Raising you has been the greatest gift

From the time you were wee I always hoped you would one day attend university.

I have tried to let you choose your own path, but I do think a Bachelor’s degree sets one up well for life. It’s an education that allows you to reflect on the past and learn from it, to think critically and train your brain and to look to the future with thoughtful conversations and class discussions.

I have taught you to challenge authority – not for the sake of being antagonistic but because leaders make mistakes and blindly following, well, we know where that leads.

You do that. Challenging your parents mostly! But that’s OK.

I’m so excited for your future, but boy will I miss you in the house every day.

When you were a baby, your aunt gave me a quote that I kept in your bedroom: “Quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep; I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

I tried to live by that. Giving you all the time you needed when you were young, knowing one day this day would come and you would leave home. So when you asked me to play – Rescue Heroes, or Snakes and Ladders or catch – more often than not I stopped what I was doing and played. It was as good for me as it was for you.

I loved reading to you. The same books over and over until I memorized some of them and can still recite them even now.

As you grew, you became the one teaching me on many occasions.

I reflect back on the many hours of mini sticks we played, of kicking the soccer ball up and down the hall, then outside, bending it like Beckham, even if it broke the glass in the garage door.

Sports have always been your passion, particularly soccer, and have given you so many great opportunities, from OFSAA medals to new friendships to taking on leadership roles. All of your commitment to sport – drills, constant repetition for muscle memory, pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion – has paid off and you are now on the varsity soccer team. Congratulations.

Just a little advice, if you will humour me. And humour is where I want to begin.

Your kindergarten teacher once noted you would pick up on her sarcastic remarks and laugh. Always maintain that sense of humour and never take yourself too seriously.

Spend some time each day in silence. Living in residence will be noisy. Your phone will be constantly chiming. Life will be busy and full. Silence is where creativity begins.

Be thankful. Not everyone will have the opportunities you have. There will always be others with less than you and with more. So be generous as well.

Go outside and enjoy nature. It is good for the soul and will ground you.

Call home or text. Parents sometimes can provide guidance and will always be glad to hear your voice or see your message.

Smile often, even if you feel rotten. It provides a small boost to get you through the day with a promise the next one will be better.

Be kind and try to leave everyone you meet a little brighter. See the similarity in humans, rather than the differences.

There is some dental floss in your care package. Don’t forget to use it. Good habits serve us throughout life.

I want you to know you will always be my little boy and raising you has been the greatest gift of my life.

Thank you for making this life what I dreamed it could be.

And now you dream young man. Dream big and dream often.

And as I’ve always said – Football is life. Interpret the saying and life your way. And any style of football you play.

Love Mom XOXO

Football is Life
WOSSA head ball.j

Final fear

If she knew that she had mattered,

If she knew that people cared;

It may have saved her soul now battered,

And she could have lived the dreams she dared.

But she only saw the empty looks

Heard curt responses and refrains.

So she turned to poetry and to books

To avoid everyone’s disdain.

And when she could hang on no more

She closed her eyes, shed one last tear

And looked for the other shore

Putting aside her final fear.

When mourners gathered round

She couldn’t believe what they said.

As she looked down upon the ground

The body was buried and scripture read.

‘She was so strong; she was so brave.

She made a difference in my life.

Maybe if I said those things she would have been saved.

And we could still have her close, this mother and this wife.’



Book tells tale of two heroes who refused to cooperate with Nazis and died horrific death

Unlikely Soldiers


Unlikely Soldiers is one of the best historical books I’ve ever read and it left an indelible memory. I think about these two brave, young Canadian men at this time of year.

An assignment at the London Free Press a decade ago was to interview the author of this book, Prof. Jonathan Vance from Western University. He spent two years doing research for his book, published by HaperCollins.

Ken Macalister was a Rhodes scholar and Frank Pickersgill was a doctoral student in classics at l’Université de Paris. They both became double agents for the Resistance in France.

Pickersgill had previously worked as a freelance journalist for several newspapers back in Canada for a time.

With Britain’s Special Operations Executive, the men could have chosen any job in Ottawa during the war effort, Vance told me, but they chose the most dangerous.

Parachuted into France in 1943 with false identities, they were captured by the Nazis, tortured and sent to Germany.

Vance said they suffered appalling abuse but refused to reveal anything to the Nazis.

Pickersgill and Macalister were hung on meat hooks and their bodies incinerated.

“The thing that is most important about Remembrance Day, when the moment of silence comes, is to have a person’s face to think about. If these two guys can provide us a focus for remembrance, I’m delighted with that,” Vance told me.

Lest We Forget.


Public’s right to know versus accused’s right to a fair trial in McArthur case

Media outlets received another legal victory in the battle between police and the news media in the Bruce McArthur case.

Journalists asked for the warrants executed in the investigation of the alleged serial killer to be unsealed. There were 88 warrants in total.

How the process works is that police will go before a judge and present documents called Information to Obtain a Search Warrant in order to execute parts of their investigation.

Some of those documents were unsealed in June, and last week, media were able to access the rest after an Ontario Court of Justice judge unsealed them, although much was heavily redacted.

In an interview I did with a criminal lawyer, I explore this issue.

Of course the lawyer, Ian McKay, believes unsealing the warrants makes it difficult for the accused to get a fair trial.

As a former prosecutor though, he although explains why he feels its important to let police do their work without exposing some of their tactics.

Have a read of my story here:

Denis Ten stood out in sea of excellence

My photo of Denis Ten in the mixed zone at the World Figure Skating Championships in London in 2013.


Crushed to hear of the death of Denis Ten in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

The silver medalist from the World Figure Skating championships in London made a lasting impression on me when he was here.

Denis Ten gave me a couple of fantastic interview at the worlds. He was engaging, always smiling and excited to talk about his freedom fighting ancestor from Korea.

The then 19-year-old took the time to talk to everyone.

It was shocking to hear that he had been stabbed multiple times over car mirrors in Kazakhstan, where he was born.

Reports stay Ten was stabbed after confronting thieves who were stealing his car mirrors. He bled to death.

Ten won the silver medal in London and nearly beat Canadian Patrick Chan for gold.

Ten skated a memorable long program to The Artist .

His choreography and interpretation of  the music was superlative and he stood out among the world’s best.

So amazing was his performance that a petition was started to try to get him the gold.

Ten had the best free skate of the night with a personal best of 174.92. Chan scored 169.41 on the long program, with 267.78 overall. Ten nearly caught him, finishing at 266.48.

An emotional Ten got down on his hands and knees at centre ice at Budweiser Gardens after his skate and kissed the ice. He touched his heart and blew kisses to the audience. Two Kazakhstan flags were seen in the crowd. Later he had one of them as he skated around the arena.

When I talked to Ten about his skating he said it was great-great grandfather who brought him courage on the ice.

Ten’s ancestor was Korean freedom fighter General Min Keung-Ho, who sacrificed his life for Korea’s independence in the early 20th century and is much revered there.

“Sometimes I skate and I think that he watches at me and I have no chance to fail him, to disappoint him. It’s sort of an additional responsibility to me,” he said.

“I wish I could meet with him and talk to him because I know how strong he was. All this helps me when I realize my great-great-grandfather was such a great man.”

Maybe he’ll get his chance to meet his great-great grandfather now. It’s the only consolation as I think of such a ruthless and senseless act that took Ten’s life.

Denis Ten, right, on the podium after receiving his silver medal at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championship. Patric Chan of Canada receives gold and Javier Fernandez of Spain won bronze.  Kathy Rumleski photo



Priest empowered women and girls

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A beloved priest passed away on Sunday in London.

Fr. John Devine was our parish priest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sarnia when I was young.

The school my brother and I attended was next door to the church and Fr. Devine was a constant presence as we walked to and from school past the church and when he came into classrooms frequently to talk to the children.

Many of my classmates became altar servers at the request of Fr. Devine and many of the servers were girls.

It was at a time when there were no female altar servers. We didn’t know it but we were breaking new ground.

We loved working with Fr. Devine and he made us feel appreciated and respected. He joked and laughed with us frequently. He answered all our questions, including, “Do animals go to heaven?” and taught us to love and respect every human being.

He worked with a nun named Sister Mary and they were a formidable team. She was his equal always and we knew that as children.

Moving is tough when you’re a kid and you leave the familiar. When our family was leaving the city for Lambton County, Fr. Devine gave me a gift before I left. It was a beautiful lantern that I still have to this day. It was to light my way. It always has.

His kindness has never been forgotten by me and countless others.


Why sports so important to high school experience

I just love this video.

Today my son’s basketball team won a thriller in double overtime in the semifinal at the Ontario high school championships – OFSAA – in Pembroke.

They now go on to the gold-medal game tonight.

The students at Mother Teresa high school in Northeast London had a chance to watch the game, thanks to a livestream provided by media studies students at Pembroke, where the OFSAA tournament was held.

It is the first time the school has had a boys basketball team at OFSAA.

Even if you don’t play sports, the win was a big one for the school and student body, who celebrated wildly.

These kids will remember this game winning shot as time ran out by Oren Rusagara for the rest of their lives.

Check it out on Twitter.

Remembering my uncle

Allen Olimer
Allen Olimer


I always think of my great uncle Allen Olimer at this time of year.

A self-made man running his own store in Northern Ontario, Allen decided at 35 to serve his country.

He felt he could serve best as a cook and became a member of the 10th Armoured Regiment.

On Aug.  8, 1944 Allen was killed when the Americans mistakenly bombed their allies. It was a horrific day in which many lives were lost.

Below is the photo taken after the bombing on that day, courtesy of Fort Garry Horse Museum and Archives.

Thank you for your sacrifice Allen and to the many men and women who died for freedom. We remember all those who have died this day.