Celebration

… There’s a party goin’ on right hereA celebration to last throughout the yearsSo bring your good times and your laughter tooWe gonna celebrate your party with youCome on now Yesterday would have been Mom and Dad’s 64th wedding anniversary; given Dad would have been 89 and Mom 93, the chances of celebrating the occasion wereContinue reading “Celebration”

Christmas Present

I remember my first Ukrainian Christmas. Olga and I were not married yet. Although I had met her parents earlier in the summer, visiting Toronto for a weekend, the occasion would be my initial introduction to Olga’s brother, Bohdan. For those unaware, Ukrainian Catholicism follows the Julian calendar meaning Christmas Eve is January 6 andContinue reading “Christmas Present”

You’ve Got Mail

Another Christmas card arrived in the mail today, a welcome alternative to the flyers and bills and requests for money which clutter the box in December. The number of cards sent and received is shrinking but it is a tradition which marks the holiday season in the same manner as purchasing a real tree. ChristmasContinue reading “You’ve Got Mail”

Take a chance on me

“Are you the couple getting married here later this afternoon.” The woman had wandered over to us sitting in the fifth row, left side, hand in hand, quietly watching the preparations. A number of people were scurrying about St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica in London, ensuring the flowers were arranged just right, the candles were displayingContinue reading “Take a chance on me”

The Last Breath

I remember Mom’s last breath. It was more of a heave, a bursting of air, a quick exhalation preceded by days of shallow, open mouthed panting. We had sent Dad to our house, imploring him to get some decent rest. He had held vigil for the last five days, never leaving the hospital since heContinue reading “The Last Breath”

They look like big, good, strong hands

A focused memoir in 200 words. I wipe the dribble of gravy running down his chin through the three-day stubble, his head leaning to the left. Dad’s eyes pop a little wider to acknowledge the attention, probably feeling embarrassed. He does not want to blemish the new orange soccer sweatshirt emblazoned with the Dutch flag.Continue reading “They look like big, good, strong hands”

What can we give them?

When my parents moved to Canada, they were the only ones who ventured more than a 100 kilometre radius away from Tilburg. With the exception of my missionary aunt and uncle who left for Africa, everyone else stayed in the city or established homes in nearby Waalwijk, or Goirle, or St. Michelsgestel. Uncle Herman wasContinue reading “What can we give them?”

Server to everyone

My Dad spoke often of his older brother, my uncle, Fr. Kees de Cock. Dad would repeat one of three “facts”: a building was named after Uncle Kees; he was recognized by the Queen (of Netherlands); and they named a street after him in Kampala. As a young adult, I took these statements for granted,Continue reading “Server to everyone”