Friday, June 21, 2013


My father died five years ago. I wasn’t thinking about Dad as I drove to the Library to work on several communications I will deliver soon. I saw a man walking. His posture, his gait, his hat and glasses instantly activated a memory of my dad. As soon as the idea occurred that it was him, I corrected myself with the comprehension that I had lost him.

I was overcome by a sense of my loss. I miss my dad so much. My brothers Murray and Neale know this loss too, but so do our wives, because he was a gentle man and sweet towards his own sweetheart and to ours as well.

A fresh rush of gratitude fills me now as I recall that this humble soft-spoken factory line worker charmed grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends. He was a man with whom it was natural to feel safe. He was good company, expected little, asked for nothing, had a generous spirit. If he was lonely when Mom left six months sooner, he kept this private. And then, the man who was always there when I would go home, who never seemed to change, was gone.

“Today, I felt your absence once again, Dad.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day 2013

I'm not the primary 'father' on the family celebration day. There is Jeff and Tim as well to receive the appreciation of their respective children. Yet together yesterday, following church, the eleven of us  gathered at the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club in south Surrey for a salmon BBQ.

Salmon halves are put on a wood fire at the far end after several hours of preparation, and then within 20 minutes of flipping from one side to another, they come down to the near end, perfectly baked.

Joining us was Christine's brother David Langlois, here for a week of business but able to hang with us Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


On this fourth of June, I am on a return flight from Toronto to Vancouver having been away for five weeks. We have been in Wales and England honouring my wife Christine as she celebrates her seventy years.

As I fly I am remembering my mother Tina, for whom this day was a birthday. She lived to celebrate 88 of those birthdays and she has been away from her family since November 2007.

We miss her still yet time passes quickly enough that the blurring of memories occurs in spite of our desire to remember. It is photographic images that arouse the recall.

What an interesting woman Mom was. Born in Saskatchewan in a farming community, living in Waldheim and Hepburn, she had a grade nine education and she began to work hard at an early age. She was industrious from the start, knowing how to sew, how to bake and to cook. She did unskilled work, clerking and switchboard operator. She married Edward Richard Unruh, but soon their lives were interrupted by WWII and my father’s enlistment into the Royal Canadian Air Force. The post war years began with them teaming to start and to run a Coffee Shop in Hepburn. Soon however, Dad felt that opportunity for employment and a future existed in Ontario and the family, Dad, me, and a pregnant Mom moved to St. Catharines ON.