Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I haven't thought about the city of Hamilton, Ontario much recently. True, it was the site of Wendy's and my first apartment as newlyweds, and the place where we welcomed our first child into our lives. But it's been so many years since we moved West that my only thought of Hamilton is when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Tiger-Cats (yet again). (not that I'm gloating, Mom, honest...)

But Hamilton has been very much on my mind in recent days.

I was recently given my grandfather's typewritten notes on his family tree, as well as his autobiography. His children had been badgering him for some time to write out his life story, and finally, in his early 70's, he acquiesced and began to type it all out.

His early and unexpected passing was evident on the last page, which was not only incomplete, but actually stopped in mid-sentence. It was probably discovered still in his typewriter, awaiting his return.

The city of Hamilton figures prominently in my family's Canadian history, following emigration from Scotland. My grandfather's simple, meat-and-potatoes style of writing recounts his story in short, fact-based snippets, although his dry sense of humour finds its way into his writing as well. His great respect and admiration for the pastor of the Caroline Street Mission is also unmistakable.

And the Caroline Street Mission marks a turning point not only for my grandfather, but for the following generations after him. It was here, as a teenager from a dysfunctional home, desperately trying to find his way during the Great Depression, that my grandfather first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and became a Christian. That simple decision, so many years ago, continues to have a ripple effect over several generations of his descendants.

Hamilton is a long way from here, geographically, and living there is several decades in the past for Wendy and I. And yet, as I read my grandfather's story, Hamilton Ontario -- and the Caroline Street Mission -- represent an important part of my roots that I am both mindful of, and grateful for.


  1. Dave Fitch? Does he play for the Tiger-Cats?

  2. Hey Rob! You have a generational heritage of ministry and expressed mission through writing and communicating the Word of God to those who need to hear the hope that is within you (and Wendy). Wow!! Didn't know, but glad you wrote this. Makes so much sense to me, and I sense that this generational blessing is coming full circle in your life in many ways. Wow! Way to go God, and way to go Rob! :)