John-Ward Leighton


Photo ©Copyright 2009 by John-Ward Leighton
Photo ©Copyright 2009 by John-Ward Leighton
My friend Doug “D” is in a fragile state these days. He has been given some very hard cards to play by fate. He has recently lost several good friends and his only son. I can’t imagine losing my kids, God how low is low?

Doug is very depressed, who wouldn’t be, and he is on anti depressants, and having nightly nightmares. He had one the other night and fell out of bed and bashed his head and gave himself a shiner. I told him about my problems with anti depressants and the fact that we could never seem to get the dosage or the right prescription. He has told me that subsequent to the nightmare that he is feeling much better and is in the care of his good second wife which is very good news.

It’s been fifty years since we were rifleman in “D” coy. 1QOR of C at Currie barracks in Calgary. Our company commander was Derek Bamford our CSM was Johnny Lang, our platoon Sgt. was Moose MacDonald and Section Corporals were Kenny Boch, Andy Aak, and Mintz, I can’t remember Mintz’s first name, he moved on very quickly to the Regt. Depot anyway. Lt. Larry Diebold was our platoon commander.

Doug was a guest at my first wedding to the woman who would be the mother to my two children. Doug and I attended the same junior leaders course, which in my case was somewhat redundant because I was already a qualified Junior NCO from my time in the PPCLI. We became fast friends and both ended up in A Company when we were posted to Germany. Doug was the guy who passed on the lodgings at 26 Park Strasse to me in Hemer Germany. It was a sixth floor walk-up that became the scene of happiest period of my married life and the place where my son Ian was born and my daughter Heather was conceived.

Doug had moved on to the Dental Corp. because he had a knee problem and we kinda lost touch. I saw him once when I went down to Halifax on a cipher course and we had dinner at his place that was within sight of the bridge to the city in 1968 on the other side of Halifax Harbour. Then a long pause before we hooked up through contact at the Rifleman web page.

None of us know what the future has in store for us. In our hubris we think we have it all tamped down and yet, have no idea what the hell we are doing and hate to think the fact that we are still on this mortal coil is merely dumb luck.

My old Dad was born at a time, June 1900, when the main method of transportation was by rail or ship and personal transport was horse drawn. He died after serving in two horrendous World Wars in 1970 approximately a year after a man walked on the moon.

If you had asked me twenty years ago where I would be in 2009 I couldn’t have imagined that I would be where I am or doing what I am doing now. I have been blessed with good friends and reasonable heath. I try not to imagine what the future holds and keep my plans flexible and let life surprise me, both good and bad. There is a certain inevitability in all this so I intend to enjoy the moment because… we are all a long time dead.