The Passing Scene – Small Town Life: Alive and Well

One of the wonderful things about small town life is what goes on beneath the surface of everyday happenings. I’m thinking of the stretch of Lake Ontario that meanders past Port Hope, Cobourg and Colborne and Brighton but, specifically on this occasion, recent spontaneous links between Cobourg and Colborne. Even more specifically, the Colborne Library which has gradually, over the last three years or so, been making positive inroads into the Northumberland County poetry scene. It was the brain-child of Colborne librarian Mary Norton who introduced a poetry competition for students in the Colborne school system. Despite her tireless work, like so many innovative ideas, it took a while to get off the ground But, it turned out that the… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene – Small Town Life: Alive and Well

The Passing Scene: Gotcha!

It happened so quickly. Time and reality finally catching up, having stalked me for so long as my game of denial went into overtime. When it happened, it was swift. The game I created? Ignore Reality.  I justified it for a long time (years?); I felt young, therefore I was. Has a nice ring to it. Even though I had given up daily outdoor cycling a couple of years ago, I was still in pretty good shape for … well, an Old Guy. Could still put on the miles at the Y. But, when IT happened, I was, ironically, out walking along the waterfront like a young lad, admiring the geese and ducks, the quiet civility of Cobourg on a… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: Gotcha!

The Passing Scene – A Man’s Job?  Why?

Back in the olden days – well, the olden days of 1837 – one Ebeneezer Perry proudly accepted the chain of office as the very first Mayor of Cobourg, no doubt a splendid occasion. The very first, according to Cobourg 1797-1948 by Edwin Guillet which, interestingly, was produced by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Cobourg under the direction of one Margaret Pewtriss. Perry came into office in 1834, slightly behind W. Lyon Mackenzie in Toronto, and ahead of John Scott in Ottawa in 1855 and Hamilton’s Colin Ferrie in 1847. Not bad for a small town. Going over the list of people who have held that office since its creation is like taking a journey through Cobourg’s history, a… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene – A Man’s Job?  Why?

The Passing Scene: In Search of a (Better) Life

The boy was barely 10 years old. Wakened from his sleep. Told he was ‘going away’. Bundled onto a train. Then another. Jammed in with other kids of all ages. Hour after hour. Switch to another train. Endless. Arriving … somewhere. Stood on a stage with countless other kids. Grown-up Strangers looking at them. Staring. Pointing. Rejecting. A chosen kid leaves. Another. Then, his turn. Taken to a family with a boy his age. Sharing his bed. A chamber pot. It was the longest night of his life. in a life full of endless nights. 14 hours since he woke and heard those words ……….. Beside me as I write this is a copy of the Globe and Mail from… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: In Search of a (Better) Life

The Passing Scene: Save Our Harbour

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s legendary exhortation, ‘Government of the people, for the people …’ a contemporary and local flavour comes to mind. Cobourg’s Council for the people, by the people which, at times, seems to be an oxymoron – at odds with reality. I’m thinking of the endless conflict over the years between the citizens of our town and various councils, our present council now on life-support as its mandate creaks to an end, its inability to hear the voters who put it there becoming legendary. I am thinking of what has been an on-going battle over the future of the town’s western harbour, the citizens’ harbour. Isn’t it time, once and for all, to pass a bylaw ensuring that… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: Save Our Harbour

The Passing Scene: Oh, Timmy

Amazingly, I can see it as though it happened yesterday – rather than 54 years ago. Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. I’m in goal (I kid you not). The likes of Stanley Cup winners Frank Mahovlich, Davie Keon, Tim Horton, Eddie Shack firing pucks at me. As I left the ice, Tim Horton skated past, tapped me on my rear end with his stick and said, “Great shut-out.” Ahh, memories. I mean, Tim Horton. One of the foremost defencemen in the National Hockey League, one of the greatest 100 NHL players of all time, future member of he Hockey Hall of Fame. Yes, a memorable moment – but, 44 years after his death, who remembers Tim Horton, over the years gradually… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: Oh, Timmy

Opinion: Thoughts on Final Words

“There was a moment, sitting beside the bed of a dear friend who was dying in hospital, when I realized I was witnessing such a human experience. I knew that the more I explored what all this meant, the more I would start to understand how death informs us about life. Following his death, as I watched the funeral directors handle his body, wheeling him to their waiting vehicle, it became clear to me I was being denied a chance to say goodbye to my friend in a humane and needed way. At the door of the hospital they said, ‘That’s as far as you go, we’ll take it from here.’ There has to be a better way.” From that… Read complete articleOpinion: Thoughts on Final Words

Opinion: An Idea for Cobourg

It was in my younger days, oh, in the late 1960s, when I first became acquainted with Cobourg’s harbour. Living in Mississauga, I was going through an adventuresome phase, owning a boat that variously took me around Lake Ontario, into the St. Lawrence river, the Thousand Islands and, heading back home on one occasion, an unscheduled stop in Cobourg’s harbour. Well, at least it was a place where one could tie-up alongside a dilapidated dock surrounded by messy piles of coal and garbage. Fast forward 50 years to the beautiful harbour of today with great facilities and its backdrop of the town of Cobourg, a welcoming sight for out-of-town boaters. Except – except one hopes the out-of-towners (and local boaters)… Read complete articleOpinion: An Idea for Cobourg