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.
(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?"
ATHENS ✦ I'll never forget the unknown boy and his horrible end, not any more than I'll forget Arash and his eyes on the day we met when the waters of the Mediterranean were cold.
It’s dinner. The vote goes in the kids’ favour for what DVD we will watch this evening. (Dad's latest find, a biography on Rich Mullins, will wait another night for, uh, Laura Ingills and company.) “Thank God for whoever invented democracy,” says Jon. “The Greeks did,” I noted. (More on this soon: some news from [...]
It’s bedtime. Liz needs to get to the kitchen to make her snack for the next day. “Dad!” she says. “I’m afraid to go out there. Something’s there. I can feel it in my bones!” “That’s arthritis.” + But, really, it’s the kids who often come up with the most though-provoking comments. Sometimes they’re funny. [...]
(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 19, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was getting late and she, my 12-year-old, sat on the couch and looked into the nothingness and pulled from the air a comment as plain and profound as any. "You know," she said, "People don't know how good they have it." This is what happens when you live in Africa. You see things. Life. People. Suffering. Death sometimes. You get perspective. "They don't know," Liz said. "People don't know." Canadians don't know. This is what she said.
It’s morning, just past sunrise, and the youngest, Child #3, gives me a big hug at the door. “Wish me luck, Daddy!” she says. Today is Track and Field Day at her school. She will run and jump and all that. It will be good for her body and her soul too, and I am [...]
(The Hamilton Spectator - Monday, February 1, 2016) It's 2049 and I'm an old man. I've made my decision. (At least I thought I made it.) It's for release. I've been given a choice in a pleasant manner for an injection or capsules. Soon this will all be over, another release into elsewhere, into eternity. They're out there, opinion polls on this procedure, on "release," what in your day was called "doctor-assisted suicide." Apparently most people are in favour. You have to wonder, though, about the questions.