Barris goes blogosphere

There is no fear greater in my world.

The turning point occurred for me about 1980. The freelance world of writing had suddenly changed. I had recently moved to Alberta. The work seemed incredibly plentiful – not unlike the way it is now in Western Canada. The demand to be everywhere and cover everything in news and current affairs had become paramount. But it wasn’t so much a matter of what or whom I knew anymore. It appeared to be how quickly I could deliver. A close writer friend pointed it out to me.

“Word processors, have you seen them?” he asked. “Seems like we’d better get one or we’ll be left behind.”

When old soldiers fade away

The meeting came to order as the Officer Commanding pounded the handle of a former German hand grenade atop a former German military helmet. The makeshift gavel brought all hubbub in the room to a sudden halt. And 21 Canadian army veterans seated ’round a horseshoe-shaped dining table all recited a lusty and lurid poem mocking a long-ago enemy – the Kaiser and his generals.

“Good evening,” the OC said. “Welcome to the final meeting of the Byng Boys Club.”

Vimy moments

The statue of Mother Canada mourning her dead - part of the refurbished Vimy Memorial.
The statue of Mother Canada mourning her dead - part of the refurbished Vimy Memorial.

The Queen, the French prime minister, Prime Minister Harper, assorted other dignitaries, at least 4,000 young Canadian students and thousands of French and Canadian citizens were there. They had all assembled on a hillside in north-central France to commemorate perhaps Canada’s greatest military victory in the Great War at Vimy Ridge, on April 9, 1917. The tour of 112 people, for whom I’ve provided commentary this week, had dispersed into the overall crowd of 25,000. Suddenly, this older man approached me.

“You are a Canadian?” he asked.

A man of honour

A notice in the newspaper a few weeks ago, lamented the recent passing of a local resident. The short obituary noted that Terry Haddock’s family would miss him dearly, as would members of the boating and billiards community. But the notice also mentioned the loss to his many friends. One of those friends is another Uxbridge resident. Fred Barnard will miss Terry Haddock mostly on Thursdays when the two regularly shared conversation and refreshment at the Legion.

“It was easy to talk to him,” Fred Barnard said. “I’ll miss that.”