2021 October

Hockey and the tapestry of our lives

2021-10-10T22:48:59-04:00October 9th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , |4 Comments

I would be a Leafs fan, I suppose, but when I was seven years old someone put a woolly Montreal Canadiens sweater on me, with the rest of my hockey gear, skates and all, before snapping a Polaroid of me standing in the living room. My allegiance was somehow set. Paul, my best friend, was a Leafs fan. His mother made sandwiches and cookies and gave them to me

2021 September

“Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.”

2021-09-29T07:17:46-04:00September 25th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Once again parents are celebrating September and their kids’ return to school, and I, for one, am enjoying the new freedom to reflect more on how to be the world’s worst dad. First, this. The exasperated school principal. I recently watched the poor guy – it’s a thankless job – with his tie and blazer and jowls and arms all flailing and

2021 September

It’s Sept. 11. And what have we learned?

2021-09-16T19:29:26-04:00September 11th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , |0 Comments

It was a recent summer evening and she sat me at the bar because there was space. Before ordering a salad and drink, I lifted my rucksack and a couple of books spilled out. “What are you reading?” I then told her, the waitress, about Philip Roth’s novella “Goodbye Columbus,” about a summer romance that ended in

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