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Showing posts from April, 2015

Look Inside

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Cam Tait leaned into me after I introduced myself.

"So...do...yoooouu...know...Gorrrrd?"

Each word was a small battle up to the air from the back of his throat. Cam, then a sports reporter at The Edmonton Journal, was in a wheelchair. He was born with cerebral palsy and at birth couldn't sit up or speak. His limbs didn't work. His parents and family friends did. They employed a new kind of physiotherapy around the clock, and young Cam slowly learned to move a wheelchair and he learned to talk.

And now here we were together upstairs at The Journal building downtown and Cam wanted to know if I knew his friend Gord Steinke, the main anchor at ITV, where I worked as assignment editor.

"Yes, I know Gord, Mr. Tait. Yes, I work with him at ITV. Is there something you want me to tell him? A message you want me to give him?"

I leaned a bit closer to make sure I didn't misunderstand a word of what he was about to say. I wanted to get it right for Cam and Gord. T…

Train Of Thoughts

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My father was a locomotive engineer. He hauled things for a living.

We lived in the northeast end of Edmonton.
From my bedroom I could hear the sound of trains at night. In my blood, I know the long-long-short-long of the crossing whistle.
As a boy, I had trouble falling asleep. 
My mom got some advice somewhere that it was okay if I listened to the radio and let the music pull me into slumber. 
It was a thrill beyond words when Arlo Guthrie sang City Of New Orleans from the radio with the clicking numbers.
It took me a long time to figure out City of New Orleans was the name of the train. And longer to realize that it could communicate.
All along the southbound odyssey/The train pulls out at Kankakee/And rolls along past houses, farms and fields
I loved the rhythm of that song. And the exotic words, like Illinois and Kankakee and New Orleans.
The three of the houses, farms and fields was delicious.
And this thought that a junkyard was a graveyard. Something moved into something it wa…

Groat Ode

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Groat Ode

(A haiku by kub on the imminent reopening to motorized traffic of the serpentine roadway)

A pulse of auto
Down the dammed Groat Road ravine
Frees car reservoir.


Listening In

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One of the only things I was ever half good at was listening to intelligent people talk to each other.

I was formed in this eavesdropping skill during my undergraduate years at the University of Alberta, where it was impressed on me, okay, hammered into me, that before I could arrive at my own opinions on the eternal questions, it was proper to develop a deep respect for the opinions of those with a right to their opinions.

 And, so, it was more enlightening to try to compare what Nietzsche thought about justice to what Rousseau thought about justice, and both to what Plato's Socrates thought about justice, than it was to get worked up by what the Edmonton Sun editorial board thought about justice.

Of course, there was some hermeneutics fictionalizing going on; indeed, how could you ever prove that a conversation across time would have been the conversation in time? But, the reflex has served me and has stayed with me.

And, perhaps, it is why I try always to have at least two boo…