Dad and the Astronaut
To be quite honest, this was the last person I expected to receive in inaugural Doctor Stephen Blizzard Trailblazer Award from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. Named after my father, I really thought that the committee understood what I was asking for and would award it to someone who has faced many of the same things that he had gone through - the only Black person in Western U’s essentially all white medical school in the 1950’s. I was initially disappointed by the committee’s choice, however, when I heard Dr. Roberta Bondar’s elegant acceptance speech and the acknowledgement of challenges that both he and she had faced, I could not have been more delighted.
As a kid, people would ask me what my Dad did, or more often, ‘Where is he?’ I would often respond, he’s ‘gone flying’. He spend most of my childhood weekends in the skies. It seemed he was more comfortable there than on the ground. Bondar might understand this. Her reference to my late father perhaps waving to her from the skies, was more poignant than she could ever imagine.