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,
So I'm in the middle of Africa dining with a colleague and he declares, "That's great news about Jean. Congratulations!" Out comes his phone and all the details and I'm in the dark and feeling rather sheepish about it. My bride, the children's mother, in her natural humility, hadn't told me of her recent recognition as a Canadian
(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 Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, June 18, 2016) HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ It was my daughter's first teenage birthday party and the family van was full of giggling girls. The verdict on the Tim Bosma trial wasn't in, not yet, when we pulled into the bowling ally across from Carmen's banquet hall and I said, "Tim Bosma's funeral was in that hall. And his wedding too." Silence fell. One girl said it was terrible what happened to Tim. Then my barely 13-year-old asked, "Why would they have his wedding and funeral at the same place?"
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, June 6, 2015) CHARLESTON, S.C. ✦ We're in the ocean, waves crashing at our knees, salt on our lips, my daughter and me and all these poets in my head. My daughter (today she turns 12) laughs and dances and spins in circles and says, "No, Daddy, don't take any more pictures. Just come and run with me. Enjoy the moment."
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, April 4, 2015) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ This is about two friends, two neighbours, some hard math (if not hard truth) and a dead musician.
In November 2014 I returned from my African home to speak at the Hamilton Convention Centre on the theme of The Nature of Peace. This was on the invitation of the YMCA of Hamilton-Burlington-Brantford, which holds an annual Peace Medal Breakfast to honour the people of Hamilton region who work towards peace. Following is [...]