For International Women’s Day 2017, I have resurrected and updated a column I had in the Guelph Tribune on this day in 2012. It sometimes feels like we are five years further forward and fifty years further back. ***** Misogyny is the hatred of women. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about today, International Women’s Day, but it just won’t go away . It would be nice to think we could get through at least one day in relative peace, but we won’t. Today, somewhere in Guelph, more than one man will lash out in anger. More than one wife, daughter, sister or motherRead More →

It was a nice day for a walk. The sky was blue, with dots of white clouds here and there. The ground was snow white, with dots of yellow here and there. I always look for the blue sky. Charlie always looks for the yellow snow. He found some right away at the base of the hydro pole that stands at the mouth of our driveway. After he had finished exploring it, he looked up at me. “Was I a rescue dog?” he asked. “No,” I said. “We got you from a breeder. Why do you ask?” Charlie set his back leg on the groundRead More →

I discovered Duane Eddy around the time I turned 13 in 1959. When I turned 19 in 1965, the Rolling Stones brought me out of my teenage years. Throughout that six year passage Chuck Berry was always at my side. Until I got out of high school in 1963, I thought I was Duane Eddy’s biggest fan. Maybe I was. I never met very many others. I had all his records, mostly 45 rpm singles in the early days, and albums as my weekly allowance rose to meet the challenge. There was Cannonball, Rebel Rouser, Ramrod, Forty Miles of Bad Road, and a whole lotRead More →

Sixty years. That’s how long it’s been since our family made the Atlantic crossing into Canada. It was quite a journey that brought us to St. Jean, Quebec, on August 10th 1957. We had been living in the small English town of Egham since 1948 when we moved down from Glasgow. It was a quiet town, about 20 miles from the centre of London, five miles from Heathrow Airport and six miles from Windsor Castle. It is most notable for being the site of Runnymede, the meadow where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215. Egham had some council houses, built after the warRead More →

The other day, when I told Charlie we were going for a walk he ran into the bedroom, jumped onto the bed and sat there looking at the television. The screen was dark, the way all screens are when they’re still turned off. When I got his leash and approached him, Charlie stood up on the bed, tail wagging. He looked at the screen and barked. Then he looked at me and barked again. I attached the leash and led him out the door. “Come on,” I said. “There’s nothing for us to watch on TV.” When we got to the hydro pole by theRead More →

I was never in the military, but my father was. He joined the British Navy when he was twenty. Sailing the high seas was not a new thing for him. He already had his sea legs, having spent a couple of years working as a cabin steward on ocean liners travelling from Southampton to New York, South Africa and  Australia. He had his 20th birthday on May 4 1939. It wasn’t difficult to see that the world was gearing up for another war. My dad, Seajay, often told us that the First World War came to an end because the belligerent countries ran out of troops toRead More →

For ten years, the Friends of the Guelph Public Library has been raising money for our best friend, the Guelph Public Library. We haven’t stopped yet, and don’t intend to. So far we are over half a million dollars to the good. All of it has come from selling books, most of them at two or three dollars each. For the first one in 2007 we rented some tables, set them up in the Old Quebec Street Mall and loaded them up with donated books. The mall had been the Eaton Centre up until 1999 when Eaton’s went belly up, a major casualty of theRead More →

I am the only person I know who has achieved a trifecta in beer games. I had a perfect hand in cribbage, shot a hole in one in golf and threw a ton-eighty in darts. I know people who have achieved one or another of these. I even know people who have shot more than one 180 on the same darts night. But no one who has done all three. And each of them I’ve only ever done once. A perfect hand in cribbage comes when you have been dealt three fives, the jack of the off-suit and two other cards. You discard the twoRead More →

If you think I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to music, I’ll tell you this much: I have performed live in front of a packed house, as one half of a piano duet. My younger brother was the other half. Two people at one piano equals four hands on 88 keys. Sixteen fingers and four thumbs responsible for 4.4 keys each. Simple. What could go wrong? Nothing, and nothing did. In a faraway England, sixty years distant by now, there was one thing most families, rich and poor, had in common. It cut across the severe class divide that kept us allRead More →

Woke up this morning in Guelph Ontario. Will be setting my head on a pillow this evening in Watrous Saskatchewan. The plane left Toronto at 10:15 this morning. After a 3-hour flight, it landed in Regina at 11:30. Time zones are wonderful. All went smoothly for me in Toronto, but not so much for the guy ahead of me in the security scrutiny line. He had one smallish carry-on bag. I don’t know how much he checked in. It doesn’t really matter. The security guy pulled his bag as it came out of the x-ray booth. “I have some fishing tackle in there,” he said.Read More →