Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals,
In Canadian Scouts, the highest accolade one can achieve is the Chief Scout’s Award. Requires a whole load of badges and tasks and whatnot – sorta like the US Eagle Scout i suppose.
Anyhow, as it goes, most Scouts earn this on their way out and onto Ventures (the next age bracket group) but diligent as i am, earned at a young age (was told youngest ever but no way to verify) and attended the ceremony (requiring special permission apparently) along with older brother Bob and pal Brad Coleman.
What follows are artifacts and evidence from the event and award.
Good morning from a cottage in Japan with an update to say “no update per se“. Thanks for all your sweet notes and good vibes… I’m eating all the snacks and hanging out with our rabbit, scribbling in journal and completely excited…
I want to wear matching outfits with him, I want to write books for him, I want to teach him all about his ancestry, I want to turn him on to all sorts of music and books, I want to be the dad who welcomes him and pals home from school with snacks and hang out space, I want to support him on anything and everything he wants to do, I want to let him be whoever he wants to be, I want to be an example of kind￼ness, empathy, intrepidness￼, courage, and sweetness. I want to introduce him to so many cultures and ways of life and be an example of respect, tolerance, advocacy and friendship.￼
I have stacks of maps and globes and art supplies and so many musical instruments and no TV. We have soft places to rest and projects going everywhere from pickles to paintings￼.
I will (try to) always be present, (almost) always put his needs first and prepare him for a wonderful life￼ with patience & unconditional love.
His mother is magnificent, sunny and happy every day of this journey, full of energy and ideas… Until yesterday working in the garden, making things on the sewing machine, playing piano and singing for him, reading nonconventional texts about taking the best care of him, going slow, staying calm, eating well and… Yesterday we even had a dance in our tiny kitchen￼￼. Hooray dopamine.
Btw, Contractions started yesterday late afternoon (JST) so, as we measured the interval time, ￼I made her a classic “japanese standard” dinner before taking her to the hospital… (hearty miso with daikon, brown rice, salted plum, pickled carrots, kimchi, grilled salmon, edamame) / noting: I will be that dad who makes the cutest bento lunches for the kid!
Oh, & I might have to invent my own alternative scouts organization to organize mellow camp outs at the goat farm￼ / “no badges, no saluting, just good times“￼#WeedScouts￼￼
So… Here’s a picture of amazing Ryoko two days ago at paternal grandpa Ichiro’s nearby grave asking for a little bit of support.￼ A bit of a talisman as of course during the pregnancy, we haven’t been out and about but take frequent walks to go clean his grave, light incense and talk about the beauty of it all. Yes, complete life reinvention.￼
PS As it all goes, maternal grandmother who is 88 and full of laughter goes in for a surgery today… World keeps on spinning spinning spinning.￼
All the vibes all the vibes #Grateful #Patience￼
Now I need another coffee and to go hang up the umeboshi in the sun. ￼
When my brothers and i were wee lads, our beloved Mom was out cub scout leader.
In Canadian (and international) scouting, the leaders of the cub pack are named after characters in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Mom was Akela, Mikki Gladstone was Bagheera, we also had a Baloo and others.
After Mom passed away and the brothers and I were sorting through items, Dan and I assembled a tub of “woggles” which are little sliders designed to hold the kerchief/scarf together around one’s neck.
Of course, there is plenty of creativity available for such a device – many are evidenced in this collection.
Before the arms were adorned with badges (basically every single badge except the sailing one) and before i was a Chief Scout (basically the youngest one ever), i was just a Beaver graduate trying to make my way in the intimidating world of Cub Scouting.
Soon, i became a “6-er” and a “2-nd” or something and was qualified to lead the DYB DYB DYB chants. Heady days which began with a wee cub and his badgeless grey flannel shirt and fantastic hair (and yet another pair of specs).
Indeed, youth and childhood is often laden with activities of various sorts… some ad hoc as it were, others organized in some formal manner or another. This round-up contains evidence of the latter in the forms of artifacts from swim lessons registration card, summer camp maps, scout ID cards and camp photo and importantly, a certificate proclaiming me as “Mr. Fun” at some summer camp with a Troop of which i have no remembrance. Carry on with the fun!
I knew Michael as Baloo (and/or DonM.), as that was his Cub Scout leader name, named after the big friendly bear in the classic “jungle book” story by Rudyard Kipling.
But, before he was a Cub Scout leader, I knew him from the neighborhood growing up in Guilford in the 70s. Gordon and I were childhood friends, involved in all sorts of little activities like making “secret club”, building tree houses and romping around “Guilford mews” condo complex.
Later, the family join the same church my parents belong to and so I was friends with Gordon both at elementary school and at church.
One of my favorite memories of Michael was when he took us to the PNE in an old Pinto car. After he loaded us up, he explained that the brakes were shot on the car. Somehow I wasn’t worried at all! I watched him as he drove a stick shift and explained to me carefully how he was downshifting to slow the car down to “save the brakes.” He expertly and gently used the stick shift and handbrake to get us there safely for a day of fun. Later on in life when I had an old Volkswagen bus with the same conundrum, I would think about him as I would downshift and expertly and gently slow my jalopy van safely through traffic.
As Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, he took on the task of teaching us karate. Of course an unruly group of boys thought we would be breaking bricks after the first half an hour but, instead, he explained to us all that we had to learn to meditate. Imagine a room full of us “trying“ to sit still and be quiet. It wasn’t entirely successful! But then, to show that he was in charge and knew what he was doing, he challenged us to all punch him as hard as we could to see if we can make him flinch. All of us thought we were so tough as we would try to so I came out and land a solid punch in the gut and he just laughed heartily at us. It put us all in our place, and we were much more attentive after that.
He also often brought his guitar, especially on scout outings, and would lead sing-alongs. We were all amazed by his versatility and thought it was super cool that “we” had a leader who play guitar.
Maybe you’ve seen the photo of the whole gaggle of us, with my dear, recently deceased mother and third leg of their leadership tripod Mickey Gladstone, with Michael front and center with his guitar and mustache. I am leaning on his left shoulder with my glasses and goofy childhood grin. The whole pack of us looked at him as our protector and “bonus uncle” knowing that while he was a big friendly bear, he would protect us at any cost.
The measure of a man can often be judged in their children, and garden resurfaced in my life a few years ago and we realized we were at in similar industry and were able to “talk shop“. You could tell the big heart was passed on when he arrived at my 42nd birthday party with an entire roast beef wrapped in aluminum foil he cooked for the occasion. “Just in case there’s not enough food” he said. And dear Sherri, as I’ve gone through some health challenges of my own these past few years, she’s been there so very often with a kind word of support and encouragement. It means so very much to me. Truly his quality lives on through his offspring.
Indeed, diseases can be very cruel and seeing Michael deteriorate physically to a shadow of his former robust self was a bit shocking at first as he was such a robust and powerful man – I witnessed something similar with my own dad‘s journey with dreaded cancer though it was a six week or deal from news to death – however I was comforted to know that his mental faculties stayed intact and he was able to show his children affection until the end, spared the ravages of dementia.
Dear Michael, know that you were a “big fish” to a gaggle of us kids growing up in (rather rough and tumble) Guilford in the 1970s and your protective spirit will linger on and all of us for decades to come.
Gratefully and respectfully, Davey Olson, Cub Scout pack member