Jenny’s Best Friend

“Never doubt the power of play time… that kind of time when there’s no purpose, no clock is ticking, and you’re exploring your potential without needing to know the outcome.”
Jeanne McElvaney

My 15 year old grandson comes to visit every Sunday. He stays for lunch and supper and leaves around 8:00 p.m. Last Sunday he was accompanied by his 14 year old sister who wanted a photo from us to include in her school project. The project was decorating a box that would contain ten of her favourite things. She wanted to include a photo of grandma and grandad in that box. So we all went upstairs to the “memory cupboard” to view photo albums and discovered some of their mothers, my daughters, school projects from over 30 years ago.

One particular project I had forgotten existed and had not looked at since the day my daughter brought it home from school those many years ago was entitled “Jenny’s Best Friend.” The following is a shortened version of that project.

On Jenny’s street there are lots of kids to play with.

Jenny’s favourite person to play with though is her dad.

They play hopscotch, cards, skipping rope, soccer and run around the block.

All of the kids on Jenny’s street like to play with her dad to. Every night when Jenny and her dad walk out the front door at least five kids are waiting. Every Sunday when Jenny and her parents arrive home from visiting grandma and grandad at least eight kids are waiting for the car. Even on Saturday mornings when Jenny and her dad ride their bikes to the park at least ten kids bring their bike too.

One day Jenny was very sad because she wanted her dad all to herself.

She stood on her head in the middle of the soccer game, but dad didn’t notice. She sang crazy songs, but dad didn’t notice. She steals all the rocks during hopscotch, but dad doesn’t notice. Finally Jenny walk up to her dad, sits on his feet and announces “I’m not moving till you play with just me.’

“Jenny” says her dad ” I love you very much and you are my very favourite person to play with, But we can’t exclude the other kids who want to play.”

Jenny thought about that and said “You’re right. I’m ready to play with everyone now.”

“Good idea” agrees Jenny’s dad.

So Jenny is happy to play with all the older kids and younger kids, the short kids and the tall kids. the boys and girls.

But best of all Jenny gets to play with her favourite person and best friend her dad.

About the author:
My name is Jennifer White. I was born in Toronto. I live with my mom, dad and younger brother. Running races with my dad is still one of my favourite pastimes.

Movements and Hot Air

Responding to Reena Saxena’s Exploration Challenge #103. A 6 minute video showing forward and backward motion of people and cars. For full context go to following:

“So where do you go? Back to the bottle And back to a tiny room somewhere. And wait. And wait, and wait. That’s all.”
Charles Bukowski

We all need something to inspire us; a holy book, a motivational speaker, a great painting, a work of art, poetry, friends, a muse or a prompt from a WordPress blogger. This weeks prompt from Reena focused on a six minute video around movement. People and cars moving forward and backward ending with hot air balloons ascending to the heavens.

Despite all the movement in the video, my first thoughts were, with everything constantly in motion, do we really understand the direction in which we are heading and what we see on the way. My mind fixated on beggars in the street, tent cities blooming like weeds in California and people with substance abuse problems. I pondered the insanely rich Hollywood stars who protest inane issues while ignoring the plight of thousands with substance abuse in their own backyard. Alas. I am just a lower middle class guy, retired from an accounting job, who has lived in the suburbs for most of his adult life. I could not get into the rhythm writing a piece about street people.

I watched the video again and “movements and hot air” sauntered into my brain. So here are my thoughts on “movements and hot air.”

About eight years ago in Westminster Woods, articles by the Westminster Woods Resident Association (WWRA) started to appear in the local community newspaper, condemning an application before council to rezone a housing site as a religious site. Westminster Woods is a community of around 10,000 people, living in detached houses, town houses and low rise condominiums incorporated as a condominium association. Residents pay an annual fee to maintain pathways and certain artistic architectural features that enhance the area. It’s run by a property management company that maintains high standards of by-law enforcement for the area and issues a quarterly newsletter to residents. Being a resident of Westminster Woods I had never heard of the WWRA and made enquiries about the status of this entity.

The local Sikh association had purchased a plot of land in Westminster Woods and made application to the City of Guelph to have this land rezoned to build a Gurdwara (Sikh house of worship). The WWRA was actively condemning this move in the local media claiming that a religious site should not be included in a residential area as the area would be overwhelmed with traffic and it would change the character of the neighbourhood from ethnic diverse to Sikh dominated. I wrote letters to the editor condemning the WWRA on its position and stating that the Gurdwara should be allowed. It being no different than Christian churches who have historically been part of a community. I eventually discovered that the WWRA was in fact just one person. He had adopted this persona to fight against the Gurdwara by trying to change councils mind on rezoning. I wrote to my local counselor explaining the situation and asked if there were by-laws in place to stop one person from usurping the identity of 10,000 residents. The WWRA had no board members, minutes of meetings, by-laws etc. etc. I was told there was no requirement needed.

Eventually good sense prevailed and the WWRA fiasco came to nothing. The Gurdwara was built and the ethnic diversity kept its proportionality. Soon afterwards I heard, third hand, that the WWRA was a front for a local developer who wanted to purchase the property for detached housing. So here we had a movement that was all hot air.

Some other movements with hot air come to mind. 1. The Brexit/Remain movement in Britain. My view is that if a country has a referendum on an issue and the will of the people is in favour 52% – 48% than the will of the people should be carried out by parliament. 2. The Trump and MAGA red hat haters and the multitudes of legal action against him. Trump is the duly elected president of the US. Wait till 2020 if you think you can do better.

Open debate and dialogue between different factions is important so that consensus can be reached. If a democratic decision is made by the people than that decision should be respected until the next opportunity arises to exercise that country’s democratic rights. In an increasing number of events democracy is now viewed as only being viable when I get the decision that I want. That’s a sure path to anarchy.

Follow the Leader

Responding to Reena Saxena’s Exploration Challenge #102. Write poetry or prose based upon the following statement: ” Public figures make us hate their enemies.

This is my fictional contribution to the above prompt..

It’s a noisy world. So much information screaming at me … fries my brain. Should I press the mute button? Retreat and dialogue with my inner self for a saner discourse. Except there is no discourse just confusion, boredom and lack of ideas. My thoughts refuse to percolate unless sparked by a superior being. I’m just a follower and I need a strong leader to show me the way forward.

I found him about twenty years ago. I was watching his biography on CNN. He was so certain in his speech. He knew what he wanted and went for it. Sure there was some scandal. But there’s always people trying to drag the strong down. Jealousy I guess for there failure to attain those dizzy heights. We’re all human and imperfect. You have to add the pros and the cons and weigh the scales. I felt a symbiotic relationship take seed. He was a leader I could follow.

I watched his every TV moment, read his books, got to know him intimately. He became my king and I his loyal subject. He had my allegiance. His friends were my friends and his enemies were my enemies. I embraced his ideas and defended them against all disbelievers. Every follower needs a leader.

He started holding rallies. I traveled across the country, attending them all. It was very Messianic. We were in rapture, shouting, clapping, praising. Show us the way to a better tomorrow, lead us out of poverty, protect us from the invading hordes, make us safe, give us our bread and circuses. He responded with reassuring words that he would lead us to the promised land, destroy the fake idols and restore our faith in a better future. We were with him one hundred per cent. He was our leader.

It was election time and my leader stepped forward. Of the two candidates mine told the truth and the other lies. I was on the side of truth. I despised the lies of the rival candidate. How could anyone in their right mind actually believe them. Righteousness wins over deception every time. Just tell the people the truth and they will vote for the truth. I came to hate the followers of the rival candidate who kept falling for his deceptive tactics. How could they not see through him. They were weak and cowardly. My leader would win.

He did win. He remained strong and held to the truth and I exulted with him. I felt no sympathy for the followers of the losing candidate, only disdain for their misguided loyalties. They felt the same and hated us with equal passion. It was no surprise when they tried to drag our strong leader down with innuendo, fake new and numerous law suits. But truth and justice was on our side. They failed. Long live our leader.

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

John 18:37-38


Responding to Reena Saxena’s Exploration Challenge #101. Write based upon above image.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11

I grew up in East London the second eldest of six siblings, three boys and three girls.. We lived, mostly, in a three bedroom council flat. My parents in one bedroom and the boys and girls in separate bedrooms. My brother and I slept at opposite ends of the bed and were constantly yelling at each other “get your feet out of my face”.

I’m not sure why, but I was the one elected to look after my younger siblings. I would baby sit them and walk them to school…..and I didn’t mind or protest doing this. As I grew older, left school and earned money I would take them to the pictures e.g. Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music. I was in the boy scouts for seven years and also helped out as “Bagheera” assistant cub master.

I emigrated to Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada. Being a Catholic I naturally migrated to the local church for Sunday Mass. The priest talked about wanting to start a scout troop so I volunteered as Scout Master. At our first meeting in the church hall I discovered boxing gloves in the cupboard. I asked the boys if they wanted to give it a try and they were all excited. Having chosen two volunteers I proceeded to lace them up. When I told them to start, the more aggressive boy literally flew at his opponent and pounded two or three punches in his face, causing his nose to bleed profusely. I stopped it immediately and that was the end of my attempt to introduce boxing to the scouting movement. I was a little worried over the parents response to this event but they were okay with it.

After two years in Quebec I married and moved to Ontario. A year later we had a baby girl, purchased a condominium town house and soon after our son was born . The condominium consisted of 34 units arranged in a square with a green in the middle. I used to think of it as a village. A large park backed onto the town houses, with trails and a man made lake. Adjacent to the park was a wooded area. We were run by a property manager but I advocated for self management, which was approved by the majority, and I became both treasurer and social director. I organized events mainly related to children’s activities because there must have been about 40 children living in the condominium. War games in the woods, apple bobbing, parades with decorated bikes, carnivals, water balloon fights, fireworks etc. We also had volley ball and dodge ball games of about 20 a side, street hockey and basketball.

On hot summer days we would have water fights with hoses, buckets, water guns and water balloons. I would spend hours, in the morning,with a few children helping to fill water balloons and that afternoon would see an epic battle with the parents versus the children. My next door neighbour, a carpenter, engineered a dunking tank. He asked if I wanted to volunteer to test it. My response was to go inside and dress up in a suit, shirt and tie and sit under the dunking tank. The children started throwing tennis balls at the contraption. It worked wonderfully, a great feat of engineering.

In the Winter we would organize snowball battles, one team versus another, having first built snow forts. We would celebrate all the holidays as a community, Easter egg hunts, Christmas carolling, Halloween, Canada Day fireworks, Fall corn roasts.

Fast forward ten years and my daughter had triplets along with her fourteen month old son and my wife and I looked after them from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. My play skills were badly needed in the twelve years we cared for them. I blogged about this here

Childhood is a time of exploration,adventure and learning with a mixture of selfishness and tantrums. I have not yet put away all childish things. May we all hold on to the positive aspect of childhood and discard the negative.

The Covenant

August prompt from Peregrine Arc . I have my own take on this inspired prompt. For full prompt please go to:

The heavens wept and the thunder boomed its lamentation for the folly of human endeavour. It had been raining continuously for twenty four hours. The sky a sea of black swirling clouds, the roads a raging torrent of storm water, spilling onto the sidewalk. Cold, hard rain beat on his face, uncomfortable, but clearing his mind, as he fought ankle deep through the rising flood waters. He saw the man in the drab brown clothing off to the side of the road, jumping to avoid an oncoming car, unable to avoid the wall of water that poured over him as the car sailed by. Except, the man remained dry, the water having no effect on his clothing. He strode purposely towards the man knowing the covenant would be renewed or broken this night.

He stared into the man’s yellow eyes, seeing the whole cosmos captured within their glow and asked ” How shall I name you.”

The man’s face twitched into a sympathetic smile. He held out his hand, watching the rain cascade around his fingers, leaving his flesh dry ” Does it really matter. You know me by many names.” He paused as if giving it some thought “In this form you can name me Poseidon. It seems appropriate.”

He gave a nod and answered ” It is not time. The covenant still holds. Honour our agreement.”

Poseidon just stared. ” You do so cling to your illusions about humans. Four thousand years ago I allowed you to build an Ark. Two thousand years ago when I threated another flood, you begged to be the scapegoat, to die to save humanity from it’s many iniquities. You thought to cleanse them with your words and suffering, the ultimate sacrifice of your body to redeem all humans. I say they have learned nothing, you have failed and our covenant is at an end. “

He cried out in despair ” They are getting better. The last two thousand years have seen advancement in their behaviour and living conditions. They still evolve, but there is progress. One more chance. That’s all I ask. You claim to be merciful, than extend your mercy once more. One more chance”.

Poseidon gave a deep sign. “For your sake I will give humanity one more chance. You have another two thousand years. Do not try my patience again.” Walking away he disappeared into the mist of time.

At that moment the rain stopped, the sun shone and a rainbow appeared in the heavens.

Jeremiah 8:22. “Is there no balm in Gilead.”


Reena’s challenge #100 is to write 100 words, poetry or prose on above image.

I believe in the one God, the first cause. outside of time and space, infinite.

I believe in the one son, made concrete by the abstract, to show us a path to love and understanding.

I believe that I do not exist but for the grace of God.

I believe that I am forever changed by the grace of God.

I believe that I should grow, learn, love, and forever strive for the infinite.

I believe that I am one person overwhelmed by the concept of infinity.


Responding to Reena Saxena’s Exploration Challenge #99. Write a caption or short piece for this image.

People once present to me with all their charisma and lust for life are now phantoms in my mind. I try to recall some image that captures their life’s essence but come up empty.

My wife says ” Do you remember Richard, that tall, skinny guy, bald head which he covered with that outlandish hat. He had that red bushy beard which grew down to his chest, always cracking jokes. You must remember. “

I recall the name and his allotted space in the gallery of my mind but Richard is just a reflected shadow lacking the colour and vitality of the original. Everything fades with time.