(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, May 17, 2014) HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ There was a time when a neighbourhood school was a place that nourished your soul. It wasn’t that long ago. I’m not that old. You’d go to play, say, baseball on Saturday morning or, in winter, hockey on the rink that your Grade 6 teacher lovingly flooded outside the row of windows where even the good students looked out to daydream. It was a time when you’d walk to school every morning. By yourself. Even when the school bully – her last name was, fittingly, Greenall – went the same way. It somehow even brought out courage that you never knew you had.
(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, December 21, 2013) ENTEBBE, UGANDA ✦ It’s the end of another year of words. Words that have routinely informed us and words that have even sometimes, like summer snow, given a fresh look at everyday things. Like what happened recently in Africa during my children’s nightly reading, a story both troubling and reassuring. “You know,” I said, after, “things will happen in your life. Bad things. And nobody will be able to save you from them. I won’t be able to and neither will your mother. But let me tell you something. God loves to take these sorts of things and turn them into something good.”