“Just Because It’s Fun” From Robert Miller – North of 70

“Just because it’s fun”

When I put up the tent in the front yard on the lake side of the cottage and start sleeping in it, people ask me, “why do you sleep in the tent when you have a nice old cottage with five bedrooms and nobody but yourself in it most of the time? I explain that I can hear the sound of the waves better in the tent than in the cottage and that the evening breezes meander through the tent more easily. Of course, I don’t tell them the real reason I sleep in the tent is just because it’s fun.

It’s fun to drag the tent down from the attic and put it up, and make the same mistakes in putting it up I did every other year. It’s fun to inflate the king-sized inflatable mattress with the little pump and then squeeze it through the front door flap of the tent. It’s fun to drag blankets and pillows and sheets out of the cottage and across the dirt of the front yard and shove the whole pile into the tent and then struggle to arrange it all on the big inflatable mattress in the small space. It’s fun to lay my head down on the damp pillow in that dim cozy place and remember building tents with blankets when I was a kid, and to see the magic show shadows of the trees and the leaves moving on the tent walls, and to hear teenagers laughing on the beach. And it’s fun to fall into a deep sleep and be awakened just before the first light by the sweet noise of the birds gossiping and shouting at each other from the trees over my head. Everything about the tent is fun, even having the damn thing collapse on me in the middle of the night during a storm that suddenly arrives from the great lake that is only fifty yards away.

Of course I don’t tell people the real reason I sleep in the tent is just because it’s fun, and I am enjoying my second childhood. One of the best uses of old age is to rediscover the simple magic of childhood, and to use the magic to cast sunlight on the dark shadows of life.

Bob Miller
Southampton,
July 14, 2017

The Child In Me – Paul Hock

The Child In Me – Paul Hock – #grayquill

I love puddle jumping
Running naked in the rain
Building dams and castles on the beach
The adults stare, smile, point, and laugh
They would love to join in, but they won’t
Maybe tomorrow I’ll change, be more serious, but that’s unlikely
At sixty-seven, the child in me prevails

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“Just Because it’s Fun” From Bob Miller – North of 70

Robert Miller – AKA Abuelo

North of 70

“Just because it’s fun”

When I put up the tent in the front yard on the lake side of the cottage and start sleeping in it, people ask me, “why do you sleep in the tent when you have a nice old cottage with five bedrooms and nobody but yourself in it most of the time? I explain that I can hear the sound of the waves better in the tent than in the cottage and that the evening breezes meander through the tent more easily. Of course, I don’t tell them the real reason I sleep in the tent is just because it’s fun.

It’s fun to drag the tent down from the attic and put it up, and make the same mistakes in putting it up I did every other year. It’s fun to inflate the king-sized inflatable mattress with the little pump and then squeeze it through the front door flap of the tent. It’s fun to drag blankets and pillows and sheets out of the cottage and across the dirt of the front yard and shove the whole pile into the tent and then struggle to arrange it all on the big inflatable mattress in the small space. It’s fun to lay my head down on the damp pillow in that dim cozy place and remember building tents with blankets when I was a kid, and to see the magic show shadows of the trees and the leaves moving on the tent walls, and to hear teenagers laughing on the beach. And it’s fun to fall into a deep sleep and be awakened just before the first light by the sweet noise of the birds gossiping and shouting at each other from the trees over my head. Everything about the tent is fun, even having the damn thing collapse on me in the middle of the night during a storm that suddenly arrives from the great lake that is only fifty yards away.

Of course I don’t tell people the real reason I sleep in the tent is just because it’s fun, and I am enjoying my second childhood. One of the best uses of old age is to rediscover the simple magic of childhood, and to use the magic to cast sunlight on the dark shadows of life.

Bob Miller
Southampton,
July 14, 2017

“Oh Canada” From Bob Miller – North of 70″

This is the latest from my good friend, mentor and creative editor Robert Miller

“Oh, Canada”

I decided to begin Canada Day by driving out to the Saugeen First Nation just over the bridge two miles east of Southampton. I wanted to find a member of the community to whom I could express my personal regrets for Canada’s treatment of the indigenous people and my hope that together we would do better in future. I hesitated because I was afraid of making a fool of myself but then I thought, so what, I have plenty of experience doing that. So off I went.

 I drove from one end of the small community to the other then turned around. On my way back I saw a woman and three children hanging a string of small Canada flags along the hedge in front of their home. I parked along the side of the highway, walked over to them, introduced myself and said what I had wanted to say – I was sorry and hoped we would do better in future. The children, who ranged in age from 10 to 4 looked at me a bit suspiciously but carried on putting out the flags. The woman said she wasn’t enthusiastic about what they were doing “but the children wanted to do it”.

 In a quiet voice and looking off into the distance, she then began to recount her story. Her mother had gone to residential school and experienced abuse. She spoke of the stealing of the land and the breaking of treaties. Looking at me, she explained that the children were her grandchildren who had been placed in her and her husband’s custody because their son had problems with alcohol. She said that in previous times the authorities would just come onto the reserve and take children away, often with no explanation and no opportunity for the family to care for the children. Throughout, the woman spoke quietly with a mixture of anger and sadness in her voice and eyes.

 As our encounter came to an end, she said that I should speak to her husband who was a Deputy Chief and “knows more about the politics.” I found him at the gas bar he owns and waited for a few minutes while he served a customer. Then I walked up to him and said that I wanted on Canada Day to express my regrets for the past and hopes for the future. He smiled, extended his hand to me and thanked me for coming. He said there were not many who knew his people’s history. I said more are trying to learn but they are afraid to acknowledge or talk about these things. He said the same was true of his people who keep what happened inside themselves. He asked my name, again thanked me for coming, we shook hands and I drove off for the rest of Canada Day.

During the official Canada Day celebrations that afternoon, as we listened to the speeches and awaited the raising of the huge flag on which hundreds of us had signed our names, I was reminded of my encounters at the beginning of the day. Not one of the local officials who spoke, including the Member of Parliament for the area, made any reference to the history of the indigenous peoples of Canada or the harm done to them by our great country during the last 150 years. So far as this Canada Day celebration was concerned, it was as if the first peoples of Canada did not exist. I thought to myself this is more than ignorance and I wondered, Oh, Canada, why we are so afraid to acknowledge the wrongs we have done? 

 Bob Miller

Southampton,

July 4, 2017