Three very special hours…grateful and very blessed; by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

I was looking forward to going to watch Ben’s hockey practice.  Going to the Jets game on Sunday with Laine, I wanted to make sure to get to see Ben play this weekend; additionally, since Laine was going to get an extra game and treats, I told Ben I’d take him to Boston Pizza after his practice.

So, with much anticipation, I headed out at around 1:30.  Having not driven for even one minute, I saw Matthew walking; I stopped to chat.  Matt had a giant smile on his face and said: “I got a call and I’m going to be shooting the Trews tonight at the Burton Cummings Threatre.  The guy who called me is in charge of photographers for True North…his other photographers were busy for tonight, so he called me to shoot the concert.”  The smile on is face was priceless; he looked so happy, and when I said that he is becoming a “go to guy in the city” he just smiled.  It feels so great when you see your kids doing so very well…and so very happy.

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Driving in some beautiful late November weather, I was just so very happy for Matt.  It’s been a tough stretch finding his niche, but, between getting a full time job at the West End Cultural Centre and so many photography gigs around the city…well, I couldn’t be prouder.

Arriving at the West Kildonan Arena, I’m always reminded of when I was in high school and was the equipment manager for the West Kildonan North Stars…and this arena was just built; and here I am walking in to watch my grandson Ben play hockey.  Surreal folks, just surreal.

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It’s always so wonderful watching Ben heading out onto the ice in full gear; he enjoys it so very much!!  Carly, Laine and Chris joined me up in the stands to watch Big Ben practice…don’t often get to spend much alone time with Carly, so getting to sit together and talk for an hour is such a joy.  We both couldn’t stop commenting on how tall and mature Laine is getting (even though she is turning 10 January 4th, she still believes in the tooth fairy and Santa).  Chris was in one of his happy, kinda goofy moods, and that’s always so much fun.  Chris and Laine left early to go to Laine’s soccer game; Carly and I kept talking about what a great skater Ben is…the one sporty thing I was never any good at.  Once practice finished, Carly got Ben changed and off he and I went to Boston Pizza.

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“Zaida, have you been alive for all the Grey Cups?”  LOL…”no Ben, this is the 105th Grey Cup!!”  He burst out laughing…”oh, ok”  What a fabulous hour we had together; having just had a hard practice, Ben knocked off the kids sized pizza, fries, root beer and of course the ice cream treat.  There was non stop talk about sports: from Bo Levi Mitchell, to why Maurice benched the Jets top line, to “baseball is my favourite sport to go to Zaida”.  He was so well behaved, polite and happy.  I just cherished every minute we were together.

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Off to the new Garden City complex we went and caught the last ten minutes of Laine’s soccer game.  She has become such a good player and enjoys it so very much!!!  I know she really likes when I shout out “go Laine, go!!”  “I play harder when you shout that Zaida”
The kids are so very blessed to have two parents who are so involved in their lives; Chris coaches Ben’s hockey team and both Carly and Chris coach Laine’s soccer team…I couldn’t be prouder of both of them.

When Laine’s game was done, Chris and Ben came out first…big smiles and Chris commenting: “It never ends Chuck…lol”  Then Carly and Laine came out…several big hugs and thank you’s from both Laine and Ben.  As we walked to the car, Laine came running over one more time, gave me a hug and said “thank you Zaida”…I simply said: “see you at the Jets game tomorrow!!”

With so much bad news in the world today, finding out that a former student passed away, another former student had a stroke, two separate friends are getting divorced, Donald Trump is going to be president…

Being gifted with those three hours yesterday was beyond special.  Getting to see all the kids so happy, so successful, enjoying life so very much…just feeling very blessed and grateful.

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It all started with these three rockers:  Crash Test Dummies, Robert Plant and Bon Jovi!!

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