Picture two political junkies sitting around a table playing high stakes moral poker with holier-than-thou passion. The Canadian looks across the table at her American challenger. The pot is filled with votes and the fate of democracy is on the line.
The Canadian speaks carefully, “I’ll see your Marjorie Taylor Greene and raise you a Lynn Beyak, eh?”
The American looks up over her cards and without hesitation replies, “Then I’ll raise you a Matt Gaetz!”
“I’ll see your Matt Gaetz and raise you a Derek Sloane … and a Pierre Poilievre!”
Silence. The American carefully studies her hand. “I’ll see you with a Josh Hawley!”
The two players glare at each other across the table. The theme music from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” begins…. The pot grows bigger and the stakes get higher and the game goes on as McConnell and McCarthy cards are played against Ford and Kenney.
The Canadian discards her O’Toole card and draws … a Trudeau – the American folds!
Later in the game, the table will be filled with players from Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, the -stans, the Middle East, Africa, South and East Asia, and Oceania. Everywhere. But always the availability of the same checks and balances.
Russia says, “I’ll raise you a Stalin,” and Cambodia replies with, “I’ll see you a Pol Pot.”
Iran says, “We’ll raise you an Allah,” and Israel replies with, “We’ll see you with a Yahweh.”
There are no winners at the political moral poker table, just a pot full of tax monies and bodies and egos and extremist evangelical myths that keep on growing.
Into the room walks a young child. Her eyes sweep through the souls of all the players and they grow quiet. She calmly claims the pot, and then knocks over the poker table. The politico immoralists at the table are banished to their bedrooms for a lifetime Stay At Home Lockdown. She donates all of the proceeds to Women’s Shelters, after first deducting enough to cover her university education. That’s another way to play the game.
The old adage still holds true for me, and like in The Polar Express, the silver bell still rings for all those who believe:
Think Globally, Act Locally, Care Personally
During this time of global pandemic and local lockdowns it is particularly important to keep that saying in mind. Supporting our local health care workers by wearing a mask, and staying socially distant and washing our hands is not too much to ask of us. Shopping locally to support our small businesses and staying home to protect our family bubbles is simple enough to do. Staying connected to local and global political events online still allows us to express our voice.
This morning, December 17, 2020, the Region of Peel is meeting to discuss a Motion to reduce Caledon’s seats at Peel to 3 and increase Brampton’s voice by 2. In my humble opinion, this would be disastrous for Caledon. The Motion was rushed in at a time of lockdown during a global pandemic and stretched the credibility of due democratic process. We were given short time as citizens to respond, but by staying tuned in to local events we were able to get our concerns on record through the Peel Clerk.That’s about the only action we could take legally.
The desire of angry townsfolk to tar and feather the Regional Councillor who betrayed Caledon, and ride her out of town on a rail would probably result in our concerned citizens getting arrested, so we may have to wait for Karma. And Karma knows.
As for local business – I continue to support Forster’s Book Garden as my pet project. Donna and Paul and Stirling continue to be able to find me any book I need, whether it be a global exploration of “Dark Money” or a local book on “Caledon Hikes” or going second-hand for “The Wolf King” -a long lost childhood favourite – Donna and Paul can find it all.
When we act with respect locally, it has a global impact. We only really change the world by one random act of kindness at a time through which we change ourselves. It’s like the old story my Dad told me about the little boy who wanted to play ball with his very busy dad. The father gave the boy a torn up map of the world and said “when you put it back together, I’ll take a break and we can play,” Within minutes the boy was back with the map all taped together. The father was astonished. “How did you do that so quickly, son?”
The boy smiled and tossed his dad the ball. “It was easy, on the other side of the map there was a big picture of a man. When I put the man back together, the whole world fell into place.”
I was up early on the morning of December 15, 2017. I had gone through my normal routine of brewing a Buffalo Soldier coffee and toasting some Amazing Grains Raisin Bread before turning on the early TV news.
The first image that came up on the screen is burned into my memory. It was a photo of two bodies dressed in white robes, at the edge of a luxurious swimming pool in what appeared to be a Dan Brownesque ritual death.
The bodies were beside each other, almost posed in a surreal state of eerie calm in the midst of their apparent wealth. It turned out the bodies found in a that wealthy Toronto neighbourhood belonged to billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman. The theories surrounding their bizarre deaths circulated as quickly as that photo disappeared from the TV screens.
For anyone who saw the photo that day, the immediate reaction was of a ritual murder or suicide pact. It was too posed, too staged. There was a message being sent in the way the bodies were arranged so calmly beside each other in their final rest. There was no blood or gore, no house smashing struggle, no dragging of battered victims across the pool deck. No.
There was only this photo of two bodies symbolically seated beside each other gazing out over their swimming pool as if in final contemplation of their wealth. The initial judgement of the police was that the Shermans had died either in a suicide pact or a murder-suicide.
Enter the Sherman family lawyers, and a private autopsy, Extreme wealth has its privileges. Also, suicide has a deleterious effect on the settlement of estates and insurance policies. Especially when one of the parties wills seems to be missing. After much high profile back and forth, the police declared that the Shermans were murdered, by perpetrator or perpetrators unknown, and still unknown to this day.
Today, two years later, the police will be updating their report on the mysterious Sherman case. One of the missing pieces of the puzzle appears to be that Honey Sherman revised her will only two days before her death. My mind flashes back two years to that photo that is imprinted indelibly in my memory. Maybe I have read too many Dan Brown novels about symbols and ritualistic deaths, but I stand by my first impression. Someone was sending a message. Who?
With total apologies to Jerry Seinfeld and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
As narrated by Sharon …
“Hi, Harry, this is Sharon. In your neighbourhood and wondering if you’d like to go out for a coffee.”
“Sure Sharon” replied Harry.
Now the car I picked out for Harry, although he is more at home in a canoe, is my 2006 Porsche Boxster. This car can do zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. It’s a 5 speed manual transmission, a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder that develops 240hp. The engine is located behind the seats (mid-engine) but ahead of the rear axle. This gives the car two cargo compartments. Very practical.
But it also has the enlarged front and side air intakes for cool styling. Finished off with 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, two occupants enjoy body-hugging leather-upholstered bucket seats. Seat warmers included for cool spring and fall temps. Bose surround sound and a navigation system. Not a bad choice for my favourite teacher.
He was rather astonished when I pulled up in his driveway. “We’re going for coffee in that!”
“Oh yes,” I answered, “and with the top down. Harry, this car is like our friendship. Still going strong after many years and stands out amongst others. Will always be a classic. We are stylish.”
“Alright,” said Harry, “I am definitely in a Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episode. Drive on!”
It was a wonderful afternoon. Having missed the 50th Reunion of my Junior High School, I wanted to catch up and hear the stories. Harry had attended and had been mobbed by his old students, from science to English to outdoor education. He had been our guide through the wilderness, and school, and far beyond. The lessons we learned on trips with him will remain with us for life. Over those years we became such good friends that I even asked him to give the speech for the bride at my wedding.
“So Harry, what’s retirement like?” “Eggsellent,” he replied, as I got to learn all about his current Caledon backyard hens project. With that teaser, I just had to see the hens, so the Boxster navigated the potholes on the Albion Hills Community Farm driveway to visit the hens.
He’s there at 5:00 in the morning and 9:00 at night and those hens love him. I even got to take home some free run, organic Omega 3 eggs for my son’s breakfast the next day. After the hens, we headed to the Four Corners restaurant in Bolton for that long awaited coffee – and it was a perfect cappuccino.
Then began that exchange of catching up on the many years in between the canoe trips of my youth and the realities of life as a working mom. Harry talked about his family and his children and his journalism. Mostly he reflected about how important his students were to him. I got to share my enthusiasm for golf, my children, and my grandchild. We both reflected on the joys of getting older with my knee problems and his cataract surgeries. But our memories are always young.
My friends and I travelled with Harry on canoe trips from Grade Eight until we left high school. The level of training and our capabilities of performance increased every year. It was almost as though he was waiting to see if we could fly on our own.
On the last night of our final canoe trip to Algonquin Park, my friend Marie noticed another group just upwind from us washing their dishes in the lake. Harry, who taught us to always leave our campsite cleaner than we found it, had spotted this but uncharacteristically hadn’t said anything. Marie marched right over to their campsite and said, “Excuse me, but I don’t appreciate you washing your dishes in our drinking water!”
That was our last trip. Harry told me over coffee that he didn’t say anything that day because he was waiting to see what we would do without him.
“When Marie spoke up that was the precise moment when I knew my work here was done.” We had all learned to fly.
And now I drive a Porsche Boxster taking Canoeists in Cars to Get Coffee. I wish I had been able to be at the 50th Reunion at Zion Heights, but I got to see the joy of it through Harry’s eyes as he talked about how wonderful it was to see almost all of us together again and recount the glory days with happiness.
I dropped him off at his home with the teaser that he could get to drive it the next time. Now I’m off to watch the Seinfeld episode that he said is most like him – Jerry taking Steve Harvey for a coffee. Who knew our teachers were such comedians! And would be friends for life.
Well, when it turns out you have done something wrong, apologize at once. In a recent blog entitled “Tiny Timmie,” I mistakenly attributed a quote to a person who dramatically made an emotional delegation to Council on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
A totally different person had sent me a very degrading note recently, and I completely mixed up the exchanges. My deepest and most sincere apologies to the person who presented at Council. As you wrote to me today, you would never say or write anything like that. In the same vein, apparently someone using your name on social media created the posts that began our first exchanges. That error will be tracked.
For a person who prides himself on triple-checking his science facts, lesson learned to apply the same diligence to social media. The humble pie is all mine.