I went to the barn looking forward to some quiet time with my mare. She’s getting on, and this past year she moved less fluidly and her joints seemed stiff. So my time on the trails is slowly being replaced with time brushing and coddling her in the barn.
I opened the barn door and there, in the middle aisle, staring at me as cheeky as can be, were three of the latest litter of barn puppies. The fourth one stood on his hind legs behind the gate that was supposed to keep them all confined to an empty horse stall. Paws on the top, he wriggled excitedly and looked at me hopefully, as if asking me to help him over to join his brothers and sisters.
They’re at that goofy stage where their ears flop over endearingly. They have trouble sitting straight, so sit crookedly on one haunch. Black and tan German Shepherd puppies, they will grow to be tall and sleek like their parents, Luna and Logan. But right now their clumsy little bodies are round, chubby and sturdy.
The three of them bounded toward me with a joy so pure it melted my heart. I quickly closed the barn door to make sure they didn’t get out and head for the road. One-by-one, I picked them up and deposited them back behind the gate with their sibling. Even through my thick winter jacket, I could feel their warm bodies as they snuggled against me. I held the last one just a little bit longer, reluctant to put him down. I expected them to rebel and try to escape again, but it seems they’d had enough of freedom for now. They ate from the bowl of dry kibble then curled up contentedly together for a nap.
I marveled at how they took such pleasure in the simple things in life: Food, sleep, warmth and companionship. And I thought that we humans could definitely learn a thing or two from these young pups.
December 6, 1989 was an ordinary Wednesday. But thirty years later, it has become a: “I remember where I was …” day. As in, I remember where I was when JFK was shot. Or I remember where I was when 911 happened. Because before Virginia Tech, before Sandyhook, before Columbine even, there was École Polytechnique in Montreal.
On that evening, a gunman walked into the engineering school in Montreal and killed 14 people. His targets were only half-random. They had to be women. Not any specific woman, any woman would do. His hatred for them was across the board.
I remember exactly where I was. My husband was taking a night class and I was at home alone with the kids. I had just put them to bed and was looking forward to relaxing and watching a little TV. No sooner had I turned on the television than all the local channels were covering the event.
Details were not yet known, but even the bare-bones basics were shocking. Someone had walked into a school and opened fire on university students. I couldn’t process the information or pull myself away from the television. How could this happen?
In the end, 14 young women were killed by a disturbed young man. He walked into a classroom, asked the men to leave, and then shot the nine women who remained, killing six of them. He continued on a 20-minute rampage throughout the school killing nine more women because he was “fighting feminism” before shooting and killing himself.
Each year, these women are remembered on December 6th. We ask ourselves who they would have become, how might they have changed the world if their lives had not been cut short. And our City honours them by illuminating the night sky with 14 beams of lights to represent the shining lights that were extinguished 30 years ago today.
While reading the paper or listening to the news this past week, several stories made me come to two conclusions:
– Common sense has gone the way of the dinosaur.
– Fake news has a close relative: real, stupid news.
The first piece that made me cringe was the story of a woman who was awarded $20,000 in damages by the Supreme Court of Canada for her arrest in 2009. Her offence? Wait for it … refusing to hold the handrail while on the escalator in a subway station. She was detained for 30 minutes in handcuffs, her belongings were searched and she was given two tickets: one for $100 for disobeying the rule (not the law) and another for $320 for “obstructing the work of an inspector”. Seriously? Do these inspectors not have better things to do? You can’t make this stuff up. Read about it here: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/woman-arrested-for-not-using-metro-escalator-handrail-awarded-20000
Finally, have you seen “The Irishman”, the new Martin Scorsese film? Among all its great reviews, I saw two ridiculous ones. I regret to say that both were by women and both panned the movie for the lack of strong, female characters. Ladies, really, you are not helping here. There are so many serious causes you could get behind to advance the status of women in the world. But this? The movie focuses on organized crime and Jimmy Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union in the 1950s and 60s. How credible would it be to throw in a token woman as a leader of organized crime or a teamster chapter? Is it even credible today? I saw the movie and I give it a big thumbs up.
If you’ve read any “stupid news”, please share it so we can all have a good laugh.