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Swimming in laughter and tears: Goodbye, Africa

By | March 17th, 2017|

The original meaning “God be with ye” disappeared into the phrase “good-bye” long ago. But this is what I’m now left with, this long good-bye. It’s a prayer as much as anything, this good-bye to Africa. These days I’m swimming in it, the tears and laughter, both.

On the road with the boda-boda, the Uber of Uganda

By | February 24th, 2017|

So I was recently sitting around doing nothing, an activity I’ve always found deeply satisfying, when I realized, “Hey, man, you’ve just written your 300th newspaper column.” Next thing, my wife and kids were serving me cake with ice-cream and singing “Happy 300th.”

(Sixteen years ago today) she said ‘Yes!’

By | February 14th, 2017|

Sixteen years ago today, The Children’s Mother and I got engaged. Of course, at the time she was not The Children’s Mother. She was My Babe. I thought the world should know of the good news, so I blasted it all on the front page of the paper I worked for at the time.

Her lessons in chess are lessons in life

By | February 11th, 2017|

I’m not one to see a miracle around every corner. If things worked that way, the real deal would get awfully cheap. But I got a haircut the other day. The gentleman cutting my hair – he informed me his name was Maxwell – said it was a miracle. Not my haircut. My question.

Grace and mystery in a UCU classroom

By | January 30th, 2017|

The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” is a story taught in my literature class at UCU. It’s written by esteemed American writer Flannery O’Connor. At its end, the grandmother, a character in a lady-like flowery dress, is shot three times in the chest. It’s a horrible and violent death. The rest of her family had already been killed.

Our faces are doorways into our lives

By | January 27th, 2017|

There was a time when I’d walk down the street and look at people’s faces. Any city would do as long as it had a downtown drag of even modest substance. The first was Kitchener-Waterloo where I was a student living away from home for the first time.

I hereby resolve – No more children, no, not ever

By | January 7th, 2017|

I don’t know how we get on these things. We were talking about the dog. Next thing we’re talking about my manhood. I don’t know how we get on these things. We were talking about the dog. Next thing we’re talking about my manhood. Did we get the dog fixed? Nobody remembers. The boy thinks yes. The girls say no.

Awe and joy on the journey

By | December 24th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 24, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was just past sunrise in Congo at a mission refugee camp. This is when I walked into it. It was a certain and gentle light. It was in a church. I was alone. It wasn't much of a church, just plain with a dirt floor and simple benches and open ceiling. The space was empty. Still. Voiceless.

Winning, like losing, is about more than meets the eye

By | December 9th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 9, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ The story of 2016 is the story of surprise. Surprise isn’t always the worst thing in the world. When all goes as expected, day after ordinary day, it’s hard to remember what matters in life.

How a simple skipping rope changed lives

By | November 12th, 2016|

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, November 12, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ It started with a skipping rope, a plain green skipping rope, the kind you’d find at any dollar store. It was a simple investment. You’d be forgiven for opting to instead spend the money on your morning double-double.

Swimming in laughter and tears: Goodbye, Africa

By | March 17th, 2017|

The original meaning “God be with ye” disappeared into the phrase “good-bye” long ago. But this is what I’m now left with, this long good-bye. It’s a prayer as much as anything, this good-bye to Africa. These days I’m swimming in it, the tears and laughter, both.

On the road with the boda-boda, the Uber of Uganda

By | February 24th, 2017|

So I was recently sitting around doing nothing, an activity I’ve always found deeply satisfying, when I realized, “Hey, man, you’ve just written your 300th newspaper column.” Next thing, my wife and kids were serving me cake with ice-cream and singing “Happy 300th.”