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 second, and second-last, time.
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.
I will miss the light of Africa as much as I will miss anything. I will miss the water too. This, even as I’ll miss Africa itself, the birthplace of our youngest daughter, the place where the light shines so beautifully on her skin.
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 ...
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, September 17, 2016) ABOARD KLM FLIGHT 535 TO UGANDA ✦ I’ve always envied people who could watch their mothers grow old. My mother, I’ve shared previously, passed on when I was in kindergarten. I hadn’t seen her for two years prior to that. Funny to think of it here, half asleep at 40,000 feet.
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, August 27, 2016) HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ It was a different time and place on the day I watched another human being die in my father’s arms. I was just a boy. Bert had epileptic seizures, medically uncontrollable then. Tall and lanky, he’d crumple and fall hard on the floor in the house, or outside under the apple tree, or in places between, shaking, convulsing, rigid as a board. I’d watch. All the time. Bert lived with us.
(The Hamilton Spectator - Friday, July 29, 2016) HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ It's a warm and ordinary day, warm and ordinary enough to run around in shorts and bare feet. The children's mother, your babe, that is your bride, is playing your song. The cats are in front and the dog's in back and the kids are doing homework and nothing much is happening, except this song from the piano in the other room, the piece that makes your blood jump every time.
(The UCU Standard - Monday, May 23, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was in Canada and we were at a campy lakeside retreat, and it was a beautiful summer day and a gaggle of children were playing outside the large window near where we ate. My daughter, that is my adopted Ugandan daughter, Hannah, looked at me with a tear rolling down her cheek. I asked her what was the matter, and, looking down in shame, she said, “I’m the only black person here.”