Wednesday, December 18, 2019

This n that

I had this idea in my mind for how it should look.
And I knew who had experience reading my mind.

So after I had a truck full of cedar boughs, spikey fern leaves, assorted pine branches and 4 strands of battery operated fairy lights, I called Terry.

And yes.
She knew exactly what I wanted.
And yes.
She could do it.
In 20 minutes.

Supplying Ter with the raw materials to create something beautiful transported me straight back to Billie's Country days. When, as a 26 year old brand new mom and shop co-owner, I'd meet creative strangers who'd buy supplies from the craft side of the store. I'd ask them what they were making, could they bring their finished 'thing' back so I could see... and if it was good quality, I'd hire them to teach in our classrooms. Eventually I had a team of 16 talented, artistic, friendly, helpful teachers/friends who taught thousands of classes over the years.

I'd bring in new products/supplies from our wholesalers or trade shows and let them have at er. I loved watching them design, paint, assemble, create, teach.

And watching Terry take a truck full of dead branches and create a masterpiece in the middle of our boardroom table just filled me with all the feels. I am so proud of her and grateful that I'm her friend. That I can call her with a 'crafting help' message and I know she's got my back.

It could be argued that this centrepiece was a bit over-the-top considering we were eating pizza on plastic plates.

Go big.
Or go bigger.
With centerpieces and hair.


On Saturday afternoon I went for a walk.
I turned left out of my mom's driveway and walked down into the dip before starting my trek up the hill.

There, at the bottom of the hill, soaking wet, in the middle of the sidewalk, was a year book from Johnston Heights Jr. Sec. It looked suspiciously like mine. So I picked it up.
In the middle of the sidewalk, a couple blocks from my mom's house.

I turned around and walked back to the house.
"You won't believe what I just found," I said to mom who was sitting in her chair in her front room.
We tossed around some ideas as to how it could've got there, but really, it was a mystery.
(I had looked at my box of memory things (baby books, year books, wedding album, etc) only 6 days earlier - and thought I'd moved the box from the garage to the basement. HOW had this annual end up out there in the wild?)

I went for a hill walk, thinking of scenarios, but just couldn't figure it out.

When I got back, an hour later, my mom called me back into her front parlour.
"Funny thing..." she started. "A couple days ago, I was driving to the mail box and I remember hearing a thump and thinking that something had fallen off my car. But I didn't stop or look..."

"Ahhhhh. That's it! I put my box of personal things on your trunk. I was going to move it downstairs. But I guess I forgot... "

"Yeah, that's seems right. It was definitely more than just one year book that fell off my car. It felt like a box..."

"Hmmm. That's a slice of my history, gone. Those annuals, the kids' baby books. Photographs taken by photographers. Wedding album. Notes and letters and journals from a past era... I won't get that back. I had pared it all down to the most important keepsakes and put it all in one box. I guess it's all gone. Can't revisit it again..."

"Well," mom said. "it's probably for the best."


On my drive to church, I let a few tears escape but planned to have a good wail later that night at the lake. The sermon was about joy. And the verse he referenced was that annoying one in James "Consider it all joy when trials and tribulations come your way ... blah blah blah... because ... something something character."

Was I having another character-building experience?
Am I so lacking in it, that I need another go at it?
Is this a 'let it go' lesson?
Is this a 'in-light-of-eternity-your-box-of-memories-doesn't-matter' thing?
Did I not learn that lesson back in 2012 when another slice of my history was stolen when my house was robbed?

Oy vey.

World's slowest learner, here.

I just wanted to shake my fist at someone but there was no point.

After church I met Val for supper and we commiserated about the lost bits of our past. And she shared about her friend who's ex (dad to her kids) had committed suicide last week. And who's dad died of cancer a few days later.

I need to shut up about my stuff.

We left the restaurant and went to the mall.
Where I bought $100 of Purdy's Chocolates.


On Sunday evening, I met Karm at Clearbrook MB at 6:15 pm.
We were there for their monthly Hymn Sing evening service. It started at 7, but everyone was there shortly after 6. In anticipation.

There were no seats. No parking spots.

Can I just say something?
There is something very very Holy about being amongst a couple hundred very old Mennonites who have gathered to worship. They sing, loudly, with all their hearts, in harmony. And it is beautiful. And moving.

Seeing it was December, almost all the songs were Christmas carols. But then, after about half n hour, the choir and congregation sang "Here we are to worship"... and I looked around to the men and women around me, who were singing with conviction. They were worshipping.

And it occurred to me, that these folks, these singers, these men and women, all over 70, and likely in their 80's and 90's, lived through the war. And had stories similar to my Omi and everyone's Omi. They had to flee Russia by retreating with the Nazi's across Europe with NOTHING. Loved ones were executed, relatives were sent to the gulag, and those lucky to escape, ran with nothing.

And here they were. Worshipping God in this country where they raised their families and built their homes in peace.

And I bet a lot of them left a whole lot more behind than one curated keepsake memory box.

I won't whine about my lost Dear Jane letters.

Perspective is everything.

The final two songs of the evening undid me.
A duet by two men (one had just turned 90, the other was Brian Doerksen's dad, Harry, probably in his 80's)

You can watch it here:
They start singing at 1:25: 00

And after that?
The Hallelujah Chorus.

The director invited anyone who wanted to, to join the choir.
Watching dozens of peoples go forward, eagerly, to sing was heart-warming. And amazing. I didn't grow up around men who sang. Not my dad, my bro, my ex, my kids. So to watch men, enthusiastically participate in singing, was just awesome.

And hearing the men's voices? Was the best thing ever.
So much depth and weight and richness with their strong voices acting as a foundation for the music to dance on top of throughout the building.

So very grateful for my heritage.
So thankful that my grandparents sacrificed their things and risked their lives to come here.

I live a damn fine life because of them.


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Dinners/evenings with so many friends this past week. (Julie on Wed, the Milestones crew on Thursday, Book Club group on Monday, Heather on Tuesday...) I am lucky/blessed/tired. :) Quality 'together time' is my love language, obvs.

2. Christmas cards. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I got three in the past 24 hours that were filled with so many kind/lovely/tear-inducing words. Gahhhh. My love language is defo words.

3. Was at my sister's, gettin my hair did, and while I'm sitting under a dryer with a hole-y shower cap on, and strands of hair dripping with a thick bleach solution, she brings me this:

A glass of water and frozen peanut butter balls.

I am so loved.

Food is definitely my love language.


Shalom friends,

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