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

The demonization of touching in our times

By |February 10th, 2018|

Today we’ll talk about touch. And the California girl. The California girl was a beautiful girl – you can imagine her California hair and skin and eyes and all that – but she might as well have been a dog. She’d be better off as a dog. This is what she said. Then she’d get affection and

Breathing clean air in a pit-latrine nation

By |February 3rd, 2018|

It’s Saturday morning and we’re in the newsroom of The Standard, talking – well, laughing – about Donald Trump’s most recent step into a cow patty. African nations, home to more than one billion of the world’s people, are in Trump’s alleged words, “shithole countries.” The president

In celebration of Flying Dad Dudes

By |January 13th, 2018|

I love my work. In fact, at the airport this morning a stranger approached me and said, “Excuse me. Are you the guy who writes about fatherhood stuff? I appreciate that so much. But really, how do you do it? Your kids, so well adjusted. Your wife, so remarkably hot. You, always on the mark. You’re one lucky dude!”

Christmas is a time to look at the light in the darkness

By |December 22nd, 2017|

It’s only December but my thin bones already long for summer. For light. For warmth. Where’s Africa? It’s over the ocean. And I’m on this side, often chilled when I stand at the large window behind my bedroom desk. I look into the darkness, so deep and wide and without form.

The power and the truth in literary fiction

By |December 13th, 2017|

My own view is that winter fathers and their kids should get free movie tickets on weekends. For Sunday matinees, free popcorn should be added. Yes, free movies for the winter fathers of the world. Someone should start a petition. Winter fathers are fathers who are separated or divorced

For the love of a handwritten letter

By |December 2nd, 2017|

Today’s rumination is about the art of writing. Cursive. For the children out there, you’ll want to ask your parents or grandparents what this is, and how it all works, and why on God’s good earth anyone would involve themselves in it. I feel like a Neanderthal for even mentioning it, but since I’m older than I look I’ll tell you that when I

Unanswered prayers and the unexpected things in life

By |November 11th, 2017|

The young lady was my heart’s desire. She was my long-time prayer. This, when I was a much younger version of myself. It was on the 11th day of the 11th month when her letter arrived. She wrote briefly and dispassionately. Her words drained the room of colour.

Happy Death Day: here’s to getting clarity in life

By |October 31st, 2017|

I walked through the cemetery today. I often do. It was me and the cold and the wet and my old umbrella. The umbrella is covered in deco of old newspaper headlines: the Jays won the World Series; Gorbachev was dismantling the USSR. My umbrella and I blew around like the news

Is God simply a figment of our imagination?

By |October 7th, 2017|

It was a recent evening at the University of Toronto when I was reminded of it all, that hope is better than skepticism, that faith is better than doubt, that love (in the abiding sense of charitable love) is better than fear. I was reminded, too, how I’ve always felt more kinship

Facing death and seeing the heroic nature of life

By |September 23rd, 2017|

I don’t believe in war. In name and in family heritage, I’m Mennonite. In spirit, I’m pacifist. But children, it seems to me, should have a working knowledge of war. Because in war there’s not only darkness and fear, there’s light and courage. There’s humanity. There’s humility.

End of summer, back to school, time for JFKs

By |September 2nd, 2017|

So, my children, like children everywhere, are about to return to school. This brings some uncertainties. It’s my children’s first-ever September back-to-school in Canada. More so, I’ll need to work at having more JFKs again. Before I explain what a JFK is, let me say that in

Don’t tell the kids, but we bought a new house

By |August 11th, 2017|

So, the children’s mother and I bought a house. “Let’s not tell the children,” she said. “Okay,” I replied. So we didn’t. Now before I share why, let me say that we all have a relationship with our houses, and in my family I’m the one with a sort of longsuffering in this union. This is the story.

There’s bound to be some blood along the way

By |July 24th, 2017|

Today we’re going to talk about the boy. Child #2. My son. You may have a boy also. And if he hasn’t yet put his head inside the open mouth of an alligator, then, well, congratulations. My boy announced recently that he’s going to jump from a plane.

The summer my family made the news

By |July 14th, 2018|

So, it's my 50th, that time to remember. And celebrate. No, not that 50th. Not my 50th birthday. That day came and went three years ago today. It was something else. On that day, the children – God bless them – decided to crack open their savings, walk to a local party store

Take your shoes off. Read a book.

By |June 23rd, 2018|

My children get a kick out of it, my barefooted ways. I just don’t like to wear shoes. Even when I drive. Too many years in Africa, I suppose. Now that it’s summer, all the more. It reminds me of our relationship with books. There’s a holiness there. Or there should be. But are we losing the sense of it? I think we are.

Democracy? Meh.

By |June 2nd, 2018|

It was the other day, an ordinary day, a Saturday, when I voted. It was something. Really something. From my front door I walked to my advance polling station. Nobody harassed me on the way. I was met with kind greetings and smiles. Nobody had a gun. I didn’t even have my voter’s card, but a single piece of ID showed

What if I had married the Queen?

By |May 19th, 2018|

Long before the children’s mother came along, I wanted to marry Queen Elizabeth. Or Mrs. Clark. Or Dianne Blouin. Dianne was an angelic presence and the sister of my classmate Michael. She was 12, older by two full years and clearly out of reach. The best I could do was get a photo of Dianne.