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.

How we inspire others

Hap Harris on his Wings (Graduation) Day in August 1943. Photo courtesy Harris family.

Following a recent oldtimers’ hockey game at the arena Sunday night, my teammates and I made our way to the dressing room. The difference this night, however, was that we had won our game. For the first time in our Uxbridge Adult Hockey round-robin playoff, we had won – our first victory in four tries. We were all feeling pretty upbeat as we piled into the dressing room, where a teammate next to me suggested why we had won.

“We can thank Flying Officer Harris for this one,” he said.

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.”

Way of the dodo bird

I stopped at one of my favourite art-supply shops in the city, the other day. Out of habit, I passed the cashier, said hello and walked directly to the aisle with the portfolios. They’re those bound folders that contain those see-through plastic sheaths for photos, clippings or other important papers you want to display. Anyway, like old Mother Hubbard, when I got there the shelf was bare. I asked what had happened.

“Oh, they’ve been discontinued,” the sales clerk said.