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April 2000 

by Ron Russel 

I finished my schooling at Duncan McMillan High in 1968. Having no money and an appetite for some adventure I trekked of the Big city of Halifax to seek my future. Being a country boy in the big city was no more fun then than it is today or yesterday past. I worked at several menial jobs for very little money until February 1969. That was when I happened to accompany a friend to the Armed Forces Recruiting Centre.

I had no intention of joining up myself but he needed some morel support. While waiting for him to be processed, a sly recruiter suggested I take the exams just to pass the time. Being naive, I went along. I guess I did very well because he rushed back and offered me any Trade in any Service affiliation I should choose. Thanks but no thanks, right. Right !

However he knew how to push the right buttons, during our conversations I had revealed that I had a wish to further my education but could not afford it. The Armed Forces would provide me with that opportunity as well as feed me, clothe me, permit me to travel and then in addition to all that pay me a handsome and secure wage. Well let me tell you , I was sold. At this point I was not what you may call worldly experienced and did not truly appreciate the strength of family ties. I was over 18 and could make my own decisions.

The only problem now being how to inform my family. On that second week of February 1969 I trundled home to Lochaber Mines to exuberantly relate my enrollment tale. I considered what I had achieved as an exciting and promising development towards my secure future. However, my family on the other hand was sure I had sold my soul to the Devil. To say they were happy would be a giant understatement. Their opinion was I was jumping from the frying pan into the fire and my life would be over before it had really begun. To late, what was done was done and I had the responsibility to fulfil my contract.

Off I went to bootcamp, er..., Basic Training and the rest is history.

Twenty-seven years of military life with only a week or two each year to visit and relish any remaining friends and family. That is my one regret.

As I reflect now after some 28 years, I look at where I've been, what I've seen, the adventures I've had and the goals I've accomplished and I muse with mixed emotions. Be sure, I would never trade my life, I have a wonderful wife, a lovely daughter and a delightful son. We have had the opportunity to live in Europe, West Germany and enjoy the many treasures it has to offer. I have travelled to England, France, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Syria, and Lebanon and seen their many wonders. I have travelled and been employed across this beautiful country of ours. I have had a rewarding and fulfilling military career and have retired young at the highest attainable level for an enlisted soldier, Chief Warrant Officer.

I have enjoyed this life, but I still sometimes wonder what it may have been like if I had not take the road less travelled. Where would I be or more importantly what would I be if I had stayed the course and remained in the Sheet Harbour area as had many of the kids I went to school with. For sure things would be different, this life has taught me lessons other people very seldom encounter. It has made me the person I am and overall I like that person.

My one great regret is losing contact with people I grew up with. I have purchased a home in Malay Falls and am moving back home as soon as I can sell my house here in Ottawa. Hopefully I will be able to re-establish contact with some of those who are still in the area. A small taste of Nova Scotia is what keeps us going until we can get there for good.

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All contents © 1995 - 2017 Highway7.com unless otherwise attributed
Highway7 E-zine, a publication of Hatch Media, is an electronic journal with a focus on commercial, historical, cultural and ecological issues concerning the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in Canada. Topics include a growing resource of currently more than 300 articles. More articles and image galleries are added frequently as new material is brought to our attention. With Highway7.com, our primary aim is to serve, inform and reflect the rural communities on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, as well as to acquaint new residents, visitors, tourists, and investors with the special beauty and enormous potential of our region.
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