It’s USA Today and a story about Muhammad Ali here at Café Amis, an American-French café on a cobblestone street in Sewickley, PA. It’s a cool spot on a warm Saturday near Pittsburgh, a small place with large windows not far from Sewickley’s historic library where books on Ali are also given some noticeable placement. …
(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, February 1, 2014)
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
— From the poem Invictus
KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ Much has been made about the tremendous story from Africa that ended 2013, that of Nelson Mandela and the worldwide send-off he was given, and rightly so.
Mandela will be remembered as the embodiment of William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, that 19th-century verse describing a man who, as Henley put it, fell in the clutch of circumstance, who knew the bludgeonings of chance and bloody head, who found wrath and tears and horror, but through it all was unafraid and, in the end, “captain of his soul.”
Well over a month after Mandela’s death, his name is still easily spoken across Africa.
Me: “Good morning Captain Underpants!” Kid 1: “Morning Dad.” Kiss. ++ Me: “Hey Little Lady!” Kid 2: “Hi Dad.” Neck snuggle. ++ Me: “Good morning Pretty Girl!” Kid 3: “Uhhh.” Kiss (attempt). ++ Me: “Babe, you’re such a better surgeon that I am. Any way you could fix my watch band with some Crazy Glue?” …
It’s 5 am and still dark outside, but with a bit of jet lag this is apparently the best time for an 8-year-old to find his way downstairs to eat his breakfast Corn Pops and talk about snow. It is at Papa and Granma’s after all, and more so, it is Canada, which means, yes, snow, …
It’s Entebbe, Uganda’s port of entry and departure, and we’re almost on a plane over the ocean and back to our home, the one where you can’t wear a t-shirt outside during this time of year. And on the table in front of me is an African news magazine with a picture of Nelson Mandela, …