Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

31 August, 2008


Role model progams desperately needed

I may be generalizing and idealizing a little too much, but the way I see it is that mothers have the primary function of making a child secure in life through unconditional love while the father's role is that of a teacher preparing the child to cope with the society within which it was born.

A father's love should be guided by principles and expectations; it should be patient and tolerant, rather than threatening and authoritarian. It should give the growing child an increasing sense of competence and eventually permit the youngster to become its own authority and to dispense with that of the father. Eventually, the mature person comes to the point where he/she has become free of the outside mother and father figures and has built them up inside. In contrast to Freud's concept of the super-ego, however, the child has built them inside not by incorporating mother and father, but by building a motherly conscience on its own capacity for love and a fatherly conscience based on his reason and judgment. (You'll no doubt need to read the forgoing at least one more time to grasp the essence of it.)

This all sets the stage for me to go off on a personal tangent.

I think that there is general agreement that studies, magazines, books and TV documentaries have helped women meet the changing demands of motherhood in recent years. They have been instrumental in teaching techniques of child care and examining the needs of both children and mothers. They offer advice, sympathy, humor and counselling while providing challenge and inspiration for being a mother.

Now look at men's magazines for instance: sports, business, investment, seduction, hobbies -- but nothing to help a man be a father to a son or daughter. Let's face it, being a father today is not easy and it does not always come naturally. The old techniques just no longer apply. Once upon a time, a son worked by his father's side, sharing the satisfactions and the frustrations, the successes and failures of the field, the barn, the shop or store.

What model does a father follow today? Some fathers still choose the army model, demanding discipline and obedience. Others choose to be pals, playing street hockey or swapping teeenage jokes, being just one of the guys. Still others do not involve themselves much one way or the other, leaving parenting pretty much to the mother. Then of course, there is the other side of the gender coin -- daughters, bless their hearts. Confused by the complexity of fathering a daughter, many dad's simply choose to back off completely when their girls reach the teenage stage. More and more I think there is a genuine fear of vulnerability -- of not understanding, of making a mistake.

So how does a father fulfil what is expected of him? Where does he turn when self help is needed and desired? It is not a laughing matter. I truly believe fathers need help today more than ever. Consider too, increasing cases of single parent families where mothers are required to take on the unnatural role of fathering as well.

It is time our society took fatherhood more seriously. Government, service clubs, churches, community and business organizations, the media, should all be discussing this subject with the goal of establishing educational programs for desperate fathers who want to do the right thing in raising their children.

It cannot be taken for granted that every father will turn out to be as lucky as me.

27 August, 2008


Natural growth requires "milk" and "honey"

I have talked a lot about parental love in recent weeks and I want to dig a little deeper into the subject over the course of the next few posts because, after all, it affects every one of us.

I think that there is general agreement that unconditional love of the parent corresponds to one of the deepest longings, not only of the child, but of every human being. It is little wonder that we all cling to the longing for the first love we experience in life -- that of motherly love.

Mother is the home we come from, and this is not to diminish the role that fathers play in our lives. Fathers truly enter the picture after natural mother nurturing has taken place. They represent the other pole of human existence; the world of thought, of man-made things, of law and order, of discipline, of travel and adventure. Fathers show the child the road into the world and I will talk more about this in my next Wrights Lane post.

Today is about mothers, however, and the best place to start is at the beginning.

Motherly love, as Enrich Fromm points out in The Art of Loving is unconditional affirmation of the child's life and needs. This affirmation has two aspects; one is the care and responsibility absolutely necessary for the preservation of the child's life and its growth. The other aspect goes further in that it is the attitude which instills in the child a love for living and enables feeling -- it is good to be alive, it is good to be a little boy or girl, it is good to be on this earth.

It is interesting to note that these two aspects of motherly love are expressed very succinctly in the Biblical story of creation. God creates the world and man which corresponds to the simple care and affirmation of existence. On each day after creating nature and man, God says: "It is good." The same idea may be taken to be expressed in another Biblical symbolism.

The promised land (land is always a mother symbol) is described as "flowing with milk and honey." Milk is the symbol of the first aspect of love, that of care and affirmation. Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life, the love for it and the happiness of being alive. Most mothers are capable of giving "milk" but fewer are capable of giving "honey" too. By means of explanation, in order to give "honey", a mother must not only be a good mother, but happy in other areas of her life as well. A mother's love for life, her positiveness and cheerfulness, her love of others, is as infectious as is her anxiety. Both attitudes have a deep effect on the child's entire personality.

Certainly, one can distinguish among children -- and adults -- those who were given only "milk" and those who were blessed with both "milk and honey."

Unlike brotherly love and erotic love between equals, the relationship of mother and child is by its very nature one of inequality, where one needs all the help and the other gives it. It is for this altruistic, unselfish character that motherly love has been considered the highest form of love, and the most sacred of all emotional bonds. The mother transcends herself in the infant, her love for it gives her life meaning and significance. It seems, however, that the real achievement of motherly love lies not in her love of the infant, but in her continuing love of the growing child.

And grow, the child must. It must emerge from the mother's womb, from her breast; it must eventually become a complete separate human being. The very essence of motherly love is to care for the child's growth and that means to want the child's separation from herself, as difficult as it may be. Unlike other forms of love where people who were separate become one, in motherly love two people who were one become separate. It is only at this stage that motherly love becomes such a daunting task, that it requires unselfishness, the ability to give everything and to want nothing but the happiness of the loved one.

Only the really loving woman, the woman who is happier in giving than in taking, who is firmly rooted in her own existance, can be a loving mother when the child is in the process of separation. Motherly love for the growing child, love which wants nothing for oneself, is perhaps the most difficult form of love to be achieved.

Motherly love is half instinctive and half very hard work. It involves a lot of giving and very little receiving. Of course you mothers already knew that, didn't you.

The payoff comes in giving the world a solid, productive citizen who is capable of perpetuating the unconditional love that they themselves experienced when growing up, thanks to good old mom. Mothers of the world, I salute you!

25 August, 2008


Madison, 3, got me to thinking...
Photo: Madison and mom, Cindy
I was treated to a wonderful visit with my family this past weekend, including five grandchildren -- four teenagers and one little oops, three-year-old. I am fascinated by them all and discretely study them, wishing I could briefly invade the privacy of their developing minds to find out what they are really thinking and feeling at that particular moment. While you can almost hear the wheels turning, you never seem to be able to get close enough, if you know what I mean, and I find myself reverting to what I may have been thinking and feeling when I was their age.

My attention this weekend was particularly drawn to little Madison who is three going on 13. When you have a bubbly three-year-old in your midst you just cannot help but get caught up in their enthusiasm, energy and innocence. I caught myself, more than once, thinking how wonderful it would be if we could stay in the mode of a little child all our life -- where every valley is green and every rose is red.

Where laughter is always ringing and every smile is real. And where the hurts are little hurts that just a kiss will heal.

Where jealousy, bitterness and strife are unheard of and no one speaks unkindly.

Where peaceful dreams really do come true and the sun is always shining and the sky is for ever blue.

Where each one loves the other and every one is fair; and cheeks are *pink with beauty and singing fills the air.

Where innocence prevails and there is not a thing to dread.

Where care is not an ogre and sin is but a name, and no one thinks of money and no one sighs for fame.

Ah, yes, I yearn for the life of a three-year-old. Heaven can wait!

Meantime, stay as sweet and as innocent as you are Madi, for as long as you can. I'll try to trudge along behind, seeing and feeling life as you do -- for as long as I can.

*Madie's favorite color is pink.

21 August, 2008


Rosanne and I will settle for "tin"

Young couples tying the matrimonial knot today have a better than three out of 10 chance of living long enough to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. Research some time ago revealed that the odds for a 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman (a median age for marriage) surviving 50 years of marriage had climbed from 140 per 1,000 marriages 85 years ago to 350 today. Of course, people are living longer too.

The not so good news is that more and more people are divorcing long before they reach the golden landmark. The national divorce rate has more than tripled during the past 70 years. Yet because most people who divorce marry again (75 per cent of the women and 80 per cent of the men) the prospects of reaching less distant marital milestones have also improved.

For example, the chances of a 35-year-old bridegroom and 30-year-old bride celebrating a silver anniversary are about seven out of 10, which are better odds than those for even a very young couple at the turn of the last century.

It follows then that a couple marrying at age 65 today can look forward to their tin anniversary, or at least 10 years of marriage. If we mind our Ps and Qs, Rosanne and I can look forward to collecting some of that tin in four years' time.

I will be writing more about marriage and mothers and fathers in the next couple of Wrights Lane posts.

19 August, 2008


Have been working on my Dresden: Turning Back the Clock feature site the past couple of days. Have added a lot of pictures and expanded somewhat on the text. I think that I have now exhausted the subject and can move on to other things. If you have already visited our Dresden site, you may want to have another peak.

All of which leads to some pretty exciting news for me personally. Thanks to Lynda Weese in Dresden, Wrights Lane and its Father and Son Turn Back the Clock site have been officially linked with the Town of Dresden's web site, (see Links New). So anyone interested in Dresden history can now click on "dicktheblogster" directly from the town's web page. A lot has happened in the past month and I am extremely pleased.

18 August, 2008


I know, I hate change just as much as the next guy but sometimes it is for the better.

I've decided to change the name of this site to Wrights Lane for several reasons, primarily though because I wanted something a little more unique. When I first chose The Wright Slant, I had no idea there would be so many other Wright Slants in existance --advertising, editorial commentary and political slogans.

The "Wrights Lane" idea comes from a photograph in my office/den that I look at easily a dozen times a day. It is a photo of a street sign at the corner of North Street and Wrights Lane in my hometown of Dresden, ON. Wrights Lane is on the southern boundary of a chunk of land once owned by my grandfather Wesley Wright and eventually subdivided for residential purposes. The photo (shown to the left) will now be a corner stone of this site.

So, it's off with the old and on with the new! Something that they'll be saying about me someday, no doubt. Meantime, I'll continue with the occasional stroll down memory (Wrights) lane. --Dick

17 August, 2008


Me Mudder 'n me, December 1938
When my prayers were early said,
Who tucked me in my widdle bed,
And spanked my rear till it was red?
Who lifted me up from my cozy cot,
And put me on an icy cold pot,
And made me pee if I could not?
And when the morning light had come,
In my widdle bed I'd dribble some,
Who wiped my tiny widdle bum?
Who would my hair so neatly part,
And press me gently to her heart,
And sometimes squeeze me till I'd fart?
Just couldn't resist this one, with love.

14 August, 2008

Learning is a day-to-day process sometimes just takes a while

They say you learn somethin' new every day.

Well, I got to figurin' last night. By my calculatin', so far I've lived a total of 25,781 days. To my way of thinkin' that's a lot of livin' and a lot of learnin'. Don't rightly know what I've done with all that stuff I got stored up there between my ears. Forgotten a lot of it I guess. But still, by golly...Even if I've managed to remember only half of what I've learned, maybe I'm a lot smarter than I thunk I wus.

Ever notice though, that it often takes a long time to learn some things?

When it comes to computers I'm one of them thar what ya call a "slow learner". Seems like I'm always learnin' things about this damn word machine that I should have learnt yesterday. As a result I'm always playin' catch up in learnin' about this confounded apparatus.

For instance, for the better part of two weeks I've been trying to figure out a way to link my new web sites to the main page of The Wright Slant. Nothing seemed to work, although I just knew there had to be a way to do it. Suddenly, as I was preparing supper last night, something struck me. I dropped everything (figuratively speaking) and rushed to the computer. And, much to my wondering eyes, there was the answer!

As a result of this lastest and reluctant break through, I am as pleased as punch to introduce to readers "Yours just for the clicking" as displayed for the first time at the top left of the current page. No more going to my Profile Page to link to other sites, for which I sincerely apologize. Only trouble is that I now have to create new sites with which to link.
Anyway, I learned not one but three things today.
  1. How to link web sites
  2. When you seek a solution, don't give up
  3. I'm smarter than I thunk I wus!

13 August, 2008

Experiencing racial discrimination first hand

...Unfortunate incident had happy ending

In adding a story to my reflections of home town Dresden web site this morning, I hesitatingly made reference to "racial discrimination". I say hesitatingly, because the subject is still very much a sore spot for long-standing residents of the community.

Just as in other countries where slavery was instituted, emancipation in Canada did not come easily. Even after slavery was abolished, Blacks and Aboriginal peoples found themselves confined to the bottom rung of society and denied their most basic rights. It was actually not until 1960 that racial segregation was rendered illegal in Canada. Fortunately, our country has changed dramatically in the past five decades and as citizens we are all equal before the law. Communities across the country now reflect and celebrate their cultural and ethnic diversity but, as I say, this type of stability and social harmony did not come easily overnight.

When I was growing up in Dresden, Black people were not allowed in restaurants nor in local hair cutting establishments. Bear in mind that this was at a time when Black people made up one third of the town's population, so we are not talking about a mere handful of people. Add to this the fact that Dresden was/is the site of Rev. Josiah Henson's world famous Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Many of my closest friends were Black and I was fully aware that they and their families were victims of discrimination, yet we never talked about it. We simply pretended it did not exist, although that was easy for me because my life was not being adversely affected.

Little by little, Black kids would occasionally join Whites in a couple of the local restaurants but they still could not order anything. I well remember a Black friend (we'll call him Joseph) sitting with me at a soda counter after a baseball game one evening. We were hot and thirsty. Spontaneously and without thinking, I'm convinced, Joseph said to the waitress behind the counter "I'll have a butterscotch milk shake!"

"I'm sorry, Joseph, but I can't serve you" said the waitress who was also a school friend. I could not believe what had just transpired. All I could say to Joseph was "It's hot in here, let's go outside." Typically, not another word was ever spoken about the incident.

Two years later, Joseph and the waitress were married. How ironic is that?

I talked to both of them a few months ago. They're still happily married, comfortably retired and proud grandparents. I also met them several years ago together in a restaurant. Definitely a case where times have changed for the better.

But the hurt lives on, quietly and deeply, I'm sure. It has to!

10 August, 2008

Talking to strangers can be interesting

...Sensitivity, sense of humor helpful

In case you haven't already noticed, I'm an odd sort. I like to speak to perfect strangers -- in stores, on the street, just about anywhere. What is so strange about this is the fact that I used to be extremely shy and reluctant to even acknowledge the presence of others, often looking the other way in order to avoid eye contact.

I really do not know how to explain the change in my personality other than the realization that as we mature we become more comfortable in our skin and we tend to open up and reach out more. I honestly feel that you do not have to know a person to speak to them as long as it is a light-hearted comment accompanied by a smile and a twinkle in the eye.

More often than not people react favorably to my unsolicited invasions. Surprise, at first, is generally followed by a smile and a few words of response. Of course I pick my targets carefully. I like to speak to young and old alike, people with frowns on their faces, people who appear to be deep in thought, people who are handicapped in some way. The payoff for me is to see someone relax, if only for a moment, and make the all-important person-to-person contact that is so lacking in many lives today. For instance, while in a cash-out line ahead of a First Nation couple, I happened to comment on the weather and made a reference to some high calorie food I had in my basket, adding: "Of course you folks are so slim and trim you don't have to worry about that." They laughed. When I left I heard the man say to the woman: "He was a nice guy, wasn't he!"

Of course reaction is not always favorable. The other day I was exiting Foodland grocery store with a cart full of groceries when a woman in her 50s came racing around the corner. Her body was going in one direction and her mind in another. I pulled my cart to a halt as she did a quick side step, narrowly avoiding a collision. "We've got to stop bumping into each other like this!" I laughingly commented. She stopped abruptly, removed her sun glasses and looked me square in the face for an uncomfortable few seconds. "I don't know you," she said as she turned on her heels and disappeared into the store.

A few days later I stopped off at Hi-Berry Farm to pick up a few items. I couldn't help but notice a middle aged couple painstakingly picking over a large counter of raspberries. It was my invitation to reach in front of them and randomly pick out a box of beautiful berries with a "there I think that I got the best one". Then it was over to the green beans a few minutes later and there they were again deliberating over each bean that they examined individually. As before, I reached in and scooped up a handful saying: "By golly, I think that I got the best ones again." The man (I think he may have been a retired farmer or police officer) turned and growled at me: "Are you just about through?" Some people just do not have a sense of humor.

It seems like I'm always buying food. I was at a diary case one day recently when I was joined by a neatly dressed older woman (she was older than me so that qualified as "old"). I could not help but detect a very pleasant aroma, prompting me to comment boldly: "You smell very nice today!" With a sweet smile she replied: "Thank you. It's Alfred Sung."

Sometimes responses are not only spontaneous but delivered with humor equal to mine. "How do you kiss your boy friend? I asked a young Kentucky Fried Chicken attendant sporting four protruding lip piercings. "Very carefully," was her surprise answer.

The one that really gave me cause to reconsider the consequences, however, involved a cute little girl and her mother. As they approached me on the sidewalk I noticed that the child was lagging behind her mother by quite a few yards. As little three and four year old girls do, she was pausing every few steps to adjust the dress on a doll she was carrying. As I passed her I said: "That is a very pretty dress on your doll." "Thank you," she said. "Her name is Cathy."

Continuing on my way, I heard the mother ask in a firm voice: "What did we say about talking to strangers?"

"He wasn't a stranger," the little one replied matter-of-factly.

08 August, 2008

"Looking back at downtown Dresden"

I am pleased to announce that my third web site has now been completed and may be viewed by clicking on it from the "list of blogs" at the bottom of my Profile Page. In producing this site I wanted to highlight an interesting newspaper "word picture" written by my father, Ken Wright, reflecting on the Town of Dresden at the turn of the last century. There is not a lot of information in Dresden archives about this period in the town's history. I also wanted to pay tribute to my father for what he contributed to me and the community in his short 53 years of life.

I may add to this site in the future but for the time being I will give it a rest.

07 August, 2008

Good and tough golfer in the making?

...maybe, if he plays as good as he did "yesterday"

Some things are just too good to keep to yourself, like the Golf poem written by my grandson Ryan (pictured at right) when he was about eight years of age. He may not be the next challenger to Tiger Woods but there is every possibility he could be the literary world's new Edgar A. Guest whose poem "Yesterday" was featured in the previous Wright Slant post. While Ryan has gone on to produced some extremely colorful prose, I am proud to share his first poetic effort with you at this time.

by Ryan Rocha
I love golf, I really do.
I swing the club without saying boo.
One day my friend took me out for a shot
And I really did good, he said I was hot.
My Poppa soon gave me his old club,
He too played golf and that was no lub'.
Then on my birthday I got a great gift,
It was a bag and clubs that I could not lift.
My Dad showed me how to loosen the strip
So I could carry it without breaking a hip.
This is my story about golf and its stuff...
Soon I will be good and really tough.
Dedicated to Poppa Wright and family.
Thanks for the clubs and bag!

06 August, 2008

Damn, I made that shot yesterday!

...golfers' excuses are predictable

I used to play a lot of golf away back when. I haven't played for quite a few years now. Pins and screws in an ankle will do that to a fellow. I sold my clubs at a yard sale when I moved up to God's country, but I still look longingly at the plush green fairways of our local course every time I drive past it, at least twice a day.
My young neighbor is an avid golfer and I like to quiz him on his game from time to time. Invariably, he will say things like "not bad" or "I was having trouble with my driver today. Can't figure it out, it was working beautifully yesterday."

I've heard that "yesterday" more times than I can count. I also like the one when you team up with another golfer and the first thing he says is: "I haven't been playing much lately so don't expect too much." That means he's going to hit his first drive off the tee at least 300 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. Then, of course, there's the classic "the sun was in my eyes" or "that damn wind, it does it to me every time."
I gew up enjoying the work of homespun poet Edgar A. Guest. I give the rest of this post over to him because he captures so perfectly the excuse mentality of most duffers today and yesterday. Things really haven't changed on the links since Edgar's 1920s and 30s because golfers will be golfers, regardless the era.
I've trod the links with many a man,
And played him club for club;
"Tis scarce a year since I began
And I am still a dub.
But this I've noticed as we strayed
Along the bunkered way,
No one with me has ever played
As he did yesterday.
It makes no difference what the drive,
Together as we walk,
Till we up to the ball arrive,
I get the same old talk:
"Today there's something wrong with me,
Just what I cannot say.
Would you believe I got three
For this hole -- yesterday?"
I see them top and slice a shot,
And fail to follow through,
And with their *brassies plough the lot,
The very way I do.
To six and seven their figures run,
And then they sadly say:
"I never dubbed nor foozled one
When I played -- yesterday."
I have no yesterdays to count,
No good work to recall;
Each morning sees hope proudly mount,
Each evening sees it fall.
And in the loker room at night,
When men discuss their play,
I hear them and I wish I might
Have seen them -- yesterday.
Oh, dear old yesterday! What store
Of joys for men you hold!
I'm sure there is no day that's more
Remembered or extolled.
I'm off my task myself a bit,
My mind has run astray:
I think, perhaps, I should have writ
These verses -- yesterday.
Amen. I love it. Been there and felt that!
(* A "brassie" was a wooden club with a brass plate on the sole, or head. I have one that belonged to my dad. It is a collector's item. I also have a "mashie", equivalent of a six-iron.)

05 August, 2008

The old days vs. the new days

...Joy and hope are common threads

I'll be the first to admit that I have been living in the past a lot in recent weeks. It is not a conscious thing. I just guess I have a lot to catch up on. After all, the past is where most of my experience lies. But don't get me wrong. I'm very much into the present.

I think that it is only natural for most of us to reflect on the good old days -- the days when hope came with each spring season, when hearts were true, when everyone wore a smile, when every sky was blue, when dreams were golden and every night brought rest, when youth and love were at their very best. But, you know what? We all have good new days right in front of us. And they are the selfsame days of the past.

Just think about it for a moment. The same spring with all its newness still comes and goes, the same sun still shines in blue skies that span the world and people still smile, dreams are as golden as ever and hope springs eternal. The old days had their pleasure, but likewise have the new. We love today in the selfsame way they loved in days of old. If we take the time to look, we'll still find beauty in the things around us and the world is not growing cold, in fact it's getting warmer. True, we're not any younger but in many ways we've gotten better and we gladly leave youth to the young.

The way I see it is that we are so very lucky when we have experienced the good old days but still have good new days right here and now. So take time to smell the roses that are, incidentally, every bit as beautiful as they used to be!

I like the Toby Keith song: "I aint as good as I used to be, but I'm as good once as I ever was."
So look out world, here I come!

01 August, 2008

Is religious tolerance possible?

...inter-faith conference takes major first step

You won't read or hear about it in local media, but an interfaith conference was held last week in Madrid, Spain, hosted by King Abdullah of South Arabia. The three-day World Conference on Dialogue included not only the three so-called "Abrahamic" faiths -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- but also representatives of Buddhism and Hinduism.

VOANews agency reported that the conference concluded in agreement with King Abdullah's premise that religion should be a means to iron out differences, not a cause for disputes. The legacy of the meeting, however, will depend partly on what happens next and on further steps, if any, that the Saudi monarch can take. Cynics say he must start by opening his own nation to the concept of religious tolerance.

Intra-faith and interfaith understanding is an ambitious plan and Abdullah has stepped forward to lead the Muslim's dialogue with the world at a time when the militant extremism and the United States' war on terror have divided the world into Us and Them and the Islam-West rift is at its widest. Consider also that half the world consists of those who practice religions that do not trace their spiritual descent from Abraham and eventually they will need to be reached out to as well. So the conference can be seen as the first stage of an "earthquake", the result of which could eventually bring positive shifts in religious tolerance.

We can live in hope. Christians, Jews and Muslims may hold different understandings of how God has been revealed to humankind, but all three groups are called to love God and neighbor and care for the poor. That, in itself, can be a springboard to conversations and, as one religious scribe put it, " celebrate religious holidays together and even set aside days to worship together -- all to promote understanding, respect and goodwill."

Sorry to say, at this point I am pessimistic. We Christians are just too insular for this kind of "togetherness". A propensity to Evangelism is the major stumbling block. There is a deep-rooted segment of the Christian community that fears "watering down" and favors converting those of other faiths, not forming an alliance with them. I hesitate to confess that I really do not know where I stand on this issue and that might make me "unChristian" in some people's eyes.

Don't you sometimes wish that the world would just bug off and leave us to quietly believe and to worship in the manner in which we have become accustomed? Heaven knows, you and I are tolerant enough!?