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"Dominic came across some information in his file about Sean having a Grandfather in Québec. At this point we don't have anymore information about where he is, or more importantly, whether he wants to take Sean in," Katharine said.
This wasn't good news. She explained if he wanted Sean and he was a suitable parent, then he would have to go live with him in Québec. She apologized for the oversight, but the people that had dealt with Sean's file over the years weren't around in her office anymore, so they just finished going through the full file and found this unsettling news. She told me they were trying to track him down and would let me know as soon as they had any information.
After I hung up, I tried to make sure I didn't give away my concern at the news, as I didn't want to tell Sean about this until we had to deal with the problem.
Dana arrived just before 9 the next morning as we were finishing breakfast. She made a fuss over Sean, and he didn't blush, but seemed to enjoy the affection. I guessed that he was getting used to it.
Dana started cleaning the upstairs while we went into the Den to start our morning's work. Rather than going over new work I thought it would be more useful to go over the Grade 3 and 5 math books, as Sean was going to tutor the boys later in the day. Our After School Help Club program ran from 4-6 in one of the public libraries in the city. It was free, as it was funded by Ministry of Education funding designated especially for this type of support program. It was open to any students in the surrounding area, and we advertised at the schools to draw the students into the program.
These types of supports were key elements in our Board's attempts to break the cycle of poverty that existed in the City. Education was one of the ways of helping students gain the tools and attitudes necessary to become productive and employable adults. Of course that theory gets blown out the window with parents like Sean's mother who couldn't have cared less if he attended school, and moved frequently.
We went over the basics of the two grades' math curricula. Basically they broke down into four main areas:
When Sean and I looked at the two books, he started to relax, as he understood everything he read. He even remembered some of the problems, even though his attendance had been atrocious when he was in those grades. He certainly had a brain for Math. 'Now if we could only energize the part of his brain responsible for writing.'
"This stuff is really easy. I think I'm Ok now," he said with an air of confidence in his voice.
"I should hope it's easy. That's Grade 3 and 5 Math, and you're a big eighth grader," I said as I laughed.
He just stuck out his tongue at me and scowled.
I went over some teaching strategies with him, such as explaining every step in a problem, and not giving the answers to the kids, but letting them think through the question. I also went over how the program ran. Basically he would have to help them with whatever homework they came with, and if they had nothing he could use some of the many materials we had on hand. Diego would help him with picking out the proper stuff.
By now it was late morning and Dana came down the stairs with a green garbage bag full from the upstairs garbage cans.
She came into the Den and asked, "Sean, do you have a cold? There was a lot of Kleenex in your garbage can."
He blushed beet red, and I quickly realized why.
"Ah... no Dana .... Sean seemed to be allergic to his pillow, so we changed it to a different type," I said bailing him out.
When she left I said as I chuckled, "Maybe you should empty your own garbage can on Tuesday nights from now on sport."
He gave me a sheepish grin.
We were eating the great lunch that Dana made us when the phone rang. It was Peter Tallofsen calling me about the 'visit' he had set up with Greeves.
"Can you make it at 1:30 today at the city jail?" he asked. "I've set up the visit with the two guards that are on duty in his cell block. I know them pretty well, and they can be trusted."
He went on to tell me that Greeves would be bound in chains, and that all the recording devices would be turned off so there wouldn't be a digital record of what was said. As well, the guards would be watching through the two-way glass in case Greeves got frisky.
"Now don't do anything stupid Al," he said.
"You know me Peter, I wouldn't do that," I said annoyed at his suggestion.
"Al, remember the first playoff game in 1970, when that big gorilla ran you in the net and you smacked him in the face with your blocker and I went to your defence and I ended up with a broken nose! Don't lose your temper and get us both into trouble."
"Geez Peter, you've got a good memory!"
I assured him I would be on my best behaviour, and that I would be calm and cool.
Sean was curious where I was going, but I just said I had some errands to do, and that Dana would baby sit him while I was out. He smiled as Dana started discussing what type of afternoon snack he wanted, and that he could help her make it. I suspected that it would involve some baking as I saw them go to the cupboard with the baking pans in it before I left.
The jail was a very intimidating place. When I finally got into the interview room after all the checkpoints I had to go through, I had to wait 10 minutes for Greeves to appear.
"Who are you dickhead?" he asked as the guard pushed him down into the chair across the table from me and left the room.
He was a big man, about 6 ft. 2 in. and about 220 pounds. I could see some bruising on his face from the 'welcome' his cell mates had given him, as well as the limp in his left leg.
"You look like you have a few injuries Mr. Greeves. They look very familiar to me. They're almost the identical injuries a young boy I found a week and a half ago had," I said very calmly.
His eyes opened wider and he leaned forward and said, "You the guy that got my old lady's kid?"
"You mean Sean McDonagh?"
"I found out you was the one that got me beaten up. I'm gonna get you when I get outa here!"
"Well Mr. Greeves, I really hate to burst your bubble, but cowards who have sex with kids and then beat them up don't get out of jail very quickly."
He started to get up to come towards me over the table and I leaned forward and said, "Listen scum, you don't scare me. Besides, you're in chains, and the guards are watching through the two-way glass. Now sit down and listen to my offer."
I explained what I was willing to do if he didn't plead guilty and reminded him about the fact that I had the ability to follow through on my threat. I said that I would see if the Crown would reduce what they were asking for his sentence.
"Believe me pal, you will be convicted, and the cons in the federal penitentiary are a lot meaner and bigger than what you've seen in this city jail."
He finally said that he would think about it and talk to his lawyer.
'Well don't think about it too long, I wouldn't want to tax that meagre brain of yours. You have 2 days to decide; after that ......"
When I got home the wonderful aroma of baking wafted through the house as I walked through the door.
"Have some banana bread pop. Dana and I made it, and we left you some," Sean said with a big smile.
When I looked at the plate there were two slices left out of two loaves. Dana looked at me, smiled and just shrugged her shoulders.
Just then the phone rang and it was Rick on the other end. He asked how things were going with Sean and I brought him up-to-date.
"Al, we're short players tonight, and I wanted to know if you could get someone else to baby sit Sean so Rickie can play?"
I was going to ask Dana, but I thought maybe Sean could come with me tonight and watch the game. He could sit in the restaurant/bar area that had glass partitions that allowed fans to watch the game on the rink. There were also some arcade games there that I'm sure would amuse him. It wouldn't be that late a night, and I was sure he would get a big kick out of seeing Rickie play.... and for that matter Rick and I.
I told Rick to go ahead and ask Rickie. After I hung up I asked Sean if he wanted to watch the game as Rickie was going to play.
"Yeah, that would be cool! How much are the tickets to the game," he said as he laughed.
Dana was going to make us dinner and leave it in the oven, as we had to go to the After School Help Club. This would be a good chance for me to do my monitoring of the Library site and another two sites nearby in Municipal Recreation centres. I would leave Sean at the Library site as Diego would be his supervisor.
"Hello young man, I'm glad you decided to come aboard," Diego said as he shook Sean's hand with a big smile on his face.
I stuck around for about 10 minutes observing the interaction between Diego and the other two tutors with the kids. I was hoping the two boys would arrive soon, as I wanted to get going to the other sites. It was a drop-in program and the kids came anytime during the 2 hours, or not at all. I was just about to leave when I saw a mother and her two boys come through the door. Diego got up to go over to the 3 and Sean followed.
After a brief conversation, in which I assumed Diego was introducing Sean to the boys, they made their way over to an open table. When I saw the younger boy Pardeep take Sean's hand, I smiled as I saw the ear-to-ear grin on Sean's face. 'Someday I know that young man is going to make a great father.'
Sean was the most animated I had ever seen him on our ride back home after the tutoring session. He went over in minute detail virtually everything that had happened during their session. He really enjoyed the situation, and was looking forward to next Monday when the next session would take place.
"Pardeep's lights were on but nobody was home pop!" he said as he chuckled. "I think he really understood making change with coins though when we were finished," he said.
I reminded him that Pardeep was only in Grade 3, and that he was likely a space cadet when he was that age too.
We ate quickly when we got home, and as usual Dana outdid herself. She had made some pasta so I would have extra energy for the game.
When we arrived at the arena I gave Sean some money for food, drinks and the arcade machines and made my way down to the dressing room to get ready for the game. I was surprised that the guys were looking forward to meeting Sean after the game, as apparently Rick, Rickie and Rick's older son Jason had told them about him.
"Hey Burgs, I'll bet you've got him brainwashed about the Leafs already," Jason's friend Mark said.
"Listen, I didn't have to, he was already a fan. You know your team, the Ottawa Senators, isn't much better. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," I said as I laughed.
At the end of the game Rick and I were sucking wind as usual, and we had lost the game by a close score of 9-7 (remember this is shinny). Despite Jason's best efforts on defence, the other team was able to get a couple by me early and we couldn't recover.
Sean came down to the dressing room and sat down beside me as I was undressing.
"So did you get something to drink and eat buddy?" I asked.
"Yeah I did, and I played some of the games."
He quickly added with a sheepish grin, "But I watched your game most of the time."
"I'll bet you had a Coke and some greasy French fries didn't you?" I said with a grin on my face.
When he shrugged his shoulders I said with a smile, "That's Ok, just as long as you don't get used to that junk and want it at home."
He leaned over to me and said, "Rickie's really good. How many goals did he get on you?"
"Rickie's 19 and I was at an unfair advantage. He's too fast and he shoots too hard," I said as I laughed.
The guys made him welcome, but I was concerned about the language that was being used, as this was after all a bunch of hockey guys. I was just about to suggest Sean leave and go upstairs to the restaurant/bar again, when he decided that the odour was a little too strong for him and he wanted to leave. As well, he was embarrassed when some of the guys unabashedly walked to the shower.
We had some good male bonding in the restaurant/bar, and the guys delighted in telling stories about me to Sean. He was having a great time, and I was hoping the colourful language didn't wear off on him.
"You're really good pop. Did you play professional hockey when you were younger?" he asked in the car on the way home.
I told him Rick and I played University hockey in our younger days, but that was the extent of our hockey careers.
"I don't know how you can see some of the shots. They were really fast."
I laughed and said, "To tell you the truth, I can see all of them, I just can't move fast enough anymore to stop some of them."
We got home and he went upstairs to get ready for bed. I went in to say goodnight when he was ready.
"I was really proud of you today, the way you were able to tutor those boys," I said with a smile on my face.
"I really liked the tutoring ...and I think they liked what I was doing,"
"I know they did. Good night ...love you Sean."
"Love you too pop."
Note: For those of you that are interested, the link below is where some of the information about the curriculum referred to above comes from.