May 28th, 2024

Guardian angel was watching

By Lethbridge Herald on May 10, 2024.

Al Beeber – managing editor

I made it! I’m officially a senior citizen after turning 65 this week. While I had intended to celebrate by taking a week off as I’ve traditionally done over the years, as you can tell since you’re reading this column that didn’t happen. I couldn’t leave the newsroom short-staffed so I worked. 

And I’m indebted to family, co-workers and friends from near and far for making it probably the best ever. Brian Price brought a cake to work and the celebration in the boardroom made my day.

And the drawing of Rio that I was given by family will be one I’ll forever cherish. I still miss him and and always will.

I worked last year’s birthday, too with Rachel Notley being in town for a campaign rally at the Galt Museum but next year assuming I’m still above ground and being productive, I’ll definitely be taking at least the day off.

I was beginning to have serious doubts whether I’d even see 65 after some recent issues with blood pressure. 

After a weird beeping sound in my ear started while watching NASCAR, I learned that tinnitus could be a sign of high blood pressure.

Of course, I ignored it at first but when the noise began again while driving to Wilson Siding to get shots of the old Fokker airliner being hauled to the airport, I decided to check the blood pressure.

So after searching the house to no avail for the monitor, I bought a new one and to my horror saw the levels were high. And they stayed high for several days. In fact, so high a co-worker insisted I call 811 at my desk to get some advice. Before I made that call, one last test showed my pressure to be 204/101. The online nurse told me to keep monitoring it and since I had an appointment scheduled with my physician, said I should be OK until then.

 And while it did drop by the time I hit my doctor’s two days later it was still 168/93. I was immediately put on medication and within a couple of hours, the level had dropped to near normal. And I felt the relief.

I had no indication my blood pressure was high until that odd sound in my ear. Which to me almost seems like some type of intervention. 

And while numerous people have criticized me for my recent column about religion, nobody ever considered whether I am a believer in some form of diety. 

The critics obviously never read a column I wrote several years  about Psalm 8 which came to me in a dream and which a local church used as the basis for a Sunday sermon. I didn’t even know psalms were numbered or where they could be found until I had that dream so either a god connected to the wrong person or one was trying to make a point.

Critics just assumed because I feel arguing over religion is pointless that I need salvation, that I’m a heathen who needs to be doused in some baptismal pool – or maybe drowned in it because I had the audacity to challenge whether anyone knows if any god actually exists. 

It’s a question I know believers have often asked when it appears they’re being left to their own devices. It’s human nature to question, it’s our personal obligation to ourselves not to just take anyone’s word until we can be sure that word is right.

So outraged Christians went on the attack with no knowledge of my personal beliefs, which we’re all entitled to have with no obligation to explain or validate them.

But here’s the deal with my blood pressure situation: that weird beeping is something I’d never had before. And I haven’t had it since. The doctor couldn’t explain it either, telling me it had nothing to do with blood pressure.

To me, it was an intervention – yet again – from a person I feel is my guardian angel, my late cousin Lynn Lamont, who was a doctor in Edmonton before succumbing in 1980 to the same breast cancer that killed her mom, her aunts and grandmother who was my granddad’s first wife.

I’ve felt her presence often over the years since the summer of 1980 when she came to me in a dream in my apartment across from the Fort Frances wood yard and told me never to smoke. I hadn’t thought of her for many years, the last time I’d seen her being her mom’s funeral in the early 1960s when I was just a kid. 

Lynn and her sister Lesley used to take me and my older brother on little sojourns in Edmonton when we’d visit and she felt to me like an older sister. 

Later that day of the dream, I got a call from Molly Beeber, my grandmother, who told me Lynn had died the previous night – the night of my dream. It stunned me but I knew then she had reached out.

Being 21 and immature, of course I ignored Lynn’s admonition at the time until I finally did quit the cigarettes when I lit my desk on fire at the newspaper, cavalierly throwing a match over my shoulder onto a pile of papers which prompted staff to bring out an extinguisher. That was definitely a message, whether from her or not, I can’t say but it was a message and I finally listened to Lynn’s words.

Over the decades, there have been times when for no explicable reason, I’ve sought medical help or avoided some stupid pratfall – and I’ve had many – for no logical reason, just a sense that I needed to do it. I’ve always felt it was cousin Lynn riding shotgun over my shoulder.  

And I’m sure she was there again because I had no reason whatsoever to think about my blood pressure. The noise when I was on highway no doubt was Lynn giving me another reminder since I’d ignored the first two.

And here I am a week into going on medication and my levels are lower and I can say I lived to see 65. I survived and if I live another 2.5 months I’ll have outlived my brother. 

While I come from two families with a tendency to live long lives, I feel pretty fortunate I’ve made it this far, unlike some people I grew up with. And for the most part, I’ve been healthy-ish. 

Aside from asthma, the cataracts, assorted knee issues and of course the cervical fusion which was probably self-inflicted, I’ve managed to be avoid serious health issues until the blood pressure situation.

I’ve fallen off motorcycles, tripped down and up stairs, run into walls as Dale Woodard knows well from his time at the sports desk here, wiped out at dog parks, been body-slammed by cattle and I chainsawed my leg a bit two years ago trimming shrubs, but aside from that, I’ve gotten through life OK and I’m sure my guardian angel has something to do with that. Maybe a lot.

I’m still here and it’s just hard to fathom that number – 65. It seems like just yesterday, I was in high school bombing main street and cruising the Lethbridge streets with friends or wearing a man perm down to my shoulders and flourescent spandex with 1980s metal cranked up in the car.

Now I’m collecting pension, cleaning dentures, misplacing reading glasses and truck keys, wearing hearing aids once in a while and checking my blood pressure every day. 

Time goes fast as many of us know. We don’t think about it in our teens or 20s but this finite time we have on earth passes like a meteorite in the sky. One second it’s here and the  next it’s all but passed.

Live life like your present moment is your last, readers, because none of us know when it will be.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY: This weekend is a special one as moms everywhere get their day to celebrate on Sunday.

Without caring moms, this world would be a vastly different one and I know some amazing ones from Liz to Ali, Amanda to Nicki, Lisa to Tera, Marlene to Ingrid, Cheryl to Shar and so many, many more.

On Sunday, I hope every mom gets spoiled as they so richly deserve and have a day to relax with no cleaning or stress. 

So I hope to see some of my pals at Popson Park about 6 a.m. for six hours, lol.

Have a great weekend!

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Happy 65th Al!


Happy Birthday. Welcome to the Clan of The Galloping Geezerhood. experienced with both blood pressure and hearing symptoms: pay attention to your salt and processed sugar related consumption. You might denote an association. CBD and Magnesium Bis-Glycinate for knees.


Good column Al, Happy birthday and many more to come!!


thank you for another good read – stay well, keep experiencing and reflecting upon experiences…i believe that to be a foundation of soul growth.

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