Newspaper columns

2019 February

The fragrance of (my) life

2019-02-16T07:58:28-04:00February 9th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |9 Comments

So I'm in the middle of Africa dining with a colleague and he declares, "That's great news about Jean. Congratulations!" Out comes his phone and all the details and I'm in the dark and feeling rather sheepish about it. My bride, the children's mother, in her natural humility, hadn't told me of her recent recognition as a Canadian

2019 February

Learning at the school of life

2019-02-01T17:15:56-04:00February 2nd, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Andrew Thomas is the little boy who smiled and played with my hands the first time I met him outside the university guesthouse where, these days, I have my meals. There, from your side of the ocean, my own children, along with their mother, watched and said hello to Andrew through a video screen.

2019 January

Servant-leadership is vital for UCU’s ongoing success

2019-03-27T10:32:26-04:00January 28th, 2019|Categories: Newspaper columns, The Standard|Tags: , , |0 Comments

“We are suffering. We are all suffering terribly.”This is what she said. I could see it in her face. Others told me the same. It was here at UCU. I listened. I was saddened. Disturbed. My heart broke. This is not how it was meant to go. Nobody saw this coming.

2019 January

Seeing some things half clearly

2019-06-08T17:22:49-04:00January 19th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments

"I see you're aging gracefully." This is what he, an old Canadian friend, now overseas, said after seeing my photo complete with beard and glasses. Oh, come on. Already? Now? So soon? Aging gracefully? Really? In truth, the beard comes and goes like pages of a calendar. I shave. I don't shave. My bride, that is my young looking wife, comments on this.

2018 December

A story about a king. (And you.)

2019-03-04T22:12:37-04:00December 22nd, 2018|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Love, if it’s the real deal, can be an uneasy affair. Even for a king in a story like this one. It’s a story about his kingdom, and choice, and existentialism, even as it’s a story about these days. Yes, once there was this king who was in love: madly and deeply and hopelessly. His power was unrivaled, but his heart melted for a simple maiden in a poor village.

2018 December

Yemen can’t wait (and other thoughts on peace)

2018-12-23T00:30:21-04:00December 8th, 2018|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

Once I stopped riding my bike to work because I feared I’d be shot dead. It was an old blue Norco. I’d pedal it to the newsroom of the Yemen Times, in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. This wasn’t long after the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. More so, it was just after three American medical missionaries, friends, were murdered in a hospital by

2018 November

Coming and going and growing up

2018-12-23T00:31:50-04:00November 24th, 2018|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Today let’s talk about selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. This was me sometime between boyhood and manhood, a time when the gray matter and the white matter in my brain was still developing, still coming together. I was leaving one place to arrive in another, me and my suitcase and my first car. I’d just left home for the

2018 November

On the road in Canada’s open arms

2018-12-17T12:21:50-04:00November 17th, 2018|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

He’s my brother and he’s beside me and in this moment nothing else matters. Except, of course, Hannah, my daughter. She’s 12 and in the back seat. And the nearby bus. The bus matters. The three of us are on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada, in Alberta. Earlier I’d driven with Hannah from Saskatoon