March / April 2023
Compiled by Ken Gibson for March 1st

               IN THIS ISSUE:
               WHAT WE DID BEFORE CBC.
               WORDS OF WISDOM.


 by Dawna Friesen  
(March 1995)

A few months ago, I was roped into being part of a reporter exchange with the Vancouver Sun. You know: drop a TV reporter into a room full of newspaper sharks and watch her drown. This was my chance to prove a career in television has not completely reduced me to a superficial, sensational glamour-hound who gets recognized and not for her stories but for her face.

I thought they would sit me at a corner behind a decrepit typewriter and say: “Now dear, don’t break anything.”

That is pretty much what happened for the first two days, except it was a dilapidated computer.  Then, the assignment editor handed me some pieces of paper and this verbal barb: “Don’t really want to give you this. After all, you are the competition. And I am not sure you can handle it.”

With that vote of confidence, I set forth following up an anonymous complaint about intravenous drug users at St. Paul’s Hospital. 

To make a long and prickly short, it went well.  My story landed on the front page, complete with a goofy photo of me.

I made the boss happy. I was satisfied. And I did not break anything.

The morning my story appeared, I headed out for some fresh air and wandered into an art gallery.  As I silently (and I thought anonymously) admired the work, a voice bellowed out: “Hey, I saw you in the paper today.  Great photo! You looked very pretty.”

Thanks.  Thanks a lot.

                                          CBC AND SUSAN ENGLEBERT  (2002)

If someone had asked me five years ago when I was leaving the Corporation, I probably would have said never. I was having too much fun. I had a strong commitment to public broadcasting  I adore the people with whom I worked and the place was my home. But things changed, I started to feel that it was time for me to move along and so I said my farewells this June, thirty five years ago, almost to the day, that I started with the Corporation.

I almost didn’t get the first job in 1967. CBC was going through a hiring freeze (sound familiar) and so I had to resort to some family pull and found myself in the Radio Music Department working for Carl Little, the Deputy Head of Music. This was not the kind of job I had envisioned myself in. I was thinking more of a research position but at this point I was thankful for anything. A couple of months into the job it got a lot more interesting when the boss called me one Saturday and explained that Glenn Gould desperately needed some secretarial help and would I be interested. Naturally I said yes. Carl explained that Glenn would never meet with me, we would do all our work over the phone. That lasted a couple of months and then Glenn and I started working nights and weekends in the music department. We even managed to create an office for Glenn in the area, walling off a corner with high filing cabinets. A good thing they were high. Glenn’s desk led the pack for messiness. 

For the next couple of years Glenn and I worked together on many projects. The most memorable was Ides of March, Glenn’s first radio documentary. We would sit in one of the editing booths, Glenn running the tape machine, me typing madly transposing everything on tape and then rushing off to the studio with the paper copy to start editing and mixing.

At one point I left Radio, for a brief time working for Fletcher Markle (Telescope) in television, went on the first script assistant course and then came back to Radio Music and stayed there, working for the Head, John Roberts until I left the CBC in 1972. When I left I decided I would not return to the Corporation unless the job was the right one.

And so in November 1974 George Laverock called and said “I have a producer who has just started a rock show and he needs some help, would you be interested?”  “Yikes, I don’t know a damn thing about rock and roll.” “It doesn’t matter” said George “I’ll set up a meeting.” Claire Lawrence and I met. I got hired and the fun started. For the next five years,  Claire, myself, Terry David Mulligan, Dan Hardisty, Dave Newberry, John Henderson, Gene Laverock, Ted Elvidge, to name a few, recorded all the major rock, pop, folk musicians, many American ones as well, put on tours around the province, interviewed musicians in Los Angeles twice a year and generally had a whale of a time.

This all came to an end in 1980 and all the nightly shows were cancelled and were replaced by one large two hour block produced in Toronto. My job changed drastically. I became a Service Producer for Variety Tonight, the new Toronto show, and spent my days recording concerts for them. Mel Torme, Esther .Phillips, Mose Alisson, Ernestine Anderson, and on and on … great fun. At the same time J.B.Shayne came to work with me on a weekly show called Neon Nights. A very far out piece of work, I think the brass hated it.

By 1982, the Toronto show, Variety Tonight, had gone through a number of changes, including a new host, Vicki Gabereau. The Area Head of Variety, Ron Solloway, wanted this nightly show moved out of Toronto to Vancouver. He called me and suggested I might like to produce it. I didn’t like the idea at all, it scared me to death, what did I know about producing a talk show.  But I couldn’t say no, so in September 1982  so off we went with Variety Tonight, coming to you live from Vancouver.  And for the next four years I had the craziest, busiest and most terrific time of my life. Vicki and I were a good match. I had a wonderful team of producers and we worked like mad.

At the end of four years we were all ready for a change. Vicki went to a weekly show and I moved along to become Executive Producer of Performance in Vancouver. This was a very busy time for Network Production in Vancouver. We had always been an important production centre, lots of drama, documentaries, classical music and comedy and we became even busier with David Wisdom taking on Nightlines, Tod Elvidge taking on Double Exposure and Vicki coming back to host a daily two hour afternoon, Vancouver Radio was really cooking.

One of my former bosses, Bill Terry, always said, “be a moving target.” I think that is wise advise. For the next number of years, really up until my departure, I changed jobs every three or four years. Every new assignment scared me to death, but I ended up loving every job from being Head of Music and helping producers create new shows to to working on Radio 3 in a ground breaking area filled with young people. The only grim time for me was working as Director of Radio in B.C. during the cutbacks. It is a soul-destroying experience to have to tell people they will no longer be working for the CBC, not because their work is poor but because there is no money to pay them.

I have been very lucky in my years with the Corporation. I worked with wonderful people, people who were generous with their time and knowledge and who were willing to take a chance on me. George Laverock who made that first call, Claire Lawrence who taught me so much, Ron Solloway who was a terrific boss and taught me about working with creative people as did Claire, Harold Redekopp who forced me to take the Music Radio job and supported me all the way, and Alex Frame who left me alone with my team to create a fabulous internet experience called Radio 3, and my final partner Robert Ouimet who was so generous teaching me about new media. 

I hope, I too, have been generous with my time and knowledge and have helped others to become better producers and managers. And so it goes. I am sure Radio will change over the next few years and I am determined to embrace what I hear and celebrate the changes rather than yearn for the good old days.

Best of luck everyone.

                                                              JOBS WE HAD BEFORE CBC.  (March 1995)

Let’s start with Peggy Oldfield who was a “Jill of all trades” in a chemical manufacturing company. Rhea Hudson was a courthouse recorder. Neil Simpson and Michael Watt worked at Stong’s. Bill Nevison played guitar and sang with bands. David Pears was a steel rigger on the old Hydro building.  Bruce McDonald still hates the smell of wet cedar after lazing at a New Westminster mill. Ebba Reiter was private secretary to a psychologist in Beverley Hills. Herb Baring was a chemist, a real estate salesman and a National grocery buyer for Loblaws. John Rogers packed bodies in a morgue.  Sandy Robson was a travelling dental health educator. Joe Batista cooked hamburgers at White Spot. Rhonda Burnside sold mobile homes. Chuck Lere fixed vacuum cleaners in Regina. Bob Paley shovelled rotten mustard seeds in a granary and cleaned out sewers. Neil Trainor was an airline pilot for Air West. Vern Chilton skated in the Vancouver Stars on Ice show of ’51.  Lawrence McDonald was a sub-division planner. Alex Pappas was a steward on Alaskan cruise ships. Sharon Romero made popsicles and fudgsicies in an ice cream factory. Hugh Henderson was a dishwasher on a cruise ship and worked on the bumper cars at Playland, PNE. Gillian Dusting worked at Stanley Park's first aid, lost children & information booth.  Dave Tonner drove around installing pre-cast burial vaults. Brian Jalmerson was a fur trader for HBC. Joe Cranswick made and sold leather purses in Auckland, NZ. Doug Sjoquist fired the cannon that made Puff Wheat and Puff Rice. Joan Athey handled the ad account of Toronto's Mount Pleasant cemetry. Dick Bellamy was a scientific glass blower at UBC. Greg Upton was master carpenter on tour with Sadler’s Well Opera. Jerry Williamson stocked shelves in an Edmonton grocery store. Ian Munro worked at the industry his grandfather invented "Table -Top Hockey." Ralph Motohashi was a stagehand at a Tokyo film studio. Judy Knox’ job was payroll at an automotive garage where she was the only woman among 15 men. Was she popular!  Lori Konorti was a circus impresario in Italy and a belly dancer in the Middle East. Steve Armitage was a gold, iron ore & copper miner before he became a grave digger. No kidding! How can we top that?


                                                       IRISH SPOKEN HERE
                                                              by Don Mowatt

My maternal grandmother was seventeen when she emigrated from Cork to North America at the Turn of the century. Her feet remained firmly planted in the two opposing forces of Irish consciousness- harsh reality and unbridled fantasy. My mother inherited both qualities and I a good measure of the latter. This is my first visit to Ireland.

I am in Dublin in 1990 for a week attending, as the Canadian representative, the fifteenth International Radio Features Conference founded in Berlin in 1975. Approximately fifty of us are attending the series of meetings and presentations, coming from all over the world. We are staying in  hotel within walking distance of RTE, the Irish Broadcasting Centre in a Dublin residential suburb where the conference is being held. I have to line up a series of interviews at RTE this week for a radio documentary I have been asked to produce later for the CBC Ideas series on Irish Memory. In the week following the conference, I expect to travel to most cities in the Republic collecting music, sound effects and interviews with writers, performers, academics and historians. The Features Department here has already lined up for me appointments in Cork and Limerick as well as Dublin, but there are more to come. I am particularly hoping to speak to the poet Seamus Heaney.

Tonight we are heading to an Irish pub with live folk music after a tour this afternoon by bus to Glendalough in County Wicklow. It takes about an hour to drive to this historic valley with a 6th Century monastic church and a still standing round tower, 30 metres high, built originally as a bell tower, but also serving as both storehouse and refuge in times of attack. There is a peaceful lake set in the valley, peaceful until the tourists arrive in busloads - but our international group is the only tourist group there at this hour and we walk easily through the ruins of a nearby monastic community of buildings begun in the years of the 6th Century by Saint Kevin. I have joined up with a fellow radio producer from Oslo who is a nephew of the famous Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl whom I interviewed several years earlier in Vancouver. His English is impeccable and we talk about how cultivated Ireland had been when much of Europe at that time was still barbaric. Like me, it is his first visit to Ireland too.

There is a story told about a monastery in Ireland - it would have been this one, or one very much like it - where the monks were seated quietly at their evening meal in the refectory when through the outer western wall sailed a ship as though in the ocean. The dining area had a high ceiling and the ship passed several yards above the long oak table where the monks were seated. The boat stopped, dropped anchor touching the table top and a sailor dove overboard downwards through the air, swimming as though in water to secure it. Suddenly a monk, not quite believing his eyes, stood up and grabbed hold of the sailor’s leg but he cried out “Father, let me go at once, or I drown!” With that, the monk loosened his hold and the sailor swam up to the ship, pulled up the anchor and the boat moved forward until it reached the far eastern ceiling wall and passed effortlessly right through it and out of the monastery.

It is said there are many tales of this nature told in Ireland even today and all relating to the ancient Celtic legend of the lost sunken city of Ys- not dissimilar to the Greek legend of Atlantis.

In the old ruins of the centuries old monastic community, all that is left are stone walls and arches and remnants of an altar. The wood is gone and of course the glass, but there is an unmistakable presence of something of the spirit or indeed spirits of the place. Is it the shape of the stone structures left standing in obvious religious formation or the place itself by a calm lake between high hills … without the tourists or other habitation or commercial development? My colleagues are uncharacteristically silent here.

It is a good beginning to the conference, on a late Sunday afternoon before an early breakfast and a full week’s schedule. The pub and music following are lively, but after Glendalough, unmemorable and very noisy.

Back at the Features Conference we are listening to programmes presented by their producers from as far away as Vanuatu, Korea, Australia and Russia. Many of the producers have a background in the Arts, particularly theatre and we discuss getting evening tickets for some of the fine theatre available downtown. John Theocharis of the BBC and I settle on two productions on successive evenings: Chekhov’s Three Sisters starring Cyril Cusack and his three daughters - all distinguished actors - and the premiere of a new Irish play by Brian Friel - Dancing at Lughnasa. This play was loosely based on the lives of Friel’s mother and aunts set in the summer of 1936 in County Donegal … a memory play recalling poverty and dismal prospects for a family of women.

Dancing is a way of communicating apart from words where the lost Irish language replaced by English left, as one poet described it to me, a scar in the throat. Yeats himself admitted in an interview that while English was his mother tongue, Irish was his ancestral language. And still at this time, 1990, I can hear Gaelic spoken, quoted and listen to programmes on radio and television entirely in spoken Irish.

Our Finnish delegates are fascinated to discover that several words in their language are identical or close to identical to Irish, for example, the word for rabbit. Historically, Finnish is part of the Finno-Ugric origins, but neither the Hungarians or the Finns could point to a singular word in common.

Dancing at Lughnasa combined the historic and most characteristic Irish character, oscillating continually between exhilaration and depression.

“There is one memory of that Lughnasa time,” says the narrator in Friel’s play, “that visits me most often; and what fascinates me about that memory is that it owes nothing to fact. In that memory, atmosphere is more real than incident and everything is simultaneously actual and illusory… And what is so strange about that memory is that everybody in our village seems to be floating on these sweet sounds of music from the radio. I think of it as dancing. As if in dancing, language surrendered to movement. Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary.”

“Cultural memory in Ireland,” wrote historian Thomas Barbington Macauley, “is so strong, it’s like stepping on a thin crust of ashes beneath which the lava is still flowing, just barely under the surface.”

As broadcasters, we visitors to this land are professional storytellers, using a variety of narrative approaches as varied as the countries we represent: parables, poetry, drama, essay, reportage or in the case of our American colleagues- the sermon. But the Irish are particularly unique in this amazing balance of the factual and the fantastic or put another way the combination of the natural with the supernatural.

“There’s many a night at sea and I’ll look up at the stars and say: ‘What are the stars?’ ‘Aye Joxer, that’s the question: what are the stars?’” (Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock)

Once upon a time… a time long ago, there was a man… and if he was there then... if... well he’s not there now… 

There is a statue of a woman on Grafton Street pushing a fish cart:

                    In Dublin’s fair city

                    Where the girls are so pretty

                    I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

                    As she wheeled her wheel barrow

                    Through streets broad and narrow

                    Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive alive oh!”


                    She died of a fever

                    And no one could save her

                    And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone

                    But her ghost wheels her barrow

                    Through streets broad and narrow

                    Crying “Cockles and Mussels Alive alive oh!

It’s a second Irish anthem!

There are statues, memorial plaques and signs in Dublin recognizing its Irish literary and political heroes, but the architecture suggests in the city at least more of its English and European connections. In the country, it is different but not without its tensions too.

On the last day of our conference, we break early and drive out of town, heading west to a farm owned by one of our Irish broadcast hosts. I drive with Barbro from Helsinki and our founder and chairman Leo Braun of Berlin. He wants me to drive, but in the end I persuade him who has had more experience in Ireland where they drive on the left, as he said, where the heart is.       

As he drives through the last of Dublin’s suburbs, I sense that he is not judging from his position at the wheel on the right exactly how close he is coming to the parked cars on the left. And in one narrow street he sideswipes two side mirrors of back to back parked cars without stopping. He does not appreciate my assessment comparing him to Marie Antoinette destroying the mirrors of Versailles.

Soon we are out in the green rolling countryside. We see mounds and wonder if they are ancient burial sites or just natural rises in the landscape. One is never too sure in this country where the distant past and the present dwell side by side. The farther into the rural areas we go the more we see of the connections to the distant past too … not just the old ruins but in the cottages, the way people are along the way. We stop at a market to buy flowers and some grocery items for our hosts. We hear some Gaelic spoken and references to digging going on in a nearby field to find Viking remains. The comments are insightful and quite unique between two old men. They disapprove of the archaeological intrusion on the land because it will annoy “the old ones”. It soon becomes obvious that the “old ones” are the spirits of the former inhabitants of the land, going back not centuries but millenia! These spirits are both revered and distrusted, as I later learn in my interviews with the academics, because they can be both helpful and harmful depending on the situation. They are the ones, after all, who know the land. Sometimes you are well advised to leave gifts for them too … even money. And the gifts left one night are always gone the next morning - proof that they have been received and accepted.

“Who are the stars, Mihal?” “Aye, Joxer, that is the question!” “Then, what is the moon?” “That is the very question, the very one, Joxer, what is the moon?!”

When we arrive at the right address finally, other cars are already parked along the dirt road and on part of a large field and there are bright spotlights shining on the field some distance from the house though it is still light. There is equipment working that does not look like farm machinery. This, as it turns out, is the Viking excavation mentioned miles back at the market. They have already discovered, our hosts tell us, a Viking road underneath the soil far down in a bog and a perfectly preserved wooden cart that would have been pulled by a horse. The occasional sounds of the digging equipment can be heard throughout the night.

As well as producers from our conference, our hosts have invited their friends and neighbours. There is much food and of course, alcohol. And later a large fire in the fireplace and the telling of stories and endless singing. One of their friends is a medical doctor who plays with some competence and great energy an Irish tin flute and he sings in Irish with a high tenor voice and much clear tone a great range of songs in the Gaelic. His son accompanies him on the guitar. Later in the evening, I am asked to sing with him a couple of Danish nonsense songs I know - in spirit, no doubt with the Viking excavations going on just hundreds of yards away. My guitar accompanist is a fast and skilled learner. We have no idea what the songs in Irish are about … I don’t recognize any of them, but the locals understand them, sing along in the chorus from time to time and even let loose a tear or two. 

Occasionally, our host or the doctor gives us a detail about the words or the background, but we are entertained and the flow of the alcohol assists in the process of enjoyment. I remark later that I hope the “old ones” are enjoying the music as much as us and should we leave them a wee gift of money or spirits? All of this is held in a large room that is attached to the kitchen. It seems to serve as dining room, living room, and dance hall and is used this evening as all three. From time to time, some guests would go outside, remarking on the sounds of the archaeological dig or on the distinctive bird songs still heard, but less and less as the night advances.

When the evening ends, Leo Braun who had noticed my very conservative intake of the spiritus fermenti, insists that I drive us back to the hotel, “taking great care not to emulate Marie Antoinette, Don, and the broken mirrors or we might end up as archaeological artifacts in the great black butter bogs along the way.”

And so we dance our way home. What is the moon? Follow me, I’m right behind ya!

I feel sorry on this trip to Ireland that I was not able to bring my children and particularly my mother with me. She is in no condition to travel at this point and spends much time in a wheelchair following the death of my father a few years before. Still she had wanted all her life to see the land of her own Irish mother from Cork. The closest she came was Scotland where we had lived for three years in the early 1950’s. On a later trip to Ireland, I did take her … in a glass jar… to return her to the company of the old ones.

When I arrive back at my hotel after dropping off the rental car, I am tired but need to finish packing for the morning trip by taxi to the train station downtown and my week on the road across the south gathering more material for my radio documentary on Irish Memory. When the morning comes, I check with reception to make sure I am booked in again for a final night, one week away before flying home on Friday. All is confirmed.

The Irish trains are fine, not as splendid as the Orient Express Agatha Christie wrote about, but better than the train we took on the final run of the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul thirteen years previous in 1977. We journey through Wexford, Waterford and I get off for a day in Cork to do a couple of interviews at the university.

I try to imagine the city my grandmother knew as a child, but nothing in her description of life here matched the modern city I see almost one hundred years later. She talked of being stoned as she walked to school on occasion by Catholic girls as she was the only Protestant child in her class. I mentioned this years later to a historian of this period in Irish history and she told me that the antagonism of my grandmother’s classmates probably had more to do with the fact she came from a family with an English middle class surname than because she was a Protestant. And that this section of Irish society at the time of the Potato Famine had virtually ignored the plight of the lower class of workers and farmers. But when I was in Cork I had not known this. There was something else about my grandmother I had not known at this point either. My parents had always told me how poor my mother’s childhood had been because her father had died in an industrial accident following the First World War. The truth of the matter I learned much later was that my maternal grandfather had received a headwound in France during the latter part of the Great War; had been hospitalized in England, recovered and returned not to his wife and two children in Montreal but to his parents’ home in Vermont where he remarried, had more children and died in the 1950’s. But the power of the first story presumably originating with my grandmother remained in my family until very recently and was just refuted by intense research into army records and beyond by another branch of the family.

Once upon a time, there was a man, and if he was there then well he’s not there now.

After Cork, I head both north and further west to Limerick where I am a guest at the home of a theologian who is also president of the University there. In the front porch of his home is the skeleton of a huge dog of very ancient origin… that had been dug out of a bog years before. It was a now extinct Irish deerhound … virtually the size of a small horse!

When it comes time in the evening after dinner to interview this learned man about Irish Memory, he gives me a very different picture of his nation’s culture than my previous conversations with actors, poets and historians. He deplores any romanticization of the past and its influence over the present. He dismisses the notion of Irish spirits, wee folk, fairies, old ones or whatever and insists that this is fine for the souvenir industry and American celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day, but it is harmful to the new Ireland and its place in the European Union and enterprises that involve science and economics. I thought this was rather unusual coming from a theologian connected very much to traditions and to the transcendental world of faith and the spiritual realm. He insisted that like Ireland, he too had a present that looked to the future rather than to the past. And on that he was unanimous!

What are the stars?!

My first interview in Dublin had been at Trinity University with the marvellous raconteur, popular historian and poet Brendan Kennelly. Kennelly is still alive with a prodigious memory for poetry, ancient and modern in old Irish or modern English. “Language,” he told me, “is a human miracle always in danger of drowning in a sea of familiarity.”

Following my interview with the president of the University of Limerick, and after a day recording musicians and singers in the area, I phone Dr. Kennelly and tell him about my recent conversation with the theologian now progressive business  academic and he reflects in silence for a few moments before responding. “It may be,” he says at last, “that there is a new breed of Irish thinker that can deduce, compute and infer with the very best, but in my opinion, they have, in concentration on efficiency, lost their sense of wonder!”

I have one more visit and recording to make on this trip before going back to my Dublin hotel and then flying home to Vancouver via London.

In downtown Dublin there is a large church converted below the sanctuary, which is still very much looking like a place of worship, into a viking museum. After paying my entrance fee I sit in the sanctuary and watch a twenty-five minute film on the history of the Vikings in Ireland. They have literally founded the port of Dublin in the ninth century.

I am then directed to a large elevator which proceeds to descend marking off the journey on a large electronic panel, but instead of floors going by, the centuries descend from the 20th to the 9th. And when the elevator door opens, a Viking welcomes me asking what land I have come from and guides me through a reconstructed Viking settlement as precise in each detail as it is possible to get, even including the language and the smells of food, flowing river and garbage.

I think what a fitting image this is for my brief journey this past two weeks into the historical layers of Ireland’s most colourful and distinctive past.

When I arrive back at my hotel in the suburbs, the receptionist tells me my booking is mistaken somehow and they have me listed not for this night but yesterday. She will have to check if a room is available. Fortunately one is and I take my luggage up and collapse on the bed.

It is six p.m. or in Vancouver time 10 a.m. Friday morning. I decide I should just phone my secretary back at the office and tell her I’ll be on my way tomorrow and that everything has gone well.

Rochelle is surprised to hear from me and I wonder why. “I think you need to sit down, Don,” she says and I immediately expect to hear seriously bad news. “Have you got your airline ticket handy?” “Yes, I can get it...why?” “Just read me the date on it.”

I find it in my jacket pocket and locate the right page. “Friday, May 18th Dublin to London 10 a.m.” “What day is it today, Don? You should be on the plane now from London to Vancouver!”

I am absolutely shocked. I have never done that in years of travelling on business or pleasure! “I will phone Air Canada now but you may not get a flight tomorrow and you may have to pay for the new flight. At any rate, you better get to the Dublin airport as early as possible tomorrow morning. You will have a long trying day ahead of you!”

In the morning when I show up at the ticket counter for my flight to London, the lady looks at my ticket and tells me I am a day late. I apologize, can’t account for confusing the departure day and explain my activities gathering interviews and sounds on my Irish Memory project. “Memory and you forget your departure date?” She says in a not unfriendly tone. “It has never happened before. I can’t explain it.” She says that I would be surprised to find out how common this is in Ireland. She has several cases a day and apparently Aer Lingus makes allowances in their bookings for confusions.

“This is Ireland,” she says, “there are forces at work over which we humans have no control. There is no penalty. I’ve booked you onto the next flight to London in one hour. But sir, you must understand that when you get to Heathrow, they are English and don’t have an affinity for these occurrences and they will surely charge you extra if they can put you on a flight back to Canada at all today. That’s how it is. We wish you the very best of Irish luck!” And so saying she hands me my passport and my boarding pass and I am on my way.

I did return to Vancouver that day, wait listed but successful, thanks to Irish luck and the very possible gracious intervention of “the old ones.” At any rate, that is my memory.

                                                                                 @Don Mowatt

                                                                                   March, 2021



As I've grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but annoying everyone is a piece of cake.

I'm responsible for what I say, not what you understand.

Common sense is like deodorant. The people who need it the most never use it.

My tolerance for idiots is extremely low these days. I used to have some immunity built up, but obviously there's a new strain out there.

It's not my age that bothers me; it's the side effects.

I'm not saying I'm old and worn out, but I make sure I'm nowhere near the curb on trash day.

As I watch this generation try and rewrite our history, I'm sure of one thing: It will be misspelled and have no punctuation.

As I've gotten older, people think I've become lazy. The truth is I'm just being more energy efficient.

I haven't gotten anything done today. I've been in the Produce Department trying to open this stupid plastic bag.

If you find yourself feeling useless, remember it took 20 years, trillions of dollars, and four presidents to replace the Taliban with the Taliban.

Turns out that being a "senior" is mostly just googling how to do stuff.

I want to be 18 again and ruin my life differently. I have new ideas.

My mind is like an internet browser. At least 19 open tabs, 3 of them are frozen, and I have no clue where the music is coming from.

Hard to believe I once had a phone attached to a wall, and when it rang, I picked it up without knowing who was calling.

So you've been eating hot dogs and McChickens all your life, but you won't take the vaccine because you don't know what's in it. Are you kidding me?

I'm on two diets. I wasn't getting enough food on one.

Apparently RSVPing to a wedding invitation "Maybe next time" isn't the correct response.

She says I keep pushing her buttons. If that were true, I would have found mute by now.

I put my scale in the bathroom corner and that's where the little liar will stay until it apologizes.

There is no such thing as a grouchy old person. The truth is that once you get old, you stop being polite and start being honest.