Who needs civics? You do!

The business report on the radio began with the latest dooming and glooming. The commentator used all the appropriate clichés about this poor outlook, that unexpected downturn, and, of course, the uncertainty prevailing. Then, he surprised me with his ignorance by describing this week’s outcome in the French election.

“European markets are surging,” he said, “because of leftist Marine Le Pen’s showing in the first round of the French elections.”

Leftist?” I repeated out loud. “Does he have any idea what he’s talking about?”

All the world is his stage

OLIVER_TWIST_POSTEROur two families met during an elementary school production of “Oliver!” back about 1990. In the musical, our daughter Whitney performed the role of the old thief Fagin and Lisa and Conrad Boyce’s daughter Alida played Mrs. Bumble, the wife of the workhouse caretaker. Of course, the girls were great. I didn’t realize it right away, but Alida probably had an edge. She was coached by a man steeped in theatrical experience as an actor, director, producer and critic. In a note to me this week, Conrad described his own stage debut.

“I played my first role in Grade 1,” he wrote, “a Canadian history pageant (in which I was) Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal.”

Morning delight

Sanitary truck at work, photo Miller Waste Management.

It’s one of the best feelings of the week. In our part of town, it usually happens Tuesday. I get up pretty early each day it happens. I make sure everything’s just so; sometimes I partly prepare things the night before. Then, about the middle of the morning, (since I’m on holidays this week, I’m actually around to see it happen) there’s that visit. There’s that telltale engine roar and sudden stop in front of my house. Sometimes it comes with a friendly wave.

“Have a nice day,” the guy in the Miller Waste truck says.

“You too,” I answer.

On being a debate moderator

Everything was going as planned, last Sunday afternoon. I had some errands to complete, my students’ news copy to edit. Then, I planned to wash and dress to be at the Durham riding debate venue half an hour before things got started. When I arrived and saw all the parked cars and not a soul outside, my heart sank. I realized the debate was scheduled for 7 not 7:30. I’d arrived just as the main event was about to begin.

It’s the first time in all the years I’ve done these things, that I’ve ever been late for an MC gig.

Teacher as student of living history

It was probably the final phone call she made last Sunday night. I’m sure that she had been dealing with a myriad of errands. I imagine that she’d probably checked her to-do list a hundred times. I know for a fact that she had responded to a long list of messages from fellow teachers, her principal and concerned parents. After all, she was about to lead more than 60 students from Uxbridge Secondary School on a 10-day-long trip into history. Nevertheless, U.S.S. instructor Tish MacDonald phoned me.

“Just wanted to say thanks,” she said on the phone. “We’re down to the last few hours before we take off for Holland. Everybody’s all fired up.”