2021 August

The bicycle is the great leveller

2021-08-17T22:17:12-04:00August 14th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

My relationship with the bicycle began as a love affair in my backyard on a small, grassy incline that might as well have been the Rockies. I was a boy, the bike was my blue bomber, and you can imagine the rest. Now, starting in Alberta and the Rockies, I’ve been showing Western Canada to my daughter, my eldest. The two of us are covering several provinces, including biking in

2021 July

Tante Eva honours the generations

2021-07-25T08:55:12-04:00July 25th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

I’ve always seen the face of my Tante Eva as a face of summer. There she is in this photo from some years ago, standing behind my bride and our three Chumbuckets, along with Eva’s friend, Ingrid, who’s holding photos from Eva’s birth in July, 1931. Eva, the newborn, would eventually know war and other sorrow before she’d grow fully into that woman with a kind face.

2021 July

If you think the pandemic was bad in Canada …

2021-07-04T08:53:22-04:00July 4th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , |4 Comments

There are always gentle and innocent ways to have your heart ripped open. One way is to talk to someone who may or may not be alive the next time you think of them. In this case you’re talking with Paul, hands-free, on the road. It’s a sunny June day and there’s no cost, talking all the way to Uganda. It’s 21st-century living.

2021 June

Are we losing faith in fatherhood?

2021-07-04T08:20:10-04:00June 19th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , |6 Comments

It’s a happy-enough moment of me and the children in this photo from Father’s Day 10 years ago. But today’s thoughts are about grieving as much as anything. Because it was just another morning with the sun established in the sky when the children’s mother, leaving the house, said what she did. “All our fathers,” is all she said. Her eyes welled up while she hugged me. Her broken

2021 June

Recalling the lost art of hitchhiking

2021-09-16T19:37:31-04:00June 12th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The sunny news from around here is that I recently drove up a regional road with the three Chumbuckets, that is my three teens, to get their COVID jabs. We didn’t see any hitchhikers. Yeah, yeah, who hitchhikes anymore? Still, I like to keep an eye, you know? One summer day – Child No. 1 was with me – we did help one, a middle-aged woman who clamoured into our vehicle with her

2021 May

The north and south of who we are

2021-09-26T10:10:15-04:00May 22nd, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|4 Comments

Today let’s imagine you’re a Wall Street lawyer. Your towering New York office overlooks the Statue of Liberty. You’re high powered, enjoy your colleagues, and like asking those lawyer-like “what if” questions. You’re successful. What would ever make you leave? While you think about that, let’s travel to the Liverpool bar where thousands of Brits recently celebrated without

2021 May

Mothers and their babies living in risky times

2021-10-09T22:49:28-04:00May 8th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

So Darling Doctor Wife, otherwise known as Dr. Jean, recently came home from an off-duty visit to labour and delivery to see Hosanna Froese, a preemie who arrived in this world eight weeks early. Hosanna’s mother, with COVID-19, isolated at home while tiny Hosanna, all 4.1 pounds of her, started life not at her mother’s breast, but in

2021 April

The beauty and blessing of books in our lives

2021-06-01T19:11:48-04:00April 17th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , |14 Comments

“Healing place for the soul,” is what the ancient Greeks wrote at the doorways to their libraries. You don’t get that sacredness when you visit, say, YouTube. Or Netflix. Or your handy smartphone. “In the beginning was the Word,” is what the ancients also declared. Not “In the beginning was the microchip.” It’s something to think about this upcoming week, our ongoing relationship, or lack