A mischievous twinkle appears in Tom Reed's eyes.
He didn't really plan to go to Edson for the men's northerns this weekend. It just turned out that way.
Honest. That's his story and he's stickin' to it.
"We only entered the men's because we needed some games," said Reed.
"It was just practice for the seniors. We didn't really expect to win. It kinda backfired on us."
Yeah, that's vintage Tommy Reed. The same guy who won his first of three Alberta titles exactly 30 years ago, in 1975, and followed up in 1977.
ONE OF FOUR WINNERS
He only entered the 1998 playdowns because the provincials were being held at his home Granite Club. Darned if he didn't win it all again.
Only four Edmonton skips have won the provincial title in the last 10 years, and Reed is one of them.
Times have changed since Reed won his first Alberta title as a spunky 25-year-old, finishing one win short of an elusive Brier title.
Ultimate success has come much easier at the senior (age 50-plus) level. Reed won the 2003 worlds in Winnipeg.
When his world championship team broke up this off-season, Reed's brother-in-law Doug Johnston pitched a deal. Reed would still throw last rocks and Johnston would call the game. Worlds holdover, lead Garry Landry, and second Floyd McGintie round out the squad.
And so, this year's version of the Over the Hill Gang started down its icy path.
Men's city zone. Men's senior city zone last weekend. Suddenly, they're on a roll.
Johnston had appeared at the 1979 provinicals with Reed. Business pressures forced him into a self-imposed 16-year curling retirement that started with a win in the 1984 Shamrock club's Poor Boys Spiel.
"Out with a grin, right," said Johnston, who's won city zones in four decades - the 60s, 70s, 80s and this year. "It'd be a rush to go to the provincials, but it's going to be hard.
"When you get to be our age, if you can't have fun, you may as well quit and go into retirement again."
Now, nobody's denying chances are good Kevin Martin will find a way to get to the provincials.
The Park brothers, Jamie King and young contenders like Ryan Keane are knockin' at the door for one of three tickets to Innisfail. But don't ever count the old guys out.
TAKIN' IT EASY
"We're a long ways from Randy (Ferbey) and Dave right now," Reed said about the team's alignment. "How we'll do, I have no idea."
Reed sold his Tofield liquor store in 2001 and has been takin' it much easier.
"I'm slowly kinda doin' nothing," said Reed, who keeps busy riding a lawnmower at the Millwoods golf course.
"That keeps me busy in the summer and curling's been keeping me busy this winter."
Reed denied the rumour he'll eventually gun for curling's triple crown - a city men's, senior and masters (60-plus) zone.
"I don't think so," said Reed. "We just kinda put this team together for this year.
"You never know what's going to happen. Catch some breaks and the stars line up in the right direction ..."
Not like it hasn't happened before.