Not Enough Data

And here I thought I was a heavy user of my smartphone.

GBGH, Matthew.

Grandchild Number Three


A wonderful addition to our family arrived last week, our third grandchild.

And The Band Played On

My mother-in-law passed away a few weeks ago. A wonderful person whom I will really miss.

Her memorial service is this coming Saturday. We have been asked to play at the reception that follows the service. When I say “we”, the band is a trio: myself and my two sons.

Somewhat challenging to build a setlist for such an event, particularly when my sound is very much on the contemporary side of things. No vocals so the covers will all be instrumental pieces. My part will be covering the melody lines with a bit of improvisation here and there.

This is what we are going with:

  • It Is Well
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Amazing Grace
  • Before The Throne Of God Above
  • What Child Is This
  • Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • Crown Him
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • Come Thou Fount
  • Great Are You Lord

Yes. They are all hymns. However, we are playing contemporary arrangements and supplementing our little trio with percussion, strings, keys courtesy of MultiTracks.

The video below shows our setup for the date.

On His Way


It’s official. Our last child is on his way.

Matthew heads off to University tomorrow morning. I am both happy and sad.

Happy because of the joy that he brought into our home and into our lives.

Sad because I will miss him like crazy.

This was tough when my daughter left home. And it was just as tough when my oldest son left home. They were both boomerang kids, they returned home after their University years as they made their transition to becoming fully independent adults. It was nice to have them back home again for a few years.

I’ve told Matthew that there won’t be the same opportunity for him to boomerang. We will be retired when he finishes his degree and we will be travelling.

He will always be welcome to stay with us of course. There will always be a place for him in our travels. But my sense is that he is very keen to find his own way in life.

An amazing young man with so much promise.

His leaving home is a major milestone in life.

This part of being a parent is not easy.

Auto Correct Fail

From a recent chat with Lorraine:

On Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 12:21 PM, Lorraine Cleaver wrote:

Ok. So do we just use this one with the back backer or do we use the old bracket off the old projector

On Thu, Sep 1, 2016, at 12:23 PM, Richard Cleaver wrote:

Hmmm… what is a back backer?

On Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 12:25 PM, Lorraine Cleaver wrote:

Black bracket

On Thu, Sep 1, 2016, at 12:26 PM, Richard Cleaver wrote:

Wee wound kneed the hold bracelets oaf the owl protector. The back backers art fined.



We’ve enjoyed a pre-cruise day at the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World yesterday. And we are getting ready to make the trip to Port Canaveral this morning. We board our ship later this afternoon and we will enjoy a week or so sailing the Western Caribbean.

The weather is sunny and warm. Just the way we like it.

Limited Internet access on the ship but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Life unplugged has its dividends.

The Box


You have to talk to me Murph. I need to fix this before I go. After you kids came along, your mom, she said something to me I never quite understood. She said, ‘Now we’re just here to be memories for our kids.’ I think I now understand what she meant. Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.

That line from Interstellar came to me when I opened the box.

I had forgotten about it. The box that is.

The post office had left a ticket in our mailbox to let me know that I had a parcel.

Once we picked it up, it had my sister’s return address. And then I remembered.

My sister had mentioned it to me in an email a few weeks back. She had recently sold her home and, as part of cleaning things up, she placed a number of items into a box. And she sent the box to me.

She had put it this way:

Also wanted to give a heads up. As I was going through the rather arduous task of sorting the family photos, I found several that I thought might be of interest to you from when we were children. There were also many other items that Mum had kept through the years.

I just couldn’t bring myself to make decisions on what you may or may not want so I put together a small box (truly, think small shirt box as opposed to banker’s file box!) and have sent it out to you. I don’t want to cause you any heartache by doing this.

It was definitely the right thing for her to do.

It definitely caused a lot of heartache.

Going through the contents of the box was very difficult. My mother had kept so many memories over the years. An envelope containing hair from my first haircut. My first baby shoe. Mother’s Day cards that I had sent to her over the years. Valentine cards from my two oldest children — she had never seen my third child. My father’s discharge from the first World War. My father’s death certificate. Numerous photographs, many of them cracked and faded.

I’m still not over the loss of both my parents. And I suppose it is natural to have an emotional reaction to the flood of memories that came rushing in after I opened this box.

Difficult memories.

I found myself caught between two worlds, the material and the immaterial. A physical connection to a person that no longer lives in this world. Memories of a mother now gone yet not forgotten.

And I wondered about a different box. My own box. A box that one day might find its way to my own children.

What will they remember when they open that box?

Wedding Day

Florida. In August. The weather can test the stamina of a Canadian. The sun and the heat can be alarmingly intense.

Surprisingly enough, after a few days, the intensity of the Florida heat moderates. You get used to it. You screen. You mix indoor and outdoor activities. Indoors for air conditioned comfort. Outdoors because the sun looks so inviting.

That said, I’m not sure I would go out on the bike for 2 or 3 hours of hard riding in this weather. That might be a bit too much for someone not used to the heat and humidity.

Why did we come down to Florida in August?

To attend a wedding.

This particular wedding was unique in many ways. All weddings are special. Some weddings can be moving. This wedding was especially moving.

It was held outdoors. There was one focal point under a canopy of tree branches. Simplicity and minimalism intersected with creativity and informality. The charge and commission of marriage. The union of a young couple. The start of a journey. A new chapter.

As Lorraine and I approach 36 years of marriage, a wedding like this one brings back a flood of memories. Our journey together has gone by with such surprising speed. So many wonderful times together. This wedding was a reminder of the special joy and privilege of our love and of our commitment to one another.

Here are a few images from the day. The last photo includes a quote from C.S. Lewis, hand painted by the bride on one of many signs that surrounded the wedding place:

Now at last they were beginning Chapter 1 of the great story that no one has ever read, and which goes on forever in which every chapter is better than the one before.