LONDON, ONTARIO – Well, we’ll see if the increasingly alarmist weather forecasts of the last week fully bear their frigid fruit. It might seem perverse to say so but our hearts were actually warmed by one particular headline which read, “Arctic Blast this Week Brings the Coldest Christmas in Nearly 40 Years”. That old record-holder was thirty-nine years ago to be precise, the Christmas/New Years’ axis of 1983/1984, when we carried our second child and only son home from St. Joseph’s Hospital in a pre-warmed car with my father-in-law at the wheel, my wife decked out in her mom’s fur coat and the world’s newest Goodden wrapped up in enough blankets to approximately double his circumference. His older and younger sisters had the good sense to be born in the spring (of ’81) and the summer (of ’86) when such precautions were not called for.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Following a two-year moratorium on such gatherings so as to flatten the infectious spread of a wicked man-made virus, last weekend we were able to attend a Christmas luncheon at the Delta London Armouries Hotel with a group of unhinged conservatives with whom we occasionally consort. It was great to get together with friends once again. And it was just as encouraging to see the dozens of other small parties (some of whom might even have been Communists or Liberals for all I know) freely mingling with nary a mask in sight at one of the finest smorgasbords in town.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Almost five years and two City Councils since we first examined this issue in one of the first essays posted to the Hermaneutics blog, our civic leaders are once again agonizing over whether or not to strip the name of a London filmmaker from a South London park that was designated in his honour. The post below (the third to appear on this site) gives my take on how the situation stood on January 16, 2018. I will follow up this re-posting with a few observations about the latest developments in this squalid battle and speculate on how things will likely proceed in the continuing campaign to stuff the name of Paul Haggis down the municipal memory hole.
LONDON, ONTARIO – This week I delivered a paper for our first meeting in almost three years, entitled A Personal History of the Baconian Club in Four Obituaries.
A THIRTY-TWO month interruption in the proceedings of this rather unlikely club that I joined thirty-two years ago has been raising some existential questions and challenges in my mind. Like, why did I join this club in the first place?
LONDON, ONTARIO – All through the years of our life together – me a night owl and she an early riser, me usually working at home and she usually going out – it’s been unusual for my wife and I to sit down to breakfast or lunch together. But before we had kids and all through their growing up and in the years since they’ve moved out, we’ve always made a point of gathering for a properly observed dinner which either one of us will have made.
LONDON, ONTARIO – I don’t expect she remembered me from that sunny July afternoon in 1959 when my parents herded their four boys, all decked out in our Sunday best, onto the track-side loading dock of Canada Packers; a perfect royalty-viewing perch that our meat salesman father secured for us across from the old London Arena and not even two blocks west of the Canadian National Railway station. We waved to our yellow-dressed Queen (or was it pink?) and the Duke of Edinburgh who waved right back at us from their platform on the very last car of a train that was slowly pulling out of London en route to points west.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Read any account of a North American boomer’s awakening to the wonders of the 1960’s popular music scene and you’re going to find a reference to The Ed Sullivan Show. And I’ll touch on the giddy excitement of that transforming moment in musical history in a bit. But first of all let’s take a few minutes to consider what a wildly eccentric showcase that staid old variety program of Ed’s was . . . and the grounding it gave its viewers of all ages in all kinds of entertainment whether they wanted that wider purview or not.
LONDON, ONTARIO – I’ve been reading books (and knocking back films) by and about the Brontes for most of my life now. What follows is a montage of commentaries and snippets about this fascinating family that I’ve made along the way.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Seventeen year-old Nigel Mawson was drifting his way through an unrealized summer; struggling to find ways to pass the time in the ghost town that his daily life had become. He’d never experienced so barren a summer. Where had everybody gone? He was the only kid left at home as his older brothers had landed jobs as a groundskeeper and a busboy at the same Northern Ontario lodge. And all of his friends who mattered the most – no longer content to just hang out at the pool or devote entire weeks to Monopoly tournaments or loafing and spinning records – had shrewdly planned ahead to acquire semi-serious seasonal jobs.
A SLIGHTLY amended version of this essay – with more pictures! – was featured at Quillette on July 2, 2022 with the title The Opposite of Junk.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Though I didn’t plan it this way, I have long enjoyed a rather handy numerical symmetry in my life. Whenever a birthday comes along which is distinguished by a zero or a five for its second digit – as will happen later this month when I achieve the full Biblical allotment of seventy – then I know that come November and December, I will also be marking significant anniversaries for occupancy in this home (our fortieth) and marriage to my favourite human being (our forty-fifth). Two of our three babies were born in this house, and all of them were raised to an approximation of adulthood here and shared precious space with a succession of four superb dogs and one so-so cat. (Not Una’s fault. She couldn’t help it if her species is dull.)
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :