Sugar and spice and a father’s advice

Time goes by when you have young kids


en I was little, I truly believed girls were made of sugar and spice and everything nice. 

In fact, girls intimidated me. From their ribbons and curls to their crisply pressed jumpers, they seemed other-worldly to a shy boy like me.

Every Sunday night after supper, Dad would talk to us about anything that was on our minds. So naturally when I heard about a new scientific discovery on the radio, I asked him all about it:

“Dad, the man on the radio said that girls have an extra layer of fat.”

“Yes, I’ve heard that too.”

“Dad, is that why girls are better at swimming across Lake Ontario than guys?”

“Yeah, maybe.”

“So then why do they call women the weaker sex?”

“Well, physically they aren’t as strong as men.”

“But wouldn’t you have to be incredibly strong to swim across Lake Ontario?”

“Well yes, but…”

“And the man on the radio said women live longer than men.”

“That’s true.”

“Well then if they’re really strong and better swimmers and live longer, aren’t we the weaker sex?”

That made Mom laugh and Dad quickly changed the subject: 

“Did you learn anything new in school this week, Ray?”

“Yes Sir, we learned about the Titanic. The teacher said that when they got into the lifeboats it was women and children first.”

“Absolutely. That’s the unwritten law of the sea!”

“But women have an extra layer of fat and are better swimmers.”


“So from now on shouldn’t it be men and children first?”

“Never mind,” he replied. “It’s bedtime.”

When I got into my middle teens I met a girl I really liked. So one Sunday night I asked Dad for some advice.

“Dad how do you get a girl to like you?”

“Well let me tell you how not to do it. Once in Holland my friend Hans and I went on a double date. I was just like you. Much too timid. I spent the evening talking to that girl about poetry and the beauty of the moon and the stars. I didn’t even try to kiss her. The next day I asked Hans to find out if she liked me. And you know what she said?”

“What?” I asked breathlessly.

“She said I was a dud!”

Despite Dad’s encouragement, it took me weeks to summon the courage to ask Jane (not her real name) for a date. We’d only been going out for a short while when she sat me down for a talk:

“Ray, sometimes at night my sister comes into my room and we talk about boys. The other night I told her how much I like you and she asked if you were a good kisser.”

“She did?”

“Yes, and I had to answer, ‘I don’t know, it’s been a month and he hasn’t kissed me.’”

“What did she say?” I asked uneasily.

“She said, ‘Boy! What a dud!’”

Like father, like son.

Jane and I went out for nearly two years. And yes, I did eventually kiss her. It was scary and wonderful and oh so innocent. 

Jane was lovely but it eventually became apparent that we weren’t really suited for each other. We must have split up and reunited a dozen times. In the end, her father became so exasperated that he started calling me, ‘Boomerang.’ 

I can hardly believe that thirty years have passed. And naturally, I’ve had other relationships since. But you can never fall in love for the first time twice. And despite what the old song says, a kiss is much more than a kiss when it’s a milestone on the way to maturity.

Sugar and spice and everything nice? You bet. 

Especially as time goes by.  


Just Posted

Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville will host the 2021 B.C. Junior Golf Championships. (PQB News file photo)
Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville to host 150 of B.C’s top junior golfers

Provincial boys and girls championship begins June 28

Hannes Grosse, left, and Iris Steigemann, right, as they prepared for their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit. The father-daughter duo are showing at The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach until June 26. (Submitted photo)
Cortes Island artists exhibit at Qualicum Beach’s TOSH in first father-daughter show

Both artists will be present at shows on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read