The ‘M.V. SHIP OF FOOLS’ is not the only vessel in port. There’s another, a luxurious yacht, the S.S. REWARD, ready to take its passengers on a well-deserved pleasure cruise.
Let me acquaint you with some good folks who deserve to get on board. The following are just a few of the many people deserving recognition and reward for their good work and sacrifices.
The E.R. and palliative care workers are high on the deserving pyramid. What a tiring, challenging and hazardous job!
It’s the rioters, murderers, terrorists who most often get front page coverage. Only after a diligent search of the back pages of large newspapers will you find coverage of the good people. A quite recent one is Eugene Goodman, the US Capitol security guard who faced the incoming mob and tried to lure them away from the Senate chambers.
We had a similar Canadian hero, Kevin Vickers, Parliamentary Sergeant at Arms. On October 22, 2014, he felled a shooter who killed a sentry at the nation’s cenotaph, then invaded Parliament Hill.
There are many good people who have played a significant role in my life, too. For example, I have fond memories of the British nurse who boarded at our house in 1946. She pressed her collection of wartime aircraft recognition cards into my seven-year-old eager hands. That was the spark that ignited the aviation passion in me.
I remember grasping the fence of the Toronto Island Airport so I could hail the pilot who was preparing his bright yellow little plane for flight. “Hey, mister! Would you take me up with you? I have almost four dollars.” No money changed hands for that flight in his Piper PA-11. 1950: my first-ever flight.
In the 70 years since then, hundreds of other pilots have continued to do the same for me. To date, I’ve flown in 358 different types of aircraft. Most pilots detect and respond to the aviation bug they see in others.
Unfortunately, ever since the horrific terrorism of 9-11, my access to any airliner cockpit has been ruled out. That’s a sad case of the bad guys overpowering the good guys. Before then, many airline pilots allowed me to occupy the ‘jump seat’, sometimes from take-off to landing.
Mention must be made of the Loretto nun who helped me with my stammering problem. On two Saturdays, she had me come to her Brunswick Avenue abbey. With her as the only other occupant of that auditorium, I practised delivering my speech until I was able to do it without stammering. Eventually, “The young man in the gospel went away, sad…” came out without the embarrassing “The-the…the youn-ng-g m-m-man…”
Another good person was the young Basilian math teacher who tutored me on several Saturdays. Despite his efforts, most of the basic concepts of algebra and trigonometry still elude me.
I mustn’t forget to mention Sam Hambly, the Camp Allsaw director who gave me a free hand in running a canoe instruction program. He allowed me to make enough mistakes to progress from knowing how to canoe to being able to teach others how to canoe.
It’s time for all good folks to board S.S. REWARD!