Surviving: A Life

Overseas during the War, Ed Carter-Edwards served with 427 Sqn in the RCAF.

His smile remained as infectious as ever. The twinkle in his eye was still bright during my visit with air force veteran Ed Carter-Edwards this week. When his son-in-law Mike and I lifted him, so that Mike could scratch a nagging itch on Ed’s back, I could feel the muscle in his shoulders that had served him a lifetime.

Now 94, Ed battled this week not just for life, but to stay connected to a hospice room of family and visitors as long as possible. Across from his bed, his son Dennis nodded and summed up his father’s life in a sentence.

“If there was ‘quit’ in his life,” Dennis Carter-Edwards said quietly, “he never would have made it.”

Being there for history

Angela Davis has spoke up for concerns of women in America for a generation. Davis Facebook photo.

She and her friend walked among the multitudes, it seemed for hours. Some in the march were chanting, but she said it wasn’t particularly tense. Besides the obvious aspects of it being demonstration, she said she didn’t sense the men and women around her were targeting their frustration at anybody. And then the group came upon a stage, where Angela Davis, the American University law professor, was speaking.

“This is ground zero in the struggle for social justice,” Davis told thousands during her speech to the Washington Women’s March last Saturday. “Women’s rights are human rights all over the planet, (and) this is just the beginning.”

Celebrating Sir John A. in Orillia

 

Sir John A. Macdonald shakes hands with speaker Barris on Jan. 14, 2017. Photo Patrick Bales. Orillia Packet & Times.

The Hermitage Ballroom at the Best Western Mariposa Inn was the room with the Sir John A view Saturday night.

The 19th annual Sir John A Macdonald Celebration was once again sold out, with approximately 200 people on hand to show their support for the Orillia Museum of Art and History while feting one of the Fathers of Confederation.

The celebration took on an added significance this year, as 2017 not only marks the 150th anniversaries of both Confederation and the incorporation of Orillia, but also the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, pointed to as pivotal moment in making Canada the nation it is today.

That made Ted Barris a fitting speaker for the evening. He has written extensively on the country around the time of Confederation, as well as specifically on Vimy, in 2007’s Victory at Vimy.

Read the full story: http://www.orilliapacket.com/2017/01/15/celebrating-sir-john-in-orillia

An address, not an email

President Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inauguration address trying to put the one aspect of his first term to rest. Courtesy Wikipedia.

The first one used just over 1,400 words to do it. That was George Washington. The most recent one, Barack Obama, took about 2,400 words. The one who took the longest to do it, with over 8,000 words, was William Henry Harrison in 1841. The first one to do it in the third week of January, did so in 1937, setting the precedent for every inauguration to follow; and that was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And the president-elect who spoke the fewest words at his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln, chose among the most eloquent 700 words to do it.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all,” Lincoln said in his second inaugural address, “let us strive on to finish the work we are in…”

The price of renaming

Just over a year ago, some of our Centennial College student reporters were assembling the latest edition of the East York Observer newspaper. One reporter had been assigned to cover a media conference at the regional hospital in the area. She returned to explain that the hospital, which for probably half a century was known as the Toronto East General Hospital, was now going to be called the Michael Garron Hospital, in honour of the son of long-time hospital donors, Myron and Berna Garron. Michael Burns, the chair of the old TEGH, explained it to our reporter this way.

“If you’re lucky, once in a lifetime a truly extraordinary philanthropic gesture transforms an institution and care for thousands of people,” he said. “We are humbled and beyond grateful that our hospital is in receipt of such a remarkable and historic gesture.”

Promises, promises, promises

When they’re everywhere, this time of year, how do you swear off these as a resolution?

One of my friends recently announced to me that he was going to get fit in 2017. Another promised she would eat more sensibly starting this week. And I read about others who proclaimed this next calendar year they would be kinder, more forthright, better listeners, less ideological, more philanthropic and take up volunteering – all noble objectives, I should add. Eventually somebody asked me if I’d made any resolutions. Well, I chickened out. I chose a kind of joke, one of my father’s regular Jan. 1 comebacks to the question.

“Yup,” I said. “My resolution is to … not make any resolutions!”

Barris story recognized by RCAF Association

On December 30, 2016, RCAF Association News website announced:

“As 2016 comes to a close, the RCAF Association would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of the RCAF Assocation News a look at the most accessed articles from the year…”

Among them was “Bringing the Hally home,” published by the National Post.

Read the full story at: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/ted-barris-bringing-the-hally-home

Gifts money can’t buy

It took my dad far too long to set up his B&H movie camera and light rack, before allowing us near the Christmas tree.

It was a time before cell-phone selfies and video. Heck, it was even before video. Each Dec. 15 morning, our parents wouldn’t allow us into the living room where the tree sat until the time was right. My sister and I had to wait until Dad wound up his Bell & Howell movie camera, and turned on the powerful electrical lights so that the camera would register an image on his 8-millimetre motion picture film.

“OK, I’m rolling,” he would say finally. “You can come in now!”

Whereupon, my sister Kate and I, blinded by the movie lights and unable to see a thing until our eyes adjusted to the bright lights, would stumble into the living room.

All the news that’s fit to fake

Very much alive, but nobody bothered to check. Courtesy GordonLightfoot.com.

As I recall, it was an afternoon in February a few years ago. One of my journalism students came to me with a cell phone in his hands – you know the pose, with head bowed, eyes mesmerized, phone illuminating his face – and a look of incredulity. He looked up at me and announced the news.

“It says here Gordon Lightfoot is dead,” he said.

“What?” I said, then added with a tone of say it ain’t so in my voice “No.” Then, I asked him where he was reading such news.

No glass ceiling strong enough…

pboro_examiner_jun61944It was a spring day, not unlike others on the home front that year. And Canadians, as they had since 1939 when the Second World War began, looked eagerly overseas for news. Jean Portugal, in her second full year on the job at the Peterborough Examiner newspaper, faced one of those graveyard shifts working overnight. Suddenly, the wire service machine delivering international news into the Examiner newsroom, began to clatter. And night editor Portugal faced a difficult decision.

“I knew I would have to wake up one of the managers,” she told me in 2004. “The Allies had landed in Normandy, and I had to get permission to use Second-Coming-sized type on the front page.”