.