Excerpt, Chapter 1 - Poopballs Over The Shanty

It was cold outside with lots of snow on the ground. We put our mitts and boots and coats on and Mum took us out for a walk.

She walked with us down to the shanty. It was a tiny barn that had fallen down.

“It’s dangerous” she said.

“Why?” Mike asked.

“If you climb on it it might fall down some more and hurt you” she said.

“OK” we said.

Then we noticed some piles of old brown balls near the shanty.

“What are those?” I asked.

“That’s horse manure” Mum said.

“What’s manure?” Mike asked.

“It’s what comes out of a horse after he’s eaten grass” Mum told us.

“Poop?” Mike asked.

“Yes” Mum replied.

I walked over and kicked it. It was hard. I bent to sniff it. It didn’t smell. 

“Don’t do that Davey” Mum said.

“Why?”  I asked.

“Just leave the poop where it is” she answered. “It’s frozen anyway. Not good for much.

Mike noticed another ball of horse poop that had smoke coming from it. 

“Why is that one smoking?” he asked.

“It’s fresh. Still warm. It’s steam, not smoke. It’s a steamer” Mum told us.

“Yuk. A steamer” we repeated. I didn’t kick it. It looked soft. It was stinky.

David Raeburn Finn

David Raeburn Finn read a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Psychology at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. Subsequently he read a PhD supported by a Canada Council Post Doctoral Fellowship at the University of London, UK. At one point he imagined he might pursue medicine. Though he completed the task of castrating a lab rat in a neurophysiology course, the experience taught him of his aversion to cutting, a fatal flaw for a physician. He has taught, operated small private businesses in construction and importing, and worked with a Vancouver hedge fund management firm.

At age seventy-one he co-published his children's book, Poopballs Over The Shanty And Other Bedtime Stories' (Caledon Bedtime Press Ltd, 2013) illustrated by Rae Mate.These five bedtime stories reflect his earliest memories as a child in Ontario. Each story takes 10 to 12 minutes to read aloud. The title story, Poopballs Over the Shanty, recalls the earliest outdoor game he played with his brother."Yes, we tossed frozen horse poop over an old broken shanty," he says. "We didn't have rubber balls or tennis balls. Some of the horse poop was a tad fresher, so unfrozen. We found a use for that, too."

David Finn's Recognitions

  • "David Raeburn Finn is a Canadian philosopher and student of Islam. He currently writes on Pashtun anthropology, gender and Islam, American foreign policy, and politics, as well as fiction for children and adults."

  • "David Raeburn Finn of Nanoose Bay was born in Sudbury District, Ontario on May 17, 1942. Raised in Caledon and Etobicoke, Ontario, he received his BA (1964) and MA (1965) from Queens University; and completed his Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship at University of London, UK (Ph.D, 1967)."