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Robinson Crusoe and me at 30 below

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Another cold Saturday morning, -30 C, and though windy the sun is shining brightly.

Tired of being cooped up, I thought I’d go to the  gym for a workout. As I live in Transcona, I had two choices. The gym at Chief Peguis School is the closest but I go to the Fort Rouge Leisure Centre gym, which has an attached library next door.

I’m in the habit of picking up two out-of-town Saturday newspapers, which can cost he better part of $10. I can read those at the library and perhaps find something better to do with the money saved. It’s aggravating shelling out that kind of cash only to find little of interest.

After a good workout I repaired myself to the next-door library. As expected,  the out-of-town papers had little to offer. After scanning them, I checked the clear-out section of the library, which sells books  withdrawn from circulation. There I found an excellent copy of Robinson Crusoe beautifully illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, for which I paid $2.50.

I’ll probably get more out of this book than I would have from the papers. How better to spend a frigid afternoon than with Crusoe on a tropical island?

Though it was many years since I read the book I clearly remember what he missed most in his isolation — human company.

Back home I perked a pot of coffee and made myself comfortable on the chesterfield. My house faces south and I angled the blinds so I could get the full warmth of the sun without exposing myself to traffic passing by. Luxuriously reclining, comfortably propped up by pillows I enjoyed my coffee and lived through the perils of being shipwrecked.

Crusoe and I fought our way to shore. Taking stock of out meagre resources we went about salvaging the contents of the ship.

Then, beneath a balmy tropical sun, we built a crude shelter. After getting settled  somewhat, we set off to explore the island. Crusoe did most of the exploring alone while I drifted off into the land of nod.

Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona. Email him at ronbuffie@shaw.ca

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