Monday, December 31, 2018

Plane flight to Mystery

He couldn’t say what he was escaping.  A restlessness.  A certain ennui.  He was simmering a tepid personal stew..  He was tired of himself.

 The warrior monk  had grown old.  He’d  charged one too many windmills. Now he had sciatica. He’d counted coup on his enemies countless times. This new lot didn’t even know coup.  The took offence at neutrality.   They bashed forward like Vogon. The parking lot was the height of their artistic expression.   They worshipped an old drug in their new way.

Now he was on a plane.

“How much longer?” He asked the stewardess. 

Later he asked her again, “Are we there yet?”  She’d didn’t answer. 

There was only one more day in the year.  2018 was passing. It was the year that all the prophecies about Climate Change,  Donald Trump and fake news proved false, yet another year. The promises of annihilation were untrue but  no one seemed to  care  because truth was reduced like everything sacred to mere construction. The role of speech had devolved to a child ‘waaaaaaaaah’ of infantile protest.  The bankers, lawyers and activists chortled with glee.  

He stared at the passing night.

“I am looking forward to my own bed”, he thought.  He considered the problem of his expanding bladder and the two big men between him and the aisle.  

2018 was another year of waste. Urine, shit, plastic, nuclear. 

Outside the window  chariots ridden by gods  passed the jet plane. A saucer full of aliens descended again to  suck the brains from another Canadian politician. Rumors of intelligence are highly exaggerated. 

I dreamed of bugs crawling in my nose and rats eating my lips well still  i lived, unable to move, feeling the pain and dismemberment.   I was awake.  The pain wasn’t something I could distract myself from. I prided myself on meditation and stoicism but rats gnawing on lids seemed worse than the immediate pain and  loss of sight caused by huge carrion birds plucking out my  eyes.  The last sight , an image of beady beurocratic eyes and huge beak.  It just goes on interminably. The hope is fever and death but what if one remains a wake as the worms pass through the body as it turns to dust.  The problem really is the  attachment to this body.

I’m no longer attached to my body. I’ve eaten so much this year   I’m feeling fat.  No matter what politically correct CBT I do in my mind I can’t see myself as handsome with a protruding gut screaming my sins of gluttony and sloth to all that have eyes to see.   I’m no different than an alcoholic reaking of booze or a sex addict playing upskirt with the childrn. I wonder when I’ll reach my bottom. It’s certainly growing.

The rumble of the plane is exhausting.  The air is stale in this tight cramped position in economy. I think first class is getting their air before us.  I imagine a communist revolt using all that Lenin and Che Guevara taught us.  My shoes feel tight as my heart fails to circulate the blood efficiently through the swamp of my feet.  I have the urge to stand up and scream.  Panic builds.  The claustrophobia returns.  I have a  series of phobias I can indulge in like comic books.  I page through them.  I’ve dwelled on them enough all my life.  

The therapy dog lies at my feet dreaming of chasing rabbits.

I’ve had a grand time with family. As close to returning to a womb as an adult is allowed to in public places. I’ve suckled the nipple of nostalgia.  I’m treated as a white hair.  I have to intellectually construct myself as such, being an adolescent looking out on the world from this bloated corpse. I watched two frail old people adventurously boarding the plane and constructed them as adolescent lovers. I’ve lost the ability to look at old people as such.  We’re all children in a sand box.  

I don’t know how it happened.  Every month I learn of  another person close to me or someone I went to college with dying. The good die young we insist.   I live on.   I can only imagine God has a plan or use for me.  I haven’t a clue. I’m trying to embrace the mystery.  Catholics probably handle dementia better than the rest of us.

I’m reading Evelyn Waugh. It’s 1930. He’s at the coronation of Haile Selassie in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  I’ve learned the source of the Jamaican name Rastafarian.  I also learn the source of “I and I” a  phrase  I remember from  a Bob Dylan song. Apparently the Syrian Christians since massacred in the millions by Muslims once came to teach in Africa. 

“Are we their yet?”  He asked in subdued voice.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Ottawa, Kanata, Andrew and Tanya’s Place

Love their new home. Andrew and Tanya are expecting. Young professionals.  The new generation. With all the crap on FB and main stream media these are the young people I know I’ve been hanging out with my nephews. The world is in good hands. The future is bright.  They are really exceptional people. I’m covered up in shame and guilt and struggling with injuries and scars and failure.  An old soldier in a struggle against myself and the house always wins. They’re young and full of hope.
The greatest evidence of faith and hope is the ‘bump’ .  Tanya’s showing and last night showed me the US picture of the new baby to come. But their new home is so organized. None of the clutter and waste that I seem plagued with. There’s no bodies in the corners of rooms. No skeleton. No carcasses. No carion smells. Vultures aren’t circling.  
A couple of squirrels ran across the deck outside. Last night a rabbit visited.  There’s a beautiful Christmas tree in the living room. It’s a smaller version of the one my sister in law Adell cut down  in their yard and decorated with her cousin Melvine.  I’m amazed at people whose lives are sufficiently together to be in the season. I’m still storing hunting gear in storage lockers, have to get the cammo gear back to storage. 
Outside it’s snowing.  Big fluffy flakes. The stuff of Its a wonderful life. 
My nephew was making robots and talking with NASA. Now he’s working government computer programs.  I discussed the merits of plasma, nuclear and chemical solutions with my other nephew driving here. His engineering degree was chemical engineering but he’s more interested in plasma and back at University of Toronto studying plasma application and doing research.  
 They’re really good bright people.  Like Adell, Andrew and Tanya are cleaning up as they go.  
My nephew Allan, with his fiancĂ© Meagan,  are heading back to England where they live. I wanted to visit them and go north to Aberdeen.  I told Laura we needed to return to Ireland and explore the south coast.  I want to sail there. Liked the harbours I saw when I was there. Imagined my sailboat in the harbour and me dingying ashore to an Irish coffee shop which served Irish stew.  I’ve looking into jobs. There are so many jobs for psychiatrists around the world, hundred and our government hates psychiatrists. Since we’ve got the stoner PM it seems all the government has gone low brow. Maybe it’s just everyone in power smoking dope now. They used to drink. Now cocaine is coming in. The problem is the sprinkling of fentanyl that’s killing the innoscents. .
Gilbert has been well cared for by everyone without me ever asking.  Tanya fed him and Graeme walked him and Andrew slipped him a bit of ham this morning  under the table. He feels as welcome as I do. Everyone has been caring for me. I’m the white hair. 
The two brothers are discussing light waves and audio systems.  Earlier Tanya was commenting on the sun damage on the hard wood floor versus wear and tear.  She’d mapped out the area of discolouration and was sure it was a chemical reaction with the wax.  I was amused at how many people would simply not know or take wear and tear for granted.  Really curious minds.  Andrew is talking about the varnish on the floor and the dining room table. He’s been installing lights in the bathroom.  Thanks to my father all the Hay boys are handy.  The brothers are talking about building a deck together this summer.  There’s all this incredibly advanced cooperative behaviour and sharing and discussing that others take for granted.
I work with drug addicts.  Every one of these natural flowing human relationship transitions and communications happening around me here  would have been ratcheted with attitude.  Conversations would be derailed. Everyone would be on guard.  There’d been that forever sense of walking on broken glass.  People in glass houses would be throwing stones at everyone. The rageaholics and the always offended looking for a peg to hang their anger on would be preying on your every word.  The bullies would be looking for respect. Did you respect me. All the inferiority complexes would be marching and demanding attention.  I’m going back to the war this coming week.  Being in this rest area back from the lines I’m relaxing.  The men had walked in and shown me their knives and revolvers.  The women have their complaints in quick draw holders on their chests.  The blood levels of drugs fluctuated personalities week to week. The professional police are like the Mexican city police. If you report a theft they arrive to take what wasn’t taken by the perpetrator and blame you for working with the dangerously insane. They have locks on their doors and guards in their high rises.  I’m on the street.  I sometimes dream of the jar of bed bugs thrown at me by the person who couldn’t get the government to address his infestation problem. The government isn’t ever near. So they hit us. We’re near. The government blames us for riling up the natives. They don’t even know the language and are too afraid themselves to be of any help to anyone.  That’s why they got their jobs. Bunker duty.
It’s not emotionally loud here though. I can shake off the work.  I can forget for a while the bullies and the toxicity.   I loved being with Adell and watching the family Christmas repeat like all those childhood Christmases with my father and mother, grandparents, uncles and aunts.  I loved when my grandfather and uncle came down from up north and Dad visibly changed to more himself. When we rode horses together with his cowboy and cowgirl friends he was like he was with his rancher logger brothers. Then my mother’s sisters would come and she’d relax safe in the uptown Toronto feeling. I love still sharing on FB with the friends in Fort Garry. Recently we all reminisced about climbing out of windows to shovel the snow from the doors to get them open after the snowstorm. I loved the pictures shared. I remembered snowmobiling through the city streets to man the emergency.  It wasn’t the only time I snow mobiles to work. I remember the 50 miles tundra ride and going throug the ice and walking frozen the last half hour to the nursing station where the aboriginal man had had a stroke and there was question of dates on the late stage pregnant lady.  I like snowmobiles but have no real justification for one in Vancouver where the snow is at most a sprinkling.  I just like vehicles. Have been missing my Mini Cooper here..
I’m relaxed. Family have certain traits. Here it’s assumed that you don’t hurt others.  Here people don’t lie. It’s just a Hay thing. I never knew that telling the truth and not hurting others were ‘optional’ family traits many but they are. I’ve spent too much time on the edge.  It’s comforting to be among this ‘normality’ despite the eccentric set of the lot. 
Last night they all watched a cooking show , the worst chefs, where the people were given a recipe and judged on their product. It was a variation of the singing one but really much more earthy and bad. Graeme and Andrew laughed hysterically at the misshapen baked goods guys and girls made who’d never baked before.  Just for the record, I’ve never watched such a show before.  Peculiar people.  Each with his or her own traits but all kind. All sensitive to each other.  All thoughtful.  
Tanya is like the elf princess in Lord of the Rings.  Sensitive in a gentle way.  Great sense of humor.  Now pregnant, a part of her tuned inward. Preparing for the child.
Gilbert feels at home here. He’s sleeping now.  
All week people have been doing their individual things, gathering to cook a meal together, making a puzzle together, then going off alone or in pairs to read or talk.  I’ve watched tv and joined in or read.
I was reading about Ethiopia, planning a trip,  and learning of all the bugs, malaria, rats, cobra, then dreaming of slow death by bugs eating one.  It was a Stephen King things but lucid dreaming so I was trying to escape.  I must be careful what I read before falling asleep. Most nights I’ve been dreaming of deceased family,visiting those who have passed, walking with my brother, talking with my aunt, eating a meal with my parents.  I keep seeing my father’s face and my grandfather’s face.  They’re happy and quizzical. They’ve all go so much wiser the older I’ve got.   
A new year is dawning. I’m not sure what I’m going to do differently.  This trip immediately and a medical conference late fall next year are the only destinations fixed in the journey of another year. I’ll motorcycle and drive and work and walk the dog. I’ll read and watch Netflix and enjoy my couch and swim and lie in the hot tub. I think that’s likely I’ve tickets to a Canucks game , the ballet, and a couple of concerts . I look forward to camping.  I really want to unload the excess in the storage locker and reduce the files.  Surely I can get rid of business files to begin and scan some clinical ones.  I’ve boxes of books that can go and old furniture and clothing that really needs to move along.  I’m heavy with stuff. I want so much to lighten up.
I’ve been in this place before. Never could sustain it.  Relationships wrecked by my restlessness.  I have to remember expectations are ‘preformed resentments’.  Another person my age I knew in college years died.  
It’s strange this dying bit. I remember when the divorces were infectious. I remember when the going to college was infectious. I remember when certain sports took hold in the yuppie world. I remember the standard travel plans and me being outside out of the norm and not fitting as my interests deviated so far from the safe and narrow of the politically correct, that place of utter mediocrity.
When I meet other solo sailors we’re in sync. When I meet other psychiatrists who have devoted their life to clinical practice we agree. I relate to people my age usually more than those of a different generation.  I’m always feeling adolescent with respect to the ‘fit’.  There’s a collection of traits which are supposed to go as a group, my dancing ballet and big game hunting are ‘abnormal’ .  I can relate to my nephews interest in virtual reality and my other nephews interest in energy production.  My sister in law loves education. She’s a gifted interior designer in retirement.   She’s so appreciative of music that took centuries to develop.  
I like to write. Steinbeck used to write letters to his editor before writing a passage in his books to come. I ‘blog’. It’s it’s own end. I like to write. My work is channeling the tales of people’s lives by the highlights of their successes and failures.  I’m wearying of typing all day. I’m having memories of when I was an executive copy typist.  Channeling. I like this nonsense better. The squeezing the puss out of my head journaling.  Superficial thoughts.  Now I’ll go back to reading Evelyn Waugh.  Amazing writing. Truly gifted for the use of English.  1930’s writer. Conversation with the dog or with God. It doesn’t seem to matter much.  
I’m flying west later today. I remember my father always starting an argument with me or my brother the last day of our visit. Ron and I discussed it. Only when we were older did we realize how sad he was to see us leave. It’s was nails on a chalk board to his heart.  He was such a strong man that he couldn’t cry easily.  Only my mother’s death brought torrential tears.  It was easier for him to get angry.  It took us years to understand. My brother and I in his last years talked a lot about our parents and our childhood.  
Adell gave me pictures of the grandparents this visit. She’s been going through old boxes.  
The Irish is turning up.
I remember my drunken Irish friend insisting only Catholics were Irish.  We’re the protestants and Fay for sure. 
Today the FB controversy was whether First generation Somalis should be Canadian Cabinet ministers.  Meanwhile Trudeau has set out to destroy Canada and is allied to the communist globalist rule by beurocratic elite. Brussels a  snake pit.  Somali was communist.  It attacked Ethiopia over Ogaden.  Communist Canada is devolving.  Death by tax. 
It concerns me.  Aetheist communists killed hundreds of millions in a matter of decades and most Canadians are ignorant of this history. I feel politically like an outsider.  It’s been so often like I’m walking about on an Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake  set. 
Enough.  I’m going to go back to reading Evelyn Waugh. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

In Ethiopia With A Mule by Dervla Murphy

If there is any doubt about Irish women being indomitable and mad, then reading this endearing tale of Dervia hiking through the highlands of Ethiopia in the 60’s. Born in the 30’s she bicycled from London to India first then headed out to Ethiopia.
What a tale of generous kindly hospitable impoverished peasants inviting her nightly to their compounds because the hyeanas and tigers threatened her mule at night. Robberies, attacks by baboons, sliding down cliffs, the best of beurocrats and marvellous royalty. She meets all sorts and describes the people, churches and the land beautifully. She is scathing in her description of some she meets like a nasty robber posing as a priest. She makes it clear her encounters with the bad or downright evil were utterly rare especially given the wonderful care and welcome the country extended to her.
 She seemed never to fear rape, murder yes, but she was most incensed to lose her sleeping bag and so thankful that the police found and returned it.
 Jock the mule is a delightful character. A bit of a Steinbeck’sTravels with Charlie without hardly any amenities. No truck, no camper, not even a tent, but jock carried her books and fountain pen, an compass and maps she’d later lose.
She definitely liked the local beer, safer than water. She didn’t like the bugs so often sleeping on the ground amidst animals and children.
What a tale! What a great Irish lady and storyteller.
I want even more to visit Ethiopia especially the churches of Lalibela which she described as moving her. Wonderful scenery and people.Thank you for your heroic tale.

Hay Bay Family Christmas 2018

Gilbert and I have had a truly blessed and wondrous time this Christmas at Hay Bay. What a joy Adell has brought to this home. The nephews are great. And of course the dogs.  It’s been a highlight of my life to be welcomed home. . I thank my father and mother and family for these moments.  Shredding the frequent sense of isolation and alienation in this gathering of love.
The last time I was at Hay Bay my older brother Ron was dying.  Kingston Hospital and staff and Napanee outreach were all wonderful. But Adell and  boys, Graeme, Andrew, Allan and Tanya, Andrew’s wife were the real hero’s. Adell was the stuff of legend. Ron had told me when I asked personally, “all I want is to have more time with my family.”  It was so good that he could return home with his family. He loved looking out this window as I am today.  The family gathered around and held him close.  He was a truly great man. . Till he was bed ridden he was planting fruit trees for future generations.
This Christmas Tanya announced a child on the way. I’m to be a Grand Uncle. Ron would have loved to be here.  He was in spirit. The whole family, Grand Parents, Parents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Nephews, Neices all seemed to gather close when she shared the news.  At Christmas.  A new baby coming.  
 I felt my brother everywhere, thought often of  our childhood with family, the many Christmases before kaledoscoping through my mind, friends and family, the ex’s, love and caroles. Christmas music, turkey dinner, cranberries, turkey dinner left overs.
Adell  beamed at the prospect of being a grandmother.  I remembered my mom sharing that special moment when Adell told her of the beginning of Graeme.  
Allan and Meagan announced their engagement.  A lovely sapphire ring.  Sparkling in the Christmas lights.  Jodi, Meagan’s delightful mother, came right out and said it, “good we’re closer to having more children about.”  
I loved these two mothers and their love for the children and their futures. What great leaders they are.  
So it’s another year.  Gilbert, blind and old played with his cousins. Pepper Graeme’s cockapoo made close friends with Gilbert. Eva, the little love bug was mischievous as ever and so glad to run with Pepper and Gilbert. The trip was worth it if only to see the three playing together on the front lawn .  Walking with Graeme and me around the property was rewarding too. First Gilbert found the dead fish and rolled in it. Then Pepper found the dead fish and rolled in it.  
 The swans on the lake were a treat. The snow and the rain and sunshine all so welcome. 
Melvine, Adell’s cousin has a great sense of humor. The laughter here was so bright. The wood fire.  Uplifting music. Faith. Hope. Love.  
I loved going to St. Mary’s Christmas Eve service enjoying the caroles and the sermon.  Jesus Christ is born.  Jesus Christ is Lord. Hail the new born King!.
Connecting again with my cousin Ruth Anne was terrific too. I had that warm sentimental heart feeling, that relaxation I rarely feel in the war zone of my work.  Everyone’s offended and everyone is looking for an excuse or law suit.  False accusations and fake news. No more truth. The air is thick with the smell of drugs of one kind or other.   
The spirit of the flow is here  My heart sings.   It’s wonderful to have family.  Merry Christmas.  I’ll always remember this Christmas. Thank you Ron. Thank you Adell. Thank you Mom and Dad, Uncles, Aunts, cousins, nephews. Those who have passed are angels now gathering around this family.  The air is filled with their prayers.  Hello to the grand ones coming.  Thank you Tanya and Meagan.  
Hallelujah. Family Christmas at Hay Bay.  A real Rockwell Hallmark reprieve  A heavenly beach  in the middle of Canadian winter. Thank you. Thank you. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Jesus Christ at Christmas

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! We say to each. We shout to each oth. Merry Christmas!
 Celebrating the birth of the Messiah.    God become man, God incarnate. Those who believed and followed Him , moved from this life of temporal existence, full of fear and suffering, to eternal life of joy and bliss.
The story of Jesus, being born humble in a manger, a barn, no room in the hotel, his father a Jewish carpenter, his mother suspected of being knocked up by a Roman soldier then claiming the bastard child was a child of God and herself a virgin, all so far fetched.  
Indeed the sceptical minds of the day poo pahed it all. Their Messiah would come out of the sky on a golden chariot and be like them and the rulers of the day. He’s arrive in a Harrier Jet or A Mig or standing in an Abrams Tank, or on an aircraft carrier or a spaceship. A GodMan like the God Men of Egypt.  The secular rulers of the day no different from the arrogant Aetheist secular leaders of today claim divine heritage.  
Here by comparisonwas a God baby.  Ridiculous. There was something messy about the whole idea despite the prophecies and dreams recorded in the Gospels or Good News. Wen were too much in the forefront. Mother and child. Joseph pushed to the side.
Astronomically, there was the star of Bethlehem. Maybe a comet. Back when people paid attention to their surroundings before the age of naval gazing, mental masturbations, screens and addictions. A great star shining and leading Wise Men to Bethlehem. 
Bethlehem was a little hick town in back woods Israel which was as back woods as you could be in the great Roman Empire which centred in Rome, the greatest city of the age. A manger, ie a barn, Bethlehem , a nowhere village.  All very disturbing to man’s order of things. The hierarchy. The survival of the fittest. Darwinian research and genetics funded to confirm the ruler. Then along comes this new kid. This bastard religion.
Even in the last generation, Nietzsche claimed the whole Christian Wal-Mart ‘myth’ was for ‘common’ man and compared it to his own idea of the Nordstrom or Harrods ‘super man’.  Intellectually Neitze couldn’t abide with the intuitive truth of the story of Jesus.  Jesus , the child grows to the man who loves children. Jesus, the man is a healer and teacher not a warrior. Not a cold stuffy intellectual or a silly sentimentalist.
Challenged by Pilate the Roman administrator Jesus, said his Kingdom was not of this world. Way before String theory and Multiverse, before Freud and Jung, Jesus spoke to the inner world.  Brahman mystics of the east would be saying “I am the bubble make me the sea’. The great psychologist Dr. Carl Jung would say that there was this ‘collective unconscious’.  Aboriginals of Australia would describe  a ‘dream world’ more real that this shallow surface reality of materialism and determinism.  A magical Celtic Druidic Harry Potter world. Sacred. 
Miracles and synchronicity .  Another dimension. 
Science is a wonderful tool but it’s simply not love. Pseudoscience reducing the whole to its parts, tears down but can’t build up. 
The cry of a baby. The breast of a mother. The love of a family. The comfort of community. The question of meaning and purpose.
Eventually Jesus would tell his disciples that their purpose was simply to Love. Do not be afraid, he commanded. He said the whole of the wisdom teachings, the scriptures, were summed up as Love God, and Love thy neighbour as thyself. Over and over and over again he would say ‘have not fear’.
Meanwhile the leaders of this world would say fear the enemy, fear this , fear that, the world’s ending. Fear, fear, fear. Fear the Planet. Fear the Climate. The Science of Fear
One day everyone not overtly psychotic would be at very least neurotic. 
Anxiety , a measure of our distance from God and equally a measure of our humanity.
Jesus said ‘fear not for I am with you’. “ Where two or more are gathered in my name there too shall I be. “
Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple, separated church and state, demanded we care for the lowliest, elevated women to places of equality, preached the Sermon on the Mount, Blessed are the Meek, taught the Lord’s Prayer, Our Father who aren’t in heaven. Heaven wasn’t out there but in here.  His presence transformed the universe.
A Creator, like the mice in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had come back to experience his creation. God in Disguise, the manager visited the factor he’d built, in disguise. Jesus in disguise.
It wasn’t a good. It ends with the leaders and government of the day, his own people ,and the greatest warriors of the day, killing him.  The greatest priests of the day preferred the deceit and betrayal of the man who they’d pay to betray Jesus for 20 pieces of silver to the man himself who said  simply ‘Follow me’.  He liked to go “walk about”.  He talked about sheep and shepherds and good and evil. He encouraged people to be the best. He had values and merit and cast out demons. There was a dark side and a light side. Good was godly. Evil was it’s opposite. You had to choose. 
The story at Christmas is the birth of Jesus. The cosmic Christ is the term used for the transformation of reality with his death and resurrection.  The physical Big Bang was followed 2000 years ago by this Cosmic Big Bang.  
God came into creation and opened a gate in the side of this dark scary place and said “I am the Way”.  No sense in storing up toys in this life. Consumerism and militarism and human aspirations were limited. Better to love one another and love oneself and fear not. Live for today.  
Emmanuel.  All the words are mystical words. The present is where God resides.  Be Still and Know that I am God.
This is the season the Sun has moved away from the earth and now returns, the days depressingly growing shorter with greater darkness then the process turning around till a new year is beginning. In the depths of the despair, in the utter darkness , light spontaneous arises like the beating of.aheart or the intake of breath ,so beyond the limits of the science of today.  The mechanics are known. The reason maybe but not the why.  
God created man as companion. You have a friend in Jesus. We are not alone.  
All this is happening. This season is a time of reflection. It’s a time of family. What direction has my life gone this year. What direction will it go next year. 
Am I being the best person I can be. Am I being creative or living in fear. Am I serving God or serving only myself.  
Be not afraid wasn’t a suggestion of Jesus, it was a command.
I say the world isn’t ending. I say expell the demons. I say love is the answer. Without love there is no reason.  The emptiness of TS Elliot’s Hollow Men is the Duddy Kravitz of the movie.  David and Goliath.  God speaks instead in a wee small voice.  God comes as a baby not as a knight or emperor.
I have pushed so many people away, been so unkind so often, feel so utterly less than what I could be, am haunted by the insensitivity I’ve shown others, failed to live up to my own standards so often but ,like dealing with  addiction, know that if I get up and try again I’m being human. The baby learns by trying countless times to stand. The man must imitate the child.  So hurt in love, heart so scarred, money the true spiritual currency of fear, robbed and beat up, stabbed and shot at, my baby aborted, my body raped, lied to, reviled, cheated, persecuted, debased, curled up in a fetal position ,wracked with anger, revenge, self pity, I am the fallen man. The Holy Bible describes how Jesus dying said “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Herod the leader of the day killed every child under 2 years old when he heard the wise men had come from all over the world to celebrate the birth of Christ. 
This year I sang caroles in a church.  There’s no more uplifting music. The service at St. Mary’s was truly wondrous. The high spirits of the youthful minister so uplfiting. I sang beside Adell’s whose golden voice I heard as a youth when she sang solo in the church and birds gathered at the pained glass to listen.  I so love the sweetness of soprano. The opera touches me. This opening of the professionally trained throat and the sound of such depth and harmony ushering forth into this world to pleasure my ears with the vibrations that St. John spoke of ,when he said “I am the word’.  In the east they talk of the holy Om. The sound of the AMEN. The sound of the word, Home. We are knitted together by the vibrations, the ripples of the Big Bang.There in the church I felt one with God, the Good, the Holy of Holies.  Hallelujah.  Jesus Christ is Born.  Jesus Christ Lives.  
I like that Scientists like Newton and Einstein and my greatest clinical mentors believe in God.  Other religions see Jesus as a saint but as a Christian I’m tied to the essence of the faith, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.  Humility. The cocky Hollywood character an ethnic creation, missing the mark, so often, The oscillating current in life not top down but up as well. The Cistine Chapel showing God touching Adam who is reaching up to touch him.  
I love that St. Patrick, the great saint of Ireland taught the Breast Plate Prayer, God above me, God below me, God Before me, God beside me. God within me.
I love Jesus Christ.  I love the idea and the meaning and the season.  Just as the sun is leaving a miracle occurs, the earth which has turned it’s back on the sun begins the journey back to pass near this warmth and light. The prodigal son story is re-enacted every year.
I’m here with my family and we sit at dinner sharing the turkey and cranberry and potatoes and pumpkin pie. It’s tradition. There’s a gathering.  Adell and her children, my nephews and their loved ones and our cousin and I and the dogs are all invited to the table.  At the last moment Graeme and I were tasked with going to town to get the buns. Then Adell forgot the buns which became an issue because we had butter and no one knew why., Then the buns came out.  I thought of Martha and Mary of the Bible. How  sad the Hollywood characters have caused so many to miss the opportunity to meet Martha and Mary.  They were there at the table Christmas Eve.  Melvine was a Martha and Mary machine along with Adell another Martha and Mary creating the meal of the century. And we all ate and we laughed and we came together as family and friends. I looked on Facebook and saw that so many of my friends had gathered together with family. And some had made room at their tables for the homeless and impoverished.  
That’s Christmas. I’m just so thankful to be at the table.  Breaking of bread.
This is the story of Jesus. This is the Birth of the King.  This is the season the winter is ending and the tide turning. There is a new year. Outside the snow is thick,the trees are bare ,but just as we know Jesus we know the spring is near.  Do not fear. It’s a mracle we take for granted. The coming of spring. The proximity of the sun to earth. The promise. The law. The birth and death and resurrection.  The mystery.  We know so little. The  synapses of our brain as populous as the stars of the sky.  If we were honest and knew no fear we’d be awestruck.  Simply awestruck. The world we live in. The sacred. The dance of everything. The illusion of the static when scientifically biologically we know that everything ,every bit of star stuff is circling and dancing. Jesus is alive today.  He is born this Christmas season. Over and over again he is born each day. Here and now, he is. 
Thank you Jesus. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Hit 5

She sat perfectly composed. Her long legs sheathed in Wolford Velvet Deluxe sheer stockings ,crossed at the knee. She a beige  linen  skirt and beige Lafayete tapered jacket, very becoming in a decidedly professional way. Black peals at her neck with matching earrings completed her look.

She had placed her black leather brief case by the wooden leg of the carpet cushioned chair. He’d offer her the more comfortable lounge chairs one sank into but she preferred the straight chair in front of his desk. Her legs were not shown at their best there, compared to how they would have been in the lower more seductive chair, but she liked the easier mobility.

“I’m sure you’re aware that the owners of such condos are completely confidential,” he said.  He was 50 and balding. May have been a foot ball player younger. Wore a crumpled sports jacket and slacks.  His office spoke more of his success.  She knew him as one of the best. Had used his services in the past. 

“That’s why I came to you.” She smiled dmurely.

‘Mary Jenkins owns that particular penthouse suite. Her telephone number is in the portfolio I prepared for you. There’s some significant shady associations that might explain her siignificant income. I think you’ll find it interesting. Is there anything more I can help you with?”

“No that’s enough . Thank you.  You’ve been most helpful.” She reached down and took an immodest amount of cash from her brief case, then said, “there’s no record of us meeting as usual.”

“Of course,” he said.  

“And this other address, you’re sure is for the man they call the  Boss.”

“I’m sure.  You’re not the first whose asked me for his address. I expect that might help you as well.”  He didn’t know her actual work but knew that others she’d been interested had met their demise over the years. She told him she worked for some interested parties. He imagined her an analyst of some sort. Certainly not directly involved. 

“Yes, it does, “ she said, uncrossing her legs and standing on her black three inch heels.  He stood too.   She picked up her brief case. She reached across the table and shook his hand. 

“Thank you.” She said. She left him at the door, knowing he was contemplating her beautiful undulating butt as she walked slowly down the hall to the elevator.  She stepped on and turning looked back nodded. He was still standing there watching her as the doors of the elevator closed. 

Later that day she called Mary Jenkins and found no one home. Without letting the security cameras see her she made her way delicately through the security systems. They were electronic without human support.  She had the computer tools to by pass them.  It took little skill with the new computer tools to disable older security systems and off set the alarms.  So many of these buildings advertised their security systems but didn’t keep up the update giving their clients a false sense of security.   As th old adage went a lock only served to keep an honest man out. 

Her hacker contact who provided her computer tools, also,  for an additional fee,  ensured a buildings external alarm to police or security firm  never egaged. 

She had carried her rather heavy gift wrapped packages in from her car parked in the downstairs parking garage.  Nothing tripped. She rode the elevator to the penthouse. 

When the first package had arrived that morning from the bakery, special and private delivery,  she had been impressed with the amount of C4.  She’d left it in the trunk of a second hand Fiat, she’d bought the day after she had first called the bakery. She’d had to circle the block only once before she’d been able  park outside the exit to the target’s parking garage. She had the second package with her in the building across the street.   

She was on the balcony of  Mary Jenkins.   Wearing a mask she’d  gassed her  coming home from her corporate law officers  unlocked own her door and stepped into her own home. The gas had taken her out  as she physically wrestled her  to the floor. Ms Jenkins was now tied up in the closet of her own home with her own monogrammed  t towel stuffed in her mouth..  

Now she sat on the balcony looking across at the Penthouse.  She was wearing her black jeans and black turtleneck.  No she’d fabric. She had special hat and gloves to ensure no hairs and no prints were left.  

Beside her was the GS-777 Light weight shoulder fired recoilless launcher.  She had a half dozen standard RPG rounds.  She’d brought it all in a padded carry bag.  Nothing to it for a girl who liked to be prepared. 

She looked at her watch. Once  more figured the time she thought it would take. If she didn’t kill him with the rockets, it would take him at least 5 minutes to come down the elevator and get in the car.  10 minutes max. She knew the car he had, that fancy hummer.  Despite being armoured it wouldn’t likely withstand a close on blast of C4.  She planned to add a couple of rockets to that.  Then if anything continued to move she had her trusty 300 win mag Winchester. 

She saw the flickering light of a tv and thought this time was as good as any.

The first rocket crashed through the balcony glass exploding on impact. The second crashed through the room.  . The third felt like over kill.  Lots of explosions. Fire and sprinkler system automatically on. She moved back from the balcony. Others below here were coming out on theirs.

She watched the street seeing the parking gates lifting. She  detonated the Fiat car bomb as the Hummer accelerated out of the underground parking. She figured that meant the target had survived the rockets. The car bomb exploded throwing  the Hummer high in the air,  bouncing end over end crushing parked cars till coming to a rest finally  it’s side. She did’t figure the target would have taken the time to buckle up. That crash would certainly have killed him.  Still, for  good measure she placed one more rocket into the roof of the Hummer.  Even if it was the armoured Hummer was the best, it wasn’t likely anyone could survive.  She moved back from the filigree iron. She had the Winchester ready and waited. No one got out.  

She checked her site before leaving.  She left the RPG and untied Mary Jenkins before pulling her onto the balcony. If her timing was right Mary Jenkins would wake up when the police were bashing down her door.  Mary Jenkins her private eye had found wasn’t totally an innoscent which explained how she paid for this penthouse suite . That would certainly confuse pursuit. Her hacker had been paid to return the system to its preset.

On the street she carried her break down Winchester in it’s inconspicuous case.  She’d let her hair down and walked out of the parking garage to where her Peugeot was parked.  There was a lot of traffick on the roads heading towards the site of the ‘accident’.  It didn’t matter. Her own place was less than a mile away.  Without fear of pursuit or identification she  drove into her own underground parking.  She left the Peugeot taking the Winchester with her as she took the elevator up to her own penthouse suite.   She put the Winchester in the special lined safe in the bathroom floor.  The tiles were specially chosen for lead content. No one would find safe unless they tore the building down. The space was big enough for only a few treats.  But the privacy off set that limitation.

Putting the cases aside she took her Leica binoculars out of the drawer and walked out onto her balcony.  The Hummer was just as she left it. No door had opened. The police were there. An ambulance followed.  A fire truck had arrived. Through her binoculars she watched as the police and firemen used the jaws of life to open the crumpled Hummer.  Two bodies were pulled out. By the way they handled them she didn’t think they were alive.  

Later she’d hear on the 10 o’clock news that both were dead.

She picked up the cell phone and called the number on her contact list.

“Satisfied,” she asked.

“Very,” the woman’s voice at the other end responded. The line going dead immediately.

She stripped in her bed room before walking naked into the shower.  She languished under the hot shower enjoying soaping herself down with Irish Spring and washing her hair with  Crew shampoo.  She had some extra costs but in the end she’d still made a profit. Out of the shower towelling herself down she chose the Occitane lotion.  

In the walk in closet she selected  a matching black bra and panty set. She didn’t bother with stockings but slipped a cotton black dress over her head , zipping the back up herself.  She chose non metal jewelry considering the flight. Casual black pumps.  She took the already packed carry on from the closet and checked that her ticket and passport were in her carry on purse. As she walked out her door she engaged her security her hacker ensure was the best and always up to date.

That night Alfredo met her after the plane landed.  Driving his Baha bug he  took her to her cabana. His English wasn’t that good but his athletic body was exquisite.  He really was attentive too. The south sea breeze and gentle lapping of the surf contributed to her enjoyment of being home.  The next morning Alfredo brought her coffee with cream as she sat  in her bikini in her beach chair,

She smiled to herself.  She was certain that the man she’d killed the night before didn’t realize that his assassin  was the woman he’d watched in his star gazer telescope. Perhaps if he’d been looking where he was supposed to he might have seen his own fallen star before the end was inevitable.  The people she worked for didn’t tolerate cockiness in the up and coming help. 

Hitman 4

“Have they got anything, Charlie. I’m going nuts couped up in here.”  Here was a top floor of a penthouse high rise. He had a garden and a small swimming pool.  Theatre.  Gym.  Guest rooms. He’d had lots of escorts up here. The bar and fridge were always stocked. All the staff were vetted by his people.

It was day 3.

“No boss,” said Charlie, putting his cell phone back in his vest pocket. “ I spoke with our friend and the investigation is a dead end. They can’t even find where the shot came from. Think it was the top of a building. No evidence. Nothing suspicious apparently on the cameras. “ he said. 

‘They’re not just giving up!” The boss whined.  Charlie didn’t like that tone. It wasn’t manly.  He didn’t like when the boss wasn’t boss like.  But the waiting got to everyone.  Serges were like that. 

“No, they’re going back over everything, slower, with a fine tooth comb.  That takes time. They might find something but it doesn’t help us now.”

“What about our own assets?’ The boss asked.”  Anything on the street? Do our lawyers or accountants have any ideas?  Any of our businesses have a clue?.”

“Nothing new.” Charlie said.  “Everyone’s on alert normally but immediately after everyone went to high alert and everyone is back checking. They know the stakes.  No one wants you gone because you’re the goose that lays the golden egg.  It’s got to be competition. But which competition.  And who can afford a first rate sniper.  “

“Who? Which prick would do this.  It’s not business. This is personal. Whose the asshole who did this?”  Again that whining tone. At least there was more anger in it. 

“ You know there’s always a risk but nothing points to anyone for sure.  We have suspects and we’ve got our own people and the police watching those more carefully. But nothing.’ Charlie said.

“I don’t want to stay couped up in here. Makes me look like a coward.” The boss said pouring himself another shot from the crystal decanter on the mahogany sideboard,

“But its a sniper, Charlie . What’s the defence against a sniper?” Charlie noticed he stayed far back from the windows though there wasn’t any rifle that could hit them here, besides the glass was bullet proof. 

“If you go out you’re have to wear the flack jacket. We have the new one from the Frazer Valley, light weight porcelain. “ Charlie said, standing inside the doorway.

“But it won’t’ stop a sniper bullet.”

‘Probably not completely. It’s the best, might slow it down. Reduce the damage.”

“I don’t want any damage.” The Boss screamed.

“I know.” Said Charlie.  “We all wore helmuts overseas. The trouble here would be they’d make you more of a target.  We can cover you to the car if you want to go out.  Parking garages are the only answer. We can sweep them.   If we know where you want to go we can check the destination, have men on site.  It’s all going to improve the odds.” 

“I don’t want any odds. I want the fucker dead. So get on finding out who it is.  Call Elaine. She can distract me too.  You can do that still, right Charlie. Call Elaine.”

Charlie didn’t answer but made the call.  He liked Elaine.  She cost a fortune but made her money with a guy like the boss. At least he wasn’t mean like some of the men Charlie had  worked for. Some dead bodies he’d had to have removed. He didn’t like to think of those.  A lot of twisted kinky shit in this business.  Elaine had her work cut out for her. The boss could be an asshole but at least he wasn’t a real shit.  He’d like to see Elaine again. It had been a while. The Boss had had a thing for the teen twins recently. Hardly old enough to be professional. At times like this he was glad the boss was sticking with the pros.  

Hitman - 3

She lay on the balcony chaise, naked except for a tiny pink g string.  There was a voyeur in the penthouse across the way, a higher level, with a star gazer telescope she’d noticed was often suspiciously pointed elsewhere.  She liked to think that her pink g string gave the distant illusion of total nakedness. She’d concluded some dot come geek was sacking off with his little peepee looking at her while looking down at her. That amused her.

However ,she liked her privacy.  She’d leave him an illusion. But, she had some propriety.  Not much, but some.  Before trying out exotic dancing and finally being an escort she’d put cameras through out her cheap student apartment and let voyeurs watch her every day.  Her digs were a lot richer today and she knew the guy with the telescope had to be rich to have his penthouse.  She saw her present state as advertising. Just walking over to his building if she needed to she was sure she could get back on her investment.  Like a lay away plan.  A tease.

She didn’t like bikini top tan lines any time.  This afternoon the sun was tanning her all over perfectly.  The balcony wasn’t the beach but it would do. She did her best thinking after lying in the sun.

He’d hole up. She knew that.  She had to come up with a way to get him out of his hidey hide.  Of course she knew where that was. But she couldn’t figure what was the best way. She didn’t see herself getting in given the security.  She’d normally wait but the customer was impatient.  

She sat up to take a sip from the star on her cranberry and Sosa.  She glanced at her nails painted purple with little silver starts. Looking down at her body, she liked what she saw, her gaze following the line between the lovely foothills of her chest to the flat plain of her firm belly all the way down to the pink.  She liked her thighs and legs, her skin glistening with cococanut oil, her toes painted with matching purple without the stars.  

She thought of finding a man to pleasure her,  A good sized cock would be nice after Marcie . But she had work to do.  She couldn’t afford too much distraction.  It  wasn’t good for business. Especially when the clock was ticking on her own life.

“Diversion,” she thought.  “I need a diversion.”   

Reaching for her cell phone she called the arms distributor she knew best. She’d be glad to help her. For a price. She could afford the price.  Once she botched the margin didn’t matter.  All that mattered was completing the job that she’d begun.  

“Hello, Angel, I need some special items.”

( She stated the order in the approved code. A bakery was an excellent cover. Today she wanted  two apple rhubarb  pies , both with extra whipping cream.) 

“ There is a time consideration. I need the ordered filled tomorrow evening. Not much notice but I’ve only just planned the party.”

‘Thank you, darling. I’m so glad. I knew I could count on you.”

She hung up.  Standing she faced  the star gazer.  Cupping her full breasts with her hands she stroked them briefly be fore doing a little pirouette and reaching down for the cell phone she’d left on the table beside the chaise. Her legs just happened to remain straight and her butt just happened to show at it’s best.   She wondered if he had a camera attached to his telescope. That would be a fine shot indeed.  She stood quickly straight up stretching her hands over her head. 

She walked inside and crossed  the bed room.  Her walk in closet accessed   the gold tiled shower and 8 foot long porcelain bath. She especially liked the antique Victorian fixtures.  She was also thankful to have found a landlord  that accepted cash  for the whole cost of the condo.  She suspected a biker organization. She hadn’t even asked when strata fees seemed on the rather high side. She wondered though about her neighbours. They all might not be as shady as she but they weren’t squeaky clean.  Everyone minded their own business.  

 She certainly wasn’t one to call the police if she heard shots.  She had but that was only once in the first year she’d been there. What sounded like WW3 had erupted in the lobby.   She thought it good that management  the lobby by the next morning.   All evidence of what had became known as the “domestic dispute” gone by the afternoon.  She’d heard by elevator rumor mill  a dozen relatives were involved.  The tenant hadn’t been bothered though  thanks to the excellent surveillance.  Tenants supplied their own security but the buildings surveillance system extending to the surrounding neighbourhood was state of the art.

She liked the surveillance. The second elevator and the service Shute were very nice features.  In case you wanted to leave by the back door or meet visitors unannounced.


She figured the neighbouring buildings were owned by the same consortium.  Maybe the masturbator across the way wasn’t just a geek.  She picked out a towel and hung it on the wall. She slipped off her g string and stepped into the shower.  As the hot water cascaded down her slender body and the room filled with steam she thought again that the diversion was the best idea.

Hit - 2

He screamed on his butt as he  crab crawled back across the cafe floor till his back hit the wall. All the while he stared at the lifeless eyes of his former body guard.  Abject terror.
“Boss. Boss. Are you okay?” His other guard kneeling now at his side, asked, gun drawn, eyes scanning 
 Another guard,  still sheltered at the corner of the patio, looked down the street from where he figured the bullet had to have come. 
“Of course I’m not okay.’ The boss answered, regaining some composure, taking comfort in the known world of anger. 
Back to the wall, he looked down at his white shirt covered in the blood of the body guard. He used the sleeve of his arm to wipe the stickiness of blood and brains off his face.
“Let’s get out of here. Can you get me out of here.” He screamed. 
“Yes, boss”.
The guard spoke through his throat  mike to the other at the front of cafe. “Get the boss’s car and bring it round the back.”
‘There’s a bloody sniper out here, Charlie.!”
“The boss wants the car,”
Taking one last look up the street, thinking this job doesn’t pay enough, the guard sprinted down the street to the black hummer.
In the distance sirens were already approaching.  
Fumbling the keys, his eyes looking everywhere else, he opened the door jumped in all the time expecting a bullet to end his life.  Once in the  bullet proof Ottawa Valley hummer he felt better, marginally.  He drove round the back.
The boss jumped in the back, “What took you so long?” 
 Charlie joined him jumping in the front seat, pistol still drawn. Glock 9 mm. There were no more shots.
“Take me home, now. And watch for fuckers in the street. I don’t care if the windows are bullet proof. The maniac could have a rocket launcher. Get me out of here.”
They sped away. Traffic was light.  Charlie was watching everywhere and everyone. Not just for the boss. He didn’t himself want to go up in a blast. He’d done his tours in the Middle East.. He knew how a hand held rocket could spoil a vehicles paint job and anyone in the vehicle. 
“Who the fuck do you think it was Charlie? “ 
“A sniper. No one saw him. Maybe the police will have a clue.I’ll talk to our guy in their administration. For what you pay him , he’ll keep us posted on their investigation.  Now I’ll just get you safe.”
They were on the free way. They’d taken a few evasive moves to throw pursuit  It was looking better. Every mile away from the cafe the tension lessened.
“Siri, get me Jack.” Charlie spoke to the car phone.
Jack was the home guard. He came on and Charlie told him to expect them pronto. “Assasination attempt.Boss is okay.”
When the car drove into the underground parking, Jack was waiting with a Berretta 93 machine pistol in his hand. He opened the door for the boss as Charlie came around.  The followed the boss to the elevator. The  boss was silent, brooding.  
In the elevator, he turned to Charlie,  “I’ve got enemies Charlie. I can’t think which one would hire a sniper. I’ve got to make some calls.  You think of anyone, you get on it.”
The boss entered the penthouse suite heading straight for the shower.  
Charlie saw bits of glistening darkening brain tissue had fallen onto marble floor. He’d have to call the cleaner. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Vancouver to Hay Bay with Gilbert

Last year Gilbert and I didn’t fly because he’d had his eyes removed secondary to hereditary glaucoma with no medical cure.  He’d also hurt his back. Frankly  we are all getting older.

I traded my fabulous little 2 seater blackMiata sports car in for a British racing green Mini Cooper with room for Gilbert to stretch out in the spacious back seat cargo area. We drove down to San Diego. I even crossed into Mexico.  

The most joyous moment was when Laura and I took Gilbert out on the Oregon beaches. Until then he’d been quite depressed and anxious since having his second eye removed in the fall. He banged into things everywhere and felt really frightened in his blindness.

 Something about the sea air and surf and memory of beaches had him running full out between Laura and I calling him back and forth , the two of us strategically far apart. He regained his confidence and was chasing me, running full out with his new high stepping prance.  It was truly Christmas to see him so confident and happy again.

It’s been a good year for him and most don’t even know he is blind.  A special family reunion at Hay Bay for Christmas with Alan and Meagan returning from London for the occasion. Graeme was back at University of Toronto studying nuclear energy already having his chemical engineering degree.  

“When are you going to make me a nuclear reactor for my Harley Davidson that won’t castrate me?” I ask him.

“Not soon.”  But he does wax poetic about  energy.  A brilliant young man with the reasoned insight of my deceased older brother. I miss Ron so truly and  enjoy seeing his likeness in the fine men he and Adell have.

Andrew and Tanya have bought a new house in Kanata near where Ron and Adell raised the family. I’d known the babies in Winnipeg but Adell and Ron’s love affair beginning there had cemented  in Saskatchewan only to return to Winnipeg and fly east to Ottawa. 

Ron was in the Federal Government completing his MBA having already done a science degree.  Adell  proceeded from elementary school teacher much loved by little ones to obtaining a PHD and being a principal of the near by Kanata school, much loved by adults. 

I visited them a lot in the years after mom died at Deer Lodge Hospital and we convinced poor blind Dad that he needed asssitance despite his insistence he could live totally on his own. He’d developed glaucoma late in life and so missed his sight. Still,  he’d  spent the last year of my mother’s life  by bus commuting hours to and from the hospital.  Once there he help dress her , bundling her up in winter and pushing her in her wheel chair around the hospital all seasons.  Visiting them in winter I’d sat with him and Mom outside the hospital in the dreadful cold watching them feeding  the birds,remembering the ,always full in winter , bird feeder outside the Fort Garry kitchen window.  

Ron, my truly incredible brother, took on the task of caring for dad , doing by far the lion’s share of everything his last few years.  Hay men haven’t been known for our docility so convincing Dad to wear a coat outside in winter or to come for a drive was a challenge for poor Ron when Dad was blind,  smart, stubborn and ornery.  

With a large practice I flew out as often as I could and stayed with the family. I’ve always felt guilty juggling loyalties to family, patients, friends and colleagues.

The boys and Adell were all involved in caring for Dad too.  I feel guilty I wasn’t here more, so  thankful for family. 

Dad loved Gilbert. “Where’s my Monkey dog?” he’d call . “ Monkey dog” really was such a good description for Gilbert. Barking he’d bound  into Dad’s lap. Dad was his BFF and he just loved to lick Dad’s ears.

Now Dad and Mom are gone. My Aunt Sally, Mom’s sisters , my Toronto grandparents, the Northern Cowboy and Logger uncles ,  Dad’s parents, long gone while we keep in touch with cousins in the north, Scotland and the US. They’re still too far away.

Ron died only a couple of years after he and Adell bought this Hay Bay property. It reminded me in ways of their university riverside home in Winnipeg where the Boys were born. I loved theiR two setters, Tartan and Rainy the big dogs they had back then.  Now the boys are big and the dogs are small. 

Ron loved to garden and loved this property planting fruit trees and having a real garden the likes my mother had had in Fort Garry. He and she won awards each year at the Fort Garry Horticultural Society. I remember the year Ron’s gladiolas won big time.  Adell too has a green thumb. 

They were hockey and soccer family when the boys were young. Later Ron loved badminton which he’d taken up as a child when we lived down the street from the Badminton Club. . I think his love of badminton took off after his posting to Hong Kong. The Ottawa club he belonged to was full of Chinese friends. When he visited me in Vancouver he’d loved best our visits to  China Town.

Here Ron and Adell immediately joined the curling club for winter sports. I remember them curling in Winnipeg.  Ron kayacked all over Hay Bay and neighboring lake. Kayaking had been his passion. I got Allan to paddle the canoe for me, while I fished and caught a large pike who insisted against my plan to be ‘catch and release’ 

 I told Alan today, ‘That big pike is bigger and still out there waiting for us, Allan”

“Right, Uncle Bill.”he said.

Gilbert has flown a dozen flights and took to being lifted into his kennel for the flight.  He slept the whole way on the plane only becoming a bit anxious after we had landed and a jet traffic jam had us waiting in line for our spot for 15 minutes.  Once off the plane he was out of the kennel and happily prancing beside me on his ‘blind dog’ leash wearing his red ‘therapy dog’ vest.  I’d brought a big suitcase to accommodate gifts so waited for baggage.  

Then we were through. Graeme, looking young and robust, bearded and humorous as always swooped up Gilbert ho was delighted to be treated as the guest of honor.  Graeme has a cockapoo female, Gilbert’s canine cousin, Pepper, short for Peppermint.  Graeme is great with dogs.  Gilbert adores him.  Driving straight from Toronto to Napanee in the old Forester SUV we stopped on the way for Gilbert to have a pee and poop break.  Graeme got me coffee and us donuts.  

Next we were driving through Napanee with all the town’s Main Street Christmas  lights. Beautiful.  Night falling on the country roads. Snow.  Hay Bay covered in snow and ice. The lovely long driveway to the Hay Bay home.  Adell had done a truly remarkable Town and Country reno to the entrance making it so much more elegant than the former rustic entrance had been. I loved it. Gilbert was now the centre of attention for Adell.  Eva and Pepper surrounded their western cousin.  I felt home.

Andrew and Tanya arrived. Then followed The great announcement, she’s 5 months pregnant. I’m going to be a grand uncle.  Next Alan and Meagan arrived, Meagan shows off the sapphire engagement ring.

Adell and her cousin Melvine are cooking up a storm. We go to Christmas Mass leaving the guys and dogs at home.  In Napanee St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Christmas Eve service is inspired.Lovely church. Lovely people.  Adell’s a soloist so always a joy to hear her sing beside me.  

I miss my brother.  I’ve known such a depth of grief and sadness since his death. Not just his loss but all the losses.  Friends and family, aging, dreams.  Fentanyl epidemic.. Now here I am with the announcement of children and engagement and family.  It’s a wonder. . I am uplifted and inspired. If I could I’d run in circles and bark like Gilbert. 

Christ is born. .The nativity. Bethlehem. Hallelujah.  The future unfolds.  I’m learning to let go.  Gilbert is having a wonderful time with his much bigger ‘pack’ .  We miss Ron. He’s here in spirit. Such monuments to his love and Adell’s. 

I’m truly blessed and thankful to have family.  Such a contrast to the Christmas I spent alone at sea sailing solo.