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  • Writer's pictureKevin Graham

But, Dad, the lawn mower was still running!

Every once in a while, at a family gathering, one of my siblings reminds me of an old story. My late father was obsessive on safety. Everything had to be perfectly safe, with no exceptions. This was a man who would put his seatbelt on just to turn the car around in the driveway. And then he got older. One day, while cutting the grass, he reached under the lawn mower to clear a clump of grass... while the mower was still running. This was before the time of auto shutoff levers on lawn mowers. Well, he was able to gather his wits in time to realize that this was highly risky behaviour, and saved his hand. I’m sure he was shaking his head for some time after that.

Sometimes, as we get a little long in the tooth, we get a little short on logic and common sense. It happens to all of us. No one is immune. There are no antibodies for this experience.

I’ve told you that story only so I could tell you this one.

Grand River Collegiate Institute. Ours was a great class and a great high school for those who chose to get engaged. Engagement is Everything!!! For the whole of Grade 13, our class owned that school... in a good way. Relationships were developed at GRCI that have lasted a lifetime... so far.

Well, every Summer, a small group of about nine of us from that class gathers for a boys’ weekend. It’s a highlight experience for me. The same stories get better every year. Beer, burgers, a round of golf, a swim, pancakes, bacon, and eggs, and Tim’s for breakfast, cards and laughs all night. So much laughing that, as last year’s host, I threatened to buy a box of adult diapers for the whole crew. These gatherings are pretty tame by most standards, and more so with each passing year. But it’s still a wonderful opportunity for good friends to come together, re-tell old stories, and catch up.

To put this in perspective, I’ve known some of these guys since Grade 6 and that was 1968. Truly, we’re blessed to be able to say that these are still friends fifty some years later.

Fast forward to 2020 and COVID-19... there won’t be a boys’ weekend this Summer, and hopes for Plan B in the Autumn are at best, tentative, in these uncertain times. There’s a mixture of optimism for this to actually happen, lots of hope, but clearly guarded. As I told the guys, “I’m up for it, but the rest of you are in a high-risk demographic”. When did they get so old?

Bottom line... we all treasure these opportunities to re-connect... but, and it’s a big but... is the 2020 boys’ weekend a lawn mower that’s still running?

With respect,

Kevin Graham

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