Original Published April 23, 2022
South Peace News
Who says anyone is too old to learn anything new?
Just ask High Prairie old-timer Howard Greer, who turned 90 years young last Dec. 31.
Always determined to get things accomplished and stay healthy, the retired farmer learned to swim for the first time in his life.
At his golden age, he discovered that swimming has improved his health.
“I used a cane for about three years before I started the lessons and now I don’t need one,” says Greer, who was inspired by his daughter-in-law, Colleen Greer, to take lessons.
He took private lessons at the High Prairie Aquatic Centre twice a week from early February to mid-March.
Over that time, he was always eager to get to his hour-long lesson with instructor Bronte Backs.
“She taught me how to use all parts of my body,” says Greer, who says he took about 10-12 lessons.
He’s quick to spread the word to other people about his healthy and refreshing experience.
“I tell them how much good it’s done for me,” Greer says.
“I encourage everyone to go swimming; it’s the greatest exercise you can get.
“I have better balance.”
Greer has become a role model to those around him, Town of High Prairie Recreation Supt. Ramona Rollins says.
“Howard is a prime example of how sports and recreation is for all ages,” Rollins says.
“He is very inspirational to all our our staff.”
Even at his age, he was determined to keep going in the sessions to improve his health and encourages others to do the same.
“If you’re doing something that’s beneficial your health, never give up,” Greer says.
Rollins notes that a lot of people use the aquatic centre for therapy.
“That’s important for people of all ages,” Rollins says.
“It’s also a good opportunity for people to socialize when they aren’t able to get out more.”
Greer still visits the pool twice a week for 60 minutes.
“The hour goes by really quickly,” Greer says.
“For me, it’s the shortest hour of the whole day.”
Greer says he often went swimming in the 1940s in the West Prairie River at the current site of the High Prairie Pro Rodeo Grounds, but never had lessons.
Currently the president of the High Prairie Golden Age Club, he has long been active in other sports and recreation. He was an avid curler and played baseball and fastball. During his high school years, he was a competitive in track and field and was strong in the high jump, he says.
“I love sports,” Greer says.
“I was a fast runner,” he adds.
Now it may be hard to keep up with him, even at 90 years young!
This item reprinted with permission from South Peace News, High Prairie, Alberta