High Doganate confidential

Should gentle reader think I have forgotten about her (or him, as the case may be), let me reassure. I think about her all the time.

Over what, in Canada, is an extended Victoria Day weekend — loyal firecrackers bursting upwards, all over the Greater Parkdale Area as I write — I have been continuously busy in an important domestic task. Let it remain a mystery. It has something to do with my Midas touch for beuks (Scotch pronunciation), and even beuk-cases, and involves a great deal of physical labour. But that’s enough hints.


A rather forward young lady (age seven) was conducting a press conference the other day, during a barbecue for priests, teachers, and graduating seminarians. The lively child of a fellow instructor — among whose littler sisters is one quite recently born, who appears to be an abbess — she announced that she would field questions from “the older people,” on any topic at all. She called on each around her by turn — mostly my students — using a descriptor if a name did not come immediately to her (slickly memorious) mind. Each was obliged to ask her a question.

We learnt, for instance, that she would not become a nun, but would marry. She would have ten children, because large families are happier than small ones. She had not decided upon a husband yet, but he would have to be Catholic.

Turning suddenly to me, I found myself described as, “The Old Man.” My students tittered, discreetly.

I asked why she had fixed on the number ten.

“Because it is a round number.”

Five boys and five girls?

“No, you get what you get. You should read your Catechism.”

She then turned to her next customer, allowing him to finish chewing his hot dog, though warning that her patience was limited.

I had never actually been described as an “old man” before, by another person, except in jest. I found it rather shocking, for though I so describe myself (prophylactically), I don’t feel ready for the glue factory, yet. … But yairs, out of the mouths of babes.

After three days of hard labour, always careful not to twist my back, I feel almost sixty again. It is amazing how physical work rejuvenates us.

I must get in the habit of doing more.


Meanwhile, I see that all the “Just War” theoreticians have written letters to me: mostly in outrage.

Let me end this note with a little tip I picked up while studying this topic myself, years ago: the Geneva Conventions, and all their (unambiguously Christian) antecedents. This has to do with the wars being fought against the Daesh, and other “informal” armies, in the Middle East, and elsewhere.

If they are armed, but not in a recognized national uniform, it is open season on them. If they are behaving, themselves, with indifference to the civilized conventions, it is open season. When we are up against a barbaric foe, and defending our civilization, the eyes are not dotted and the teas are not crossed.

For here is another hint. “Just War Theory” was not written by pacifistas.

(More on this topic, but no time soon.)