Ahead by a century

“Your uncle would have been a product of his time.” The statement weighs heavy as the last line of my notes from an afternoon of conversation with Fr. Cor Schilder, appointed as our host on a visit to Mission House Vrijland, a retirement home for Dutch Mill Hill missionaries in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands. Fr. KeesContinue reading “Ahead by a century”

Let it snow

“You don’t have to shovel rain.” I was reminded again this past weekend of my father’s saying after three hours of clearing the accumulated snow fall at the cottage. Some work was self-imposed, shoveling my way to the ice beneath in an annual effort to make a skating rink on the lake. Fortunately, the 200Continue reading “Let it snow”

Just don’t call me late for dinner

My name is Henricus Gerardus Decock, at least according to my birth certificate. Those who know me are raising an eyebrow; those reading the “About” page are confused, understandably. I seldom refer to myself in that manner. According to the website, behindthename.com , “Henricus is the Latinized form of Heinrich. As a Dutch name, itContinue reading “Just don’t call me late for dinner”

Pics or it didn’t happen

The ubiquity of digital and cell phone photography has translated into the accumulation of thousands of photographs by individual people, many shared through some form of social media, the bulk stored on the devices themselves or on terabyte size hard drives. There is no risk in continually pressing the button. Mistakes, blurriness and bad anglesContinue reading “Pics or it didn’t happen”

Looking Back, Looking Forward

December 2021 has come to an end, finishing with my monthly review of books read. The year began in a flurry, ending with a mere trickle in the remaining three months. The last book for the year was a memoir, recommended by the instructor for the writing course. For the same reasons my reading peteredContinue reading “Looking Back, Looking Forward”

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”

Return to Sender

Today would have been Dad’s 89th birthday. Petrus Gerardus Cornelius Aloysius de Cock was born on this day, November 27, 1932 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Return to Sender is a story about my writing to him up until his death at a long term care home in Wallaceburg, April 2, 2019. The notes began whenContinue reading “Return to Sender”

Training 101

On October 8, Olga and I purchased a Samoyed from a breeder near Peterborough, Ont. He came with the name, Smirnoff, which we were quick to replace with Odin. This 9 month old puppy was certainly bigger than we anticipated (61 pounds according to our vet) and younger; we had our name on a listContinue reading “Training 101”

By definition

A section in the memoir writing course discusses structure; more specifically, whether or not adhering to a predetermined one assists or inhibits creativity and achieving the goals. Sticking to a plan can be beneficial for some while restrictive and static to others. At the same time abiding by a particular practice, like the writing ofContinue reading “By definition”