Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I’m reminded that I’ve never held my mother, looked into her eyes and told her that I love her. I’ve never offered a soft kiss on her cheek. I’ve never even given my mother flowers. My mom died before I got the chance.
It’s Valentine’s Day. Great fun. Two years ago today, I proposed to Jean. Her ring was presented in a restaurant, with the help of the official town crier, his booming voice, clanging bell and scroll. Moments later, along with thousands of others in London, Ont., we heard about our upcoming “royal wedding” on the radio.
Jarring images of how an Islamic extremist burst into, of all places, a hospital in the last days of 2002, to fire bullets from his Kalishnikov into the heads of our friends will linger for a while. My wife Jean and I and some colleagues are still laying to rest what has become known across Yemen as ‘The Jibla Tragedy.’
It’s daybreak and we’re again travelling the dusty roads of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. After two days of travel, Jean and I are nearing home, a ground-level apartment on a street with no name. Thank you U-2.
Today is Day 8 of my life as a foreigner in Yemen. I’m in a dilapidated cargo office at the international airport in Sanaa, a capital city that sits on a mountain plateau 2,000 metres above sea level. Almost one million souls live here in what is one of the oldest inhabited regions of the world. I think I’m the only one wearing a Team Canada cap.
I have had an opportunity to see the recent move of 33 rooming-house residents from Toronto to Aylmer, a transfer equated by some as Toronto “dumping its trash” into rural Ontario, through the eyes of personal experience. My family owned and operated a private rest home for the better part of 20 years, with tenants, patients as we called them, very similar to those at the Aylmer home run by Anne Borden Maxwell.
On a warm day on a busy walkway in a large square in Berlin, a young man sits playing his flute for a pocketful of change. His hair is spiked like the Statue of Liberty and he wears a dark tank top. I draw near to him and see his shirt’s message: “Jesus didn’t die for my sins. He died for His own.”
(The London Free Press – Saturday, May 10, 1997)
“We are one, after all, you and I. Together we suffer. Together we exist. And forever will re-create each other.”
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 20th century French philosopher
ST. THOMAS, CANADA – Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, the one day of the year I’m vividly reminded I have never held my mother, looked into her eyes and told her I love her. I have never offered a soft kiss on her cheek. I have never even given her flowers.