Wednesday, December 16, 2015


           A couple of columns ago I had mentioned that I was fast approaching the last birthday I will reach in my 50’s. As a matter of fact, I started writing this column on December the 12th and it’s my birthday. 59 years-old. Yikes! Well, at least it’s not 60!

            I was born at five minutes past midnight; a fact that has bothered my sister Judy for…I don’t know… some 59 years, I guess. You see, she was born on December 11th about a decade before me and I was going to be her actual birthday present. I was going to be born on her birthday and I missed it by five minutes! Well, technically, I didn’t have anything to do with it. It wasn’t my call, I don’t think. I didn’t even hear about it until I was much older.

            Being born two weeks before Christmas has no advantages whatsoever to speak of. That’s the way I see it and my sister Judy concurs. It’s pretty tough to get a really great birthday present when the parents are hard-pressed to supply enough Christmas gifts for their nine children let alone throw in a couple of birthday presents in there to boot. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the people born on the 25th, though. That’s a tough one. But still.

            And you can forget about a birthday party altogether as there is no way you are going to gather a bunch of kids in the house when we’re only two weeks away from Christmas. What with all of the cleaning and baking and wrapping and shopping who has time to organize, conduct and clean up after a bunch of wild boys? Forget it!

            Mom’s solution was to combine my birthday party around the time when my older brother Gordon celebrates his very timely May 1st birthday. Five months after mine. You know, have them together. Nobody’d think it’s just Gordie’s party. Why would they think that?

Out of the whole year, May 1st has got to be one of the most ideal times for a birthday party. Everything can be held outside, nobody should get sunburnt like they can at those July birthday parties, most of ‘em probably won’t even use the bathroom in the house, there’s very little chance of them breaking anything in there, either, and their noise will mostly disappear into the air, saving on the headache medication.

But it was okay in the end anyway. Gord was only a year older than I was and his friends were my friends and my friends were his. We all hung out and did the same goofy things we always did together. We ended up having a great time, as usual, with very little household upheaval. Funny, too, though, for all my talk about presents and gift receiving I can’t remember any specific gift at all. All the fun must have blocked it out.

Well, that was my pity party. Thanks for coming. Now it’s time to get ready for the real party. Enough whining. 59 years-old and counting. And I hope for a while, yet.


“Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”-Satchel Paige (1906-1982).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


           Let the bells ring out and the banners fly…it’s hear, it’s hear! Number 300 is here, that is. That’s right folks, you are now reading the 300th submission of the “In My Humble Opinion” weekly column. I know! Already? For a part-time-cover-the-maternity-leave-temporary-position I seem to have been at this for a long time. How long does it take to have that baby anyway? Hmmmmm? I will have been doing this column for six years as of February 7th of 2016.

            Obviously, the previous page four Columnist, Darcie Khounnoraj, decided on a different career path as she did not return to The Citizen after her maternity leave and you’ve been stuck with me ever since.

            So what have you learned, Dear Reader, after all of this time together? One thing I’m sure that you have learned is that I can procrastinate with the best of them, hence 300 submissions but not 300 original columns, as I have submitted some of the columns more than once, due, in part, to those finely honed skills of putting things off.  And, yes, I know, I know, I should be working on that and I will, I will…some…day.

            Another thing you may have noted, over our time together, is that I like sports. Many sports, in fact, and I write about them often. There might be more than a few sports-themed columns in those 300+/- page-four articles.

            If you hadn’t noticed, over these many years, I am also very fond of Daylight Savings Time. Do you remember what Daylight Savings Time is folks? We’ve never had it around here but I’ve heard of other places that do it. If you didn’t know, it’s the twice-yearly altering of the clocks that is done in every other jurisdiction of our country, save Saskatchewan, because Saskatchewanians prefer our daylight early, early, early in the day.

            Do you know what else I like? That’s right, Dear Reader, I really, really like sarcasm. Sarcasm is so very useful as a writing tool, don’t you think? Sometimes you can even get a laugh without really trying. Ahhhh, such a wonderful thing.

            There are other real joys to being a writer from Saskatchewan, besides the fact that we don’t have to confuse ourselves with all that clock altering and everything, and that is this province provides us with a convenient subject that one can never say enough about. And that is the weather. It is so varied and different and changes hourly not just seasonally or yearly giving one reams of material.

            Frankly, subjects are rarely hard to find with so much weird happening in the world all of the time. We are so inundated with information that it would appear difficult not to find something to write about. Yet, it happens.

            So, now what? 300 down 300 to go? I’m not sure about that but we’ll see. I’ve kind of gotten used to this temporary permanent position, though.


“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”-American writer E.L. Doctorow (1931-2015).


            2015’s version of Agribition, the 103rd Grey Cup Game and Movember are once again filed away into the memory banks so that must mean that November is over and December is upon us already. That’s another year almost gone. How’d that happen so fast?

            December will also fly by, I’m expecting, as it is the busiest, as well as, the most wonderful time of the year. There are a number of significant events and activities crammed into these next 31 days. Christmas music concerts, local Dinner Theatre performances, school productions, staff parties, decorating, shopping, baking, hangover recuperations…yikes! I’m getting exhausted thinking about it.

            Speaking of hangover recuperating, it turns out that I will be celebrating my last birthday “in my 50’s” this month. More yikes! And more, “how’d that happen so fast?!” questioning as well. Then again, at the very least, I will be celebrating another birthday which is an event, sad to say, that many people will be unable to do.

            Besides my birthday, there’s another birth event that many of us celebrate on the 25th of this month. You know who I’m talking about? Yes, Christmas is coming fast and if you didn’t know that there are less than three weeks of shopping left you’d better get at it. That is, of course, unless you’re one of those keeners who have all of their shopping done and hidden away somewhere. I’m so happy for you.

            Seeing as how I mentioned my birthday ahead of Jesus’ it may be of note that December’s birth flower is the narcissus. Hmmmm…that’s an interesting tidbit of information. Also sharing December birthdates are the likes of Woody Allen, Ozzy Osborne, George Armstrong Custer, Keifer Sutherland, Frank Sinatra, (same day as me), and our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, (same day as Jesus), to name but a few.

            There are many other notable event anniversaries in the month of December. It was on December 1st, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man marking the beginning of the modern American Civil Rights Movement.

            On December 2nd, 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France by Pope Pius VII in Paris, then on December 2nd, 1852 The Second Empire was proclaimed in France with Napoleon III as Emperor.

            On December 5th, 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered Haiti. Of course, there was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. On December 15th, 1964 Canada adopted its new red and white flag. The list goes on and on.

            December really is the most wonderful time of the year. To me it is, anyway. I’m not saying I don’t mind the milder El Nino induced temperatures that we have been getting this last little while but I think we could use a little snow around here. At least for Christmas. Nothing stupid or anything but a few inches wouldn’t hurt the scenery would it? Pretty hard to sleigh ride in the gravel too, I’d think.

            I hope you have a great December. Enjoy the preparations and the festivities. Take the time to soak it all up. It only comes around once a year and you know how fast that goes by, don’t you?

            “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is her before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”-Dr. Seuss.


Here's a reprise of a little Christmas poem I threw together for you. Three Kings, shepherds and a babe in the manger. The E...