My Pappa’s Clippings

My Pappa (George Tindal, my dad’s dad) has taken to sending me newspaper clippings in the mail. It’s somewhat of a right of passage in my family — my dad and his brother have been getting clippings for years. My clippings, however, are much more targeted. Every story Pappa sends me has something to do with the converging environmental crises. On the top of the articles he writes little notes to me, like “it’s time for Canadians to wake up,” and “good luck.” This week I got a fresh batch (the Stern report, the all-the-fish-are-going-to-die report, etc) with the note, “Congratulations on your appointment to Shadow Cabinet.” (Oh yeah, did I mention? I was appointed to Shadow Cabinet!)

I’ve been thinking about Pappa this remembrance day. He’s a veteran of the second world war, but we never really talk about it. I get the sense that he doesn’t want to. Him and two brothers went over; only one of his brothers came back.

This morning, Elizabeth, myself, and other campaign volunteers attended the London 11:11 ceremonies before going out door knocking. This evening, we attended a dinner at the Dutch Canadian Society Hall, which was a joint benefit for Mark Wilson and a girl named Olivia. The former was killed in Afghanistan, the latter is a two-year-old who was born with cancer. Both of their families sat at the head table. So yes, it was a an emotional dinner.

And yet, the evening ended with organizer Michelle Iurman singing war-era songs from her album “Lest We Forget.” Embarrassingly, I didn’t know any of them, while Elizabeth knew every word. (I’m embarrassed for myself, not Elizabeth.) I wish you could have all been there to see her making jazz hands while singing “praise the lord and pass the ammunition” at the top of her lungs, in between bantering with our waitress in Dutch. The woman is a wonder.

Now, I’m sitting around with volunteers who have come from all across the country to get her elected. We have a cause and a sense of urgency. I’m reminded of that by my Pappa’s clippings, and I’m motivated by his support. He gave and endured so much; by comparison, what we’re doing should be a walk in the park.

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