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April 5, 2002 Friday

Age Paradigm

I was once blown away by a 58 year old guy I met after climbing a steep hill in Rouge Valley, Scarborough 2 years ago. He was riding a Rocky Mountain Instinct with tricked out parts which gave him away as a serious hammerhead. We talked. His name is Eugene.

Eugene: How long have you been riding the Rouge?
TheLoneRider: maybe 4 years now.

Eugene: so you think you know the trails?
TheLoneRider: pretty much.

Eugene: I bet you don't know that tucked into this trail system is a mansion.
TheLoneRider: get out! (thinking: we're on top of a hill overlooking the entire Rouge Valley. If that mansion exists, we should be seeing it from here. Besides, I've been riding the trail system waaaay tooo long not to have seen this)

Eugene: follow me.

And I did. This guy, all 58 years behind him, hammered me on the flats and hammered me on the downhills. He took me to downhill runs that looked like narrow animal paths. Even hikers wouldn't dare. But he did. And seeing he could, I followed...realizing only then that the too-technical-let's-dismount trails were head games all the while. Close to exhaustion but still putting up a brave front (me, not him!), we arrived. Lo and behold, the mansion was there...tucked discreetly within the inner enclaves of the Rouge. It had an outside fireplace, a fountain ala Great Gatsby, an extended solarium and its own track for the horses. There I was, dwarfed by its immensity...the newest member of a privileged club, realizing that the forest has revealed to me its best-kept secret.

What went beyond awe was Eugene himself. I was humbled by a 58 year old. The effect on me was complete, absolute and total. He single-handedly broke the age paradigm. Suddenly, age was no longer a monopoly of chronological years. Age is now a function of fitness level and intellectual resolve to push the envelope until you feel the edge. How do you know when you've reached the edge? When you look down and don't see the abyss, you're not yet on the edge...push it further until you come face-to-face with the demon lurking underneath....fear. Only when you wrestle with fear and come to terms with it do you realize you're younger again. I now held the power to choose my age. "Unleashed" is an understatement.


Reader Comments:

About the above. I visited a mansion in 1979 that was torn down in 1980 or 1981. It was located by taking Sheppard Avenue east to Twyn Rivers road east, going down the steep hill over the bridge, and the driveway for it was just past the bridge on the right hand side. Today there is a broken down barrier at the edge of the road leading to a path. The path was actually the driveway and if you follow it in today you come to a clearing, where some of the foundations are still there (see the depression in the ground). I was told years ago that there was also a swimming pool in the back that had already been filled in.

That's all I know other than the Rover's of Scarborough had some sort of lease to it. I've been trying to find more history about it....Greg Peattie (July 16, 2002)

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