Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The photo is two years old and the 4 boys contained in it are each 2 years older. I have grown a beard since then but the other three have not. They are my three grandsons. Two of them are brothers and the third is their cousin. I cherish these kinds of moments and this one in particular because it is visually captured. It happened on an August morning at a cottage in Tulameen. I had just retired after a career of service and I was finding it difficult to adjust to life without work and I was not reacting well to a cottage full of people and busy grandchildren. I am confident I did a good job of putting off my children from every wanting to do a family vacation again. Hopefully some mending has occurred since then as they see I have grown more comfortable with who I am now and more content with the grandchildren as children. I am not always grumpy. I love the intimacy and love and the touchy, feely stuff and joking and tickling and walking and playing together and seeing them grow. These boys are close to my heart. Can you tell?

Monday, September 13, 2010

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY but I am thinking of Mom and Dad

Yes, another one. As I did my walk this morning on this cool damp morning after a day of rain, I walked with a sense of my age because my clenched hands ache with the onset of a mild arthritis that is bothersome to my painting. I didn't stay on that thought long however. I realized that while I walked on the first day of my 68th year on earth, I was thinking of my mother who sixty-eight years ago laboured to give me birth. I was her first-born child. She was twenty-five years of age. Just beginning a life as a mom. She is gone now, leaving three years ago after finishing well as she could and then her mind clouded gradually until everything became simple and mundane and controlled by others. For those other caring people I will forever be grateful. Most of all for my brother Murray and my sister in law Diane who for love alone gave endless hours to care for Mom when Dad could no longer do that and we he needed to be encouraged as he toughed life alone until he was 93 years of age. On my birthday I have thought of Mom, soft blue eyes, devoted wife, lover of Christ, nurterer to three sons, fantastic cook, proud woman, contented woman, helpful to everyone, concealer of deep inner hurt that had a long history, determined and ambitious and industrious and surprised by successes that came as a result. The woman my father fell in love with and whom he adored changed involuntarily until she barely existed but he understood this process and loved her. He taught his sons about love so that we could come through adolescence, confusion and mistakes to a mature appreciation of our mother. And when she died he taught us again when he said, "Good night sweetheart. I'll be seeing you soon." Six months later he too slipped quietly from us in 2008. And I am experiencing a birthday at this season of my life and trusting still to leave a legacy of good memories for my offspring and grandchildren. May be 68th year be productive.

Day later Birthday Postscript: We gathered at my son Jeff's home. He and Gina prepared a great meal, baked crusted Halibut which he himself caught off the west coast of Vancouver Island, salsa, great green salad (courtesy of daughter Cari), glass of Ehrenfelser. For dessert, Christine baked an egg custard pie and a chocolate pie with whipped cream. Later, everyone sang happy birthday to me, grandchildren crowding in to give me cards and a present from the whole clan. The children ripped the wrapping off because I was far too slow at it. Inside was a portable painting easel, light, easily assembled, in a carrying case - could take this to France or Fiji. This was the kind of soft celebration birthday party that I like - only my son-in-law was missing do to work. Thank you my family.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life is too precious.

My own life is almost spent. Sure I may have many years to live. Yet my energetic working years are done. The strong blond man of my high school and college years lives only in pictures seldom viewed by anyone. My children now in their own mid years don’t remember me in my youth. In their minds they have only grown accustomed to the ‘me’ with escalating limitations. Their children will always know me ‘old.’ Grandpa I am.

I am not complaining. This is life. It’s good. There are large measures of joy and satisfaction attached to this personal definition of life in Canada.

That’s why the wounded lives of Paul and Zabeth Bayne and their children Kent, Baden and Bethany trouble me so much. That's why the Court Case, the result of which will determine whether the children can come back to their parents or whether they must be forced to become adopted children to adoptive parents, is one of the most important events in B.C. right now. It is only one family of course. However, this single case forecasts the likelihood of an overhaul of the structure, protocol, personnel and policies of this beleaguered child protection agency. It is unthinkable that the Judge's conclusion might greenlight further injustices to more innocent parents and children as zeal and power without wisdom decides the lives of citizens.

The Baynes should not be enduring this broken family unit, the financial ruin, the daily tears, the eyes of three children filled with worry and doubt about so many things that should not harass a child in Canada. For the past year I have been writing a daily blog post advocating for the return of the children to Paul and Zabeth. A final court day occurs September 21. Then the judge will take some time to write and deliver his ruling. Catch it all at my GPS site. Today I wrote my 300th entry.