When Winston Standfield arrived at Kelowna International Airport he only had to look around for a few minutes before he saw an attractive, well- dressed brunette holding a white poster with black lettering that spelled out the name, ‘Susan Richards’.
Winston held out his hand to greet the woman.
“Ah, it wasn’t hard to find you at all. I’m Winston Standfield.”
Susan shook Winston’s hand.
He did not look at all as she had pictured him in her mind. She thought it rather amusing that a man of Winston’s age would look so cool. She found it hard not to stare at this man’s long white hair complete with a ring shaped golden earring. He had amazingly thick hair that was back combed, but extended way past his shoulders and part way down his back.
Winston was wearing a black Metallica tee shirt, faded blue jeans and red Converse runners. He was the epitome of middle aged hip.
“I’m pleased to meet you Mr.Standfield. That you very much for coming to the airport to give me a ride.”
“No problem at all, my lady,” Winston said, giving her a warm smile.
Susan’s original purpose had been to angrily confront this man for offering to take her daughter on a dangerous expedition, but she was beginning to like Winston. In spite of his outlandish appearance he was a real gentleman.
Winston walked Susan out to his prized 1994 white Ford Tempo.
“Does this car still run?” Susan asked.
“Runs like a charm. Don’t worry. I fully reconditioned it myself.”
Winston opened the car door for Susan to get in.
“How did you learn how to fix cars? Were you a mechanic at one time?” Susan asked.
“No, not me. My father was a licensed mechanic. He would bring home old cars to fix up and resell. I used to help him so I learned a lot about repairing cars.”
“My ex-husband told me that you’re a marine biologist,” Susan said.
“That’s true. Up until recently. I had worked for many years for The Department of Fisheries.”
“So are you retired now?”
“In a manner of speaking, yes, but I’d prefer not to go into that just now,” Winston stated.
In less than fifteen minutes they arrived at Winston’s house.
“I will apologize for the messy house in advance. I have a lot of books and magazines scattered all over my living room,” Winston said, opening the front door of his house for Susan.
“Let me introduce you to my grandson Wally and his friend Garry Hardy, and of course, your own daughter, Stephanie.”
All three young people were watching Friday Night Smackdown when Winston and Susan walked in the house.
“Wally and Garry I’d like you to meet a lovely lady named Susan Richards. Stephanie, of course, will not require any introduction.”
“I still love professional wrestling,” Winston said leaning back in his Lazy Boy and reaching for his pipe and tobacco. It’s been about twenty years since my last match but sometimes I still miss it. I mean I don’t miss waking up and feeling like I’ve been run over by a semi or all the hours spent travelling, but I do miss the pure adrenaline rush of performance art.”
“Tell me more about your career as a pro wrestler, Winston,” Garry said while petting Winston’s dogs. “Life as a pro wrestler is certainly much different than working a nine to five job,” Winston said. “You spend a lot of time on the road. I only had a handful of matches in the WWE. For most of my wrestling career I worked the independent wrestling circuit.”
“What was the biggest difference that you found between the WWE and the independent wrestling promotions?” Garry asked.
“That’s easy,” Winston answered. “The money. The second thing would be the lack of job security in independent wrestling organizations. And then there was the travel. Professional wrestlers spend a lot of time travelling whether they work in the WWE or for the independent promotions. The fact is you spend a lot more time travelling between wrestling gigs than you actually do wrestling,” Winston said packing some high grade pipe tobacco into his Sherlock Holmes meerschaum pipe. “
Winston owned five pipes that he kept in a wooden pipe holder that his ex-wife had given him as a present for one of his birthdays.
“We almost always car or van pooled as wrestlers. The big difference was that in the WWE the wrestlers could afford new, roomy SUVs. Some of the top talent even had Hummers. In the independent promotions the wrestlers usually travelled in an uncomfortably packed van or a rusted out car that was at least twenty years old. Vehicle breakdowns between gigs was common. It wasn’t unusual to have to leave our stalled car and thumb a ride the rest of the way to a wrestling show.”
“Wow, That doesn’t sound like too much fun,” Wally said.
“Actually, it was, most of the time. You see when I was a much younger man I used to work factory jobs. That kind of work is total drudgery for eight hours per day.
When I first began my wrestling career, you never had a boring day. There was no way of accurately predicting what was going to happen on any given day or night,” Winston said.
“Plus, you have to remember, we were young then. We could tolerate a lot more physical and mental abuse. I could go on for days telling you guys wrestling stories from my past. But let’s continue with that tomorrow. Friday Night Smack down is just starting.”
The two boys and Winston had a good time watching Friday Night Smackdown. Winston provided an entertaining and educational running commentary on the matches, and explained the differences between present day wrestling and old school wrestling.