Monday, November 28, 2016


My brother Murray and I Facetimed today and he told me this.
My Dad was 92 years old and he was over the moon because he was going to a Christmas Dinner with his favourite girl. Mom had been in long-term care for one year while dad lived alone in an adjoining apartment facility. It was December and Dad's apartment neighbours were scheduling an annual Christmas Dinner. Mom's meds were balanced and she was feeling better than she had in a long time. Dad asked my brother Murray, "do you think it would be okay if I took Mom to the dinner?" Murray replied, "I don't see why not." Murray made the arrangements. The caring staff promised to have Mom's hair done and a lovely dress ready to wear. Mom could be seated in a wheel chair and if she grew weary during the evening, he could leave with her. Murray sensed Dad's excitement as the date grew nearer.  Murray had Dad's suit dry cleaned, and Dad had a favourite tie to wear. Murray said he would accompany Dad to Mom's room to insure all was well. Dad was noticeably pumped about this evening. His face and his mood told Murray that Dad was going on a date, a special evening with his sweetheart. They took the elevator to the first floor and as they walked down the lengthy corridors, an enthusiastic Dad surprised Murray by breaking out in song. The tune was unfamiliar to Murray as Dad sang heartily the words to 'Darktown Strutter's Ball' a landmark 1917 recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Upon finishing it by the end of the corridor to Murray's utter shock, Dad jumped off the ground and clicked his heels together.

I'll be down to get you in a taxi, honey
Pick you up 'bout half past eight
Oh honey don't be late
I want to be there when the band starts playin'

Remember when we get there, honey
Two step, we're gonna have a ball
I'm gonna dance out of my shoes
When they play the Jelly Roll Blues
Tomorrow night at the Darktown Strutter's Ball

Got my new threads ready
And they're really something
With you in yours we'll look a smash
We're gonna make a splash
And when the band starts playin'
Baby we'll start swayin'

Remember when we get there honey
We're gonna dance the night away
And things are gonna hit the roof
When they see the way you move
Tomorrow night at the Darktown Strutter's Ball

Mom and Dad have been gone since 2007 and 2008 respectively, and Murray, Neale and I cannot help thinking about them occasionally.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


The light of my new 50-watt flood lamp will last longer than I do. If I let it shine 24/7 it will shine for 15 years.  My genetics project me that far without guarantees. Think of it, my Phillips 50-watt lamp and its two siblings in the 3-pack, will each glow through three more US Presidential campaigns and be on the cusp of a fourth. From north of the 49th Parallel, this Presidential amusement is spectator sport held every 4 years like the Olympics, Football World Cup, UEFA European Championship, and Rugby World Cup but is comparatively more costly.


IF President Trump wakes up Nov 9th.
§  2017 trade war with China; 45% imports tariff
§  2017 trade war with Mexico; 35% imports tariff
§  China & Mexico go into recession; block US businesses
§  US businesses lose 7 million jobs
§  Soaring US inflation, recession, even depression
§  U.S. renegotiates NAFTA
§  Repeal Obamacare; 24 million without insurance.
§  Deportation 2 million illegal immigrants; cost $20 billion
§  Huge tax cuts > spending cuts > job loss
§  Halting immigration from Terror prone countries
§  Pull out of Trans-Pacific Partnership and Paris climate-change agreement
§  Cancel US climate change programs
§  Devalues ally nations risking international instability
§  military standoff with China in South China Sea
§  military standoff with North Korea
§  resumption of waterboarding
§  federal agencies go after Hillary Clinton

IF President Clinton wakes up Nov 9th.
§  Comes into office under criminal investigation
§  Scandals and Wikileaks never go away
§  foreign policy and national security platform follows Obama's
§  builds on Obama’s affordable universal health care
§  a Paycheck Fairness Act to challenge sex-based pay discrimination
§  Increases minimum wage to $12 or $15; requires Congressional approval
§  Creates a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants
§  Deports criminal illegal immigrants
§  Republican House resists all Clinton moves
§  Her administration raises tax for ultra wealthy
§  Withdraws from the Trans Pacific Partnership
§  Eliminates tuition for families with income less $125,000/yr
§  amends constitution to undue Citizens United (super PACS)
§  Expands background checks for gun sales

§  Increases federal infrastructure funding $275 billion over 5 yrs. (bridges, highways, airports

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


There are just a few things that I do not share with Christine and this is one of them. Well actually there were two other times as well - identical situation. If I told her about this she would have more concern over my failing memory, and there is no need to worry her. I mean it. She can't even watch a blue Jays game like tonight's against Baltimore. So why tell her that I almost lost my KOBO. I love my KOBO eReader. I take it to the gym each morning. In a black cover it is almost invisible when the cover is closed on the stationary bike, or the elliptical machine. Yes, I packed up and came home without it. What are the chances that it would still be there, specially when this is the third time that I have done this. The first time I asked the attendant and was surprised that someone had turned it in for me. The second time it was still on the machine when I returned for it. This morning I came to the attendant and confessed, "I have done this before … and she quickly disappeared to retrieve from her desk, my KOBO, kindly deposited there by an honest person. Okay this is chronic. I need to tape a bright, "TAKE ME," on the cover.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016


I read and I write. I spend hours each day reading, news, blogs, articles. I have a Kobo and read on the gym stationary bike, treadmill and elliptical machine. I enjoy diverse genre. Fiction is an escape with espionage, crime thrillers. I find when a good script is converted to film, an increase in sex, violence and profanities occurs. Recently I have watched some good and bad movies on YouTube. I am not happy with the fermentation of dialogue in my psyche. I find my dreams and morning waking mind filled with distasteful language, vulgarities, profanities that I never use. And at my age I ponder a day when losing my marbles my mind will seize on language convenient to recall, and I will spout expletives at my family and caregivers. I am convinced that my proportion of wholesome written and visual input must increase. I am making an effort. I am more discerning and I am prioritizing refinement, spirituality, and unpolluted prose. I pulled the apostle Paul close to me and he whispered something he told believers in Philippi, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." That's what I am doing. (Phil 4:8)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

boyhood sketch 21. FOR MY BOYS

Dad worked hard. He finished grade eleven in the small Saskatchewan town of Hepburn where he was born. He had owned his own gas station (called service stations then), and he and mom owned and operated a coffee shop. They moved to St. Catharines, Ontario in 1947. Several large manufacturing companies employed thousands and wages were better than anything in the West, and furthermore, my mom's family already lived in the city. Assembly line work was strenuous and often exhaustingly hot. Air conditioning was unheard of in those years. From our Clark Street home, Dad walked thirty long city blocks to work at Anthes Imperial, a furnace assembly factory. Dad tried several jobs, starting on the smelter, a wickedly hot job even in winter. In summer it was intolerable. Ringing wet at the end of a shift, Dad would walk home in the late afternoon humidity and heat. Arriving, he would remove his T-shirt and ring it out. As a child I never thought about this or regarded it seriously. Much later as an adult, having done some hard labour, I understood dad's family investment. When all three sons were adult and dad was nearing retirement after forty years of physical labour on an assembly line, we asked why he stuck at something like that. He replied in a manner that humbled us forever, "I did it for my boys."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Theatre still stands but it’s closed
My dad worked for Anthes Imperial, a furnace manufacturer. He was one of hundreds of assembly line workers. Salaries were meagre yet one of the employee bonuses Anthes Execs offered for families was an annual Christmas Party, a December invitation to Lincoln Theatre on St. Paul Street. There we would watch a Christmas flick and then every employee's child's name was read out and an age appropriate gift given on stage by none other than the fattest Anthes Santa they could find. Murray had beautiful curly white-blond hair and sitting on Santa's knee he was asked his name. In his sweet boy voice he replied, "Murray." Santa and his helper misheard the name and gave Murray a present. We didn't open the gifts until we got home. When Murray opened his, he found a dainty toy Tea Set, cups & saucers & teapot. He was not pleased.

Queenstown Heights Restaurant & Brock’s Monument
The other Anthes gimme was the annual Factory Summer Picnic held at Queenston Heights. Races and other contests were organized for children, three legged races, and wheel-barrow races (dads holding their kids legs and the kids scrabbling with their hands to a finish line), and sack hops. I loved it because I was fast and competitive enough to come home with prizes. The Factory also provided drinks and foods, ice cream and watermelon.