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OPINION: No kidding: dad’s trip took him from grave to cradle

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Marg Johnson

Marg Johnson

Whenever a sentence begins with, “I remember when my baby was born,” the conversation often leads into wonderful stories.

One of mine revolves around the birth of my daughter, Trish. I was holding down a full-time job running two offices two blocks apart in downtown Toronto.

She wasn’t due until February, and although I was getting tired of being huuuuuge, I wasn’t all that crazy about her heralding her imminent arrival two months before the due date. That meant a wild ambulance ride through a blizzard from Newmarket to Toronto and Women’s College Hospital.

Trish was born small, but came off life-support within 24 hours, to the absolute delight of the nurses and her attending physician.

And scream! When she was ready to be fed there was absolutely NO doubt it would happen and “Right now, thank you very much!” I had no way of knowing what a miracle baby she actually was.

The fun began when my favourite Aunt and Uncle brought their three young boys (the oldest about 14) to see their new cousin. I could feel the excitement as I walked them down to the wide nursery window and they got their first glimpse of her in an incubator.

I hadn’t given all the equipment and gadgets around her any thought, but was brought back to earth when my eldest cousin, his face and hands pressed up to the window, gradually passed out. His hands SQUEEKED as they slid down the glass and he landed on the floor.

Then my parents arrived to see Trish. My dad at the time was driving a huge black Buick that was really comfortable to travel long distances in. He kept it highly shined and in really good shape, and I could just picture what happened as he described the trip.

They were travelling on Highway 401. Dad saw his exit to Jane Street and realize he had to get in the right lane. Unfortunately, travelling beside dad’s Buick was the long line of a funeral procession, with black Buicks right behind the hearse.

Typical Dad, he needed the exit, signalled and broke into the solemn procession, and made the exit. But when he looked in the rear-view mirror his discovered he was now leading the funeral procession, as the rest of the cars were now following him!

“I think I lost ‘em around College Street,” he said.

I howled with laughter, but Mom was disgusted. “Clifford! Really!” she said. “How could you?”


Sarnia’s Marg Johnson is a retired Certified Child & Youth Worker who worked with behaviour children at the York Catholic District School Board.

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