2021 July

Tante Eva honours the generations

2021-07-25T08:55:12-04:00July 25th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

I’ve always seen the face of my Tante Eva as a face of summer. There she is in this photo from some years ago, standing behind my bride and our three Chumbuckets, along with Eva’s friend, Ingrid, who’s holding photos from Eva’s birth in July, 1931. Eva, the newborn, would eventually know war and other sorrow before she’d grow fully into that woman with a kind face.

2021 May

Mothers and their babies living in risky times

2021-10-09T22:49:28-04:00May 8th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

So Darling Doctor Wife, otherwise known as Dr. Jean, recently came home from an off-duty visit to labour and delivery to see Hosanna Froese, a preemie who arrived in this world eight weeks early. Hosanna’s mother, with COVID-19, isolated at home while tiny Hosanna, all 4.1 pounds of her, started life not at her mother’s breast, but in

2021 February

Even the Son of God had family complications

2021-03-21T02:14:36-04:00February 20th, 2021|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , |10 Comments

It’s the other day and I’m on the phone with a friend in the Cayman Islands. The conversation turns to family. Family, what we celebrated earlier this week. Of course, some of us might as well celebrate the finer points of being an executed outlaw. Sort of like in Manitoba, where, in place of February’s Family Day, they celebrate Louis

2020 February

Settling for only the best

2020-06-20T07:42:27-04:00February 15th, 2020|Categories: Newspaper columns, The Standard|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ This column is about UCU’s new, yet-to-be-named vice- chancellor. But first let me tell you about the Ugandan who was happy to tell me about his recent marriage.“ Congratulations,” I said, before asking, “How old are you?” “Thirty.” I said congratulations again. “That’s a good age.” Then, like a good counsellor

2019 May

The holiness of motherhood

2019-08-04T21:35:04-04:00May 11th, 2019|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , , , |12 Comments

There’s something holy about motherhood. My father’s tears remind me. My wife’s steadiness reminds me. Even my mother, in her long absence, reminds me.There we are sitting in a meadow in Berlin. A large book is on my lap. My mother is teaching me to read. We’re enjoying each other. She tickles me.My pant suspenders – I always laugh when

2018 July

The summer my family made the news

2018-07-15T17:02:19-04:00July 14th, 2018|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , |10 Comments

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

2017 December

For the love of a handwritten letter

2017-12-18T22:22:04-05:00December 2nd, 2017|Categories: Hamilton Spectator|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

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

2017 September

Facing death and seeing the heroic nature of life

2017-10-30T10:42:03-04:00September 23rd, 2017|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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.