Although I don’t claim poverty I do claim uncommon frugality (except in the purchase of vehicles where I have worked hard to keep Ford profitable). A combination of growing up in a small town and being a product of a reserved English genealogy makes me an unlikely person to ever darken the doorway of an expensive spa. And yet, there I was, doorway darkening last weekend.
A month and a half ago Pam and I went up to Whistler on a childless basis being the first time we had ever left our teen aged children home alone. Everything went well with no phone calls nor police involvement.
Last weekend was odyssey number two. Long-standing and generous friends had invited us to go with them as their guests to Sparkling Hills Resort, a spa at Predator Ridge in Vernon BC. After a couple of invitations we relented despite us not being natural spa people. A massage was booked for me. Not by me.
Childless trip number 2 saw us arrive at Sparkling Hills after a four hour drive. When we arrived I was aghast. This European styled and owned spa resort was huge and impressive overlooking Lake Okanagan. And I had not known about it! Indoor pool, hot tub, outdoor pool, numerous message rooms, seven saunas and steam rooms. Three restaurants. Beautifully appointed rooms. Thousands of crystals everywhere you looked. A delightful place to be. Enough with the travelogue.
I’m not good at relaxing. And yet that is what this wellness spa is all about. Over twenty years ago I had a massage. A couple of my legal assistants had been impressed with a gentleman operating out of his basement in Clearbrook and one had gifted me a gift certificate for a massage. After an hour with my grey haired male masseur with a strong Central European accent the uncomfortable ( for me) massage was over. I believe hearing later that that gentleman encountered some criminal charges. (Unrelated to me). My aversion to massages was strengthened.
With these memories it was time to go down to the extensive spa area where my pre booked Sparkling Hills massage was scheduled. Uncertain, I dressed in shorts, a bathing suit and a robe. (How English is that? My mother would be proud!)
I was called in for my massage. My deep sports massage was to to be with a grey haired male masseur with a Central European accent. Deja vu.
“Please remove all of your clothes” he instructed. I looked at him. “Because of all the oils we use “ he explained as he left the room. “You will be covered by the blanket.” I wasn’t concerned about what he might see. I was concerned by what he might touch.
In any event I submissively complied and then experienced a one hour conversationless deep sports massage. Now, sport is not a word that is often applied to me or my activities. But I was the subject of a vigorous massage with my arms and legs yarded around and I submissively complied with all instructions. It may be said, (particularly by my wife Pam) that I am not good at taking instructions and have a difficult time submitting to anything. And I would admit that to be true. Although I know that I will eventually find myself submitting to everything in some cheap care home that Pam will find for me, at this stage of my life I am not good at taking instructions or submitting to the will of others. But for my Sparkling Hills spa massage I submitted, never indicating discomfort or pain. The sports message required deep work on my muscles. The hardest part for the masseur was finding any. And then it was over.
It had all been part of the Sparkling Hills experience. I am glad that I experienced such a high quality professional massage but it may be my only one. I am not converted to a massage person. Great meals, great facilities, a great room and great companionship of our hosting friends. Odyssey number 2 was a great success. And once again, the kids were alive and happy on our return. Maybe they don’t need us?
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