Sunday, June 23, 2013

Short Pants

I was the last kid in my age group to graduate to long pants, the coming of age event for boys in Kindersley, the prairie town where I grew up. That was the secular coming of age that was delayed by my mother's insistence that short pants were less slovenly than long pants, notwithstanding the dirty knees. Maybe it was easier to wash the knees than wash and iron multiple pants. I was also the only boy in my age group that had to attend Sunday School and when I finally prevailed with her to absent myself after my confirmation, since at that time my father didn't go to church and therefore could argue my case. Besides that I was the only boy in Sunday School except my young brother and he didn't count. It was my religious coming of age! The delay in my coming of age from a secular delay and spiritual absence, determined my fate that I could never reach cool, or so I grieved then. Down deep now, I would have grieved if my children became cool too soon in life, so in retrospect, I thank God for my mother! Moreover I had bow-legs, a genetic disorder since the paternal family tree records these parenthesis' in photographs with swimming costumes from long ago, otherwise in the forbears they are masked always by pictures taken  deceitfully in long pants. It wasn't fair. Despite the bow-legs, none of our family, to my knowledge, developed osteoarthritis of the knees since the bow-legs arose from bilateral Tibia Vara. and therefore the knee joints were preserved. I think that was lucky. Uncool and bow-legs but lucky in the end. It has taken me a long time to realize it isn't me, it's us and it's good!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just Who do You Think You Are?

As I lay in bed asleep last night I woke up with a start and a small inner voice said, "Just who do you think you are?  What right have you to keep saying "you" in your writing, or your diatribes in fact, as if you are lecturing to some invisible novitiate who is hanging onto your every pathetic idea. Take your last blog, Happenstance, all I can say is what a pedantic piece of nonsense masquerading as something deep. Drivel! Why don't you stick to the strange little episodes of your life events, some of which are exaggerated, but at least less pretentious than your meagre ideas of life. And your putative book cover, that's another matter. You haven't even left enough rope to hang yourself."  Well, you can see I am having a crisis of confidence! I admit that from time to time I have over-rated my puny ideas of life.  "It isn't so bad that you write these ideas of life, but that you think you are on the high road when in fact you are a poseur, because you keep preening yourself as you write that it is all newness," said the small voice. I suppose that I am grateful for the small voice even though down deep I admit it is not all that comforting. Still, if I believe that what comes along is always for the good, whatever comes, I accept that Jobian idea, at least for the moment till the next bad thing comes along, as it will and then I'll chuck Job. Pontificating is unfortunately a fault of mine, but magnified as a fault if one has no business doing it! Maybe as the pianist says I should stop saying "you", as if I was a teaching somebuddy and use "one" or better still "I" when it really is me, not you. Anyway, I have to ask the small inner voice, "Just who do you think you are? I'm not going to take everything you say as gospel." I may be kidding myself, but even if some of it is stupid it is at least my attempt to be  honest. There is a lot of crap out there in the writing world so I am entitled to contribute mine as well, including Happenstance.

Monday, June 17, 2013


 If you believe that some of the seemingly trivial events in your life leading to consequences have happened without your control you may have some concern about life and your prospects. If you believe that life in the final analysis occurs without much control, like Brownian Movement, and flecks of dust particles just collide or don't and control ultimately is of limited value anyway, then que sera, "it ain't my fault!"  If however you consider happenstance, and that is, there is direction, as yet unknown, to the seemingly unrelated and trivial events leading to whatever consequence you may  arrive at, one will have a somewhat fatalistic point of view. I have no doubt  all of these conditions are in operation, but I can't help but think that there were coincidences in my life that were directed, but not by me. Things beyond my control, things that were not randomized, but linkage that led to a chain of events that were arranged from beyond. Does it not feel good that there is some guidance in this life?  That there is some outside force that will connect whatever dots there are to connect! That the direction is not all up to me and I cannot hold the whole world in my hand and direct it to do the right thing or know the right thing for that matter. That I am not powerful enough to avoid all the pitfalls in life or alternately the pitfalls in my life may for my own good. If Brownian Movement is in an epic battle with Control and Happenstance for our lives, and it's winner take all, then we had best be on our knees. I'm cheering for Control or Happenstance: hanging loose or anal! I think a dose of both! Not either/or!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fishing with Children

I have a photograph of my eldest daughter when she was 9, standing on the dock in Cowichan Bay, holding, with both hands, a 22 pound spring salmon that is two thirds of her height,  that she caught while trolling in the bay. In the late fall, if rain was still slight, the rivers were low and the big fish could not go up them to spawn till the rains came. As a result the big fish accumulated in the bay and fishing was spectacular. River mouth fishing is no longer allowed there for very good reasons. I have a photograph of my youngest daughter when she was 9,  taken near the end of day, at the end of the fishing season in Lake of the Woods, when we were due to go back to the coast. She rowed out to the pickerel hole by her self for the last time. She came rowing back to the cottage near dark, in jubilation, having jigged with minnows for 2 hours, carrying a 6 pound pickerel, the largest of that season. I have a photograph of my son when he was 11, whose line we thought hit bottom around Fiddle Reef off Lotus City waters, and I scolded him for not watching the line carefully enough to avoid snagging. As we dragged and hauled and backed up the boat to pull at different angles to relieve the snag, we pulled in a dead weight, 44 pound halibut. The halibut suddenly became alive on the bottom of the boat once gaffed and landed and it took a time and effort to subdue since we didn't carry a 22. When I went fishing with my 10 year old grandson by the Can Buoy at Batt Rock, a submerged mount in Ganges harbour, we illegally tied up to the Can Buoy to still fish, and he caught an 18 pound silver green ling cod. Unfortuately the ling cod were out of season and he had to throw it back. He wrote of his sorrow. They are now 52, 49, 54 and 24, but those are fish to remember and there is an imprint on a software gyrus of each, labelled Desire, that portends danger for some fish, some time!