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

28 June, 2010

BLACK (BLOC) MARK ON TORONTO THE GOOD

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."  Statement attributed to Nelson Mandella and Carrie Fisher, among others.
Like most everyone else reading this post, I was deeply disturbed by the wanton acts of anarchy in Toronto last week, unquestionably a reaction to what was interpreted as the sudden imposition of a police state to assure the overall security of G20 Summit proceedings.  In the end, the victims of the unprecedented mayhem were an innocent public and the businesses who will pick up the lion's share of the cost for repair of the damaged and senselessly defaced downtown property, not to mention the loss of business which is unrecoverable.

In hosting a political gathering of this magnitude, the government and police are always between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the degree of security deemed necessary to protect the participating world leaders...How much is too much, or too little?  There are always lessons to be learned and a price to pay.  Likewise, there are questions to be asked in the light of public interest and perception -- questions like 1) how did the security bill run up so high? 2) why was it decided to turn the downtown Toronto core into an armed camp rather than take a more subtle approach to security? and 3) why was the public not advised of the degree of security and the implications well in advance of the Summit?  

To my way of thinking, three factors were at play this past week in Toronto, a failure to properly communicate, a lack of sensitivity and decreasing self-esteem within a fringe of the population.  All of which will have to be addressed by countries staging future summits, including Canada who is sure to be on the short list once again.

The black-attired (Black Bloc) protest vandals responsible for most of the downtown Toronto damage, all have one thing in common -- resentment of authority, be it political, law-enforced or big business induced.  Nothing stirs these underprivileged individuals more than the mere suggestion of security and the demonstration of enforcement by power.  If police failed this past week, it was in underestimating the dangerous potential of  a group that seems to assemble out of nowhere and disappears the same way it came after dispensing its mayhem in targeted areas -- making a statement, as it were.

It is difficult to pinpoint factors contributing to such "conduct disorder" in today's society.  Certainly environments such as school and home play a role as do life stresses in general in the form of poverty, unemployment, ill health and over-crowding of inadequate living conditions.  I, for one, can understand resentment that stems from these types of conditions.

Resentment is simply an expression of envy, the first and deadliest of sins. Adam and Eve envied God's knowledge of good and evil, Cain envied Abel, Ishmael envied Isaac, Esau envied Jacob, Joseph's brothers envied the favorite son, and the Gentiles envied the nation of Israel. Why reject what comes from on high to worship one's own image, unless you resent the higher authority?

It seems there are fairly universal causes of resentment. Most of us are likely to feel resentful when:
- Others try to tell us what to do, how to run our lives, what we need, what they think is best for us.
- Others tell us what they think we should do, how they think we should feel, how they think we should act.
- Others feel and act superior to us.
- Others act in hypocritical ways.
- Others deprive us of our needs.
- We see those in power abusing their power and hurting others who are less powerful.
- We feel falsely accused, judged, prejudged, discriminated against, labelled, ignored, attacked, hunted, persecuted, underestimated, invalidated.
- We feel lied to or lied about.

This by no means justifies the actions of groups like the Black Bloc, but it helps to understand them in preparing effective counter measures.

Politicians and law enforcement officials would do well to constantly remind themselves of the above when creating strategies "in the best interests of the public".

Ultimately, forgiveness is the key for dealing with resentments. But, just because you forgive, it doesn’t mean that you agree with the other person's actions. It merely means that you are freeing YOURSELF from them.  Try telling that today, however, to participants in the most recent Black Bloc demonstration in Toronto.

I didn't sense much forgiveness radiating from the eyes hidden behind those masks and bandannas.

THIS IS OUR COUNTRY: CELEBRATE IT!



I am leaving O Canada up as my lead item this week so that visitors can take a few minutes to reflect on, and enjoy, this wonderful national anthem of ours.  As we continue to lose proud, vital young Canadians in an ill-advised "peacekeeping" role in a strife-filled distant land and attempt to put behind us the unfortunate acts of anarchy and vandalism surrounding last week's Summit meetings in Toronto, we owe it to ourselves to sit back, close our eyes, and take in the moving refrains of "O Canada". 

23 June, 2010

THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF THEIR LIFE


As is so often the case with photographs, the above speak volumes.  Two young people happily and momentarily carelessly in love on the best day of their life, the world their oyster, pausing momentarily to  reflect on the marriage vows they had just exchanged on the beach at Southampton this past weekend.  Symbolically, the bride is ultimately swept off her feet as the bare-footed newly-weds splash along the Lake Huron Shoreline and into their new life together, "to have and to hold from this day forward"...until death they do part(?)...  Saugeen Times photos

WAY TO GO DRESDEN & CHATHAM-KENT

Congratulations to the folks in Dresden and their Chatham-Kent neighours for winning the coveted spot on the new edition of Monopoly Canada which goes on sale next week.  This year the producer of the 75-year-old board game asked Canadians to vote online for the cities they thought worthy of  a "square".   Chatham-Kent (pop. 110,000 after imalgamation in 2000) and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu earned top-rated colour-coded spots on the board, followed by Calgary, Sarnia and Edmonton.  More than a million votes were received Canada-wide, 65,000 of those going to Chatham-Kent.  Another game board collector's item for future generations, to be sure.

18 June, 2010

THE SKINNY ON OUR WEIGHT LOSS


Something unexpected happens when you lose a large amount of weight...You get to meet old friends.  Old friends in the form of clothing you haven't seen for years -- in particular, pants and shirts that you had the foresight to tuck away in boxes when they began to shrink(?) more years and pounds ago than you care to recall.

The elation of being able to fit into those old duds is second only to obvious health benefits one realizes when dropping excess poundage. Discarding that 2XL shirt or sweater in favour of a "large" that you can button with ease and zippering a pair of trousers without sucking in your gut in order to make ends meet, is a gratifying feeling beyond description.  Then, when you have to puncture four new holes in your belt...Hey, for a former fatty it doesn't get much better than that!

I packed up all my "fat clothing" the other day in order to make room in the closet for my new recycled wardrobe.  Now I keep going back to the closet just to admire the items hanging there and to gloat self-satisfyingly.   

Since going along for the ride on Rosanne's new lifestyle program, I have lost 47 pounds in three months and dropped four pant sizes.  This week I dipped below 200 pounds for the first time in about 11 years.  Rosanne is doing even better with a 68 pound drop in weight and the possibility of being able to go off oxygen in another week.  She too has been having fun trying on old clothing that had previously been destined for the thrift shop, some with store price tags still in place.

Chances of us falling off the diet wagon any time soon are very remote because it is imperative for Rosanne to lose another 150 pounds at least if she is ever able to regain normal day-to-day functioning.  She has done extremely well so far and is determined like never before to reach her goal.

Dieting these past three months, unlike so many times in the past, has not really been a chore for us.  With the support of an excellent young dietitian, we have been conscious of portion control and eating the right combinations of foods, coupled of course with the complete elimination of salt, sugar and unnecessary fats.  We have also cut back our consumption of red meat, a former staple of our diet, to once a week.  Our rule of thumb is lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein daily.  As we progress, we will be increasing our exercise regimen, slowly but surely.

So we will soldier on, losing weight, celebrating new goals, trying on old clothing, and feeling better about ourselves with each passing day.

A NICE OFFER AND I COULD NOT ACCEPT IT

Did you ever have someone offer to do something really nice for you but you were not in a position to totally accept their kindness?  Well I have and it is an awkward, terrible, unforgettable feeling.


In reflecting on people who have had an influence on me in my life, the name Charlie Aiken always comes to mind, not necessarily because of what he did, rather for what he offered to do for me.  It is really a bitter sweet story.


Charlie (Mr. Aiken to me at the time) owned the only departmental store in Dresden and just happened to be band master for the Dresden Community Band.  He was a neat, trim, gentle man who greeted townsfolk with a smile and polite nod of acknowledgement.  He also lived just two doors from my family's home and was a good neighbour.


My father Ken passed away when I was 14 years of age and Charlie, bless his heart, took it upon himself on one occasion to fill the void in my young life.  Knowing of my interest in music at the time, he invited me to attend a parade in Chatham that was featuring a large number of marching bands.  He treated me to an ice cream sundae at a restaurant on the King Street parade route and regaled me with stories about when he was a young man starting out in business.  

Fifteen minutes into the parade itself he suddenly turned to me and asked:  "How would you like to come and work in my store part-time after school?"

Taken by surprise, I felt a twinge in the pit of my stomach.  "What am I going to say?" I asked myself.  "This can't be happening!"

Mustering up all my adolescent courage, I blurted out:  "I'm sorry, but just yesterday Don Weese asked me to work in his store (Don Weese Men's Wear) and I'm going to be starting on Saturday."

"Oh, that's too bad, but I understand," Charlie responded, quickly drawing my attention to the colourful uniforms of one of the passing bands.  The subject was never discussed again and I do not remember much about the remainder of the day other than how terrible I felt for not being able to accept the kind job offer.  I not only felt awkward  for myself, but sorry for Charlie too.  It was like I was letting him down after he had been so thoughtful.

Just my luck...Two first job offers in a 24-hour period and I didn't ask for either one.

Almost 59 years later and I still feel badly about what I had to say in response to a well-intended gesture.   But what a nice thing it was that Charlie tried to do for me, out of the goodness of his heart. 

It was my first experience at having to say something very difficult to someone.  I have never been very good at it.

17 June, 2010

WHO REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?

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Sometimes we get so caught up in our everyday existance that we forget the people who make a difference in our life are not necessarily the ones with the most money, the greatest credentials, or the biggest awards.  As an interesting exercise, take a few minutes to ask yourself the following questions:


The people who make a difference…


-Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
-Name the last five recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
-Name the last five winners of the Miss World contest.
-Name ten people who have won an Olympic Gold Medal.
-Name the last five Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.


How did you do?


Who cares?  The point is that none of us remember the answers to such trivial questions and even if we do, what good is that knowledge outside of taking part in a quizz show? These people are the best in their fields and yet the applause dies, awards sit on the shelf and achievements are forgotten.


Here's another set of questions.  See how you do with these:


-Name two friends who have helped you through a tough time.
-Name five people who have taught you something meaningful.
-Name a teacher or mentor who made a difference in your life.
-Think of a few people who always make you feel appreciated.
-Name a couple of people whose stories have inspired you.
-Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


Was this a little easier to complete?


The people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most money, the greatest credentials, or the biggest awards. They are the ones who genuinely care and remain in your heart  and memory always.  Remember?

At the request of Greg Writer, Inspiration Manifestation.
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The truth will heal (a follow up)

"We are doing these things here today, and for the rest of the term of this commission, for one simple reason:  the truth will heal us all.

"Our goal is to lay the groundwork that will help us to close the divide between aboriginal people and the rest of Canadians.  We will do that through the sharing of truths and understandings so there is a role for each of us."

Manitoba Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, speaking at the hearing's opening ceremonies yesterday in Winnipeg.  Aboriginal prayers and languages reportedly  heard in the background alongside Christian prayers in French and English. 

The commission is part of a landmark agreement reached with survivors of abuse in government and church-run residential schools over the course of the past century.

15 June, 2010

A TIME TO TALK, A TIME TO LISTEN

Storytelling is very definitely an art form that is both instinctual and fulfilling.  In fact telling stories and repeating them is part of our common humanity across all cultures and ages.

Debra Baptiste of the Toronto Festival of Storytelling says that the instinctual nature of the art is driven by the intrinsic need one has to be heard, seen and understood. The ability to frame the human experience in a story with the power to transcend race, religion and nationality is a special skill that has the ability to soften barriers. Fulfillment comes through the sharing of expression, emotion and imagination where experiences are presented by the teller and accepted by the listener.

Stories too, are often so powerful that we tend to bury them because of the pain of recalling them is so great.  Such is the case in situations where abuse of various kinds is involved and it is imperative for the victims to eventually tell their stories in a supportive setting if there is any hope of wound healing.

Beginning today in Winnipeg, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission opens hearings and central to its mission will be listening to the stories of people who have attended Indian Residential Schools.  It goes without saying that the sessions will be filled with emotion, pain and suffering.  True enough, you and I had nothing to do with the abuse, but we should not become so defensive that we shy away from the reports coming out of the Commission.  We all need to feel the pain and be appalled by it, in order to understand this tragic part of our country's history.

I agree with David Harris of the Presbyterian Record when he says it will not be just "their story" but ours too...Ours whether we are native, tenth-generation British or French or total newcomers, because it is part of Canada's story.  "If we as a nation want the story of our native brothers and sisters to transform over time so that future generations tell a new story of when this great wound was healed, we need to be a part of this now."

Our Creator gave us one mouth and two ears.  The hearings this week will be a time for the surviving victims to talk and for the rest of us to listen.  It is a necessary process for everyone calling themselves "Canadian".

13 June, 2010

THE UNTOLD STORY OF ELDRED BRANDON

Ken Wright (left) and Eldred Brandon, lifetime friends and members of the Dresden Continuation School Soccer Team, 1914-15.

My father, Ken, and Eldred Brandon were best chums all through school in Dresden (ON) and life-long friends.  They were both born in the year 1899 and their families were neighbours in the small town in the heart of Kent County.

There was always a mystique about Eldred, even in those early days.  He was unquestionably a genius and by my dad's account, just a little different than the other kids.  They got along well however.  Ken and Eldred just seemed to have mutual respect and understanding, the type that transcends years and distance. 

After high school, my dad embraced the barbering trade and Eldred eventually found his way into the United States and a position with the American government.  In story book fashion, he would climb diplomatic ranks, culminating with an appointment as a valuable and highly-regarded attache to General Douglas MacArthur.

I well remember Eldred's letters to my dad and Christmas cards bearing the return address of the American Embassy in Japan.  Without going into third-hand classified detail, it seems Eldred was privy to some extremely sensitive information involving MacArthur's role in WW11 and was methodically degraded and discredited to the point that he was eventually hospitalized with his mental stability very much a bone of contention.  In about 1944 he returned to Canada, virtually a broken man.

The much decorated MacArthur meantime (see photo with his much celebrated  corn cob pipe), Commander of U.S. Forces in the Far East from 1941 to the end of the war in 1945, was synonymous with the conflict in the Pacific.  Often referred to as a "megalomaniac" and an extremely "political" general, MacArthur imposed complete censorship of everything in his theatre.  All words attributed to him had to be good news, otherwise they were censored.  All credits went to him instead of his respective field commanders.  He was known to pander and manipulate those on his staff.

Everything that came out of MacArthur's headquarters from 1942 onward, was predicated on the next U.S. presidential election which he coveted.  Poor Eldred had the misfortune to be caught up in all of this...He knew too much and was dispensable.  Effectively eliminated, you will find no mention of an "Eldred Brandon" ever being a member of MacArthur's staff in the 1930s or 40s. 

I recall Eldred sitting in our living room at home in Dresden, incommunicado and complete with hat pulled over his ears, sun glasses and trench coat down to his ankles (a Great Dane guard dog at his feet) relating his incredible story to my father. His last visit to our home was cut short when the Great Dane began barking uncontrollably.  "They've caught up to me.  They're outside!" stated Eldred obviously referring to Secret Service agents he claimed were constantly following him.  "I'll take my leave Ken," he said with eyes darting in all directions..."I don't want to put you and your family in harm's way!"  In haste, he was gone and I don't recall him ever again crossing the threshold of our home.

Eldred had previously entrusted Ken with the authorship of a book that would tell his story in detail, potentially blowing the lid off the secrecy of the extremely controversial MacArthur era...An untold story, as it were. Sadly, the longtime friends both died before the book ever saw the light of day and they took Eldred's tale of intrigue with them. I was too young then to appreciate it all, but it has always bothered me that I could not turn back the clock and capture all that priceless information for myself.  I am left only with the 65-year-old recollections of a spellbound little boy sitting at the feet of two old friends and a huge, panting dog.

I wish I could do better for you Ken and Eldred, but you didn't leave me with much to go on...This is the best I can manage after so many years.

I trust that in due course I will stop looking over my shoulder for any secret service agents who might still be lurking in the shadows.

Special Note:  I originally planned to post this item on the Dresden Virtual History Group's web site, but it was rejected for some unknown reason.  The mystique strangely continues...Perhaps coincidental, but curious nonetheless.  I AM DETERMINED.  I OWE IT TO TWO OLD DRESDEN CHUMS who never got to tell their amazing story. 

Eldred, incidentally, was the son of Dresden Postmaster and local historian Robert Brandon and wife Edith (Hazlett).  They lived on the north corner of Holden and St. George streets.

12 June, 2010

Don't be shocked folks.  Just trying a new look!

WHAT KIND OF REFLECTION DO YOU SEE?


I took this photo from the banks of Fairy Lake on Friday because I was impressed with reflections on the very calm, glass-like water surface.  If you look closely you can even see the reflection of billowy white clouds in the blue sky and vapour trails that had been left by jetliners flying overhead.

As I snapped a few more exposures I began to think about the significance of reflections and how many different types there really are.  Besides images bouncing back to us from shinny surfaces such as water, glass and mirrors, light and heat are commonly reflected.  When we are engaged in deep thought we are said to be in a reflective frame of mind.  We see ourselves reflected in our children and our grandchildren and how often do we catch ourselves thinking, or reflecting, on days gone by? 

Our eyes can see good reflections and bad reflections. It is much the same with our minds.

In my last post I talked about the power of attraction and I honestly feel that there is also a power in reflections.  

Can we find joy in our reflection despite what we see?  Definitely, yes, we can see the person we desire to become with just a simple shift in perception.  One woman explained it this way: 

"I have been giving myself haircuts for the past 20 years, because I just happen to like the way I cut my own hair. Ordinarily I cut my hair fully clothed, but this time I was cutting most of my hair off into a short bob and didn't want to deal with the clippings getting embedded in my clothes. So there I was looking at the reflection of my backside in the mirror and all I wanted to do is throw myself down on the floor and cry.


"I had been trying to lose weight for months, but hadn't really gotten very far, and what I saw in the mirror that day proved it. Instead of throwing myself down on the floor and crying, I did something worse; I started to mentally punish myself for looking so disgusting and letting myself go like that. I didn't stop there. I began telling myself just how ugly I really am and that I could not believe anyone would ever say I was pretty and actually be telling me the truth, especially the way I looked then.


"Only a few moments passed after beating myself up mentally, when I had a very clear revelation. I began to realize that it isn't what is on the outside that needs to be beautiful, but it is actually what is on the inside that God truly looks at. I thought that if I could separate my spirit from my body and take a good look at it, I wondered what type of reflection I would see. When I was finished analyzing and looking my spirit over top to bottom, I was simply amazed! I then said out loud, "Now THAT'S BEAUTIFUL"!


"Within moments the ugliness that I felt disappeared and I was able to focus on what is beautiful about me. I began looking at myself the same way that God looks at me, and realized that even though my spirit is in this body, my body is only a shell that houses the "Beautiful" spirit that God created for His Glory.  I realized right there and then that God does not see us in our flesh, but lovingly looks at our spirits to find our true selves.

"Even now, as I pass a mirror and am tempted to look at what is wrong with what I see, I don't give in to that temptation any more and look beyond what the human eye can see. I see a 'Beautiful Spirit' reflecting back at me, even on my worst days."

May we all see only beautiful reflections!

09 June, 2010

NO SECRET ABOUT LAW OF ATTRACTION

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Motivationists are making millions ($) these days promoting and marketing "the secret" of the law of attraction.  Like they have just discovered something new...Clever opportunists capitalizing on a supreme fact of human life that is so easily unappreciated and unrecognized.

What a gullible public fails to realize is that every thought has a literal value in every possible way.  The strength of our body, the strength of our mind, our success in professional life, the pleasure our company brings to others, all depend on the nature of our thoughts.  This is as much a chemical law as it is a spiritual law.

Chemistry is not confined to the elements we see.  The elements we do not see with the physical eye outnumber ten thousand times those we do see.  The Christ injunction:  "Do good to those who hate you", is based on a scientific fact and natural law.  In other words, to do good  is to bring to yourself all the elements in nature of power and good.  To do evil is to bring the contrary destructive elements into your life.

The law of attraction works universally on every plane of action, and we attract whatever we desire or expect.  There is no secret in the fact that if we carry any thought about us, and retain it no matter what, we will unceasingly attract to ourselves precisely what corresponds to that dominant thought.  Sadly, however, we often fail to realize that our thoughts are our private property and we can regulate them to suit our taste entirely by steadily recognizing our ability to do so.

We are so often crippled by the negative elements of doubt and fear which assuredly neutralize what would otherwise be a tremendous force in our favour. I'm sure we've all had experience in this area...You know, the "I could never do that" or "it is unrealistic" and the common killer "the status quo is good enough for me." It is paramount that we maintain a focus about ourselves as we follow our passions and our dreams.

I took part in an international teleconference recently that dealt quite effectively with a powerful flow that is at work in the universe.  It was generally agreed that to attract anything in life -- financial security, a loving relationship, success in business, whatever is desired -- we must look to the generally accepted attributes of unconditional giving or sharing, love, compassion and forgiveness. Very succinctly:  To give is to receive.

But we already knew that, didn't we?  It's just that our memories are often like our eyesight -- very short. That one personal shortcoming is why certain people out there are making millions, and I am not.

Maybe it is still not too late to start working more intently on those Christian attributes that so often get lost in the shuffle of everyday life.

06 June, 2010

CELEBRATING THE PAST THROUGH FRIENDS

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An administrative note on my Facebook page the other day suggested that there were a number of individuals from my email contact list who also subscribed to the FB site and I might be interested in inviting them to become "friends" on Facebook.  On impulse, I thought "why not?" and promptly sent invitations to 11 of the names brought to my attention -- a cross-section of friends old and new and one distant relative.

Soon after issuing the invitations, I began to question my hasty reaction.  "If they wanted to be Facebook friends with me they would have asked long before now," I thought.  Most of the names on the list belonged to longtime acquaintances who I already considered as "friends" anyway and certainly a Facebook friend request would do nothing to enhance connections, some dating back 60-65 years.  Wrights Lane, too, is always here and special invitations to visit are unnecessary. 

With a degree of embarrassment I was reminded of something I read not long ago suggesting that holding on to the past is like trying to breathe life into a play which is closed. It is akin to struggling to raise the curtain in a dark theatre, on a dusty stage, by ourselves...The other players have left the building. The stage is empty, but we persist in going over everyone’s lines, long since recited, playing all the parts – alone. "It is being stuck.  It is entrapment in a time warp. The costumes no longer fit. The buttons have popped," the writer emphasized. 

Sentimental people like me, who are subject to bouts of emptiness, sadness and curiosity about the past, struggle to remember that old friends and acquaintances do change, they move on, they establish new lives.  What once was, is no longer.  At the same time, I believe that our past shapes who we are and how we behave and it is nice to look back and to relive certain experiences.  I also feel that it is good to look to the past as a reference of what has worked for us and what has not.

You can imagine my joy and relief today when I received a positive response from seven of the Facebook invitations that I had issued just 24 hours earlier (still to hear from four others).  My faith restored, my heart touched.

I am realistic enough to know that I have little else to offer my new Facebook friends, other than the continued fondness and friendship of times, events and places past.  And I think that is alright.  We all change and move on.  Life evolves even for our newest friends over a shorter period of time.  We acknowledge the inevitable widening of distances.

What is so heart-warming and comforting for me, however,  is the discovery that most of our lives follow a universal path. We are similar in the way we love and are loved.  We all experience and overcome difficulty at one time or another, we mourn the loss of loved ones and we celebrate successes and achievement.  We bring children into the world.  We are rewarded with grandchildren.  

Yes, we all move on in life but we have the past and our memories to keep us together, if that is what we want...and I thank God for that.  If it takes something like Facebook to facilitate a need in us to symbolically reconnect, then so be it. 

The world is our stage and we continue to be players on it, make no mistake about it.  The script is ours to write in concert -- together as friends -- celebrating both our pasts and the promise of our futures.  If we play our parts in ernest, a rousing chorus of "bravo" awaits all of us when the stage lights finally do fade.

03 June, 2010

THE DOGGONDEST VIDEO EVER...


Okay, I've been at it again...Don't laugh too much!


If nothing else, children (and maybe the odd dog-lover) may enjoy my latest venture into the world of video production(?).  Maybe I should get a life, but I had fun doing it anyway.  CLICK away and DON'T "HOUND"ME if you don't like what you see!   

01 June, 2010

ABOUT POPPIES AND OLDTIMERS BASEBALL

I am particularly pleased with the poppies this year in my newly-created front terrace garden.

Oldtimers day at the ball park

A special honor has come my way in the form of an invitation to be included in the fifth annual "Oldtimers Day" presentations during halftime of an Intercounty Baseball League doubleheader at Labatt Park in London on Sunday, June 27.  I have old buddy Bruce Huff, founding president of the London  Oldtimers Sports Association, to thank for the invitation.

Joining me for the onfield presentations will be Tedd Bogal, Bobby Deakin, Al Robinson, Ken Benjamin, Dave Lapthorne and John Pegg (representing his father Chester who was a long-time sponsor of junior baseball in London).  It is interesting to note that Benjamin is a Chatham product who as a young pitcher, allowed Dresden Legionnaires to fatten batting averages in Western Counties junior baseball back in the early 1950s.  Ken stayed in the game he loves and has been extremely active in minor baseball and slow pitch circles in the London area.  His mother worked for my father as a hairdresser in Chatham during the 1930s, believe it or not.  I seem to recall that Ken, in fact, was named after my father.

Oldtimers Day is an annual event presented by the London Oldtimers Sports Association in conjunction with the London Majors baseball team.  It is the intention of the organizers each season to honour a different group of individuals who have contributed to the game over the years.

Many past honorees are former players in the Senior Intercounty Baseball League like myself (Bogal, Deakin and Lapthorne included).  The Majors will also be retiring the No. 5 jersey worn by Richard Thompson, a two-time I-C batting champion.

There is no way to count the number of times that I visited Labatt Park as a player with St. Thomas Elgins, as a member of a team in the old London City Fastball Leauge, as an I-C junior coach/manager and as an I-C junior and senior league umpire. 

The last time that I was in the historic, grand old park was in 1971 when I was plate umpire for a junior game between Kitchener and London, so there will be a lot of nostalgia involved for me on the 27th.