Moments from the trenches of the COVID-19 war

Ross Lunn, who’s married to my first cousin, June, is living proof that COVID-19 is no laughing matter. On June 7, his 71st birthday, he emerged from St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, smiling and waving. Thanks to COVID-19, he had spent 70 days at STEGH, many of them with a breathing tube down his throat. […]

Somebody who outdrew ya

Just after Christmas, Rick, a man I see once in a while socially, told me that he had been working at Winter Wheat before it had unfortunately lost most of its buildings in a fire. I asked Rick what he had been doing there and he said, “Whatever they need. Mostly welding on some of […]

Tasmanian non-devil

Almost a year ago, I reconnected with Richard Osborne Moyer, a man I hadn’t seen since for close to 45 years. We had worked together as farmhands in the early 1970s, but he met a woman from Tasmania, they married, and then disappeared to that island paradise near mainstream Australia. For those of us of […]

Three petite problems with performance evaluations

As part of my job, I participate in an annual performance evaluation. There’s something reassuring about those words “annual performance evaluation”. They’re in a ballpark with “audited financial statements”.  They roll off the tongue reasonably well, inspire confidence, sound like we are doing things right. And I’m sure we are, especially with the audit. When […]

Sex ed the old-fashioned way

My dad took a very straightforward approach to sex ed, at least he did with me. Maybe it was the same with my two brothers. I don’t know, since I’ve never discussed the topic with them. In the area of sex and romance, teenaged brothers tend to say terrible things to each other, or at […]

Dolly, I will always love you

In 2019, the Dolly-verse expanded yet again. One direction it took was the streaming series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings which stretches and reimagines eight of her most successful songs as stories. “Family, faith, love and forgiveness come to life” according to Netflix promo material. The other is a podcast called Dolly Parton’s America. Here’s the promo […]

My days as a media magnate

The closest I came to the big time was as publisher of The St. Thomas Times-Journal from the spring of 1993 to the summer of 1996. I say “the big time” because it was a daily. The arc of my “career” went from weeklies to a daily, then other things for a few years, then […]

Too soon old

Here’s a favourite saying of a Saskatchewan farmer I worked for in the last century: Ve are too soon olt und too late schmart.” A second-generation Canadian, the son of a German homesteader in the Peace River Country, he usually spoke with no remnant of a Teutonic accent, but the way I wrote that is […]