Short stories

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Delivering bricks

Fun ed

I used to work at a brickyard while I was going through school and when I was first married. It was an amazing place, which seemed to employ more than its share of eccentrics. I must have seemed like an eccentric myself to my fellow employees. One guy I worked with was Paul McFarlane—Dippy Paul as he was known. Paul used to run long-distance marathons to raise money for various charities, and he did a twenty-five-mile route so often that ... (Continue reading)

White Salmon

Fun editorial pic

Our soap or our salmon can travel in tins. - Songs of Education: “Geography” by G. K. Chesterton I like eating fish, but not all fish. I find tuna dry, nondescript, and rather tasteless. I do like salmon, however, which can be hard on the budget. One of my hobbies is chopping firewood, which saves us money and keeps me away from more expensive pursuits. So salmon sandwiches in my lunch pail is a luxury I allow myself, like an occasional cigar, or ... (Continue reading)

Efficiency and computers

Fun cartoon

I neither like nor dislike computers. I suppose I think computers are rather ugly things, useful for doing boring or repetitious tasks quickly, but that is all. I have similar views about washing machines, electric clocks, and lawnmowers: all useful but unlovely tools. Some tools are a joy to use, like a twenty-ounce claw hammer with an octagon hickory handle, a well sharpened knife or chisel, or a jack plane. But a computer is, after all, just another ... (Continue reading)

Chocolate bars

Fun cartoon

They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes; They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies. - G. K. Chesterton, The Secret People I learned my views about money from my father when I was about eleven years old. My dad worked at one of the local factories and every June the trade-union’s Social and Athletic Club put on a company picnic for the men and their families. This was a wonderful ... (Continue reading)

Books I have not read

Fun cartoon

There are lots of books that I have never read and never will read. The act of not-reading is portrayed as passive, but there is activity in not-reading. For example, I have actively chosen to not-read anything written by those listed as Great Canadian Writers. I happily read Canadians who are not on this official list—such as Michael O’Brien, Robert Service, John Buchan, or Stephen Leacock. I once read two pages of a Margaret ... (Continue reading)

Cutting a Christmas Tree

Cutting a Christmas tree

"Father Christmas throws out with the same gigantic gesture the prig who can only sneer at the Christmas pudding and the snob who can only snarl at the Christmas waits." - G. K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, 22 December 1923 Every year we cut a Christmas tree. First, the children go looking for some suitable candidates and then we review the choices during a hike to pick the best one. My criteria are simple. I insist that we cut a spruce that ... (Continue reading)

The ghost

The ghost

“This way,” he said; “mind the steps by the staircase. This house is more crooked and old-fashioned than you would think from its snobbish exterior. There are quite a lot of odd corners in the place really.” - G. K. Chesterton, The Club of Queer Trades When we bought our old farm house many years ago, my wife was expecting. The family we purchased the house from were descendants of the original homesteaders who had come from the Isle of Wight in ... (Continue reading)

Wood heat

Wood heat

Heating a house with skids has always seemed like a good idea to me, since these are free for the asking at almost every lumber yard or warehouse. Often they are made from some poor grade of maple or oak, but I once built a crib out of mahogany from a skid that had held bags of cement. A few (more than a few?) years ago, a friend of mine was in a similar position to exercise thrift. Allan and his ... (Continue reading)

Found money

Found money

I am always trying to forget what I know—and to find what I don’t know. - G. K. Chesterton When I drive home from work, I have to be careful because sometimes deer cross the road, and occasionally a bear. Recently as I was driving, I noticed that the van in front of me was spewing out grey smoke. A closer look revealed that it was my van, with my wife Theresa driving. Now, I am not a mechanic, but my ... (Continue reading)

When platitudes fail

Platitudes

The one thing the moderns will not trust a man to do is to conduct his own life. - G. K. Chesterton, Abolishing the Ordinary I have two books by Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts. The books are called Scouting for Boys and Rovering to Success. In these, Baden Powell gives advice to young men about the problems they will face in the world and how to achieve success. They are good books filled with little catch phrases ... (Continue reading)

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