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 […]

Hello, can you help me with my basement?

In early October, we took a call at the office from a man who had googled “St. Thomas foundations”. We had to explain that Elgin – St. Thomas Community Foundation couldn’t help him with his basement wall. While it’s easy to explain what we don’t do, it’s not nearly as simple to give a thirty-second […]

A vote against could be positive

What might the October election mean to us seniors? We could get all riled up (a term no longer applied to teenagers or twenty-somethings; only seniors become riled up) over a perceived threat to our Canada Pension or Old Age Security. Or, I don’t know, just about anything that’s not like it used to be […]

Father knew best how to raise a child

My father belonged to the Greatest Generation, and one of the things that made him great was his firm grasp of child psychology. He knew how easy it was for young’uns to start down wrong paths and end up in strange, fearful woods without the tools or resourcefulness to get out. His solution, as brilliant […]

Still workin’ nine to five

I’m one of those Boomers who’s taking up space in the employment roster. I have a desk and a chair that could be reserved for a Gen Xer, Yer or Zer if only people like me would stop working. Like much younger people, we working Boomers occasionally fantasize about what it would be like to […]

Cannabis cheerleaders must be high on something

In early May, the Financial Post exhaled the following front page headline: “Data shows shift in cannabis culture”. According to StatsCan, the number of people buying cannabis illegally has declined by 13 percent in the past year. Now almost half of Canadian users purchase weed legally, up from 23 percent in 2018.  About 18 percent […]

What are ya? Some kinda sore loser?

When I was eleven, my little brother whupped me in a foot race at a Sunday School Picnic at Port Glasgow. I was flummoxed, flabbergasted, crestfallen. To this day, I remember the strength of these adjective-ridden emotions. I have an even stronger memory of my uncle coming up to me at the defeat, I mean, […]

There’s no fool like an old one

If all goes according to Hoyle, there’s a new head-and-shoulders shot with this month’s column. I say “head-and-shoulders”, but in the newspaper business, we called it a “head shot”, an abbreviation that sounds as if reporter-photographers were snipers, when in reality most newshounds wrote far, far tougher than they ever lived. Of course the 2019 […]