Of men and machines

“Sentimental Journey” B-17 Flying Fortress on tarmac in Hamilton.

I was battling rush-hour traffic. Ironically, I was listening to a Toronto radio station’s traffic reporter tell me I was in gridlock. Then, my cell phone rang. I read the call identification. It was one of my teaching colleagues at Centennial College. And he was excited.

“She’s here!” he said, with more energy in his voice than usual.

“Who’s here?” I asked.

“Sentimental Journey. She’s going to be in Hamilton all this week,” he continued.

It was Malcolm Kelly on the phone. He’s the co-ordinator of Centennial’s sports journalism program. And second only to his love of sports is Malcolm’s love of airplanes.

Driven and loving it

The Nanji twins are driven to contribute to their community.
The Nanji twins are driven to contribute to their community.

The two young women stood together at the front of the hall, the former pharmacy on the main floor of the Toronto Street medical building. They couldn’t have been more alike. They wore the same T-shirts decorated in a blue and yellow logo. They wore their hair the same – shoulder-length – and they even looked, well, identical. And when they spoke – like a married couple – they finished each other’s sentences.

“I still remember a year ago, thinking this might not work,” one said.

“Yeah, we’ve grown so much,” the other said. “There were only 15 people attending this time last year…”

“This year, there are over 30,” the first added.

From small town ideas

Lancaster in front of Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta.
Lancaster in front of Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta.

I had hardly oriented myself to the place. Wood smoke from the recent B.C. fires had left Nanton, Alberta – a small prairie town south of Calgary – in a palpable haze. Nevertheless, aviation enthusiast Karl Kjarsgaard, who lives and volunteers there, had something he wanted to show me. Inside the newly renamed Bomber Command Museum of Canada, he led me to a storage area above the workshop. He opened a cardboard box and pulled out a metal bar about 18 inches long.

“This aluminum ingot has Canadian blood in it,” he said. “There’s 1,400 pounds of melted down aluminum in this box… and some of it is about to become famous.”