My Blog

13 posts

Chris Pappas RIP

My father-in-law Chris passed away on April 14, 2021. He was a great guy. 

I had known him since I was 16 years old, some 47 years. Longer than most son-in laws get.

In that time I spent quite a bit of time with him in the early years, and then the later years. To say that he treated me like a prince is a gross understatement. In fact, when I was a teenager he let me drive his new car before his daughter, and my future wife. A memory that still makes us both smile.

If one word were used to describe Chris it would be (as the kids say) chill. Easy-going was, I think, his motto. Accepting of everyone and, in his later years especially, grateful for every kindness. I will miss him.

The Quality of the Man

On September 2, 2020 we lost a very special man. Harold Chapman or “the Chairman” as I used to call him had been in declining health for some time but because of Covid many of us did not find out about his passing until recently.

When I joined the “Y” Harold made me feel welcome in a new place where he had been a member for a very long time. He had no reason to befriend me, we were separated by almost 30 years in age yet it was the quality of the man that he could speak as easily to someone years his junior as he could to his peers. That fact, and his ability to speak fluently on a multitude of subjects, continued to amaze me as the years passed. 

Harold Chapman was my friend. I didn’t know him as well as some, and perhaps better than others, but it was the quality of the man that made you feel that your relationship with him was special and unique. Harold was a true gentleman and will be missed by all, especially his “Y” family.

Politics and what might have been.

Last night I met with a good friend.

He has been a sometime political candidate but has never held public office. I have had, and do have, a great deal of faith in his abilities in that regard. But I got the message, if not loudly, clearly, that he probably won’t run again.

As he well pointed out his prime earning years are the next twenty and if he is to ‘have a life’ it had better be now.

I completely understood. In fact I had, as his friend, advised him to do just that after the last particularly nasty campaign. But as a citizen I was sad. 

I dare say that most of us who consider ourselves politically active (or at least astute) fear that the quality of candidates for political office has diminished in recent years and that many who find themselves elected are long term representatives devoid of the fire that drove them to office in the first place, or political novices with little or no hope of ever making a difference and destined to sit on the periphery of political decision making. 

I fear that unless we as a society can convince young people that ‘civil service’ is an honourable  calling and create a political structure that does not favour incumbents (ranked ballots and term limits would be a good start)  that vocation will continue to slide into an even sadder state.  

As for my friend, I will continue to wish him well and relish the lengthy political discussions we have. But I’ll always wonder what might have been.

Death & Choice

Death is hard.

All of us have institutional, cultural, and religious customs regarding death and “after death” and living up to them in a world of ever changing cultural transition can be emotional. The rub of course is when the expectation of others conflicts with your beliefs. In families this can cause conflict, and in my own case sleepless nights.

My own take is that if you do right by people when they are alive then you have fulfilled your humanity.

Since no one can be sure without doubt what the right thing to do is, each person’s opinion and beliefs must be respected equally. Each person will handle death according to their strengths (and weaknesses) and in the end that`s all the any of us can or should hope for.

 

Sixty years and counting.

August 4th 2017 is my sixtieth birthday.

As I reflect on my life, both personal and professional, I am filled with gratitude at my good fortune. I am surrounded by family and friends the high quality of which, I probably don’t deserve.

So on the occasion my of six decades I’d like to pay back some of my good fortune by sharing some of what I think I have learned. Below are a few of the simple “rules” I try to live by. Most are my own and some are borrowed. I hope that you find at least one helpful.

Friendship

It is commonly held that it is hard to make friends as an adult. Despite the 36 years that separated us, Tom and I were friends. On February 16, 2017 at around 5 pm he passed away. He was 95.

Tom and I met as neighbours across the street from one another. He extended a kindness to me on the day we moved in that set the tone for over twenty years.

From the outside it might have appeared that our friendship was unlikely. The difference in our ages notwithstanding, Tom was religious, conservative, with a background in science ( he had been a chemist professionally). I was none of those things. Yet we never seemed to be at a loss for something to talk about. Many’s the time that I would wander across the street ( or visa versa) and share a cup of tea and have a long chat.

As Tom started to get older I admit that I would find some pretense to cross the street to “check” on him. I don’t think he was ever fooled, but he always met me with a smile and an invitation for tea. His family has often thanked me for doing what I could in support of their Dad and for being a good friend. It is always made me feel awkward, because it was no effort. It was the quality of the man that inspired friendship and loyalty, plain and simple.

When Tom moved out a few years ago, I took to visiting with him as often as I could. As a matter of fact we often laughed that I could not visit as often as I wanted to because he was so busy. A testament to the man that so many people wanted to share time with him.

I did not attend Tom’s funeral. On that day another friend, facing the return of his own cancer needed my support. I decided that I needed to be with him. I am sure that Tom ( with his characteristic unselfishness) would have approved.

I have thought of Tom every day since his passing. I suspect that will change over time, but I hope not. People like Tom deserve to be remembered.

Remove Lice

The following treatment for Head lice was developed by Dr. Moishe Ipp research pediatrician at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital.

Mix a 50/50 solution of mineral oil and vinegar. Massage it into the hair and cover for at least two (2) hours with a shower cap. The vinegar detaches the nits from the hair shaft while the oil suffocates any live lice and makes for easy smooth combing out of any detached nits and dead lice.

Dr. Ipp claims a 100% success rate using this treatment. The treatment can be repeated as often as nessessary.

Cleaning Silver

Cleaning Silver

To clean silver or silver plate quickly & easily – Fill a large glass or plastic bowl with very hot water from the tap add 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water softener (downy) line bowl with aluminum foil swish—–add article—-clean in 10 -60 seconds. Wipe dry—–like magic