“It is with sad hearts and deep respect that we acknowledge the recent passing of Dr. John Foerster, former Executive Director of St. Boniface Hospital Research, and a veritable pillar in the academic, scientific research, medical and faith communities, both here at home, and internationally.”

I read the subsequent story on my iPhone; published on the website I pioneered and beautifully written by my successor. I felt relief in its reading, knowing that I could not have performed this duty without many a tearful pause.

Dr. Foerster’s professional accomplishments were many and of the highest order, from Head of Medicine…

The Milkman.

We had new neighbors. Deb and Mary Anne had moved directly across the street, and it appeared they were in the process of cleaning and upgrading Stan and Jean’s 1960s bungalow. I had introduced myself to Deb only a few days before, but on this day a slightly distraught Mary Anne smiled shyly and walked to the edge of her driveway. “Is there any chance you have a spare key to our house?” she said. “I’ve locked myself out, and we only have one key”.

And so I did as one does in these circumstances, and joined Mary…

When I was in college I worked as a delivery driver for a Chinese restaurant. On each shift I was allowed one combination meal. I always ordered the one with dry breaded pork, as it was cheaper and I didn’t want to appear to be ordering expensive meals. After 2 years I decided to treat myself to a graduation treat – the more expensive veal. “It’s the same thing” they replied. “When it’s breaded no one can tell”.

Things I learned from my dad:

  1. Be early.
  2. Stay until the job is done.
  3. Your word is your bond.
  4. Never be stuck.
  5. Put the tools back where you found them.
  6. If you don’t know how, ask.
  7. Get to bed at a decent time.
  8. If someone asks you to go for coffee, go.
  9. Measure twice, cut once.

10. Be a landlord, not a renter.

11. Make your money work for you.

12. Don’t buy things that depreciate with borrowed money.

13. Buy a house as soon as you are able.

14. You can never have too many tools.

15. Earn respect…

Heard something funny at Argy’s today. Young black guy brings in some records to sell, and says to Ray “Got some old R&B and soul records. And some Caucasian ones too”. Ha!

He back-pedalled when I called him on it, but we all laughed at what he said. It reminded me of how Roula’s family referred to pretty much everyone outside the Greek community as “English”. Of course they meant English-speaking, but there was always an us vs them undertone. Makes me think about how visible minorities must come to view the world as “us, and everyone else”. Our Pakistani…

In this electronic age, it is hard to find an example of something learned from my father that I could pass on to my son. Then this happened; I needed to move a 1200 lb rock across the yard. “You can move the world with a lever” my dad used to say. And so, with the aid of a hydro cross arm and some rocks for fulcrums, we lifted the rock onto some posts and rolled it, Egyptian-style, into place. He would have been proud.

“Never be stuck.”

- Bill Peters Sr.

I wanted so badly to be able to play the drums. I tapped my fingers incessantly on the desk at school to the current song of the day, until I was sent into the hall for being a distraction. I did the same during lunchtimes at home, though I dared not do it at supper for fear of upsetting my dad. And though my mom put up with her “fidgety” son, it was dad who wanted me to be a drummer. In fact, the only concert he ever took me to was at the Winnipeg Concert Hall in 1973, for…

Me, my dad, his dad, and his dad.

Another Father’s Day has come and gone. It’s been 6 years since dad passed, but he is very much a part of my life and who I am. I still seek his counsel, and find answers to life’s challenges as he did – in moments of deep thought just before sleep.

He taught me many things, mostly by example. He fixed things. He didn’t waste time. He had a “right or wrong” philosophy. But mostly, he was there for me when I needed him. And he still is.

It wasn’t an easy relationship; there were pressures and expectations that came…

We didn’t have X-Box, PlayStation, or even Game Cube. We played outdoors, mostly. And we played with what we could find – cardboard boxes, discarded construction materials, whatever. But when we discovered TV’s Guy Williams as Zorro, it became our mission to fashion a sword with which we could carve the mark of Zorro (Z) into our enemies, and perhaps win the hand of the lovely Ana Maria. Not that this was our primary objective. No, that was to have a logical and credible excuse to whip each other with tree branches while screaming “Zorro!”.

“Surrender, Comandante! Taste my mighty…


When the St Boniface Hospital Foundation sold the naming rights to Paul Albrechtsen, they pulled the old lettering “Research Centre “ off of the building and laid it out on the floor of the atrium. From there, staff could take a memento. I took the 4-foot C.

I had plans for it… a bedroom wall decoration for Christian (no thanks, Dad), a solar powered light for our deck (uh, no, Bill), well how about on the backyard fence (wouldn’t that look tacky?)… it ended up relegated to storage in the far corner of the yard.

Yesterday, after several years…

Bill Peters

A collection of life stories, and thoughts.

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