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On the Other Hand
My father’s hands PDF Print
Monday, June 18, 2012 9:45 AM

I came across this column while doing research for another story. After I read it, I realized there was just no better way to say how I feel about the upcoming holiday.

Happy Father’s Day to you all. I hope you  dads enjoy your day in the spotlight.

My father has been gone now for 14 years. There still isn’t a week that passes that I don’t think about him and wish I could share my hopes, joys and sorrows with him.

One of the things that has stuck in my mind is my father’s hands.

They were very capable and strong. The nails  had grease under them from his long days working under the hood of a car. There must be a point when it just doesn’t come off anymore. The knuckles were often knicked from a slipped wrench or screwdriver and the palms were calloused.

Those hands held my mother’s when they were married and then my brother and sister when they were born. Those hands held me when I came along.

Those hands built our garage, added on the mud room and renovated our attic when I came along so my sister and I could have our own bedrooms.

Those hands put fish worms on my hook because I was too squeamish to do it myself. Then they took off the fish I caught and at times filleted them for us to eat.

Those hands built our cottage in Michigan that provided us with a vacation destination most weekends in the summer for nearly 20 years.

Those hands clapped for me during band and choir concerts, after half-time shows during football season and during my high school graduation.

Those hands then tentatively held my son when he was born. He said he was afraid because Cameron was so small. They also held him for the first two years of his life as he rocked him to sleep while I worked second or third shift.

Those hands were on my son’s back as he learned to ride his first two-wheel bicycle. I can still hear him shout encouragement as Cameron careened down the sidewalk, wobbling from side to side and squealing with delight.

Those hands rested on my shoulders when he knew I needed to talk.

Those hands shook my fiancé’s when they met for the first time so many years ago.

At the end, those hands trembled with fatigue from the many chemotherapy and radiation treatments to fight the tumors that were growing in his brain. They were held, rubbed and patted to let him know we were by his side like he had been for us so many times.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I miss you.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:30 PM
Who you meet on a bus PDF Print
Monday, June 11, 2012 10:26 AM

Cameron and I often have very spirited phone conversations. At lunchtime on Friday, he called and was very excited.

This past week, he had met a woman on the bus he takes to Owens Community College. She was surrounded by bookbags. He isn’t one to sit quietly and ride, so he struck up a conversation by saying, “Gees, I’d hate to see your book bill.”
She turned to him and said, “No, these aren’t my books. This is everything I own. I live in the women’s shelter and if I leave this stuff there, someone will steal it.”

Cameron has been through a lot and at the tender age of 26, he understands more than many will after a lifetime of experiences. He immediately said that if she was willing to share, he wanted to know how she ended up in the shelter.

She had finally told her father she was a lesbian and she had been in the shelter with her bags of worldly goods ever since. She left for school before the shelter served breakfast and often returned after dinner was long gone. She sometimes didn’t eat for days.
She went on to say that several months ago she had lost her student ID and could no longer ride the bus for free so she had walked from downtown Toledo to the campus with her possessions in tow. Someone had directed her to Catholic Charities, which funded her replacement ID so she could ride the bus.

Cameron was impressed with her resolve and tenacity. She truly wanted to succeed and was doing it any way possible. Instead of going to class and worrying about what he needed or wanted, he immediately went to the student union and transferred money from his account to one in her name. It wasn’t much but he knew he would never be able to get her off his mind if he didn’t help in some way. He wanted to make a difference in her life, if just temporary, and the chance encounter definitely made a difference in his.

This is a touching story even if it had ended there — but it didn’t. When Cameron got home that day, he wrote a letter explaining his bus companion’s situation and the next morning, he emailed it to a dozen college deans in Ohio and Michigan. In just a short couple of hours, he received hundreds of reply emails. Apparently the deans had read it and passed it on and all these people emailed Cameron wanting to know how he thought they could help students like this; students who are committed to bettering themselves enough to overcome obstacles that might seem insurmountable to many.

Cameron made my pride-filled heart nearly burst from my chest. How awesome it is to have a child who cares so deeply for others; who wants to make a difference; who will not sit by and let something they feel is unjust or unfair go on.

How good it makes me feel my kid is concerned about humankind — not his kind or your kind or my kind.


Last Updated on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:22 PM
Put our best canal forward PDF Print
Monday, June 04, 2012 9:31 AM

On June 23, it will be time for another canal cleanup. The last few have been sparsely attended. I know it’s a busy time for everyone but keeping up on our waterway is important; some may say imperative.

Volunteers will line the banks of the Miami-Erie Canal armed with rakes, cutters and weed whackers. Intrusive weeds and brush will be no more and litter will be picked up and properly disposed of. Occasionally, some brave soul dons a pair of waders and heads in to pull out bicycles, car tires and more.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:36 PM
Honor, remember those who gave all PDF Print
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:18 AM

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with more than two dozen cities and towns claiming to be the holiday’s birthplace.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:37 PM
Let the mortar boards fly PDF Print
Monday, May 21, 2012 8:22 AM

The end of another school year is upon us. Classes have been taking field trips and enjoying the spoils of a year of hard work. Then, there are finals. Time to prove you were paying attention.

Anxious seniors are ready to don their caps and gowns and make that last walk before the next phase of their lives begin. I don’t know about anyone else but I took a quick peek at my diploma to make sure it was signed. I wasn’t worried, I just wanted to make sure.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:37 PM

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