Sona  /  Growing up  /  1 Comment

The first time I ever took my sister to court

It was the 80’s. Every pre-pubescent, pubescent and teenage girl was a die-hard fan of either Duran Duran or Wham, Simon Le Bon or George Michael. You had to pick your side and you had to show your loyalty. Tattered photo collages in lockers, bedrooms smeared in posters and perfectly cut snapshots from Teen Beat magazine, memorized song lyrics, tacky t-shirts with “Choose life” in massive block letters, feathered hair and blaring ballads whining about how they will never dance again.

Unfortunately, I can’t say I didn’t participate in this display of irrational affection for an 80’s boy band. I was a Whammy, as was my best friend, Sarah, my older sister and her best friend. We were about 9 and they were about 16 at the time of the “incident.”

It was my birthday. I got some rad haul, including a giant poster of George Michael and Andrew Ridgley singing their hearts out live at a concert somewhere. Going to a Wham concert was my most precious dream so this poster meant the world to me. I loved it. Sarah, who slept over that night, asked me where I would hang it. We talked for hours debating the perfect spot in my bedroom until we fell fast asleep.

A week went by. My coveted Wham poster was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I searched high and low. Sarah came over to help me search it out. We looked everywhere, but no luck. Then Sarah suggested we check my sister’s bedroom. Yes, we should check, we should definitely check. It wouldn’t be beyond my sneaky and greedy sister who I loved to hate.

A-ha! Not the all-male Norwegian pop group, the poster! Under my sister’s bed. “Caught red-handed.” That’s what Sarah said. This was the first time I heard the saying, but it felt appropriate. “What do we do?” I asked Sarah. “We have a trial,” she responded.

It was the 80’s. The People’s Court was a popular TV show and Judge Wapner was a celebrity known and respected by all for his fairness. Sarah and I knew of the show, so we also knew how to run a fair trial. I took Sarah’s guidance because she seemed to believe that justice would prevail. We prepared on the weekend. We had little red bar tickets that we planned to give our families to attend the trial. We practiced with my dog watching us. We found the perfect location for the courtroom. My mom was selected as the judge. After preparing our speeches, we were ready. The only problem was that my sister didn’t come home in time for the hearing. We fell asleep and then in the morning, Sarah had to go home.

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This post was submitted by Sona.

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Glen  /  Uncategorized  /  No Comments

The first time I ever visited Paris France

In May of 2009, my wife Sue and I visited Paris France for the first time. For me it was everything I imagined it would be.

The beauty, the romance and the sense of history come to life was absolutely amazing. Walking around the Eiffel tower was an experience that I shall never forget and one that I hope to experience again someday soon.

I could go on and on about how much I was in L-O-V-E with Paris but I will sum up the adventure with the one moment that made me feel so alive.

We had been walking around and it was overcast. The sky could not decide whether it wanted to rain or not. We were enjoying the sites and generally having a good time.

Then we came upon Alexander bridge…At the corners of the bridge stood magnificent towers each adorn with a gold plated statue on the top.

As we walked across, the sun at that precise moment made it’s presence be known and shone brilliantly through the clouds.

The sun beaming off the statues was a sight to behold and I had to capture my breath for the fleeting moment. I stopped dead in my tracks and took a moment to look around. The beauty of it all was…

Everywhere I looked I was witness to history, the Arc de triomphe, The Eiffel Tower, the sheer majesty of the magnificent decorations of the bridge. Wow…

It was truly the significant moment when this small town Windsor kid realized that he had come a LOooooonnnnnNG way in life and damn it was WONDERFUL to be alive.

It is a moment I will never forget…

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This post was submitted by Glen.

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Tara  /  Growing up  /  No Comments

The first time I ever cut my own hair

One day when I was between 5 and 6 years old I was compelled to take a pair of scissors, stick it in the bun my mom had earlier carefully arranged on the back of my head, and snip.

Do I remember why? Absolutely not. I barely remember doing it. I just know that it was something I had to do. There was no question. So I did it and then promptly forgot.

Fast forward to that night when my mom took the pins out of the bun. As my hair came down around my shoulders, 2 chunks of hair by my temples fell to the floor. And when my mom asked what happened, I did what any 5 year old would do and blamed it on my 3-year-old brother.

Fast forward another 15-20 years to me catching my mom saying to someone on the phone “And one time Michael, that little shit, he put scissors in Tara’s bun and cut it”. I had totally forgotten about that story and cut her off to correct her. That’s right. I was the little shit.

He carried the blame for many years, but I don’t feel too bad because there’s still photographic evidence of the mullet I had while the hair grew back.

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This post was submitted by Tara.

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 /  Growing up  /  1 Comment

The First Time I Climbed a Tree

The first time I climbed a tree you see,
I was very wee (between you and me), oh gee.
I wanted to be so high and mighty
But woe is me, I was too tiny.

The branches were high
“Oh fie!,” I sighed.
I tried and I tried but was still denied.
“Oh my, I wish I could be up so high!”

Then I saw the chain-link fence
That happened to be leaning up against
My tree so, up, up, up I went
Because I sure was hell bent.

I climbed and I climbed and I finally reclined
Between two branches entwined with great big vines.
It was so divine, as sweet as wine,
(Of course I never had any before my time)
To be so close to Cloud Number Nine.

Many people would walk by down below,
And sometimes for fun, I would yell out: “Hello!”
They could hear me but never see me though
Because I was oh, so, incognito.

And even my foes who walked down below
I would say hello but then I would throw
Something that would meet them with a light blow
And they would cry “Oh no!” and off they would go!

So I sat in my tree, you see.
And although I was wee, I felt high and mighty
(between you and me), oh gee.
Me in my tree, acting so silly!

It would be the first of many…

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This post was submitted by SuzyQ.

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Glen  /  Meeting celebrities, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

The first time I met “The Rock”

There’s a little town outside of Windsor called LaSalle. They were hosting a pro wrestling event featuring The Rock and D-Lo Brown from the WWF. This was about a year or so before he got REALLY big!

Back in the day my brother and I were big into the wrestling thing. Anyhow during intermission of the show The Rock was signing autographs and having photos taken for $5. What I found very cool about The Rock was the way he was dealing with all the young awe struck children, letting them hold the Intercontinental Championship belt and in general being a very easy going and approachable guy.

There managed to be a break where I was able to walk right up to him and shake his hand. I talked with him briefly and said I enjoyed the show he always puts on.

He said thanks alot for watching. It was a cool experience meeting someone you watch on TV every week.

To this day I still regret not having my picture taken with him. How was I to know he would go on to be one of the most famous WWF performers of all time and a big time movie star.

I wish I would have smelled what The Rock was cooking back then and that I would have smacked down that measly $5. ….;-(

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This post was submitted by Glen.

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 /  Driving  /  1 Comment

The first time I ever drove a car

I was about 17 years old at the time. I lived out on a farm, where there was NO traffic. My mother decided I was old enough to start driving. We had a Mercury Montcalm car, which was about a block long. We had a horseshoe driveway, (which I begged to be allowed to drive around). My Mother said, “Not yet. I just want you to practice going backward and forward to get a feel for the car”. Fair enough. It was a start. So, this I did, happily, for probably about 20 minutes or so. I kept backing up and going forward. This was a piece of cake!! No problem for me!!My mother came outside to see how I was doing. She had a kinda funny look on her face. She said, “I want you to get out on the passenger side, and don’t look. It wasn’t your fault. Don’t look. You couldn’t have known, don’t look”. I could not figure out what the big deal could be. Soooooooo, I got out, and looked. I had run over one of our kittens, many, many, many times. It was flat as a pancake. My Mother said, “You were going so slow he probably thought you weren’t moving”. It was another 13 years before I finally got my driver’s license. I never hit another cat again. (That I’ll admit to)!!

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This post was submitted by Annette.

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 /  Meeting celebrities  /  1 Comment

The first time I heard Bill Clinton speak

Regardless of what you think of his politics, Bill Clinton is one the most famous icons world wide! Consider that last statement for a moment…This man was once the leader of the most powerful country on the planet. He has hosted world leaders and traveled the world.

Last night he was hosted by a little city in southern Ontario called Windsor. My hometown. The thought is absolutely mind blowing. If you would have told me a few years ago that a US president would be delivering the keynote address of an environment expo in Windsor in April of 2010 I would have laughed.

Not because I don’t think Windsor’s worthy of such a speaker but surely Bill had something better to do than spend time with the hardest hit economic region in the country of Canada.

Wow, all I kept thinking was wow….Slick Willy was talking in Windsor ON and I was there to witness it. I thought of a quote that I once heard…
-Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.

Windsor’s future looks a little bit brighter when it considers Bill Clinton a friend. Please understand this post clearly. I am not advocating or glorifying Clinton for what he may or may not have done and am not debating whether you support him or not.

What I propose is that the organizers of last night’s event had the vision to see Windsor as being GOOD enough to host one of the most well known men on the planet. If Windsor is good enough for Billy boy…who’s next?

Congratulations to the organizers for a job well done!

This post was submitted by Glen.

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Andy Yadegar  /  Family  /  1 Comment

The first time I said goodbye to my daughter

If anyone knows me well enough, they would tell you 2 things: 1. I’m a sarcastic bastard, and 2. I love my family more than life itself. When my beautiful wife Evelyn gave birth to our daughter Amber, neither one of us could ever imagine being away from her. She is the sunshine of our lives. When Amber was just over 17 months old, our son Aden was born. His energy, loving nature and sense of humor have completed our family circle.

Why would I ever want these two angels to grow up?

When we moved to our new home here in Antigua, we were so excited to give our children the opportunity to become true bilinguals and start building a promising future full of opportunities. Sure it sounds great, but it came with the most emotional moments of my life. At the age of 3, Amber was eligible to attend full time school. Evelyn and I were overcome with excitement while getting her ready for school. Getting her uniforms, books, supplies, and decorating her activity box was such a fun time for us – especially Evelyn. We couldn’t wait for her first day of school. Imagining this beautiful little blue-eyed blond girl doing her usual hop-jump-run to her class was just too beautiful. Then the actual day came. The entire family (Evelyn, Aden, Amber and I) walked Amber to her class and were greeted by 2 of the most wonderful teachers I’ve ever met. After a short introduction and chat, we were ready to leave Amber with the rest of her classmates.

What did we just do? I can’t leave her all by herself!

It felt like someone just reached for my heart through my throat and started to pull it out. I couldn’t even walk away from her. There was no sarcasm at that moment. I felt like a weak and lonely father forced to say goodbye to his child. Next thing I knew the tears started to flow as I saw my little girl hop around and explore her class. She was obviously fully excepting the situation. And why wouldn’t she? In the meantime, the daddy is an emotional wreck!

There was no sadness in my tears. It was a bold realization that my kids are growing up, and some day they will eventually have their own lives.

I’d say Amber prepared us for the next inevitable goodbye session with Aden, but it didn’t make it any easier for me. That angelic son of mine, with his energy and fantastic aura took a piece of me when he walked into his classroom for the first time. To this day, when I see him walk out of his class to run to greet me feels like I hadn’t seen him for years. The joy and satisfaction of picking him up and kissing him dozens of times gets more enjoyable with each passing day.

When you’re not a parent it’s so hard to imagine what it feels like to see the stages of your child’s growth. All we have to make sure is to be there for them, understand them, comfort them, reassure them, support them, and provide them with the most precious gift any parent can aim for: the freedom to choose their path.

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This post was submitted by Andy Yadegar.

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Marko  /  Growing up  /  1 Comment

The First Time I Ever Realized I’m Mortal

Like most young men of my generation and geography; I grew up doing dangerous things and taking risks as a rite of passage. For some reason it was important to me and my ilk to push what’s reasonable to what’s outright dangerous and foolhardy to prove our manliness and bravery. Scars, bruises and broken bones were something to be proud of, badges of honour if you will.

By the time I was in my early 20’s I had dabbled in most of the standard risky sports and activities. I had leaped from an airplane that was not about to crash, I had tied rubber bands around my feet and jumped off platforms 100’s of feet in the air. I moved to the mountains of western Alberta so I could ski down slopes better suited to avalanches than skiers, then in the summer I rode by bicycle down similar slopes, I’d been flung out of boats into raging white water to be raked across rocks and branches and sucked under water until I nearly passed out and (presumably) drowned. After each blood-pumping experience I’d stand up, dust myself off and say “Let’s do that again.”

Then one day that all changed.

When I was 24 years old I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan for a few months. While travelling with some other Canadians I found myself in Hiroshima. Hiroshima if you have not been there is not what you would expect as the world’s first city of nuclear devastation. It is spectacularly beautiful, I was so lucky to be there in the spring when the cherry blossoms where in bloom. They literally (yes literally) carpeted the entire city, the grass, the roads, the pathways, even the rivers were covered in pink and white flower petals. Stunning, even to a 24 year old adrenaline junkie.

We took a ferry ride over to the small island of Mia Jima. When we got off the boat it was raining (more on that later) but undeterred we decided to rent bicycles to tour the mountain paths. Now, be advised, these were not “mountain bikes.” On no, these were the types of bikes you’d probably recognize from the movie “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” They were red, with big ape hanger handlebars and whitewall tires… seriously. Helmets were not included in ¥800 fee.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a pretty accomplished cyclist in my day, so I took the lead and was the one encouraging my companions up the hills and ever further on the paths. After a while we found a beach to stop at and take a little rest. We took pictures, talked about what we were going to do that night etc etc. Then the rain started to pick up, what had once been a light drizzle had now stepped up to full on deluge. The kind of rain I always associate with that scene in Jurassic Park where Nedry is trying to smuggle the T-rex embryos in his barbasol can when he gets attacked by the spitting chicken dinosaurs. In just a few minutes we were all soaked to the skin; it was time to head back to town for Yaki Soba and tea to get warmed up and dried off.

As before; I lead our little exploring party on the bike path as we headed in. For some reason the rain had the effect on me that it drove me to ride faster, to take chances and attack curves at speeds that Pee Wee’s bike was simply not prepared to handle and before long I found myself in a predicament.

I had moved ahead of my friends to the point I was a curve or two ahead of them, I was accelerating down a hill toward a sharp left hand curve when I realized I was going way to fast to negotiate the turn. I tried the brakes but everything was soaked and slick and quicker than seemed reasonable I found myself off the path and into the sticks, a fraction of a second later my front tire struck something, a hole, a rock a log… hell it could have been a leprechaun I really couldn’t see much in the rain. Suddenly I was vaulted over the handlebars and into the air.

As I sailed through the air like something not meant to fly through the air I had one of those moments where time slows down and an eternity seems to pass in the blink of an eye, time both slows down and speeds up. It seems to me there is a word for that, but I don’t remember what it is, maybe I’ll google it later. As I flew I realized that I was about to die, in a few seconds my head was going to collide with a pointy rock, a fraction of a second after that Pee Wee’s bike was going to crash into me, and a few seconds after that my companions were going to come around the curve and find me lying in the mud with my head on backwards crumpled under this terrible bicycle. I imagined the entire scenario that was about to play out, first they’d try to help me, get me back on my feet, revive me and so on. Then when they realized how bad I was hurt one of them would have to rush to the nearest town (at least 20 minutes away), where they’d have to explain in a mix of broken English and Japanese that one of their friends was hurt. That would trigger the paramedics rushing out to the path where I lay (likely already cold and dead) and so on. There’d be all kinds of drama and panic as my lifeless body was hauled back to Hiroshima and then to Tokyo and I suppose eventually flown back to Canada. My travelling companions would be milling around waiting for help to arrive, trying to help me or whatever. In time the moment would be over and they’d go back to their lives, but their trip to Japan would forever be marked with the death of that guy from Saskatchewan who rode his bike into a rock. Someone would have to call my Mom and wake her up in the middle of the night to break the bad news, then Mom would wake up my Dad and the two of them would sit there and cry on the edge of their bed as the reality of their son dying alone and far from home in a muddy ditch sunk in.

I was embarrassed and furious with myself for making such a stupid mistake. It was humiliating to think of all the shit I was going to cause because I was riding too fast on a wet path.

A second or two later I found myself standing on the path; I was looking down at my bike. The front tire looked like a cookie that had a bite out of it, my head was spinning and when I reached up to my face I felt blood, mud, rain and probably some tears. I was calm, and in just enough pain to realize I was still alive.

Half a minute later my friends came around the path (much more slowly) and they helped me it together. I picked up my smashed bike and lugged that busted piece of shit all the way back to the ferry terminal. The sketchy old man at the rental place tried to fine me for the damage, but I played the “no Japanese” card and wandered away.

Over the next couple of days I surveyed the damage to my body. I had a few chipped teeth and a wicked cut across my face, my neck was stiff and store but in general I was mostly unscathed. About a month after the crash I realized that a tendon in my neck had “popped” it kind of feels like a frayed cord under my skin.

Today I can still touch that frayed cord of a tendon on the left side of my neck and it reminds me; slow down, it’s raining.

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This post was submitted by Marko.

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Sona  /  Growing up  /  1 Comment

The first time I ever played with matches

I’m not gonna lie, I’m a lover of the fire. Always have been. I’ll never forget the first time I truly “played” with matches though.

My mom was out for dinner, my older sister was at a Robert Plant concert with a guy she really didn’t like and I was at home “doing” my Math 20 homework. I thought lighting a candle might help me focus. Yes, it will.

So I rummaged around the house in search of matches. Found ’em. I looked for a candle and found one in the Hindu altar my parents erected in a very strange attempt to be pious a decade earlier. Perfect. I made my way back up to my room and lit the candle. About 10 minutes later, I got bored again and started to light and extinguish matches just before the little flame would touch my fingernail. I think I was listening to Nirvana. I was living on borrowed angst for sure.

After going through a few matches, I started lighting some scraps of paper on my desk, watching how the edges burned into beautiful shapes. One page turned into a few pages and things were getting pretty hot in my room. Luckily I had a pretty cool looking metal garbage can in my room so I quickly disposed of the ashes in there. Safe, right? Wrong. Before I knew it my entire garbage can was on fire. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember how the hell the entire garbage can caught on fire. Clearly one thing led to another which led to a small fire burning in a metal can beside my desk.

I kind of laughed, but then totally panicked. I tried to pick up the garbage can. Dumb. It was fucking hot. It was metal, of course it was hot. Then I tried to remember the WHMIS lessons from science classes. Should I use baking soda to put this out? Maybe that’s just for chemical fires. Dammit, can’t remember and there’s still a fire burning in my room. Go for water!

Somehow I put the fire out. I don’t remember the exact details anymore. But I do remember thinking maybe I shouldn’t tell my mom and sister about the fire episode. It might freak them out and I might not be allowed to light candles anymore.

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This post was submitted by Sona.

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