Relief and gratitude
Family Life | News

Relief and gratitude

“The whole atmosphere at Summit has changed,” Co Vanderlaan says of his retirement home, now that its residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine. He and his wife Alice echo the feelings of many. “We are so relieved. So thankful. So excited. Maybe soon we can see our grandchildren. We’ve had two great-grandchildren born during the…

Uplifting Words: To parents doing online school
Education | Family Life | News

Uplifting Words: To parents doing online school

For families with school-aged children and for those involved in education, the terms school closure, remote learning, Google Classroom and Zoom likely increase your blood pressure and accelerate your heart rate. In the 62-year history of the school where I work, 2020 marked the first time when students were not permitted to come to school:…

Happy New Year?
Disability | Family Life | Opinion

Happy New Year?

In 1999, Ralph and I were living in Minneapolis, and there was hype over the impending switch from 1999 to 2000. Given that computers were programmed for just two digits (keeping 19 as the understood first two digits), experts feared the systems that ran everything, including banking, power plants and library fines, would not be…

A uniquely illustrated Christmas tale
Family Life | Holidays | Reviews

A uniquely illustrated Christmas tale

Young Jo, her infant brother, and ill, single mother are cast out into the elements on Christmas Eve. Though Jo plans to leave town on a bus with her family, the fierce, unruly winter wind pushes them in the direction of Franklin Murdoch’s barn and house. Jo is afraid of the man, known in the community as mean and crusty; the death of his wife and baby on a Christmas Eve long ago had apparently turned him into a nasty person.

An uneasy Christmas
Family Life | Holidays | Opinion

An uneasy Christmas

“Let’s pack this Christmas issue, our last of the year, with uplifting content” (Angela Reitsma Bick, CC Editor, in her pre-Christmas email to columnists). I have always had an uneasy relationship with Christmas. Perhaps that stems from my childhood upbringing in a conservative Dutch Canadian Reformed family. We went out of our way to distance…

The waiting year
Family Life | Holidays | Opinion

The waiting year

“Heap on more wood! The wind is chill;But let it whistle as it will,We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.”Sir Walter Scott When I was little, my mother quilted an advent calendar. It was a pre-printed fabric scene – chipmunks making popcorn chains, I believe – that she made three-dimensional with batting and stitches, and 24…

WITH US
Family Life | Holidays | Opinion

WITH US

“So, when are we decorating for Christmas?” My oldest turned to me and asked, as she does every year when the calendar marks November. If you’ve read my column in the past, you’ll know she’s also the one who programs my kitchen radio to every station that only plays Christmas music. The kid has an…

Holding Our Own
Family Life | Opinion

Holding Our Own

Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, I associate this time of year with the gales of November. Forty-five years ago this month, one of the largest ships of the Great Lakes sailed and sank – the Edmund Fitzgerald. The last words from the captain over radio transmission were, “We are holding our own, going along like an…