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Nature or Nurture?

I thought it was like any other Boxing Day afternoon when Ron and I sat down to relax.

I little knew what was going to unfold.

Both our kids, Christine and Ron, were home for Christmas and it was almost like old times. This afternoon Chris was out with her mother hitting the sales at Metrotown. Ron and I had opted to stay at home in Kerrisdale with McNish our westie and enjoy some spiced mulled wine. It seemed a good chance for me to catch up with how he was doing. Like me he had chosen music as his career, but he was setting his sights much higher. He was now 22 and after a graduate degree at UBC was studying at Julliard in New York — and being recognized as a very promising french horn soloist. I had hoped that his vacation would give him a chance to unwind but instead there was an uneasiness about him that I couldn’t figure. Anyway we sat down and turned to something we’d always enjoyed — dipping into archived Formula 1 races.

We’d just finished watching a tape of one of the F1 classics, the 1979 French Grand Prix. Not many people remember who won that race, but it’s an epic because of an incredible lap-after-lap battle for second place between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux. So we enjoyed it to the end, then, as always, shook our heads in amazement. Following that I went through to the kitchen to top up our glasses. But when I came back Ron didn’t seem to want to talk. So I put on some Bach keyboard music, Glenn Gould humming as he played, and we sat for a while. Then suddenly, with what was obviously forced casualness, Ron remarked “Rene, that’s a girl’s name as well as a guy’s name.”

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