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
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 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
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
I had a dream the other night, an outrageous foray into the sublimely bizarre. I was fighting a gorilla. He wore glasses, which, funny enough, looked like mine. I stood in the cleft of a rockface, and had a motorcycle in my shoulder bag. I was going to ride away, fly, somehow. Crazy for sure. Our dreams are such a mystery.
So I was recently getting my passport renewed when I was mistaken for a lost rock star. “Are you the long lost Beatle?” I was asked by a passport attendant who noticed my Beatles T-shirt. “No,” I said. “But I can see why you’d think so, because even when I appear lost I still carry myself like a cool and laid-back rocker.
It was a long time ago and a ridiculous day. I went for a sleepover. “Chris has invited you,” I was told by the grownups around me. So with my pyjamas and such, I walked some distance to my friend’s house. Chris wasn’t home, so I sat and waited. His sister looked at me like I was from Mars. I waited.
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
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.
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
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.
A bus hits a semi on a highway. A van drives along a busy walkway. Death arrives as casually as one day following another. And all the pain with it. Humboldt. Toronto. And the next one? Healing will come. But much of it will come later. First it’s been time to cry with those who cry.
It’s the painters and the writers, the sculptors and the musicians, who tell us, the rest of us, to stop and look and listen. To pay attention. To see the holiness in the ordinary. This is the heart of the matter, the nub of it, the core of life. The times when we manage to get ourselves off of
Today’s rumination is about the flags of the world and the hope of the world and the fears of the world, (or at least some fears in Canada), even as it’s about how the children’s mother helped me get over some of my own fears. We live in a world that’s somehow naturally saddled with fear
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
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,
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 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?