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Vimy Ridge, My Mom And Her Dad

November 9, 2007 @ 08:46

From April 11/ 07

Mississauga, ONT - "Thank you again for a great story on my dad and the war that he was far too young to be involved in. I think you have finally hit on something, the Vimy Ridge war would be the war he fought, it would have put him at exactly l8.

The sad part was he was an orphan and was sent to Canada when he was only nine years old and was put on a farm in Simcoe Ontario. The people he lived with were not very nice to him and that is why he joined up and lied about his age at 17.

Imagine being in a war like that and not having anybody to come home to, but somehow in spite of it all he turned into a wonderfulman, who was loved and respected by all who knew him. My aunt once said that they threw away the mold when Fred Perrin was born.

The only other thing I heard about the war was that after he was gassed he laid in a trench for four days and somebody noticed his hand move........they took him right away to an army hospital.

When he came home he burned his uniform and would never talk about what happened to anybody not even my mom."

Thanks again Fred.
Loving you

Category: Family

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November 9, 2007 @ 08:46

Dear Fred; I shall remember your Grandfather Sunday when I conduct a small service at the cenotaph in Niagara Falls. Our town holds the service in the arena. I'm convinced that the local politicians don't want to stand out in the cold, even though the Vets in Ottawa and Toronto have no problem. This will be my 20th year standing with my friend Russell Sanderson (Derek's Uncle). Russell was a sniper with the Black Watch of Montreal. I noticed him standing alone at the Cenotaph those many years ago while on my way to the arena. "There was no bloody arena over my head when I was standing in a trench over there!" He said. I was convinced. I've downloaded all the proper music and we play it at 11 am, complete with readings of "The Ode" and "In Flander's Fields". I print programs and hand them out to the 40 to 50 people that now stand with us. I'm encouraged by the number of children that show up too. I always have flowers for them to lay on the cenotaph. I just wanted to let you know that I intend to "Take the Torch and Hold it High" and carry on to my last breath.

And thank God for Fred Perrin, my Grandad Bob Prentice, now 95, and all our Veterans.

Bob Prentice
Niagara Falls

Category: Family

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Boo and Eek

October 31, 2007 @ 10:00

Halloween is one of those bitter sweet days for me. I look forward to modestly decorating the front of the house and having the neighbourhood kids come by.

At the same time it's one of those days that make me heavy hearted when I think of how time flies by.

It's been ten years since my son Danny last went out for Halloween and 13 years since Melanie last went out.

It was fun watching the kids get ready for the big night and taking them out in those early years. It was also a tad stressful when they got old enough to go out on their own.

There was really nothing to worry about, but by the mid 90's the new style of hysterical parenting was taking hold and you were supposed to worry about nothing or you weren't considered a good parent.

Today I'll carve the pumpkin on my own and string some orange lights across the porch, and thanks to my wife who spends a lot of time at "Winner's", there will be a new touch this year.

Signs that say "boo" and "eek".

Can you believe it? My sweet darlin' actually bought signs that say words that should only be spoken.

Run up behind somebody and yell "boo" and that's scary. The person you scare might respond with a genuine "eek"

But what the hell good are signs that say "boo" and "eek."

I asked this question of my wife who quickly responded that the signs only cost three dollars each so just hang them and don't worry about it.

Sorry, call me a prick but I really don't think "boo" and "eek" are worth six bucks.

Category: Family

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A Freddie P. Short Story - Mel's Birthday

September 24, 2007 @ 09:34

It was early January of 1982 that my wife Delyse complained about feeling like shit, especially in the morning. Oh Oh.

A couple of weeks before, on New Years Eve, part of our celebration was a love connection without protection.

Delyse decided that she better have a pregnancy test. But rather than do it at home she set it up with her doctor. She actually took a urine sample to the drug store. We wanted to make sure.

I came home from work the next afternoon, totally obsessed with what the result would be. I knew Delyse would probably phone for the result during her lunch hour, so I waited till after one o'clock. And then I waited till after two o'clock. I was afraid of the answer. When the clock struck three, I felt pretty good. Obviously, if she was pregnant, she would have phoned me and told me.

That had to be it. I decided to phone her and here it for myself. She wasn't pregnant.
She picked up the phone and sounded cheery. That was good. There's no way she's knocked up.

"So" I said

"So what?" she replied.

"What's the word?"

"I don't know" she said.

"You don't know?"

"I haven't called yet."

"You haven't called yet….. why?"

"I've been too busy?"

"Too busy?… Dol (that's her nickname) I've been sitting here all afternoon going nuts. I need to know what's going on."

"Well then you phone" she suggested.

"How can I call? They're not going to tell me!"

"They might and anyway I'm right in the middle of something and I need to concentrate so I'm not going to call until I can deal with the result."

"OK then." I said. "I'll call."

The lady at the drug store was bright and cheery. Like over the top.

"Hi, my name is Fred Patterson, and yesterday my wife brought in a urine sample for a pregnancy test. I was wondering if I could get the result."

"No problem Mr. Patterson, just give me a minute."

I thought what? She's actually going to give me the result even though it's not me who might be pregnant. At this point I wasn't sure whether I was happy about this.

When she came back on the phone she was even cheerier. "Mr. Patterson?"


"It's positive sir."

"What does that mean?" (this my sound like a stupid question, but to me, at that point, "positive" would mean Delyse wasn't pregnant.)

"It means your wife is going to have a baby."

I was stunned. This couldn't be true. I was going to be a father. Little Freddie Patterson from Scarborough who still thought of himself as a kid, it just couldn't be.

"Are you sure?" I said.

"Oh yea, these tests are 100 percent accurate."

"Thank you"

"You're welcome."

After she hung up, I took the receiver of the phone and pounded it into the carpet. You see, by the time I got the result I was on my knees.

I started to shake. I didn't know what to do. So I did what any spineless weasel would do. I phoned Delyse even though I knew she was busy and this would throw a wrench into her day.
I thought about waiting till she got home, but I couldn't. I phoned her.

Of course she started to cry and told me she'd be home right away. When she got home we just fell onto the couch and both continued to cry.

We were scared. And what do two grown adults do when they've just found out they're pregnant and they can't stop crying? They run to mommy.

We jumped in the car and drove to Milton. For some reason I actually knocked on the door. I never usually did.

My mom answered the door and all she saw was the two of us balling our eyes out. She looked terrified.

"What's wrong?" she said, expecting the worst.

"Delyse is pregnant." I said.


"Delyse is pregnant."

"Well what the hell are you crying for you asshole, (you have to know my mother) you should be happy."

At this point I gushed with my concerns with responsibility and money being at the top of the list.

Junie sat us down and eased our fears. Yes, having a baby was scary but it would prove to be a wonderful thing and all the things we were worried about would mean nothing once the baby arrived and we fell in love with it.

And you know what. My mom was right.

On September 24, 1982 Melanie Nicole Patterson made the scene and she's done nothing but make us happy and proud for 25 wonderful years.

Happy Birthday Darlin'.

Category: Family | Short Stories

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Table Talk

September 17, 2007 @ 09:04

Last night I enjoyed a lovely dinner with my family at Lucy's Seafood Kitchen on Millcreek Rd. in Mississauga.

On Sundays they offer something called "sum sum." It's most of the main menu offered in smaller portions at four dollars each. There were five of last night and we each ordered three things and that turned into a feast and a couple of doggie bags.

If you ever get the opportunity to enjoy Lucy's Sunday sum sum what ever you do order the grilled calamari - it's the only way to have calamari - the breaded stuff blows.

Anyway, as dinner came to a close last night our conversation got on to the subject of bodily functions as it so often does and this time the subject was farting on an airplane.

How you ever noticed that when you fart on a big commercial airline at 37 thousand feet, it really doesn't smell. Why is that?

It's something I've observed for a long time and when I threw it by my kids and my mother last night, they all admitted to have noticed this before. My wife didn't because she doesn't fart.

Without a word of a lie I've been married to her for close to 30 years and I still have never heard her fart and it's a source of pride for her so there's no way she would admit to farting anywhere in public let alone on an airplane.

But it's true. There's something about airplanes and altitude that brings out the gas in me and I'll tell ya, there has been many a flight where I've cranked them out non-stop but for some crazy reason, something that would reek on the ground is harmless in the air.

It must have something to do with the type of air they pump into the fuselage, or the way it flows through the cabin. Maybe the air is thinner, who knows, but there's no doubt farts don't stink as bad in the air.

From there our conversation went farts to bowel movements. Turns out my wife, my daughter and my son do something in public washrooms that I've never heard of before.

Before they sit down in addition covering the seat, they get a bunch of toilet paper and lay it on the water - this way, as my son describes it, you don't get the nuclear effect.

What is the nuclear effect? Danny describes it this way.

"When a nuclear bomb goes off the mushroom cloud comes straight up and spreads at the top and that's what the water in a public toilet can do if you don't break the fall of your stool with toilet paper and who the hell wants public washroom water on your ass."

No kidding.

My wife and daughter looked at nodding their heads like this was common knowledge and practice. To me it was just another indication of our over-reactive society.

After all, who's to say my ass is any cleaner than they guy who sat there before me.

Category: Family

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Lobby TV

September 5, 2007 @ 10:02

Yesterday I spent some time with my mom and dad and was floored to find out how my mother spends a lot of her time.

She watches "Lobby TV."

What is Lobby TV? It's a closed circuit camera in the lobby of the condo she lives in and it's available on her cable TV. So of course, she watches it.

At first I didn't believe her when she told me yesterday. I thought it was just another one of those "June pranks." But it wasn't.

She constantly puts on "Lobby TV" to see what's going on out front. She especially likes to put it on in the morning to see what different people she knows are wearing to work.

Yesterday she went on and on about a how wonderful a certain woman in her building looks as she's leaving for the grind every morning.

Junie also catches special moments on Lobby TV. The other day the son of her good friend Lois arrived with a big box just as my mom was tuning in for the tenth time that afternoon.

After Lois's son left the building Junie quickly picked up the phone and asked what was in the box. Needless to say, Lois couldn't figure out how she knew about the box.

But she did, and she apparently knows about a whole whack of other shit that's going on in her condo.

To tell you the truth it scares me. I don't care so much that my mother passes her time this way; I'm more concerned that some television network will get the idea for more cheap and mindless programming.

Category: Family

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MuchMore Melly

August 20, 2007 @ 08:33

It was exciting night at the trailer last night. A bunch of us gathered around the TV to watch the debut of my daughter's new show on MuchMoreMusic.

My darlin' is an associate producer at MMM now and last night marked the first episode of "Tip of My Tongue" a quirky and fast paced music trivia show that airs Sunday nights at 8:30

As associate producer, Melanie helps build this bugger from the ground up and among those duties is writing the entire script.

And I'll tell you right now, not as a dad, but as an astute observer of such things, it was bloody good.

It was fun to sit with Mel last night and enjoy the show from beginning to end and watch the wonderful look on her face. It was pride and she should be proud.

Two years ago, she graduated from college, and since then it's been a steady climb of experience and achievement.

It's pretty cool to watch a TV show and then see you're kids name go by as they roll the credits.

Associate Producer - Melanie Patterson

Category: Family

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Still My Little Girl

July 13, 2007 @ 10:00

The majority of my friends had children long after I did and I constantly find myself saying the same thing to them.

You're kids are always your kids and you look at them the same way no matter how old they are.

Situations change and strategies change as they get older, but deep down you look at your kids the same way at 25 as you did when they were five.

I find myself in that situation this weekend.

My daughter Melanie is spending a long weekend at the Calgary Stampede.

Up until this morning I was excited for her. I've never been a Calgary Stampede and I want my kids to experience as much and more than I have.

When Melanie went to Europe a few summers ago I was terrified, and when she went to the Dominican a couple of years ago I was concerned - but Calgary never really phased me because it's Canada, it's Alberta it's the freakin' stampede.

This morning however as I was going through the newspapers I came upon this headline in the Star.

"Stabbings jolt the Calgary Stampede"

Super. Now my weekend has been ruined and some time today I'll be forced to extremely irritate Melanie with a "dad" speech - the one about being careful - it's standard stuff that kids roll their eyes at.

But it's got to be done.

Category: Family

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Another Hurdle

July 13, 2007 @ 09:59

It's been four weeks since our beloved dog Billie had to be put down and the emotions attached to this are a lot like losing your job - you ride the roller coaster of emotions, some days are fine, other days not so fine.

Of course there's one significant difference. There will always be another job, but there will never be another Bill.

One of the things about losing Bill that's made things easier is her obedience. This dog was never a problem, very low maintenance.

For most of the day she just laid there and waited for you to move so she could follow you into the next room and lay down there. In a way, this has made it easier to adjust to her being gone because you hardly knew she was around to begin with.

There is however one thing that gives me a heavy heart every time I walk into our laundry room. That's where we kept her food dish and it still sits there full of "Iams Active Maturity" and there's still a full bowl of water.

I fed Billie for the last time on Tuesday, June 12.

She didn't eat her food that day and I knew something was weird on Wednesday when she didn't touch it again. It was on Wednesday night that she collapsed for the first time.

Thursday she went to the vet and she never came home.

So now we're faced with another one of those emotional situations. We have to empty the food dish and probably put it away for good - but I can't bring myself to do it and neither can my wife or kids obviously because nobody has touched it - nobody has even mentioned it.

I guess it goes back to that timing thing. When you lose someone close to you, even a dog, they say only time can heal and I'm sure this applies to Billie's food dish.

When the dish goes it will really hit home that Billy's gone and right now, none of us are ready for that.

Category: Family

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Ed's Warehouse

July 12, 2007 @ 08:59

The news was released about nine yesterday morning, Ed Mirvish had passed away.

I won't begin to review what this man meant to Toronto because I'm sure over the next few days newscasts and newspapers will be full of the huge contributions this man made to Toronto.

Personally, when I first heard the news I thought of May 16, 1974. It was Delyse Joseph's 18th birthday and the first real "dinner date" we had since becoming an item just a couple of months before.

We did what everybody did back then, we went to "Ed's Warehouse" on King St.

Ed's served fantastic roast beef and Yorkshire pudding that could fit into an 18 year olds budget. But with the reasonable prices you got fantastic décor and surroundings.

My buddy Brad Bulley drove us down and waited around until it was time to drive us back to a surprise party I had arranged in our wood paneled Scarborough bungalow rec-room.

The attached picture. although now quite faded, was taken as we walked into the room, and my sweet Dol, who roughly six years later would become my wife, had no idea.

Category: Family

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