No Senate appointment for me

Posted on August 17, 2017
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I had a birthday two weeks ago. As life goes on, our options rapidly shut down. For me, my dreams of playing for the Leafs in the NHL died by the time I was 13. The thought that I could be a rock star on the drums vanished soon after that. My adoration of Esther Williams, swimmer and Hollywood movie star was never requited.
My last birthday marked yet another milestone and another opportunity lost for ever. The milestone is that I have been around for half of Canada’s history as a country. That is startling for a guy who still feels like a kid in his head. It has been an ambition of mine to remain child like without being childish. I can’t be the judge of how I’m doing with that.
The gone forever opportunity is that I will never be appointed to serve as a member of the Senate of Canada. People my age are not eligible. Apparently, at 75, you are either too senile or too wise for even that level of politics.
One of the little surprises my age has brought is how many things I remember that most folks are too young to know. An example is the subject of immigration and accepting refugees to Canada. I remember when Trudeau Pere appointed former cabinet minister Donald MacDonald to head a Royal Commission on “Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada” (the Macdonald Commission).
One of the conclusions in his report was that Canada should set out to build its population to 100,000,000 as quickly as possible. The reason was that, in order to be big and strong enough to be competitive in world markets, companies needed the foundation of a large home market it would take that many people to provide.
I also remember stuff that even my contemporaries seem to have forgotten. One is that, while there was great music in the 1960s, most of what was popular was garbage. That cycle is endless and kids today will be celebrating the best of today’s music 40 years from now and disparaging what kids are listening to then.
It is also popular to to label today’s kids as shallow, sex-crazed, texting addicted, lazy losers.
In my day, preachers were sure rock and roll were tools of the devil inspiring us to wanton desires for sex. They were right that Elvis did encourage our thoughts along those lines but sex was big in our minds anyway.
Dumping on kids has been going on forever and is always wrong. Yes there are kids who take longer to grow up than others but the great majority do and today’s young people are the ones who are bringing us the technology that we can scarcely imagine.
I suspect the same percentage of kids who are immature today were immature when I was a teen. I’m frankly super impressed by how many of today’s kids stick handle their way through temptations and pressures that didn’t exist in my youth and come out safe and sane.
Another constant condition in society is the idea that the aged are frail and timid and foolish. When I was a kid, going to Remembrance Day services, the WW I vets were in their prime and running the world. The WW II vets were in their physical prime and were the heroes who had won the largest war of all time. We started off with a very high opinion of those people. As we and they aged, some of us forgot what giants they were but I did not. I’ve driven for Meals On Wheels for 35 years now and have watched the WW II and Korean vets fade away. Where younger people might see a frail, handicapped, severely limited relic, I see the people who, in or barely out of their teens, performed astonishing feats of ability and courage I can scarcely imagine.
I know First Nations claim to respect and be guided by their elders. I don’t know how much that actually carries out in their modern day governance.
I must confess that one of the effects of reaching the age of 75 is that I find attractive the idea of elders having influence.
The final thing that becomes more and more evident at my age is how many of my contemporaries did not get the opportunity to arrive here. I often think of a school days friend, Roy Hutchison, who was killed in a car accident two years after graduating high school. He was always so excited about life and knowledge, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Argonauts. He would have been ecstatic to see a man walk on the moon and satellites bring us live images of events around the world.
Ever since then, of course, more and more people I knew and admired have been snuffed out.
Knowing how much they would have liked to make my age, I am inspired to be grateful to be here and dedicated to continuing to enjoy every minute to the limit and remain excited about the simple routines of nature and the new discoveries coming at us from all directions every day.
Someone rephrased an idea originally expressed by Marcus Aurelius, an emperor of Rome to, “The tragedy is not that we die but that so few of us ever begin to live”. I determined long ago that one one would ever say that about me and I am surrounded by people who obviously feel the same.
Anyway, I don’t have time to go to the Senate. I have grandchildren and blueberries we have to pick right now. DAC


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