Tags: Experiences, Politics
Even when our family went through it’s toughest times I never saw my father scared other than when he was facing cancer. Worried? Yes. Scared… no.
Except for November 22nd, 1963.
I will never forget watching my parents on the sofa in our house on Guelph Street watching the news on our television. My mother was clutching my father’s arm so hard at one point he had to ask her to let go because it was hurting him. When she started crying I asked what was wrong.
My father called me over by his side, lifted my onto the couch and tried his best to help a 9 year old understand the significance of the fact the president of the United States had been shot. He tried hard to explain assassination in terms I could understand, and further to explain communism, capitalism, and the whole gamut of world politics. He failed of course; I was only 9. But then again he didn’t fail… entirely.
No, the 9 year old Dennis took a few weeks to figure it out. His grade school teachers struggled almost as much as my father to explain it to us. As the drama unfolded on television and radio the full impact of the event became clearer. We could hardly help it, it was all there was to watch a lot of the time. Even the other kids in my class talked back and forth about it at recess and on the way to and from school, mostly just echoing what we overheard or parents saying.
But there was one thing I understood right from the start. It was abundantly clear to me that this was a big deal. A very big deal; one that mattered more than I could possibly imagine. I understood how big it was because of my father.
It was the only time I ever saw him truly scared!
I have absolutely no idea why, after so many months of posting nothing, I have suddenly decided to post this – now. As I type this I am sitting at a picnic table in Riverside Park having just witnessed one of those seemingly insignificant acts of nature that are usually only experienced via a National Geographic special on television. One certainly does not expect one’s supper to be interrupted by such an unexpected observation.
WARNING! The paragraphs which follow contain a somewhat graphic description of, shall we say, intimate insect behaviour. No – I cannot leave the description out of the post as the unfolding of the event is what the whole thing is about; without it the entire experience falls flat. Consider yourself warned.
Like I said, I’m in Riverside Park having my supper. Nothing special; just a grilled bacon and tomato Panini (hold the cheese) and a medium double-double decaf from Tim’s across the street. As I’m eating I notice a pair of small silver winged insects (each no more than ½ inch long) on the table beside me. They seem to be engaged in a tug of war having been securely joined at the tips of their abdomens. Facing away from each other, joined at the (ovipositor? meh!) – ass, they each seem to be struggling to pull the other in their preferred direction.
A brief rundown of the aforementioned National Geographic specials in my randomly accessed memory reveals I am quite likely witnessing two insects (of a hitherto unidentified species) mating. My first thought was, “Wow! I wonder how often there have been mating bugs on my dinner table when I didn’t notice?”
What happens next is the graphic part, so brace yourself. One of the insects, making what for all the world appeared to be a Herculean effort, suddenly tore away from the encounter taking a portion of the other insect’s insides with it! In that moment, the information from the National Geographic program and my grade 9 biology class coalesced in my consciousness and I realized what I had just witness was the culmination of the sex act; the climax, if you will.
Using reproductive organs obviously designed for the task, the female of the species clamped firmly onto the male’s member and tore away from the encounter ripping his gonads out by the roots and taking them with her!
I was stunned. And so apparently was the male bug as he just sat there motionless for what had to have been at least 20 seconds. Finally, he made a stuttering, halting effort to move, eventually flying away, likely to find somewhere to expire.
My second thought, I am somewhat hesitant to admit, was, “Gee pal, I hope it was worth it!”
I know, not my best moment; but if it’s any consolation I did spend the next minutes musing about the whole procreation thing. The need to reproduce; the need to leave a legacy by continuing our bloodline and the lengths we are driven to by hormones, pheromones and endorphins to acquire a mate and do the deed. I came to no startling conclusions, no great philosophical revelations, only a few harrumphs and the odd heavy sigh.
Besides it wasn’t long until my more profound ruminations were displaced by my media addle-pated imagination which conjured up Bruce Willis sitting on the bench beside me, and having just witnessed the very same scene replayed out in my memory, turned to me and said, in the way only Bruce Willis can…
“You know, that’s exactly what my divorce felt like.”
Fade to black.
Freezing rain and ice pellets aside, it must be spring, because there were earthworms all over the bike lanes this week. Thank God for fenders.
Yes, I have finally gotten started on my 2013 cycling season. It’s pretty damp in the morning which makes it seem a lot colder than it actually is, but even so, it feels good to be on the road again. There’s just something about riding a bike that makes me feel so much younger than I feel most mornings. I turn 60 next year and a lot of mornings I feel every bit of my 59 years and then some. But this past week, riding to Guelph Little Theatre last Saturday, then to work a couple of mornings, I have felt better than I have in a long time.
Winter’s over (weather be-damned), spring is here; I’m on my bike again. Life is good.
Of course that also means that the Ride to Conquer Cancer, benefiting the Campbell Family Research Centre at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, is less than two months away (it’s happening June 8th & 9th). The next few weeks will be very busy as Team Kortright ramps up its fundraising efforts. Stay tuned for more info on these efforts in the days to come.
This week however, I am very pleased to announce that we have two new team members this year; Dr. Phil McAlister and Les Ferrier.
Many of you in the Guelph area will be familiar with Dr. Phil from his Living Healthy show (available o n YouTube) and his work at Tranquil Therapeutic Solutions on Scottsdale Drive. He’s been a cyclist both on and off road for some time and it’s great to have him on board.
Les Ferrier has been a supporter of Team Kortright all along the way and has decided to ride with us in 2013. Les is now officially the oldest member of the team and brings years of cycling experience with him (he and his wife Barb spent their honeymoon cycling) and so we are very glad to
have him on the team as well. Welcome to both Les and Phil.
On the downside however, this year even more of my friends are battling with this terrible disease.
Prominent in my mind and heart when I think on what we are trying to do with the Ride to Conquer Cancer is my friend Cindi. She is just finishing up her chemo-therapy regimen and while the treatments are much milder than they were back when my brother went through it, it’s still no walk in the park. In fact, a walk in the park takes a lot out of Cindi most days (when it happens at all), but thanks to the support of her family and friends, and especially her husband Pete, the journey to healing continues. You can read her story over at their blog “Following Jesus is Hard.”
It’s because of people like Cindi, my brother, and so many others that have both won and lost their struggle with cancer that I continue to participate in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. And it’s because of the far too many people you know who have and are struggling with it that I ask you to help by making a donation and sponsoring me again this year. As in past years my goal for 2013 is to raise $2500. This is the amount each rider pl
edges to raise before they enter the Ride. With nearly 5000 riders again this year I’m sure we’ll set a new record once again.
Or maybe you haven’t sponsored me before. In that case I invite you to do so for the first time. Your donation will go to continue the research and patient support at the Princess Margaret. Last year the nearly 5000 riders rose over $16 million, the largest cycling fundraiser in Canadian history. It was a remarkable experience.
So please; follow the link to my personal Ride page and make a donation. You can donate online or print out a donation form to send in with your cheque. If you get there and it happens that my $2500 goal has been reached then I would ask you to support me by sponsoring one of the other members of Team Kortright.
Thank You and may God bless.
You can sponsor me with a donation at the following link or by clicking the banner in the left margin.
First of all – it’s wrong! There’s a lot of myth and misinformation in it. I’d go into the details myself but fellow blogger Anne Theriault over at The Belle Jar does a wonderful job of that HERE. So I won’t repeat it all, please go and read her excellent article.
But to address my other complaint, let’s assume for a moment that it’s all true; that long before Christianity came along there was a celebration of fertility and sex that included bunnies and eggs and then got reworked when Constantine had a religious experience and found God. My response to this semi-etymological revelation…
Seriously! What difference does it make? Constantine, when looking for a time to note the death of Jesus and celebrate his resurrection the Emperor of Rome chose to cancel the sex, drugs and rock’n'roll party and deal with a far more serious occasion. That doesn’t mean the Easter celebration is about sex!
Time passes. Things change. Peoples, governments, empires and even religions come and go. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new”, Paul tells the Corinthians.
Just as the love of Christ makes changes in the life of an individual, so too changes happen in the life of a nation, or an empire. Rome moved on; it stopped worshiping the ad hoc collection of gods it had gleaned from Greece and every other nation it had conquered and by royal decree focused on the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the Father of Jesus Christ. A wholesale change took place in the religious culture of the time.
Did a few of the old customs hang on, helping to shape the rubrics of the new religion? Possibly; people are people after all. It’s hard to let go of the past. Incorporating a few of the old bells and whistles can make the transition easier for the man-in-the-street who doesn’t fully understand the reason for the changes being made. That doesn’t diminish the new significance; it simply makes it a point of contact for the common person.
It’s a lot like the building where my home church meets each Sunday and throughout the week. It started it’s tour of duty as University Village Public School, an open concept building were the neighbourhood kids came to learn, play and prepare for the future.
Today, it’s called Kortright Presbyterian Church and the happenings within the building aren’t all that different. Now people of all ages come to learn, play and prepare for the future; only on the spiritual level instead of the secular. We learn about who we are, where we came from and, by the grace of God, where we are going.
In like manner, if I may be so bold, it may well be the same with Easter. Is it all that bad if the Easter celebration was once a festival of sex and fertility? Think about it: if life is to continue, if there is to me another generation after this one, then sex and fertility have to be part of the equation somewhere along the line. Human love, expressed in sex between an man and a woman, results in new life. The death and resurrection, an expression of God’s love at Easter, also results in new life; new spiritual life, and the haters in the world are never going to diminish the meaning of that.