Dunie’s Gift of Courage


Dunie and Guggy

My Grandson Dunie and I are shameless foodies. We are joined at the stomach and at the soul: carefully sewn, stitched, stuck, grafted, glued, sutured, melded and welded at the soul. Both cooking enthusiasts, we communicate daily by phone on things of weighty import in our lives: things like what’s for lunch and what’s for supper. Sometimes though, we go a little out of our depth and discuss more difficult matters like the intrinsic nature of Bionicles* and Bakugans*, which in those two groups has been more touched by original sin and is therefore more prone to error and violence, and most importantly what Transformers* could become when they grow up, if they grow up in well adjusted, non-dysfunctional, stable households of intact nuclear families.

Dunie, however, has one important distinction from his Grandfather. In matters medical, although only 8 years old, by the measure of experience he is the senior member of our tribe. We, the rest are all neophytes, novices, Johnnies/Jennies-come-lately compared to his hard earned expertise in navigating the perilous corridors of the medical establishment. His Grandma and I have frequently accompanied his Mother and Dunie to the Vancouver Children’s Hospital. In Vancouver we inevitably gravitate to a nearby Japanese eatery because over the years we have become zombies, pulled mysteriously towards the sodium laced blandishments of the country of Ichiro Suzuki. We can’t wait to check out a novelty in Vancouver the next time he makes the trip from his home in Nelson, B.C. to the West Coast. “Japadog!”, a Japanese hot dog hybrid manufactured and served on a roadside stand with condiments of the Japanese denomination. Japadog on Burrard Street! We will have to do a review for everyone when we encounter this new challenge to the taste buds.

But excuse me Father, for I have digressed. So…a couple of weeks before my surgery, Dunie is aware that he has a role to play in his Grandfather’s upcoming hospitalization and wastes no time in lending the results of his experience to me. The daily food centered phone calls change in nature and take an interesting turn. Dunie starts counselling and encouraging his Grandfather:
“Guggy, if you have to get an MRI you don’t have to worry, it’s easy.”
“Remember when I used to have to go to sleep to stay quiet to go through the tube?”
“Well I can stay quiet without even going to sleep now.”

After a few such conversations, I realize again that in this domain of life the tables are turned and I have a powerful little mentor, my own home-grown inspiration to access the courage that I need to take me through the “tubes” into which I must soon go. I realize the power and the meaning of the word “encouragement.” It is the gift of courage. With that knowledge, my surgery is a breeze.

* (Bionicles, Bakugans, Transformers, are toys for little boys and/or girls and for some grandparents)


At BC Children’s Hospital, 2009

Portrait of Random Word Boy


Random Word Boy pushed

The heavy glass door of a concrete tower,

Walked through,

And stepped out into a damp,

Windy, Vancouver morning.


Beyond the curb,

A steady flow of traffic

Trickled by.


His cape caught a gust of wind

And rippled off his shoulder,

Fluttering over a head full of

Curly brown hair.


“Although we live in sorrow

We are consoled by

The subtle sounds of Beauty,”

I heard him say.


I tickled him and as he laughed

Random Word Boy vanished,

Replaced by my nine year old

Grandson Dunie.


Dunie’s Gallery of Photos

 See an ordinary boy become the Eagle Rider and the Lion Tamer

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Dunie’s Video Gallery




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