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Home2017-04-17T07:03:24-04:00

If you die in space, are you alone?

By |April 6th, 2019|

It was a question after dinner. The kids asked me. “So, Dards, if it were possible, would you rather know exactly how you’ll die, or when you’ll die?”“Hmm,” I said. (Always a good response for such questions.) “I don’t know.” (Even better.) What I know is that, like many others, I’d rather not die alone. Imagine dying alone

Hey, let’s talk about sex!

By |March 23rd, 2019|

In a few days the children’s mother and I are at a marriage retreat. It’s our first since I can’t remember when. The invitation, by fluke, came a day after I was propositioned to have an affair. Now, in this space, I don’t talk much about it, sex and all. This is because Mennonites didn’t even know what sex was until 1985,

Now I lay me down to sleep …

By |March 9th, 2019|

The beauty of sleep is that you don’t need to think about it. Thinking just gummies it all up. No, you simply relax. You let go. You lay it down, all the cares of the day and all the cares of the world.You lay yourself down and surrender to what’s larger than yourself: the night. Even a child can do it.

The strange charm of Captain Amon and Hockey Uganda

By |March 2nd, 2019|

The charm, the absolute charm, of Captain Amon is that he’ll appear at your doorstep in East Africa at the most inopportune times.You’ll be having a bite to eat, or a nap, or a shower, and there it is, the knock on your guesthouse door. “Mr. Thom? Hello, Mr. Thom? Mr. Thom. Are you there?

The fragrance of (my) life

By |February 9th, 2019|

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

Learning at the school of life

By |February 2nd, 2019|

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.

Seeing some things half clearly

By |January 19th, 2019|

"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

A story about a king. (And you.)

By |December 22nd, 2018|

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.

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

By |December 8th, 2018|

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

Coming and going and growing up

By |November 24th, 2018|

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

On the road in Canada’s open arms

By |November 17th, 2018|

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

Once there was a border …

By |October 20th, 2018|

Once there was a border that had an anniversary. Today is it. Before I share more about it all, let me say, though, that you have to be careful what you think about borders. Because in a way there’s no such thing. Of course, I recently crossed the American border to get to this city, Boston, a diverse place with many people who’ve arrived

The sacredness of the moment

By |October 6th, 2018|

She was a friend and it was her funeral and we were reminded how life is little more than a fleeting mist. Moments of her life were shown. Photos. There she is — her name is Wendy — as a young girl. Later, a graduate. Then Wendy the writer and editor, the years I knew her. I found her to be a thinking person who laughed easily

This weekend, we should all wear turbans

By |October 12th, 2019|

It was early this election season and the news came on TV and it was federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaking. Then this question from a certain young lady, a healthcare attendant beside me. She looked at the TV and with raised eyebrow said, “Is he running

Finding your place in the garden

By |September 14th, 2019|

He’s a painter, a tradesman, who never went to university because he started painting early in life and it made no sense to stop. He had steady money while his friends, after graduating from schools of higher learning, struggled as much as they saw any benefits of their money spent. He told me about it recently.

On men, women, Red Green and a Saudi prince

By |September 4th, 2019|

Today let’s talk about men and women and everything I’ve learned about it all from Red Green. And from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. You’ll recall that Red Green ended every episode of his long-running TV show with that special moment from Possum Lodge, what Red affectionately called “The Men’s Prayer.”

Happiness is right here

By |August 4th, 2019|

The funny thing is that it’s some of the ridiculously cold countries – the freeze the snot on your nose northern nations – that are the happiest. This is what they say. You know. “They.” I just read a report on it. I don’t know. I prefer the beach, myself. Child Number 2, the laughing boy, told me the other morning about a beach in Mexico. “I want to go there,” he said.