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

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.

Wherever we are, we all need grace in our lives

By |June 30th, 2017|

I’m a white Canadian. But I easily imagine myself as a dark Arabian. A Muslim. There, on the streets with a kufiya on my head. Or there, I’m a Muslim woman with a beautiful, but hidden, face, walking along the beach. I’m just telling you. I mean, what if I was born in, say, Yemen.

For Gloria, the fatherless girl we left behind

By |June 17th, 2017|

She's the Ugandan girl who we left behind in a part of the world where, this weekend, there is no Father's Day. And even if there was, this girl, our friend, has no father to honour on it. So while it's only suitable that so many fathers and children

Many Ontario doctors caught in euthanasia dilemma

By |June 2nd, 2017|

He’s a friend. A doctor. His name is Stuart. I stood at the front door of his home, my son beside me. Stuart is the keeper of the children’s bicycles while we’re abroad. We swung by to make arrangements to get them. That’s all it was, an ordinary May evening. But the world was somehow different. Its axis had shifted. At least for Stuart. He’d just returned from Queen’s Park, he informed me, with other doctors lobbying for a

Saving mothers, one modest step at a time

By |May 12th, 2017|

In sub-Saharan Africa they call childbirth “war.” If you’re a woman about to deliver a child in that part of the world, this is your fate. Imagine it. You’re young. (Younger than most Canadians can imagine.) You're poor. You're alone.

Swimming in laughter and tears: Goodbye, Africa

By |March 17th, 2017|

The original meaning “God be with ye” disappeared into the phrase “good-bye” long ago. But this is what I’m now left with, this long good-bye. It’s a prayer as much as anything, this good-bye to Africa. These days I’m swimming in it ...

(Sixteen years ago today) she said ‘Yes!’

By |February 14th, 2017|

Sixteen years ago today, The Children’s Mother and I got engaged. Of course, at the time she was not The Children’s Mother. She was My Babe. I thought the world should know of the good news, so I blasted it all on the front page ...

Her lessons in chess are lessons in life

By |February 11th, 2017|

I’m not one to see a miracle around every corner. If things worked that way, the real deal would get awfully cheap. But I got a haircut the other day. The gentleman cutting my hair – he informed me his name was Maxwell – said it was a miracle. Not my haircut. My question.

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.

What if pain and suffering are also nourishment?

By |May 5th, 2018|

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.