Everyone has a story. This month let’s briefly share some interesting, fun or memorable stories from our lives. Everyday there will be something different to share about. This is a great way to get to know each other, and review the story of our lives. May the Lord use this time to enrich our fellowship and remind us of the Lord’s hand in our lives.
Please post your responses for each day in the comment section below.
- An early childhood memory.
- First job
- A Christmas memory.
- Your mom.
- A pet.
- An accident.
- A vacation in Canada.
- A dentist.
- An embarrassing moment.
- First big purchase.
- A sibling.
- An Easter memory.
- Your dad.
- First time flying.
- A financial crisis/challenge.
- A trip/vacation outside of Canada.
- A famous person you’ve met.
- A time being sick.
- A remarkable ‘coincidence’.
- A funny church experience.
- A birthday memory.
- A childhood friend.
- A special gift you once received.
- Your dad or mom’s job.
- An important faith moment.
- A funny family moment.
- A public performance/time on stage.
- A musical instrument.
Day 1 — Early childhood memory.
It is hard to separate between memories induced by the 8mm movies my dad took, and actual memories. I vaguely remember our first home. I remember a time (age 4-6) we received four colourful metal cups (gifts from Holland?) – red, yellow, green and orange. I grabbed the orange one, but immediately dropped it and it was dented. I quickly switched it for the green one, and my youngest brother (too young to know) got the dented orange one. I still have my dentless green one.
Early childhood memory: We lived a mile from school and I walked there. I remember at times my older brother would bike to school and pick me up along the way, sit me on the cross bar and he’d whistle as we biked along. ( I didn’t get a bike until I was 8 or 9 – no $$). Also remember picking a tulip out of someone’s garden along the way to give to my teacher! And walking on the top of snow banks the lined the sidewalks on the way home – just for the challenge 🙂
I was 3 or 4 and remember watching a mother cat carrying her kittens by the scruff of their neck and being frightened until my mother reassured me.
A serious one also, from stories. On February 1, 1953, the place where we lived was flooded. It was a storm like Katrina; 1,800 people died. My father read Psalm 93.
We are thankful for life and that we were able to come to Canada after the devastation.
I’ve seen video footage of that flood, what a devastating experience.
Day 1 Early memory
In Grade 1 just me and the teacher and a cut up catalogue.
I am searching for something that starts with the letter “K”
and not finding it. Teacher gets up flips to a page and points,
“What is that!!!” I can only think of the dutch word for it.
I figure I’m dead so quietly I say Ketel the e’s are prounonced
as long A sound. Teacher says “Thats right KETTLE”
I got to go home.
Feb 1 early childhood memory.
I might have been 3 or 4 years old (probably in 1957?) and we got our first black and white TV. I remember seeing on TV a band of Indian breaking into a logged house and scalping some family members. I was terrified and thought the image on TV were real. I could not tell what was the present reality, whether this was happening right in our house or in that TV box? This memory makes me realize and wonder how toddlers can interpret every day events in their lives??
Feb 1 – Early childhood memory: I have many good memories of my childhood in Holland. Life became more memorable when we arrived in Canada (I was 10 years old) Those first 3/4 years were taken up with a number of house moves as my Dad was searching for a job that matched his skills. Family was everything and Church was a close second. Country schools, 8 grades in one classroom, until Grade 8. Two years of High School and into the work force. I could write a book – as many of you know, Kees and I did for him. God was always very present.
My parents wanted to enrol me in the one room school down the road (not too far from where the Paynes live now). So in May of the year I was to turn 6 my parents took me to the school to meet with the teacher. She quickly understood I didn’t know a word of English – so she suggested I immediately start attending school. All the kids at the school were really helpful. My Aunt who was staying with us would walk me the 2 miles to school. I started to learn English words. One word I thought I had mastered was the word ‘out’ – so when my classmates (grades 1-6) were teaching me baseball (we were playing scrub – didn’t know what that meant back then) and it was my turn at bat – I struck out. So they told me I was ‘out’ – I remember I started crying for they were saying I’m out and I was ready to walk home as I thought they no longer wanted me! Immediately some of the older kids understood and told me no no – it means that now you have to go out into field and catch the ball there and follow the order to get back up to bat again. My first school experience was a positive one!
Father always took us all on long walks on Sunday afternoons often my friends came along. There was enough time between the ten o’clock morning Church Service and the five o’clock evening Church Service, we always looked forward to it and maybe mother too because she had the opportunity to have an uninterrupted midday snooze. In the interest of making this story not too long I will dive right in, we were walking in a meadow and all of a sudden I saw a little animal, it was dead it had little hands and I could see the little hairs around its beak trilling in the wind. It was so still I had never seen anything so ‘STILL’ before the tears were already falling out of my eyes, father came and said what is it child. I pointed to the little animal “oh a little MOL” father said, and I thought, Oh it’s a MOL. I said, Father we need to bury him we cannot leave it I need a shoebox and bury it in the garden. I can easily run home and find a box and run back. No Geesje you cannot do that, more tears were falling in the grass, not because I wanted my way, I was truly sorry for that MOL, besides we had learned at an early age not to cry if we wanted our way. My friends who had come along on our walk were embarrassed for me, they were grinning, I heard “oh that’s Geesje”. All of sudden father said we will see what I can do later. To make a long story short we came home and went to Church, after church we had our evening meal, after a little while father said I will get the little MOL mother did you find a box? Father left with the box under his arm and went to the “WHAT?” to the shed for his bike, we looked at each other in consternation, ‘his bike’ on a SUNDAY?
Father was back in a short while, we had done the dishes in the meantime. We ha lots of time for the Funeral. I had picked a spot and my older brother had dug a hole in the soil, in the meantime just muttering something about silly little girls, but I did not care.
We all looked in the box and even Albert was quiet this time. I led the service (the first female Minister) we sang a Hymn it must have taken less than 10 minutes. I felt good about this little MOL in the box. Soon my younger sister and I went to bed we slept together in double bed. We were tired, typically we talked for a long time but this time we fell asleep almost immediately.
Not until I was an adult and I thought about these events I knew what thoroughly CHRISTIAN man my father was, I always wished I had told him that.
I had made a sign it read “LITTLE MOL” we all
I am sorry it was so long.
No worries Grace, this was a beautiful story. It also says something about your heart and faith as well. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Grace
I grew up on a dairy farm and when I was younger we would go with my dad to the barn while he did the chores. We were allowed to ride our tricycles throughout the barn so long as we did not get in my dad’s way. It was a nice way for my mom to have some quiet in the house and us to spend time with my dad while he worked. He always had FAAM peppermints and he could split one in half in the palm of his hand so we could share.
I was two, my two brothers, 5 and 6 and they loved pirates and treasures! My Mom, a Amsterdam champion swimmer of races in the canals and the North Sea had won many Gold, Silver, Bronze medals! My brothers took a metal box, and buried the medals! The next day my Dad had men over to pave the garage and driveway? Yes! (My mother killed my brothers!) And today her treasure box may still remain buried in the garage!
I remember one fall day when I was probably three or four and at home with my mom during the day. The leaves had all fallen on our front lawn and we had raked them into beautiful piles in the afternoon. Later that day, the big kids came home from school with all the denBaks. Seeing the big piles of leaves, all five of the denBak kids and my two siblings jumped into the leaves and started a huge leaf fight. Leaves were strewn across my newly raked lawn. I was so flustered (but not upset). I didn’t understand how jumping in the leaves could be more fun than seeing them nicely raked. I guess my type A personality started young.
I would have felt the same.
Day #2 — First job.
My first job was a paper route, starting with the Hamilton Mountain News and then the Hamilton Spectator. I can still remember Wednesdays and Saturdays as the heavy days, with all the flyers, and the TV Guide. Friday night was collecting night, $1.25 a week. I would come by and punch a hole in their card after they paid. Tips were nice (sometimes got $1.50!!!). At Christmas we inserted cards in the paper, and it paid off with big tips and sometimes gifts. Winters were not so fun, and it was hard to find replacements for summer vacation. But all in all it was a great first job. I must have liked it because I did it from grade 8-12. It didn’t pay for college, but it did give me spending money, and didn’t take too much time out of my busy social life.
1. I have two girl cousins the same age as me on one side of the family-we were the 3 musketeers 🙂 At our grandparents farm house whenever we watched tv we would all sit as close as we could because we wanted glasses (and were told sitting that close would wreck our eyes). Eventually cousin A and I would move back but cousin J would stay up close-she really REALLY wanted glasses. A few years later, who got glasses first? Me, then cousin A! Cousin J never did…:P
2. My first job was either a paper route-i took over for my brother delivering the Record 6 days a week-or it was a full time babysitting job when I was 12.
Well, this is almost as addictive as Face Book!
My first job – I also delivered the Hamilton Mountain News, although I didn’t remember that until Norm wrote about it. It paid very little, but got me and my foster brother out of the house for a while and we learned to get the job done. (same reason our kids delivered the Penny-saver, and then the Cambridge Times 🙂 )
In the last 2 years of high school I stayed after school for 2 hours each day to help the janitor clean the school. I had certain classrooms to sweep and all the girls’ bathrooms to clean. I remember one day a teacher told me the bathrooms were much cleaner after I took over! It was a small comment that meant a great deal in a job that is mostly unnoticed. In the winter months I’d end up walking home in the dark. I liked that because I could see into homes that had their curtains open.
I agree it is addictive what does that say about us Haha
We care about people…yeah thats right
Day 2 first job
I was a pinsetter(5 pin) at a bowling alley to small and slow for (10Pin).
I had to set for a kids birthday party and got a $5.00 tip cause they took so long.
MCD hamburger was.15 cents at the time so it was huge money.
Sorry pastor Norm I’ve probably started a tip war now.
At the same time I sold Christmas cards & gifts ((Jendron Greeting Card Co) to neighbours which was a nice money maker
Day 2: I attended Brantford Collegiate during Gr 9 & 10. I am not sure how I got this job but I assisted the School Librarian from 4-6 each school day with a variety of duties. I liked the job – the Librarian and I were not “kindred spirits.”
DE 0H DE 0H DE
I VAGUELY remember this story but I have heard my Mom tell it many times so I am well aware of the details.
I grew up on a very small (approximately seven acre) farm in central Nova Scotia. When I was going on three my Dad had some free range chickens that roamed the yard at will. It was my job I have been told to take some food out to the chickens (or as I called them chickees) and feed them. My Mom had a pot she put the grain in and I would take that pot out and scatter the food that she had put in the pot. That pot had the handle broken off and there was a rather sharp edge where the handle had been attached to the pot.
One day when I took the pot of grain out one of the
chickens all rushed for the food they knew I had. That rush startled me and I fell. The pot flew out of my hands and as I fell my head hit the pot right at the part where the handle had been attached. I started to bleed quite profusely and came into the kitchen holding my hand up over my right eye. My Mom tells me the blood was flowing
through my fingers and almost covering my hand as I was trying to stop the bleeding by covering the cut. I couldn’t talk very plain at that age and as I walked into the kitchen with all this blood streaming out between my fingers
I kept trying to say “Dear 0h dear 0h dear” It came out as “De 0 De 0 De”
If you look today very carefully buried under the right half of my right eyebrow you can still see the scar my fall that day marked my face with.
I’m sorry I didn’t get this posted until Day 2.
First paying job (not chores) was about 12 year old ? I pealed potatoes for a chip stand, 25 cent per 20 lbs bag. Me and my younger brother would peel 3 or 4 bags per day but thank goodness the potatoes were put in a machine to take most of the peeling off first. Eventually I graduated and was manning the chip stand on my own. Saturday night was the most busy. The chip stand was right beside the local hotel.
My first jobs were babysitting. I remember babysitting four kids aged less than one to about six years old when I was only eleven or twelve. I was so excited to do it, but it is crazy looking back that I was left alone and in charge for a day or an evening when I was barely old enough to stay home alone myself!
Growing up on a farm, if you wanted dinner you had to help out. (I used that line on my kids too when they asked what they would get when the had to do a “job” at home)
Working on the farm was a family affair and as we got older we were given a monthly pay check in appreciation for the work we did.
My first real paying job as picking grounders at my Uncle’s apple orchard for 10 cents a bushel. So thrilled at a young age to make real money.
Reading Rick’s note on learning English at school.(Feb.1) The teacher asked me something, and an older boy sitting in the same bench whispered a word to me which I told out loud to the teacher. He promptly took me by ear and hauled me out of the class room. I still don’t know what I said.
I started babysitting from age 13, but my first job otherwise was working for the Koiters at the West End Bakery in downtown Guelph when I was 16. I loved everything from the striped aprons to the friendly regulars to the big, loud, shaky bread slicer.
Day #3 — A Christmas memory.
I still remember the first technology gift we received: a Sears Tele-Games Sports Console (late 70s) with pong and hockey. It attached to the TV and we would spend hours defending ourselves from that little square white ball with our white sticks. I also remember taking the bus downtown Hamilton (also late 70s) with my younger brother to surprise our family with a gift – we went to Robinsons and bought the game Mouse Trap. We just knew they would love it. One final memory, my parents would always hide one bigger family gift somewhere, and a smaller present would be under the tree, wrapped with multiple layers and with different names on each layer, and clues to where to look. That was so much fun. Hmm, none of these memories have to do with Jesus…
Maybe the part of you all showing love for each other in different ways was the Jesus moment. The one we should have and look toward.
Thanks for pointing this out Linda, good point!!!
Day 3 Christmas
Church/Worship first then coffee then open presents. When my sisters married and had kids you learned a lot of patience. Cause everbody got one present and the grown-ups would discuss. What
they thought about the present, how they’d use it then thank the anonymous person who got it for
them. Happy times then and now when you think back on them
I remember as a kid how we celebrated Christmas in our French catholic tradition.
My mother would prepare the turkey meal on Christmas eve. We went to Christmas mass at midnight. We then came home and opened the gifts. I remember some of the kids being waken up to open the gifts, sometime there was a Santa Claus. Then we ate the turkey meal around 2 a.m. ??
It was a big crowd. There was 10 kids in our family. I was the second youngest. Some of my older brothers and sisters were married and had kids of their own. They were all there. It makes me wonder where everybody slept??
I was not too sure if I imagined all that so I just called one of my older brother to confirm if this is my imagination. He confirmed this is the way it was. Not only that, my parents usually invited some other couple or the priest for the turkey meal, There was some drinking and singing. Looking back at it I find it crazy! Can you imagine the chaos and how hectic it must have been? Poor Mom!
Yet there was lots of love and happiness. What a strange way of celebrating Christmas!
I like your story Philippe, yes your poor mother, but I am sure having all her children and maybe grandchildren around must have been so nice for her. She sounds like an amazing woman, with everyone around and still inviting other people tells much about your mother.
Every for at least the last five my friend and I get together and watch “Christmas with the Kranks” together sometime before Christmas. Every year it gets a little stupider and little more heartwarming.
As a family we didn’t acknowledge that Santa gave gifts but one year my dad came in the house with a red table cloth over his shoulders , a red hat and a bag of gifts. As kids we all looked at him and he didn’t fool anyone of us that he was Santa Claus.
Christmas 2019 we filled my sisters house with 45 people of all ages. It was absolute chaos and the best time. Oh the memory 🙂
Val you reminded me that my dad dressed up as zwarte Pete. We have a picture
of me staring up at St. Nicolas and my dad staring down at me cause I did not recognize him. If you want a hilarious take on the Dutch christmas tradition Read David Sedaris “Dress your family in Cordroy and denim” the chapter entitled “Six to Eight Black Men” I think the whole
bood is laugh out loud funny.
For 24 years we have had all the grandkids spend 2 nights at Christmas sleeping over at our house c. The open space on the floor became smaller and smaller as the kids grew bigger and bigger.Lots of laughter and bonding. Christmas 2020 was sure different!
Day #4 — Story about my mom.
I am thankful for my mom, for how she prepared me for life. She had no pretentions about being great, but was great to me in so many ways. She has been my constant encourager, and still to this day speaks helpful, hopeful words to me every Sunday.
I remember a time in high school when she spoke a very wise and discerning word to me. It was the first (and only) time I came home drunk after a dinner and party with friends on a Saturday Night. I made a lot of noise when I came home, but I pretended to be fine and pulled the wool over my parents eyes. It was a long unpleasant night, and the next morning I was too sick to go to church, explaining that the chicken dinner the night before made me sick. And that was the end of it.
That week I went out to a friends, and called out to my parents as I was leaving, “I’m going out to a friend’s house”. “Have a good time,” my dad called back, and my mom called back, “Don’t drink too much chicken.”
I’ve never forgotten that, and have never drunk too much chicken again.
Day 4 Mom
We had just arrived in Canada. Dad was not sure if we were on the right bus. My mom goes to the busdriver and says “Gaat deze bus naar Scot & Niagara straat?
He replies yes. Mom walks back proud of her english. I love her for her optimism and easy going nature and unwavering faith.
Day 4 – Mom
My mom grew up motherless as her mother died soon after she was born. She was raised by an aunt and uncle for 5 years as one of 10 children, and then moved back with her father and older sister and brother. They lived on a houseboat in Holland for many years. That must have been a shock.
I admire her for being resilient and kind. She and Dad came to Canada with my 4 siblings when she was 37. I was born several years later. I remember her taking English classes, learning to drive, and even learning to swim! She loved to sing and joined a choir to help with learning English. Within 10 years of arriving, we had foster children in our home and she was a fierce advocate for them. To me she was a living picture of grace.
She died suddenly of a heart attack soon after I had my first child. I am sad that my children did not get to know this humble, loving grandmother. Singing songs out of the Psalter Hymnal brings back strong and good memories of her.
Where is the story of my first job?
Sorry Grace, it did not come through, at least not on my end.
My mom was a short lady. She had to drop out of school in grade 2 to help with the family. She had all kinds of pains due to a hard life. She talked a lot. She kept her house very clean. It seems she was always working in the kitchen or cleaning the house. What stick to my mind most is her hospitality (Dad too). Three of my older sisters who live only an hour away would come over to stay almost every other weekend with their husbands and kids. The husbands would go fishing or hunting during the day. Mom cooked the supper with my sisters. There was always lots of people. They would play cards in the evening. Before bed mom would make another snack meal (coffee, toast, tomatoes etc…) Weekdays it was routine to have 3 full meals every day. Many Sundays the itinerant priest would invite himself for lunch after the mass. I now wonder how could they afford to feed so many people?
I am sure your sisters would take a lot of food with them if they were anything like your mother Philippe, they would not come for a weekend with empty bags. I know when we first came to Canada we would visit relatives and/or friends, they came in turn to our home, we always came with bags of groceries to each other.
I remember mother for her laughter. When I was about 3 or 4 years old I was desperate to go to the swimming pool, mother had promised we would go that afternoon. I was in a miserable mood, sitting/hanging on my chair with my thumb in my mouth, watching mother clearing the dishes of our midday lunch table. I asked “when are we going to the SWIMMINGPOOL” Mother replied “Soon” I replied “but soon is just not soo….oon “, mother burst out laughing , when she was in the kitchen I could still hear her laughter. All of a sudden I could wait until she was done.
Day 4 – My Mom
As a teenager my Mother was already quite hard of hearing. At the age of 16 she found it too difficult to hear everything in the mission society that she was a part of. Finally, she in disappointment, resigned. I learned later that Mom had a dream that she wanted to be a missionary – but she put that aside when she like her brother had inherited hearing loss from her Father. Later, when I told my Mother that I would be going to Bangladesh, after graduation from University, with CRWRC (World Renew now) – my Mother began to cry – but it wasn’t that she was unhappy that I would be going away – no she was so happy because she said, God didn’t allow me to become a missionary – but now my son is! I knew then and there my Mother would be faithfully praying for us – and she was one of the best and most regular writers (snail mail before there was anything like the internet).
II love that Rick, Grace
Growing up my Mom was home on the farm keeping life running smoothly for our family of 7. Every day when we came off the bus from school, my mom always had tea and cookies ready for us. If she wasn’t home then there was always a note on the counter letting us know where she was and when she was coming home. If there was no note, oh boy where we worried.
Mom provided security , consistency and love in our home. I am so thankful for her example in my life. And the consistency continues, most nights as I get ready for bed, my mom messages me a good night and sleep well.
It’s great to read such lovely and inspiring stories about your mothers! But, since many of you may already think my mom is lovely and inspiring, I thought I’d share a story more true to her character.
When I was about eight, I somehow managed to get a comb stuck in my hair in the shower. Like really, really stuck. My hair was twisted so tightly around it I could not for the life of me get it out. Visions of having to chop off all my hair to free it flashed through my mind as I tugged and tugged. Finally, I relented and called for my caring mother. Standing, wet and scared, I pleaded for help.
My dear mother thought this was perhaps the funniest thing she had ever witnessed. She burst out laughing. I burst out sobbing, sure I would be getting a haircut. She felt badly for me, but try as she might she could not control herself. We stood there in the two extremes of emotions until she was no longer standing but lying on the floor in the fetal position laughing. I was desperately upset and embarrassed (and was not at all amused), but my mother could barely stop laugh-crying long enough to gasp out a “sorry.”
Hearing the commotion, my sister and a bottle of conditioner came to my rescue and saved my hair (no thanks to my mother, who was still recovering on the floor). I have never seen someone laugh so hard. I can still picture her curled up crying on the floor while Johanna untangled me. Oh, to know and feel how deeply mothers cherish their children– makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Carina, thanks for the laugh! I totally see your Mom on the floor while you are trying to get her to help.
Day #5 – A story about a pet.
Growing up we had a puppy for a week, before we sent it back. We had goldfish and hamsters for our boys, but it was our daughter who sweet-talked us into getting a dog. You know how it goes, ‘I will feed it, walk it, care for it, do whatever it takes, forever and ever, Amen’. Anyway Lilly was a rescue dog, a toy poodle. She had 3 or 4 teeth left (she was neglected so bad, the rest had to be pulled). She was good with us, but did not like other people. She was Janelle’s dog, but I was her Alpha male, and she especially liked me. I called her Cling-on, because she wanted to be wherever I was, even if that meant wandering around the house (a game I played to lose her). In the middle of the night she would leave Janelle’s bed and come to my side of the bed, again and again. It was a sad day for all of us when we had to put her down… and I came to miss that little toothless cling-on.
Day 5 Pets
It won’t be Covid that kills me if I tell what happens to
small pets in our family I will leave that to Mary. The dog survived and the cat is
still with us.
We have a cat, my aunt has a dog. For years, the cat would hide whenever she heard the dog coming. Once, the cat decided to sneak downstairs and check out the dog. The dog was very excited to see what she assumed was a playmate. Unfortunately, the dog got too excited, my aunt lost hold of the leash, and the dog ran to our cat to say hello.
The cat ran for the stairs, chased by the dog, who was chased by the three kids, who were chased by the three adults. We have two sets of stairs in our house so we were the picture of a sitcom–all of us up the stairs, across the house, down the other stairs, across the house, up the stairs again, at which point the cat found a hiding spot under a bed. There the cat stayed for a good long while… and she no longer ventures down when she hears that bark.
Day 5 “Bijou was his name”
That’s the earliest dog I can remember as a kid. As a pup he was lifting his hind legs to reach inside his bowl to eat. In the morning when we were getting dress he kept pulling our wool sox from our feet and running away with it. When my children were young this is one of the stories I told them.
I think we had cats and dogs most of my childhood.
My very first job.
I told mother I had seen a real leather purse in the window of one of the stores on Main street. We were living in a small town surrounded by fields meant to grow flower bulbs. I asked mother if I could buy the purse, she looked at me and said you know better than to ask me that, but then Mother said you know the brothers Bruin are asking for children 12 years or older to come and pick beans at their vegetable farm. I went directly to the Bruin Brothers vegetable farm and asked if I could have a bean picking job, what is your name girl, I told him my name, he said one of the Boter girls, good, you are hired. Wow, I was over the moon. For the next three weeks I was soaked from the heavy dew on the field early in the morning and the rest of the day from sweating in the hot sun. There were many children picking beans I made some nice friends. When the picking of beans was done I went home knowing I could buy my “REAL LEATHER” purse. The very next Sunday I was proud to wear my purse into Church. The purse I bought in the Toy Store.
First job. I grew up on a fruit farm, working beside my mother who had earthy Dutch humor. When I’d complain that my back hurt, she said “You don’t have a back, you just have a hook that your bum hangs on.” To make money in addition to my allowance, I picked strawberries on Tigchelaar’s farm.
Pets. Herman takes care of them. When the children were still at home, we had a hamster in a cage that had a squeaky wheel. The WD 40 I applied stopped the squeak and the hamster. There are other stories, but enough said that Herman does pet care.
Feb 6: I am thankful that I have not had any serious car accidents throughout my “driving life.” Unfortunately, my first car accident happened a few weeks after we were married. I was driving “our” car and managed to scrape the rear fender of the VW beetle while Kees was out of town at an IBM course in Chicago. That was not an easy telephone call to make!
Day 6 Accident
We lived in a house with central heating. The furnace had been removed but the grate covering it remained in the centre of the hall. My Dad carrying a tray of cups saucers and teapot down the hall fell thru the grate. I still see everything flying thru the air and smashing into the end hall. I run to the phone and dial the emergency number (no 911 at the time) I explain the situation and the guy at the other end says “What was that again lady?!!?” They weren’t needed the only thing hurt was the china.
and my pride
When we were in seminary in Michigan, I went shopping with several of the seminarian wives. On our way back , we were involved in a car accident right in front to the seminary. I saw the accident about to happen and so threw my hands in front of my face as I knew that I was going to be thrown forward and hit the head rest in front of me. After the impact, I split my eye brow open and had a nice amount of blood running down my face. A by stander came to see how we were all fairing, so I asked them to go in the seminary and find all our spouses to let them know what happened. When the ambulance arrived they wanted to take me to the hospital. We had no insurance (and no money) while we were living there, so I told them it was okay, I would wait for my husband to get the car and he would take me there. I received a lovely set of stitches and a thanks from Norm who was in a class that he was happy to leave.
In my mid 20’s I was driving a 5 ton truck for a company. One day as I drove to a gas station for refill the top of the truck crashed the overhanging canopy. I had to take the air of the tires in order to dislodge the truck and back it out. I was not hurt but my pride was.
The truck was repaired but for the next few months whenever I would go under a bridge or any underpass I was automatically bracing myself as if a crash was about to happen. Even if there was a big tractor trailer just ahead of me passing under the bridge I was still bracing myself in anticipation of getting the top of my truck crashing again.
I needed to replace a burned out ceiling light bulb on the landing at the top of the stairs to the basement. Unable to reach it, I found a small table and stood on top of it, hoping to reach the light, but it was still about a foot too high. I took a kitchen chair and set it nicely on top of the square table and proceeded to climb back up. Just as I was about to unscrew the light bulb, the chair slipped off the table and chair, table and myself went crashing down the full flight of stairs and landed at the bottom. I was amazed that I was still in one piece and not even injured. The steps were not as fortunate as there were a number of chips and gauges. As I picked myself up, thankful that I was alive, I realized what a dangerous and “stupid” venture this was and most likely will not repeat it.
P.S. Auto correct doesn’t know how to spell “gouges”.
My story is actually about an accident from which God spared me. I was on my way to visit my parents with my three children, who at the time were 2 and just a few months old(twins). In order to get to my parents I had to drive along a country road that had several hills. As I was driving up one of the hills, something told me to pull over to the side of the road. I can’t tell you if it was a voice that told me, or just a feeling, but without questioning it, or without hesitation, I pulled over. A few seconds later, cresting the hill from the other direction came a car driving quickly in the centre of the road. We would have hit head on. I truly believe that God told me to pull over.
Day #6 — An accident.
A friend and I almost drove over the Hamilton escarpment. It’s all in the telling of the story. He was speeding towards the edge (on a paved street), intending to turn quickly on the street running along the edge. There was loose gravel, and instead of turning we slid straight towards the edge. Well sort of, there was a large stretch of grass, and then trees, and a stone wall still between us and going over. We mounted the curb and settled in the grass. We were never really in danger, but I told all my friends at that time we almost crashed over the edge of the escarpment. That’s the only car accident I’ve ever been in.
As cousins, we used to play in Opa’s hay barn. Once, I fell between two bales on the bottom layer with my leg sticking out. It wouldn’t have been a problem (and I should have been able to pull myself out), except the bale I had come down from was unsteady and it fell on top of me. My leg was sticking out at an awkward angle while the rest of my body was trapped under the bale. A few minutes later my dad and uncle pushed the bale off and pulled me out, scared and with hay in my hair but completely unharmed.
Day #7 — A vacation in Canada
When we lived in PEI, we went for a camping trip on Cape Breton Island. The scenery was beautiful, but somehow that was lost on our young children. They were disappointed when the whale we saw was a thin sliver of a surface appearance. We were deluged by never-ending rain, so that we finally abandoned our trailer for a cottage. Janelle had an ear infection, so a trip to the hospital for antibiotics. The Cabot trail had no McDonald’s or playgrounds to distract the kids, just continuous vistas of creation beauty that they could not appreciate. We finally made our way back to the ferry and waited for the next one. There were lots of cars, would we make it on? As the cars loaded we approached the ramp, but then the man stopped us. He spoke into his walkie talkie, then motioned for us to stay and for the car behind us to proceed… No room for a van with a trailer. Another 75 minute wait with the kids. We finally made it home… only to discover that our house had been broken into. That is our memory of Cape Breton Island.
Memorable vacation was about 22 years ago. “Kingdom Bound” at Six Flags Amusement Park in New York. We rented a trailer for 6 people and had access to the amusement park. Every year at the beginning of August for 4 days this amusement park is dedicated to Christian ministry. All day long, there is lots of table displays, concerts, worship services, talk shows, testimonies, sports etc… There was something for everyone. My teenage kids spent their day riding the amusement park rides, water park, and the occasional concert. My wife would spend most of her days at water park, reading, walking around. I was going to listen to various speakers, check out the many organization displays. We would all meet back at the trailer for lunch and supper. We would all watch the end of night evening musical and fireworks displays. As family, we went to this park 4 or 5 times through the years. Now that I think about it, I would like to go there again when life is back to normal. I know the kids would like to go again.
We went for a road trip out East when I was ten, including PEI. Being in the thick of my Anne of Green Gables phase, I was delighted. I still have my (empty) bottle of raspberry cordial and I often reread the books which fill me with joy.
First big purchase has to be our first home in Chatham – March 1963 – brand new bungalow for $14,400.00. So exciting! I didn’t sleep for a whole night – placing my furniture in it. Lived there very happily for six and a half years.
Day 7 Canadian Vacation
First time at Grundy Lake mosquitos so bad I let a spider live in our trailer because he was capturing them. The saying kill one and twenty show up for the funeral was never so true. Thomas our youngest was wilderness camping further north with another family poor guy. End of the week he’s dropped off at our campsite happy and chipper as can be. They had unloaded their gear the mosquitos were so bad that they loaded back up. Drove to the nearest Days Inn with and indoor pool and HBO for the week.
I invited my mom to Darian Lake, she thought nice picnic area. I got everybody
to go on the wooden rollercoaster. As the rideis dipsy doodling I’m thinking what have I done, my 75yr old mother is on this thing. When we got off there was a picutre of my mom sitting very erect like the queen of Holland grey hair in an afro. She sid it was very nice but she did not want to do it again.
Rain is a theme in Sennema camping but it was also a holiday theme growing up on a farm. One summer the weather was drizzling so my dad thought it would be a great day to go for a picnic. Off to Omemee Provincial Park we went since there was not much to do on the farm. Who do we meet there but another farming family from our church who had the same good idea. Made for a great day since the park and beach were not busy and we were easy to impress because we had friends and didn’t have to work.
Day #8 — A dentist.
I will never forget the feeling of getting a root canal on my front tooth when I was around 13 or 14. I had kissed the pavement when my bag slipped into the front tire of my bike and I flew over the handlebars face first into the road. In those days dentists had no TVs to distract you, and other than freezing no other additional aids for not feeling the pain. I vividly remember the dentist inserting some kind of sticklike fillers into the tooth, I guess to strengthen it. I still shiver when I think about it. I won’t talk about when that tooth finally fell out two years ago, and I needed a replacement. And I won’t say who in the congregation served me the garlic bread that I bit into and broke my tooth on… Anyway, I am smiling again.
I had an abscessed tooth in grade two. I was too scared to say I was in pain at school, but when my mom came to pick us up I broke down. I ended up at an emergency dentist’s office. It was unpleasant, though I remember the dentist was lovely. I can still hear her calling me a “brave little princess” while she drilled. As with most dentistry, it was not an enjoyable experience.
Day 8 Dentist
My brother-in-law had just gotten new dentures that were still uncomfortable. We had a family picnic and he had the most comfortable lounger of us all. The kids were definitely eyeing it. my brother-in-law gets up puts his teeth in a napkin and lays it on the chair the kids did not notice this. First kid runs to the chair grabs the napkin opens it , does a double take and lays it back on the chair. no more coveting.
I love the sound of the dentists drill said no one ever.
No great stories or experiences with the dentist. When we lived in Ajax, we hadn’t been to the dentist for so long, they thought we moved.
Thankful for the work that they do and that someone likes to take care of others teeth. Not a job I would choose.
Day 8 Dentist story
I might have been 8 year old? The dentist came to our town once a month if I recall right. I was in the chair for an extraction. I received the needle to freeze my mouth. All of a sudden there was some commotion in the front room and the dentist came back and said he had to go. I was sent home. Later on I found out the dentist who was the only medical or health officer in town was summoned to an accident where a young boy was hit by a car. The kid survived and I got my tooth pulled the following month.
Feb 9 An embarrassing moment.
In grade 2 or 3 at school. In class, a friend gave me a “Black ball” which is a hard candy. In those days gums, candies or anything like that were forbidden in class. I put it in my mouth, but after a few seconds my friend pointed out that I had some black on the corner of my mouth. I proceeded to wipe the side of my mouth with my tongue. I didn’t realized that my tongue was also black because of the candy. The more I used my tongue the more my face was getting black. My friend was laughing more and more and others had joined in as well. The teacher walked to me and asked if I had anything in my mouth. I was scare of the possible punishment (the strap) therefore answered there was nothing. I did not know but by that time the surrounding of my mouth was all black. The whole class laughed at me. I could not figure why and was embarrassed. The teacher told me to go wash my face. When I saw my face in the mirror I realized why the whole class was laughing.
Feb 9 Embarrassment
Quarter century club at work i could pick out a gift and it would be presented at the next meeting. We line up for our group picture.Everyone picked out either a ring or wristwatch. I am standing there with a 2ft (60cm) pendulum clock. Then when I retired the company paid for a Peter Etril Snyder print. I paid a little extra for a bigger print. Once again everyone lines up for the group photo with their 5X7 print. I’m standing there with my 24X36 framed picture. As the expression goes “Go big or go Home” I did both. Who was embarrassed, Mary of course.
Feb 7: A Vacation in Canada – Canada has many wonderful vacation spots! Some of the places that I have been to are the Yukon, BC, Vancouver Island and Nova Scotia. My favourite destination continues to be Newfoundland. Kees, our daughter and I visited there in 2009. The ocean, vistas, parks, and Bed and Breakfast places were unique. I would go again at the drop of a hat.
When I did gymnastics, we would run around the gym through all the equipment to warm up in the morning. When I started classes again after a summer break, I was running in a warm-up. As I approached the uneven bars, which we ran under, I didn’t duck, but rather ran directly into the low bar with my forehead and fell flat on my back. I hadn’t realized I had gotten taller over the summer and I misjudged the height! It was embarrassing but we all had a good laugh 🙂
I was VERY shy growing up. In grade school I sang in a choir for an assembly. I knew I was going to faint and thought I could either walk off the risers in front of everyone looking at me or I could faint and be taken out of the gym without out being aware of it. I chose the later. I remember my knees bucking and then being in the hallway. A well worked out plan.
Day #9 – An embarrassing moment.
When I was on my internship as a pastor, I was guest preaching in a neighboring church. The night before my glasses broke. While in the pulpit I realized I had developed a habit, to push up or adjust my glasses. Every few minutes my hands went up to my face and pushed… nothing, no glasses to adjust. Trying to save face, I would scratch my cheek, or act as if I was thinking by pointing to my head. I felt silly, and tried to stop it. But I kept doing it unconsciously. Someone said it was quite funny to see my hand go up to my eyes every so often. I made sure I got the glasses fixed before I preached again.
Day 9 – Embarrassing moment.
It was my job to print up the church bulletin; the best blooper I made was “Today we will witness the BIRTH of Jordan Faber in our service.” (!) In the pews, one member leaned over to another and said ‘I guess the children will be leaving for Sunday School early today. I ate humble pie that day after church.
That is funny Liz. Reminds me of one minister who prayed for a member waiting for the results of their autopsy (instead of biopsy). And another minister who prayed for a ladies vasectomy (instead of hysterectomy). I trust Jordan came through it all OK.
Day #10 — First big purchase.
My first big to me purchase was not big like a car or house. In Grade 12 I worked for a month in Chatham, deroguing and detasseling corn. I stayed with my uncle and aunt, so had no expenses. I saved all my hard earned money with one purchase in mind. When I got home I went downtown Hamilton to a small electronics store and bought a… ghetto blaster. One of those big ones, that people carried around on their shoulders in the early eighties with their long 80’s hair (before sony walkmans and ipods). It had a radio and double cassette player and bass boosting detachable speakers. Never before had I laid out $200 like that.
Feb 10 first big purchase.
My first car, a nice red Comet!
I was 18 year old, moved from up North to the big city of Toronto, the land of opportunity. I lived with my sister and husband and worked in some factory. Every day as I walked to the bus station I pass by a beautiful Red Maverick car. I kept telling myself one day I will owe a car like that. One year later I had enough money saved to buy my first second hand car, a Red Comet. Boy was I proud.
When I went back up North visiting my parents and childhood friends everyone was impressed and happy for me.
Day 7 – a vacation in Canada
My parents wouldn’t let a summer go by without going camping. However, one summer (I think I was 18) my mother saw an ad in the Calvinist Contact for a cottage near Arden ON. She said it would be nice for us to spend a week in a cottage. So we went as a family. We found out we could rent rowboats to go out fishing. WE also rented a small boat with a small outboard motor. We sure had fun and we were able to catch a lot of fish. But we got the prop stuck in a marshy section and had to be rescued. Then we stuck to rowboats, but that led to another problem – we kept breaking oars. In the end we had to leave early because Mom said we were burning through the cash we needed for groceries and gas for the drive home (no credit cards in those days). My brother Jake and I ended up dating girls from Welland while there and for a time afterwards. I remember my Mom being upset that I was dating a Catholic girl.
Day 10 – first big purchase.
As a young boy, starting already at the age of 9, I would spend weeks helping out on my uncle’s farm with the haying. When I was 13 we had moved from Woodstock to Grimsby, but my uncle asked me to come help out in July. I told my Mom that I had my eyes on a Channelmaster all band radio, so I asked if I would go, I would like to spend some of the money I earned to buy this rather expensive radio. It gave me incentive as I drove tractors raking, baling, stooking, and putting hay bales into the barn. I always enjoyed staying with my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins (all girls at the time) – and I enjoyed hunting for groundhogs too! After about 5 weeks I was back home with my ‘pay’ and shortly there after I was able to walk in a buy the radio that I had my eyes on!
Day 10 BIg Purchase
When I was about 10 I got money to spend on a friends birthday present. I bought him a little gift. Whch I’m sure he would like. With the money left over I bought myself a bigger gift. I have changed since then I hope. FIrst really big purchase was a used 65 Volkswagon for $500.00
When I was 15 I had to quit school to work on the farm. I pleaded with my parents to buy Encyclopedia Brittanica, which they finally did and took the next year or more paying for it on monthly payments.
One of my first big purchases was a DS (a little handheld gaming device). After watching my siblings get one, I remember doing extra chores and saving birthday money until I could join them.
Day #11 – A sibling.
I could write a story about each of my siblings, but I instead I will simply say that I appreciate all my siblings. Every year we plan a weekend of camping together, and it is always a joy to be together and share laughs and memories together. When I turned 50, the best party I could think of was inviting all my siblings and their spouses together for a dinner gathering. I am also thankful that all of our kids get along so well, and enjoy time with their aunts and uncles and cousins.
Feb 11 (sibling) – I am one of seven, two of whom have gone on before me. I have always looked up to my oldest brother who will become 87 in June. He is still very alert mentally but lives with a number of health issues. He is gentle, not a person to push to the foreground but knows where he stands. He and his wife live in a Retirement Home in Hamilton and I am looking forward to being able to visit them as soon as we are able to.
Day 11 Sibling
My sister had her boyfriend over and I guess I was to be the chaperone since my parents were out. Her boyfriend gives me money to buy pop from the corner store a half a mile walk. As I am leaving the store I drop the boyfriends pop. The store would not give me another one. I’ve just wasted 20 cents and a 5 cent deposit I am in big trouble. I walk into the house crying tell them what happened and my sister says thats okay here is some money just go back and get another one. All the way back to the store I thought “What great sister I have”
Out of 9 sibling, my younger brother has been the closest to me. He is 2 year younger. As children we were always doing things together. Then things changed for a couple of years when I was 18 and could legally drink and hang around the hotel with my friends. He was left out. He could not go where I could now go. I moved away to Toronto and when he was 18 he came to live with me. Soon after, we rented an apartment together and went through the dating ups and downs together. Eventually we each moved our separate ways. We are now quite different. He is very social and has a big circle of friends. He is the life of a party. He and his wife chose not to have children therefore were able to take many vacation and cruises. We still phone each other every few weeks and go stay at their place a couple of times a year close to Owen Sound. We have learned to respect our differences and belief system. The shared experiences we had in our early years has created a special bound.
My brother, 8 years older, was a tease. He told me I could see stars by looking up a coat sleeve, then poured water down the sleeve. I, in turn, painted on his sky blue car with the brick red paint that I was putting on the wooden garage. We learned to communicate in better ways over the years.
I miss him now, with his open faith and his quirky habits.
My siblings and I got along relatively well growing up, though the saying that “you will like your siblings more once you move out of the house” was definitely true for us. I have enjoyed much richer relationships with both my siblings as we’ve gotten older. However, I do have very fond memories of playing when we were young as well. I vividly remember reenacting scenes of a crime show we used to watch with nerf guns and creating elaborate worlds to play in as well. My parents really let use explore and have fun together.
Day #12 — An easter memory.
On my internship, I was a guest preacher at a church in Welland, ON. That morning just before I left I learned that an elderly lady whom I had visited regularly passed away. I drove to church with tears and sadness, and yet it enabled me to bring resurrection hope and joy with deeper conviction and meaning. Somehow that moment has always stuck with me every time I experience death, and encourages me deeply with resurrection hope and joy.
An Easter Memory
When talking with Grace this morning – we were prodding each other trying to think of Easter Memories. Neither of us could at the time. Was Easter boring? But now it just came to me – the Easter I remember is when for the first time I went through a foot washing ceremony at the mission church in Bogra Bangladesh. Andy washed my feet and I washed his on the outside steps of the church building – then we went in and participated Lord Supper together – men and women separate (I can’t remember who washed Edith’s feet?). The humility of that act and the setting of going to your pew underneath a canopy of palm fronds that the Sunday school children had put up – made it a memorable and special Easter! Can’t remember the text or the message – my Bengali wasn’t good enough to keep up!
An Easter memory that stick to my mind was when I was about 7 year old??
Someone had told me that on Easter day at sunset, water in creeks was holy and miraculous. If people were to bath in it they would be cured of sickness and pains. That year I decided that I would get up very early on that Easter day and go get a pail of “Holy water” as a gift for my mother who had many pains. I did not told anyone of my plan. I tied a rope to my leg and bed in the hope that early morning it would wake me up so that I could go get the water to the creek before sunrise. Although I wanted so much to get that holy water so that my mother would be healed I dreaded the thought of being outside in the dark so early in the morning. I imagine that the devil might be there trying to stop me (I was very superstitious and fearful in my childhood.) Yet, I was determined that I would go, God would protect me. In spite of my best intention, I did not wake up before the sun was risen therefore I did not go since the water was not going to be holy anymore. I was relieved in some way, yet disappointed with myself.
Oops made a mistake on second line. I meant Sunrise not sunset.
This past Easter was memorable for me. It was a quiet COVID day, but I ended up taking our family on a very long walk through Cambridge and it was lovely. I felt deep Easter hope shine through the pandemic that weekend. I remember it feeling very sacred.
Day 12 Easter memory
Mary and I were driving home from Myrtle Beach on Easter Sunday. Drove off the interstate and looked for a church. Found one, a small white church, parking lot was full but no one was going in. I thought we could probably hangout in, Christian word coming up, the “Narthax” I open this big wooden door only to findout there is no “Narthax” just the sanctuary. All heads turn our way. Can’t back out now. The choir sang we sang a hymn ,pastor I think gave us, a summary of the sermon and the blessing church was over. They had had a sunrise breakfast then a worship service. they said we could come back anytime. Fellowship beautiful.
Day # 13 – My dad.
I think of my dad as a craftsman, one that modeled for me a humble creativity and skill. With limited tools he made many things I still remember: renovating the houses we lived in, furniture for those houses (several come to mind, like the highchair, the Lego kist, funky bunk bed for my brother and I), an electric organ complete with two keyboards and a full set of pedals, several train sets with mountains and bridges and buildings. He is still crafting things in my brother’s workshop to this day, and his work is displayed in all our homes. He was also a musical craftsman, and I still see him playing the organ in church growing up, and will always love organ music because of him. I think of the times playing recorder and trumpet with him on the organ. I have inherited some craftmanship from him, though my skills are not as refined as his. My dad built a home (not a house) for our family, and still keeps that family together in how he supports the rest of us in his gentle, generous and humble way.
I am thankful for my dad, for how he equipped me for life.
He IS My Dad
Before you read this I want you to think of a giant. How tall do you picture a giant to be? Keep that figure in mind as you read. Sometimes when I am under stress I write. This story is one that in my mind stands out of what I have written and have over time shared it with others. One I shared it with is a girl I used to work with. Her name is Barb Everett. The day after she read it Barb had tears in her eyes. Let me get on with the story.
I remember the last time I saw my Dad. He was old, that is if you consider
almost 97 old. The first time I remember one of his birthdays was in March of 1955. On March 13th of that year he turned 40 and then I thought that was OLD. I was only five at the time. Little did I know then that I would be honoured to have him for more than 56 years after that. He was only about five feet six inches tall but to me he was a giant.
He knew everything. He could do anything.
In the natural course of events, Imoved away from home but still he was my Dad. He was always there and I could talk to him anytime I wanted.
Although neither of us said it enough we had a love that we could not
describe. Or needed words for. We just KNEW it was there. He took pride in
his grandchildren. He had health issues as he got older. Three heart attacks
in his 70’s. A broken hip, and more. But he got better. I already told you he
was my Dad and could do anything. He was like a ROCK. Then as his 80’s turned into his 90’s we started to notice things. Little things. There were too many “little things” happening too often. He would forget. He would get confused. One day I was visiting and for the first time my Dad thought I was my nephew. I didn’t like hearing that but I understood. He couldn’t help what his mind was thinking. It didn’t stop me from loving him. He was my Dad.
The same thing happened a number of times but each time I reacted the same. He was my Dad.
He found it necessary, as many his age do, to begin to wear adult diapers.
He seemed to shrink. But still he was always there. He was my Dad.
Then early in June of 2011 I got a call from my Mom. She told me my Dad had been taken to the hospital. He had gotten up in the middle of the night and
started looking through all his clothes for something and piling his clothes on
his bed. We never did find out what he was looking for. My Mom had called 911
and they took him to the local hospital. Little did we know he would never be
home to stay again during the rest of his life. The hospital found him a
nursing home about an hour away in Springhill Nova Scotia and he was
there for about 6 weeks. Because my Dad was a veteran DVA was able to
find him a nursing home in Truro, the town he lived in and that was much
easier for my Mom to visit him. She was 88 at the time.
From time to time I would call him and some calls were “ok” and some were
not so “ok”. I found if he knew me he was great but if he didn’t know me he
would avoid asking me questions that would show up his memory problem.
But still he was my Dad
I remember one bad day was a day about three months before my Mom called, I was talking to him on the phone and he asked me how Andra and the baby were. Andra is my nephew’s wife and they just had a new baby. It was obvious Dad
thought I was my nephew. He had for some time been confusing me with
my nephew when I was sitting talking to him face to face but for some
reason the day he did the same thing over the phone I had a VERY hard
time dealing with it. My wife and I had made plans to go to visit him the last
week in May. For about two weeks after that bad phone call I thought about
what I should do. Should I go visit him now or should I wait until May.
One day a friend at work, Pam “Giggles” Barker, noticed I seemed distracted
and asked me what the problem was. I told her nothing but she didn’t believe me. She said “I don’t believe you. Tell me what’s wrong” Then I told her about the phone call from my Mom and how it affected me.
I asked her “Should I go now when five minutes after I leave he won’t remember I was there or should I wait until May?” She IMMEDIATELY told me to go then and not wait until May. I asked her why and she gave me the best piece of advice I have ever been given in my life. She said
“It doesn’t matter if he remembers if you were there. YOU will remember”
Later, alone with that advice, and my thoughts, I broke down and cried. I knew she was telling the truth.
When I got home that morning I told my wife “I can’t wait until May, I have
to go now”. We talked it over and came up with the money for me to go
alone and I went to visit over Easter holiday weekend. I didn’t care that I
was going to be there for only two days I would get to see him. He was my
Easter weekend the first time I saw him was Saturday morning. By now he
was in a wheelchair. Although he told others I was his son he never did
tell them my name. I think he knew I was his son but I also think he forgot
my name. Ironically my name is the same as his only with Jr. added.
I remember sitting at the breakfast table he shared with a friend, and
watching him try to eat. He was very slow and seemed to lack energy. He
seemed so very small. And grey. It was difficult to have a conversation with
him but he was my Dad.
Then the saddest thing I have ever witnessed in my life happened. As he
was eating some oatmeal a small portion dropped off his spoon and landed
on his shirt front. He was heartbroken that had happened. He tried to pick it
up with his spoon. But couldn’t. It kept falling and I could see the more he
tried the more he was struggling and the more embarrassed he was. He
wanted so much to be neat but just could not get it. I reached over and
gently took his spoon and picked up the oatmeal for him. He looked at me
with a tear in his eye and quietly said “I have to go to the bathroom”. I
offered to help him but he said no, he would get one of the attendants to
While they were gone, I sat there thinking about my Dad. How was it
possible that a big strong 5 foot 6 inch giant of a man I had known all my
life be the same man I had just tried to help. He used to change my bum
and now he needed someone to change his. That day my Dad wasn’t the
only one that had a tear in his eye. I had several. I think I knew then that I would not have him much longer. But I still loved him and still he was my Dad.
I saw him again Sat afternoon, and the last thing I did before I went back to
the motel was to “tuck him in” that evening with a third visit of the day. It
was a short quick visit just to say I love you and I care.
I had breakfast with him again Sunday. The entire family (my Mom, Dad,
sister and niece and I ) attended a non denominational church service they
had right in the nursing home and after the service my Mom and Dad and
myself all happened to be in his room. During our time together it was like
he was 66 and not 96. Just like the early days he was my Dad
Later on Sunday evening the very last thing I did was to go visit him on my
way back to the motel. I had to leave the next morning and would be gone
when he woke up.
That evening visit would be the last time I saw him alive. He wanted me to
take him to the front door of the nursing home so he could catch the train to
London. There was no train at the front door. There never was and never will
be. I told him the excuse that it was too late that day and maybe we could
do it the next time. That next time never happened. It bothers me many
years later, even today, that the last time I talked to him what I told him about catching the train “the next time” was a lie.
From my earliest memories to the latest ones, I have of my Dad where I saw
him on a wild “roller coaster” of a ride near the end of his life he was my
Dad. At that point I had every intention of visiting him again at the end of
May with my wife.
But five weeks later I got a call from my Mom about 7AM. She told me
simply “It’s all over” but still he was my Dad.
It is amazing how death has no power whatsoever in ending a person’s love
for someone. Instead of ending your love for someone death enhances your memories of that person and the parts of his or her life that you treasure. I still love my Dad and always will. After all he was my Dad.
I have one more comment.
Many times, in this story I have used the phrase “He was my Dad”. Some may think I used it excessively. Think that but you would be wrong because that phrase is not the important part of what I have written here today. I said it so often to emphasize the TRULY important part of what I have written and to make that part stand out. The important part it is something I wrote only ONCE. If you want to see what the IMPORTANT part is go back and check the title of this piece. Look at it CAREFULLY. There is one word that is different. That one SOLITARY word isthe IMPORTANT part of what I have just written.
I remember my dad as a hard working man. A workhorse. He has shared very little about his life or feelings. He came from a big family and left his home at 14 year old. With a grade 3 education he managed to make a living farming and eventually being a lumberjack and finally working in a lumbermill for the last 30 years of his life. His main goal was to provide food and shelter for his family. Once in a while there would be visitors in our house and I would be surprise to see my dad drinking, singing, dancing and laughing. Playing cards on the weekend was the main entertainment I recall them involved in. I do not recall many conversations or intimate time with us kids. I do not hold it against him because I think this was the way he was raised and the way things were in those days. I saw a different side of him after his retirement when I would visit my mom and dad with my own children. Once in a while he was playing horse with my 2 young toddlers. He would talk and play with them. I do not recall these kind of intimate moments with any of us. I was pleased because I could see that if the circumstances or culture of those early days were different he too would have been more closer to his kids and express his love in more open ways. I have inherited some of his traits and try to be closer to my kids and express my feelings. It does not come naturally and can empathize with my dad.
He died at 82 years old. I consider him to be an honest, faithful and good man.
Day 13 My Dad
He was a barber, it was not an easy life for him. I admire the fact that in his forties he packed us up and left for Canada. At a time when most likely would never see your parents and siblings again. Unless they came by boat. Which my mom’s parents did. He loved to fish with my sister and he was a crafty kind of guy. I have a rug that he made. I have been with out my dad for more than half my life. I look forward to that glorious day when I can give him a huf. He was not a touchy feely guy so probably an elbow bump will have to do.
My Dad passed away over 32 years ago and my memories of him bring a smile to my face. He had a quiet strength , kind heart and lead by example.
A favorite memory is when I was 16 and Dad and I were waiting on a warm summer night out in the field for a cow to calve. On the hay bale while we waited, my dad asked questions about life. It was treasured alone time with my dad. Oh how I wish we would have more years together.
When we were little, my dad used to play a fun make believe game with us. Every now and then on a Saturday night, my mom would slip away (I don’t remember if she actually left or just stepped out of the kitchen), and my dad would make a big show of leaving the house. A few minutes later, he would knock on the door in a different shirt, claiming to be “Giuseppe Pepperoni.” Giuseppe, with a rich Italian accent, would inform us he had come to our house to help us make pizza without our parents around. He would come into the kitchen and we’d make some homemade pizza together. Each time Giuseppe came, we desperately tried to get him to admit he was really our dad. He never did, and we were never quite sure if it was our dad or a magical Italian pizza chef. He would pretend not to know where ingredients and tools were as we assembled our pizza. If my memory serves, when the pizza was done, he would make a big show of leaving, change shirts again, and come back in as “dad.” He would never admit to being Giuseppe. We never knew for sure if it was all a game or not. It still makes me smile warmly to think of that ridiculous character and accent he donned just to have some fun.
Dad. He grew up fatherless, as his father and his father’s sister died of the Spanish flu (age 27 and 24). He was 2 at the time, and was raised his mother and grandmother. He was an only child who was often up to no good, but when he got caught he blamed his (imaginary) twin brother Andreas! lol
He worked very hard from the age of 14 and became a skilled carpenter who could make just about anything. He also became quite hard of hearing as he never wore ear protection. He was always working on something in the basement and the smell of sawdust and /or the sound of a table saw always reminds me of him. He loved to sing, but his deafness did not make it a pleasant experience for the rest of us. This did not stop him from singing loudly in church! 🙂
As a youngest child I have memories of a much gentler father than my older siblings experienced. When I was a young teenager, Dad and I would often go to different churches on Sunday evenings instead of to the second service at our own church. Not sure why he did this, but I enjoyed this time with him. He was always interested in new things and switching things up. He showed me that God is bigger than a church or denomination.
Day #14 — First time flying.
In 1984 my parents took my younger brother and I to visit the Netherlands. Although I missed my gr.12 graduation, it was worth it. One moment I remember was taking off on the runway. Suddenly thrusting forward, then the front lifting up, and seeing the curtain in the door frame ahead of me angling towards me as the angle of the plane changed. I remember the thrill of that moment as we lifted off. That moment is still a thrill to me everytime I fly.
Day 14 First time flying
My dad for our grade eight graduation would pay for a flight in a Piper Cub airplane. When he asked me what the experience was like I told him it was like flying in a volkswagon(60’s). I have paid for a glider ride for my kids when they graduated from Highschool. For grade 8 I took them to the Nutcracker ballet in Toronto. I know it has nothing to do with flying but a graduation gift was started by that flying experience.
Day 14 First time flying
I got to fly in a corporate jet. I learned not to sit on the sofa when taking off. I had to hang on to the arm of the sofa to prevent being cut into by the seat belt. Flying home we hit some turbulance sitting facing each other with coffee cups in our hands. Everyone was trying to avoid spilling on themselves or on the people in front of them. I called that flight “The dance of the cups”
First time flying was in 1989. It was the first big family vacation, the kids were 9 and 7 year old. We went to Disneyworld in Florida. I was impressed by the view when we took off and landed. The cars below were like play toys. The landscape, forest were like manicured lawns. The buildings, houses, rivers, roads, highways were immaculate like no impurities. It looked a lot nicer than when close by. I was as much excited than the kids. It was a memorable vacation.
In the 80’s I was a delegate to Synod. At that time the denomination had it’s own small plane. A number of us were picked up and flew into Grand Rapids. On the way home I sat in the co-pilot seat and had the head set on so I could listen in on the tower’s instructions as we came into Waterloo airport. It was foggy and we could not see anything, but the tower told us to keep on coming down. Suddenly at about 300 feet we came out of the fog and there was the runway, at least the last bit of it. The pilot, who was an experienced bush pilot out of Africa, calmly said “we better come around and do that again.” Not long after that he ran out of runway room and crashed the plane, no one was hurt, but the plane was never replaced.
Wow, that is quite the story Len. I did not realize the CRC had its own plane.
My first time flying was when we went to Florida when I was six. Three very, very excited kids in the airport. In hindsight, we were probably very loud and either entertaining or annoying for the other people in the airport and on the plane. It was a very exciting trip.
Expo’86 ,Here we come! Two country girls off to spend a week in Vancouver visiting Expo and whatever we wanted to stop and see on the way there. Our oldest daughter, a highschool student at that time, had won a trip for 2 in an art contest sponsored by Pacific Western Airlines . A real mom and daughter adventure!
Day #15 – A financial crisis/challenge.
Around 10 years ago we received notice that we were being re-assessed for our income tax because of some kind of questionable financing scheme through the christian school. We’re not financially savvy so when we were told this was a legitimate way of financing christian education, we didn’t argue. Now we faced a re-assessment of over $12,000. Yikes. I know many people got hit like this. We went through a process to challenge it, but it didn’t look good. Thankfully for us, for the two years they were reviewing the earlier year fell outside their time limitation and was dismissed… and for some crazy reason we did not actually participate in the latter year (forgot to submit the form?). Who knows, but in the end we were not re-assessed.
Day 15 Financial
We were just married and Mary would make a monthly financial statement. It always ended in the red. It looked to me like we were never going to make it. We had a mortgage of 10.75% locked in for 5yrs. WIthin that time period mortages
went to over 18%. I was not rejoicing in my hardship as apostle Peter says I should
Mine is a financial crisis/challenge that lasted 10 years while being part of the Church of Scientology from 1975-1985.
First as a member, I was paying “donations” for courses and services in the hundreds of dollar. I soon succumbed to the pressure of always borrowing and paying in advance thousands of dollar for the next levels. Before one loan was paid off I was borrowing again and maxing out my credit cards. We were always in debts.
After a few years I became part time staff 40 hours a week for an average pay of $20 per week. I also had a regular job which would paid our bills. Being staff, I did not have to pay for courses or training anymore but was rarely home.
At one point I quit my regular job and signed a 3 year contract to be full time staff (Mon-Fri 9:00 am – 11: pm and Sat + Sun 9:00 am – 6 pm) My average pay was $50 per week (yes per week). My wife who did not want to be in Scientology was working and paying for all our bills and pretty well raising our children on her own. After 6 months the financial and emotional stress was too much and I choose to leave staff. I was charged $6,000 by Scientology for training and service rendered while being staff and was kick out until it was paid. (I went back. What an idiot I was!)
I got a job as a truck driver and within one year paid off my debt. I resumed the cycle of taking loans and maxing out credit cards to pay for courses or services that were thousands of dollar. It took another 2 years of financial and emotional stress on our family for me to finally come to my senses. I prayed to God to please help me if he was real and come into my life. Within 2 weeks of that prayer I had the strength to walk away from Scientology.
It took a few years for us to get back on our feet and be a family again. Thank God!
That is a sad story you must have a patient wife Philippe I admire her. Why is it that they have such pull over people, thank God that He pulled you out of there.
As everyone else in the early days of immigration we were driving old cars. My husband said to me one evening, I hope you remember that I am going out this evening, since Derek promised me to help me fix the car. We finished the dishes and Case left he said, I’ll be awhile don’t wait up. I settled in for the evening, I liked to be on my own once in a while, but it did not last that long all of a sudden I heard someone bounding up the outside staircase, I knew it was Case since he opened the front door. He came in, and I saw immediately that something had happened, then I saw it, he had wrapped his fingers in his handkerchief. Funny things go through your head at times, I am glad I ironed that handkerchief. Hi had caught his finger between two bumpers, 2 bumpers were on top of each other, while Case was touching the one bumper while his friend jumped on the other bumper. Case will most likely lose his nail. You need to go to the doctor, what if you get an infection, Case said, no too expensive, well then I go to the druggist around the corner, it’s a good thing they are open tonight. I fixed him up with a disinfectant and gauze, he needed to have a decent hand since he was going to an interview the next day.
On our second move to Grand Rapids, we had 2 little boys and not much money. I regularly went to the food bank. We were approved for WIC, a women , infant and children program from the State of Michigan that gave us food stamps at the grocery store for milk, eggs , cheese etc. I brought the boys to the free health clinic for their vaccinations.
A local apple farmer let the seminarian families come and pick apples for free. I made a connection with a local bakery and every Sunday after church I picked up leftover bread and would share with the families that lived in the building near us. We shared babysitting with our friends, would bring whatever we made for dinner and join in a pot luck a couple times a month.
We lived in a community that all had a financial challenge, shared what we had and any resource that we could offer. Those were not always easy days but I believed that we lived out how the early church did.
I love that story Valerie, we often received vegetables from peoples garden when we were desperate in need of them.
Being 19, I haven’t had the pleasure of having any major financial crises yet. However, as a university student, it sometimes feels like my whole life is a financial crisis 🙂 (just kidding, I’m doing fine for now). I sure hope this is building my character and perseverance though!
Feb. 16 A trip or vacation outside Canada.
Because on Feb 7 I mistakenly wrote about a trip outside Canada instead of inside, today I will write about a trip inside Canada. The first big vacation I recall with my children was at Elim Lodge in Peterborough. We rented a cottage for one week. This was a Christian campsite with guest speakers every day for the adults while the kids would be involve in some other activities. Every day after the afternoon activity we would go to the ice cream parlor. We were impressed by the big amount of ice cream that was put on the cones. (3 or 4 scoops, Wow!)
The other thing that sticks to my mind is when my son’s team won the most games for the week. The winning team was going to be the first team to eat from the “World’s longest Sunday”. There is was a 20 foot long plastic eave trough filled with ice cream, toppings, whip cream etc… My son and team members were lined up in front of this giant sunday with spoon in hand pigging out. Then the other teams were allowed to dig in also. I remember me and my wife laughing yet thinking how disgusting it was. It reminded me of a bunch of little piglets feeding at the trough having the time of their life. Vacations are times to create cherished memories.
Philippe – Our extended family started going to Elim in 1978, and we are still going – booked for July 3-10, 2021. Currently it is only my family (children, grands and great-grands) going. We have 4 cottages booked in the part of Elim known as Westview. We have enjoyed our weeks there very much.
Feb 16: Vacation outside of Canada – Kees and I traveled to The Netherlands a number of times, and always enjoyed our trips there. We have visited many cities, towns and villages, and were amazed by the variety contained in such a small country. Some of our trips were with our children, and we were proud to show them the places where we were born and spent our childhood. Our relatives were great hosts, and I continue to have good connections with them.
To continue the first flying story, we went to Disney World when I was six. Very exciting for us. We were six, eight, and ten, and we had a great trip. One memory that sticks out was visiting a Star Wars themed show/attraction. The Jedi character asked if there were any brave volunteers who would like to fight Darth Vader. Our dear Johanna’s hand shot into the air and she was picked. They got a cape on her back and a lightsaber in her hands before my parents knew what was happening. Poor Darth Vader didn’t know what was coming and if those light sabers had been real, that would have been Darth Vader’s last day at Disney. Johanna always seemed to get picked for those sorts of things.
My first trip besides going to the US was going to Port-au Prince Haiti. Norm had been invited to speaking at a Christian School teachers retreat by friends of ours that were now living there.
What an eye opener for this naive girl from rural Ontario. From the incredible poverty, intense heat, presence of military with guns , the masses on the street and lack of traffic rules. WOW! But the generosity and love we experienced was amazing.
Day #16 — Trip or Vacation outside of Canada.
Valerie loves the weather (a true farm girl). She listened to 680 News weather everyday, and signed up for the weather guarantee. Well she won, an all expense trip paid trip to a 5 Star resort on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. Everything was covered, and it was the first all luxury vacation both of us had ever experienced. We climbed pyramids and jumped into cenotes. It was almost the exact opposite experience to our trip to Haiti (see Valerie’s response).
Day 16 Vacation outside Canada
Visited Spain and saw bullfights not recommended for animal lovers. Took a ferriy past the rock of Gibaltar to Morocco. Landed in Tangiers the tour took us to Ceuta. The boat ride back to Spain was rough everyone on board got seasick. They took fire hoses to the ship after we disembarked. Where minutes before everyone was pleading for death now it was laughter and jokes about seeing what we ate backwards. We took a bus ride from Fuengrola to Malaga. The lady tour guide would be explaining something and then suddenly scream this happened a number of times. We would be in the passing lane and a truck would be heading straight for us.
The truck would swerve off the road. When we got back to Holland there was an article in the paper that stated that busses always have the right of way everywhere in Spain. Seeing how other cultures live really makes you realize how privileged we are.
Day #17 — A famous person I have met.
The closest I have come to meeting a ‘famous’ person is Walter Gretsky at the Moncton International Airport. I was within 10 meters of Gene Hackman and Ray Romano – they filmed “Welcome to Mooseport” in Port Perry while we lived there. Oh yeah, one really famous person that I have met (and I assume you have too) is Jesus.
I don’t think I’ve met anyone famous. I think the closest I’ve come is when I was eight and I went to see the Nutcracker Ballet with my two friends and our moms at Kitchener’s Centre in the Square. We thought those dancers were royalty. After the show, we went across the street to get some hot chocolate at Tim Hortons, which was a big treat at that time. When we went in, we saw several dancers from the company there. We got to chat and take pictures with them. It was such a big deal for us eight year olds and we felt like we had stumbled upon celebrities.
Day 17 Famous person
I was 10, airport restauraunt sitting beside a flight attendant. She says “There is a hockey player over there you should go and get his autograph.” I don’t have a pen or paper. She reaches into her purse rips off part of an envelop and hands me a pen. I walk up behind the player who is busy talking to the guy next to him. He reaches back
signs his name and hands it back to me. When I get to my seat I thank the flight attendant then I look at whose signature I got. It was Bobby Hull. I have a leaf jersey full of autographs but that piece of paper is my most prized autograph and memory.
The kindness of strangers…wonder if he remembers me 🙂
I have really never met a famous person; for that reason I will tell you about vacation(s) outside Canada. When we were done with renting cottages and camping etc. and Margaret did not go on vacation with us anymore, we decided to visit our parents in the Netherlands and that, most of the time, became our standard vacation. Every year we would talk about going to Italy, Paris, Switzerland, etc., for part of our vacation. However, every year once we were at my parents house we became immediately lazy. We would walk to town talked to those people we knew or to those we did not. Since my parents never owned a car, they loved to come for rides with us, for instance to Noordwijk, there we would have mid-afternoon “Tea” (or coffee) in one off those Posh- Hotels where Famous People go to, even though we did not meet any of them. We would go to Leiden where Case grew up and knew the city In and out. I had gone to school there and later was a Nurse in training in that city. We would have lunch or supper there, but father would be in his element when we would go to “Het Pannekoeken Huisje” meaning: “The Pancake House”. We never had time to “do Europe” as they say.
The Netherlands is rich in places of interest and to see,
Ditto to Norm’s story about Walter Gretzky and the fellows from Moose Port.
We also met Pierluigi Collina when we were on a boat tour of Geethoorn. Pierluigi Collina is an Italian former football referee. He was named FIFA’s “Best Referee of the Year” six consecutive times and is widely considered to be the greatest football referee of all time. It was Pierluigo’s birthday and we toasted his birthday with a glass of wine along with his birthday guests.
We were happy to share in the celebration and when visiting family in the Netherlands they had varying feelings about this fellow.
We also meet the Rankins at a restaurant before we went to the concert in Summerside PEI. This was a big deal to those who lived on the East Coast.
I have met a number of well known sports figures. Among them was Paul Henderson who I knew before he scored the winning goal in the famous Canada – Russia series. I was asked to introduce Paul as a guest speaker at a youth gathering and hockey dinner. He talked about being a Christian while playing in the NHL
Day #18 — A time being sick
The very first day I met Valerie was at her birthday party thrown by her dorm mates in University. Her parents had come with some fresh from the cow milk, and some Nestle Quik (for making chocolate milk). I had never tasted such rich, creamy, delicious milk. City boy that I was, I had no clue drinking fresh milk could make me sick. Anyway, I pretty much missed the first week of University because of it. That’s when I knew I loved her!
Just a Clarification: My parents told all of the “city kids” to be careful and not drink too much milk or it could make them ill because they would have a hard time digesting raw milk.
Norm wasn’t the only one of the “city kids” that drank more than one glass .
Day 18 Sick
At the beginning of grade 9 I had a major asthma attack and ended up in an oxgen tent in St Joes in Hamilton. I remember a few really embarassing moments when I was the specimen for a group of
medical students. I hope they were medical students!!! I did have a really cute nun for a nurse in the full nun’s habit. Needless to say my acedemics suffered greatly not as smart as Pastor Norm and no girl at the end of my suffering. I never caught up end of 5yr program on to 4 yr program.
I have been blessed with good health most of my life but once in a while I get vertigo. The first time it happened was the most alarming because I did not know what was going on and why it was happening. It might have been 25 years ago? I got up one morning and the room was spinning causing me nausea. Once I was up, I had to keep my head straight and not bend down. It lasted 3 days. Later on after seeing our family doctor and eventually an ear specialist I was told it was just crystals in my ear canals that were misplaced and eventually would go back to where they belong. These crystals are part of our sense of balance. It did not happened again until a few years later but now happens a couple of times a year. I have since learned on the internet the Epley’s maneuver which teach how to move your head in a series of steps that will reposition those crystals back in place. Now when it happens I do this maneuver a few times over a period of a few days and the problem is not as bad and get fix sooner. This makes me realize the intricacies of our body and appreciate how it is wonderfully made.
I haven’t been too sick many times, but I had a funny little incident this past December with my ear. For weeks, I felt like I had water stuck in my ear. I could not get it out. I would hear something rustling in my ear when I was laying down or moving my head. Finally, I relented and went to the campus clinic where the nurse flushed out my ear. Then she noticed that what she had gotten out were two pebbles. I had two small stones deep in my ear. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to get two pebbles in my ear in the dead of winter, but alas. It gave the nurse a good laugh and restored my hearing, so I have no reason to complain!
When I was in grade school I had the mumps. I was quite unwell and my parents set up a bed for me in the living room. As I was starting to feel better I told my mom I was ready to go back to school.
One trip to see how I looked in the mirror showed that although I was feeling better, I still had some swelling that needed to go down before I was ready to go out in public.
When I was 11 my chance finally came. I was sick. Many times I had watched with envy as my siblings went through various childhood illnesses, got to miss school days and received extra treats and attention and now it was my turn. Alas, it was July. No missed school days and no appetite for treats, and no cake to help celebrate my brother’s birthday. When I glanced out of the window and saw my brother’s new scooter parked on our driveway, I climbed out of the window and took off on a joy ride. Life quickly returned to normal and I can only be thankful that in the 40 years that I have spent in school I never needed a “sick day”.
Day #19 – A remarkable ‘coincidence’.
When we lived in PEI, a man visiting Nova Scotia from Kenya sought out our CRC church. His community had been blessed by the work of CRWRC (now World Renew), and he wanted to express his deep thanks to the CRC. He wanted a picture with me. And then he left. A year later my brother and sister-in-law were at a conference in Nairobi (they worked in Tanzania for CRWRC). They were assigned to small groups, and one man was excited to meet a Canadian. He said, ‘do you know my friend’, and produced the picture of me and him. What an encouraging God moment for them, a ‘God-incident’.
One day last semester, I ended up walking to school during the day to bring my brother-in-law a cinnamon roll. I had made some over the weekend and texted him on a whim to see if he wanted one. He was at school, so I walked over and delivered it. This made me fifteen minutes early for my next class. I had never been early to that class, so I figured I would go upstairs and try to catch a friend before it started.
As I waited for my friend, I reflected on how weird it was that I was there–I had never been up there at that time. While I was waiting, I saw a different friend speeding to the bathroom, clearly on the verge of tears. I caught her and she pulled me into a (conveniently) empty classroom. She was having a really difficult day processing a recent death in our friend’s family, and had been overwhelmed with sadness in her class, prompting her to escape to the bathroom. I happened to be right there to be with her. After sitting with her in the grief, we made a plan to help her get through the rest of the day. It was a beautiful moment. There was absolutely no reason I should have been right there to catch her exactly when she really needed me.
Though I thought nothing of it at the time, I am certain God was nudging me to bring my brother-in-law a cinnamon roll (how random) and go upstairs to wait for someone else. I still marvel at how God can shape my days.
Coincidence. Over the years when we travelled with our granddaughter to different cities, on many occasions she would tell us that she saw or met someone from back home. Sometimes I would doubt her, thinking she was mistaken or imagining things but didn’t say anything.
Six years ago, we visited my brother and took a short ride to Sable Beach. Me and my granddaughter went far away into the water and were still waist high into the water. We stopped at some sandbar and Cassidy exclaimed “Papa look, I know this girl. She is from our street.” Sure enough she was right. Who would have thought that in the middle of a big lake out of town, at a specific time you meet someone you know. It made me wonder if all those other she was right?
Day 18 coincidence
We were traveling back from Grand Rapids having a coffee in Imlay City (anybody who has gone to Calvin knows the spot) when in walks a member of Maranatha.
Mary and I were at Butchart gardens near Victoria BC.
I took a picture of a fountain.
As I looked into my camera for the results. There is
a member of Maranatha and his wife and kids sitting beside the fountain.
It happened on Thursday, March 18, 1993. It was the weekly choir practice and we were ready for some hard work. We had just arrived at the church after singing in one of the local long term care facilities. We were surprised to find the church doors locked. Fortunately, the custodian arrived and let us in. It was now 8:30 and rehearsal usually started at 8:15. The director was getting nervous because we needed all the practice time possible since we were to sing on Sunday morning.
We got organized and began – suddenly a number of choir members, especially the females, began to duck and cover their heads with their binders. There was something flying around in the church! Someone shouted, “It’s a bird!”, but we quickly realized it was a bat. Total confusion happened. Some continued ducking with their heads covered, a few were terrified, others were laughing, the pianist hid under the piano bench and one brave soul was running around the sanctuary trying to catch the bat in his coat.
The director was trying desperately to keep the practice going but when the bat swooped near her head, brushing her hair, she knew it was hopeless to continue and decided that Sunday’s songs would be ones that we had sung before.
Mary used to love playing baseball in her teens and early twenties. She never played backcatcher. When she was church secretary she became a “bat catcher”. They are an endangered species in Ontario.
Charlie van der Meulen is wonderful as a photographer, taking pictures at Maranatha. He was the organist also and had a key to access the area where all the organ pipes are and where there is a ‘bathtub’ for baptisms. One time, I asked him to please take a picture of the congregation as they were worshipping. So, during one service, at offering time, up pops Charlie from the flower box that hides the baptism tub, taking pictures of the people who were surprised and amused and distracted from their worship.
Day 20 Funny church
We were singing a hymn with no verse numbers on the hymn board at the front of the sanctuary.
When the pastor introduced the hymn he did not give any verse numbers either.
This song had at least 10 verses.
The organist is playing away we’re singing and singing.
Finally the pastor interjects we should stop at a certain
verse #. Which happened to start with “Now that our long
suffering is over”
Day #20 — A funny church experience.
While in University, my friends and I decided to visit different churches. One Sunday we attended a Mormon service. We felt very awkward, not sure what to expect. Our one friend had a very contagious laugh. Coupled with our nervousness, he had a REALLY hard time containing himself as a man sat in the bench ahead of us – with what seemed to be two wives and children. We could see and feel him shaking and partly controlled bursts of laughter escaping from him, and of course that got us going. We finally couldn’t take it anymore and left. I’ll never forget the feeling of busting on the inside and fearing what would happen if it was released. That was the last church we decided to visit together.
First time flying
I don’t recall my first time flying – it was likely in a DC9 flying to Montreal when I worked for Dow Chemical in Sarnia. That flight was uneventful, but I remember I took lots of photos out of the window. During my time with Dow (April to December) I probably average 4 flights a week). My job at Dow was temporary as we had been called to serve CRWRC in Bangladesh. After our wedding we moved to Sarnia. Shortly after that Edith and I had to go to Toronto for an appointment as part of our preparation for CRWRC. Edith had never flown before, so it was exciting for the both of us to experience it together. We were scheduled to fly Friday afternoon on Great Lakes Airlines (at Dow we endearingly called it Great shakes – because these piston engined prop planes shook a lot on starting). The Convair 440 we flew in was old but in good shape, so we thought. Anyway every thing was fine until just over Woodstock all of sudden there was a clunk and a brief shudder and tilt of the aircraft which the pilot immediately got under control. Suddenly it was very quiet in the cabin as the airconditioning had shut down. I notice the prop on our side was standing perfectly still. A moment later the captain came on an assured us that we had an engine failure and that the plane could maintain altitude on just one engine. He said that we were now given emergency first flight in priority straight into Toronto airport. I thought, this is a great introduction to flying for Edith and that she would need to be comfortable to do a lot of flying because of our assignment to Asia. Our plane landed safely in Toronto – it was a very smooth landing and because the captain couldn’t use engine braking – it was a quiet and long roll as he braked the plane to a slow taxi. That is when I notice that there were many emergency vehicles escorting us to our disembarkation point. Later I found out that the engine that failed had blown a valve. Over the many years and many flights we have seldom had close encounters with danger and occasionally a flight with sickening turbulence. God has kept us safe!
I have somewhat curly and very frizzy hair. Sometimes in the morning it gets a little crazy and rather large. On one such Sunday morning, I came downstairs before I had done anything to contain my locks and my hair was huge. My family burst out laughing and lovingly compared me to a lion with a mane. They were quite amused by their little joke. We got to church (after I had dealt with the mane) and settled in. The first song we sang that day was “The Lion and the Lamb.” We were giggling in the pew.
Day 21 — A birthday memory.
I was 6 or 7. I invited my friends over for a party. We had a race. On your mark, get set, go! One friend, not sure who, decided he needed some leverage and used a hand on my should to propel himself forward. Realizing what happened, and that I would now lose, instead of finishing the race, I threw a tantrum. My mom sent me inside. I don’t remember how long I was in the house, or how long my friends kept playing games without me. That’s all I remember of the party. Hmm, maybe I am still bitter.
A birthday memory: Last year was a significant birthday number for me but it was soon after the first lock down. I wanted a ring to remember this birthday so in February, when the Valentine’s Day sales were on, I went out and bought one with my husband’s blessing. After it was sized, I picked it up just before the lock down started. My husband tucked it away in a safe place.
I also was doing all the grocery shopping at this point to reduce our risk of catching Covid.
When my birthday day arrived, I happily received the ring I bought, ate the cake I bought, and enjoyed the flowers I bought. lol I got exactly what I wanted, and hubby had no stress!
Unfortunately, we still have not had the planned family dinner at The Mill Restaurant, but we are hopeful it will happen.
I laughed while I was reading ! It has been that kind of year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ( late )! Thanks for the morning chuckle. I think some of us have also walked that road.
Birthday memory. I got to say that I don’t recall celebrating birthdays in my family as a kid. I guess being 10 kids in the family my parents could not celebrate a birthday every month?? Now as an adult the birthday that stick to mind the most is when I was 60 my wife planned a surprise birthday. There was brothers and sisters from both side of our family who came from different cities. There was about 30 people in the house and patio. She planned it for months. She had to hide some of the decorations and food at my daughters place. On that day, my granddaughter was in charge of keeping me outside the house for the morning so that the decorations and guests arrived. We went for breakfast together, then she took me for a pedicure. I decided to be flamboyant and had the big toes nail painted bright orange. It was very noticeable in my sandals. Then we went for a walk to the park. We came back to the house by 1 pm and everyone yelled surprise. The house was decorated in an Hawaiian theme. My wife told me to go change up stair. I had to put on a Hawaiian grass skirt, a flower necklace and a bra made of coconut shells. It was nice to see all these people. Being July 1, the whole city was celebrating my birthday (so I keep saying) and there was even fireworks at the end of the evening. This was the biggest birthday I ever had.
Day 21 – My birthday memory.
I recently celebrated my birthday on February 17. It was a very simple celebration because of the pandemic and prevented a gathering of more than 5 people. But it was the happiest birthday so far because I had an opportunity to have virtual reunion with my siblings in the US and cousins in US, Australia, and Philippines.
Another memorable birthday was my 18th bday because it was a holiday all over the Philippines since it coincided with the Centennial anniversary of GomBurZa–the 3 priests who supported revolt against Spain for the Philippine Independence.
Birthdays. Two friends were allowed to come trick or treating and then sleep over. Trick or treating in a farm community means home made goodies and being chauffeured from farm to farm. The old farm house had long windows upstairs starting 2 feet from the floor. One friend slept on a mattress on the floor under the window. Being full of sugar, we didn’t sleep, and in the middle of the night, the friend got up to straighten her bed, but as she bent over, she broke the window. A fun memory for me, but not for my mother.
Day 21 Birthday
Anna lives in Vancouver with a girl named Steph who’s parents
we had not seen in years.
As Dickens says in Scrooge “this must be clearly understood”
Three months before Mary’s 60 birthday I have arranged for Anna
to fly home as a surprise. For three months I put together every
excuse why Anna could not come home. Needless to say Mary was
not happy with me. The day before her birthday we go to a visitation
I open the door to Stephs parents “Hi I hear Anna is coming to Ontario”
“No I say (face fifty shades of scarlet)you’re mistaken. No,, she says
I’m sleeping in her room”. I get Anna to send us an e-mail of an
itenerary of her trip to friends in Seatle. Crisis avoided. Party night there are
delays in getting Anna to the party. I delay getting dressed, Mary is
hopping, not the sweet patient person she normally is. I drive to
downtown Kitchener by way of Fischer-Hallman
My life is flashing before my eyes.
Anna is there Mary arrives, screams, and it was all worth it.
Day 21 Birthday
It was my 8th birthday (I was in grade 3). My cousin Fran (she was in grade 6 same school) gave me a set of 3 ballpoint pens. I remember proudly wearing them clipped to my shirt pocket, not the way you’re supposed to (the clip inside the pocket – the pens out). Ball point pens were just becoming popular – yet we were not allowed to use them in school – we still had to do our penmanship exercises with the knib pens and ink wells that were provided by the teacher. I do remember that the ball pens back then had a tendency to smear – especially the cheap ones – and they would leave blobs of ink that sometimes would get on my clothes – Mom had a tough time trying to get the ink out so she didn’t care for those pens much. In time, I saved up for a good quality fountain pen – which I was allowed to use. I think it helped my writing skills – but then I never did earn high marks for penmanship!
funny thing at church
The church I grew up in had a main door at the back that we all used to enter the sanctuary on Sundays. To go from there to the class rooms or the bathrooms you would go out the doors on either side of the pulpit area at the front. During the time of the sermon, it was not unusal for someone to hike out past the pulpit and out the door for whatever. One Sunday a pre school boy quickly made his way out by himself. After some time he came strolling back in, carrying his pants and exclaiming to his mom that he couldn’t get his pants on. It took quite a while and after a couple of false starts before the pastor was able to resume his sermon.
My birthday falls just before the new school year starts. In 2019, I had just graduated from a high school a few months prior and many of my pals and I were heading out to university for the first time in a few days. I invited fifteen or twenty of my friends from high school over for a barbeque on my birthday. Every single person was able to come and we had a blast connecting one last time before we all moved on to university for the year. Since COVID hit a few months after that, it remains the most recent time we were all together. It was such a lovely time to be together (and eat cake).
Day 22 Childhood friend
My parents and his parents met on the boat to Canada. They went to Hamilton we went to St Catherines. I became friends with their son who had muscular distrophy. I would spend a week every summer vacation at his house since he was wheelchair bound.
A childhood friend. Vienney the “Crow” That was his nickname because he use to “caw” like a crow. We use to hang out building forts in the Summer and tunnels in the winter. We were altar boys for a few years. In our late teens we use to party together. After moving to Toronto, I would go see him when I visited my parents 2 or 3 times a year. He still lives up North in my home town. My oldest brother lives there, therefore once every few years when I go to my brother I always visit this friend.
Day #22 — A childhood friend.
My earliest memory of my friends are Ricky, Oliver, Mark and Johnny. We spent a lot of time outdoors in the big woods, at the pond, the lightning tree and biking up and down the big hill. I can still remember all the forts we built – in trees, in the bush, and an underground fort. I tried my first cigarette with Ricky; Oliver, mark and I flicked stones at passing cars with our hockey sticks (bad). We played G.I.Joes and Big Jim, as well as with Hot Wheels. Our friendship faded when I switched from public to christian school in gr.3. Lots of good memories from those early years.
My very best friend was Janna, she was a year younger than I was. (Still is I assume 🙂 We were friends already before we went to school, my parents were friends with her parents, or maybe it was the other way around 🙂
We both came from a large family, we took turns spending Sundays at each other’s home. We of course, attended the CRC, had catechism classes on Tuesday nights and had a girls club on Thursday night. Janna’s mother often spent many weeks in a Hospital for people who were mentally ill. Janna’s oldest sister was in every sense of the word the mother of the family. When Janna’s mother was home she was sitting in the same chair all the time and looked sad and was crying. But Janna always ran to greet her and gave her mother a kiss her mother talked to her for a while. Then I gave Janna’s mother a kiss too, she also talked to me and asked after my mother.I felt so intensly sorry for her and also for Janna
If Janna had to asked for permission for something she always asked Truus.
Janna and I often went to a waterway underneith the Highway going to Amsterdam, we would scoop clay from underneath water and put it my little brother’s beach toys. we keppt underwater and bakeed it in the sun in different shapes. liittle homes cars, trucks,horse and buggies etc., and build little towns. The sun dried it all, it loooked great. (in our
eyes 😉 I lost track of her, when we came in Holland frequently I asked mother about her, she told me that Janna followed in her mothers footsteps I could not believe it Janna was always so funny and we had so much fun. She married a doctor from the Hospital and she has 2 little girls. Janna’s brother who had been my brothers friend had at one point taken his own life. Truus married a Minister of the Word and Janna’s brother who I liked verry much, marriedd the daughter of the Doctor from across the street. (I only cried myself asleep once 😉
Most of my friends are still my childhood friends at this point 🙂 I’m still very close with a friend that I’ve been best friends with since grade one. It’s different now that we don’t go to the same school or see each other on the bus everyday, but we try to stay connected. We were both in Cambridge for all of January so we went on weekly walks together. It’s good to be known and loved.
Day #23 — A special gift you once received.
In highschool I volunteered for a unique Variety Show called Geritol Follies made up of 65+ participants, which performed sold out Summer and Christmas shows at Hamilton Place. I started back stage helping with costumes and sets, then moved to the stage with the band playing trumpet. I spent many hours at rehearsals, and even went on the road a few times. It was a blast. I still remember the surprise one Christmas when opening family gifts when I opened a gift – it was a silver trumpet from the Geritol Follies Crew. I was blown away (get it?) by the gift. Pretty soon I will be able to play on stage with them again, as a 65+ member!
Day 23 Special gift
For our Anniversary Mary booked the dinner at the Skylon in Niagara Falls.
After we finished eating Mary and I got up and took the elevator to the observation deck.
We enjoyed the view got back in the elevator and left.
As I am walking to the car I don’t remember paying for the meal, since Mary made the reservation
I asked if she had paid online. Nope so back we go.
We got a personal ride up the elevator ahead of a long line up.
The people at the restauraunt were happy to see us and very thankful.
Since we were so honest we got a gift from the Skylon.
I think I’ll not pay more often.
I have a special gift that I keep receiving over my journey and it is blankets. I have received them when people precious to me were palliative and dying, to comfort me in a loss, to celebrate a friendship and “just because”. Some were crochet, knit, tied, woven with prayers in their stitches, memories and care in their assembly and some continue to bless in passing them on to others. They are warm and cosy and remind me of the arms of love in my life and for this I am grateful. I have also learned that I can never have or give too many.
Special gift was from Dinah and the Maranatha Youths in February 2019.
There was a few adults who gave a short testimony at the Youth Retreat 2019.
We were each given a frame Poster with the youth signatures. In the middle of the poster is this verse:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your HEART.” Jeremiah 29:13
This was the theme of that year’s retreat. It was also a verse which I fully related too. It reminds me of a time when I was desperate and was searching and seeking. I did find God and Christ although I know it is Him who was seeking me. This poster along with 2 other poster (“John 3:16” and “Jesus Christ is my Saviour”) are right above my computer monitor for me to see or meditate on everyday.
Last semester, my reusable water bottle broke after a few years of use. I quite liked that water bottle, so I was disappointed to see it snap and have to recycle it. I am nothing if not a creature of habit, so I figured I would just go buy a similar one when I had time. My friend surprised me by ordering me an exact replacement. I was very surprised and quite touched when she presented me with a shiny new bottle at school that week.
Day #24 — Your dad or mom’s job.
My dad worked at Turkstra Lumber as a bookkeeper for most years that I can remember. I remember visiting his office as a teen, and later also with the grandkids to pick him up from work. Thanks to him I was able to get summer work building roof trusses, which helped pay for university and seminary. My mom was home with us when we were young, then started volunteering in the library at our christian school. This led to a job at a book store for many years, lasting through many changes in the bookstores (Classic -> Coles -> W.H.Smith -> Chapters). Having a book discount was nice, since at the time I was addicted to buying books.
Hmm, I still love working with lumber and books today… thanks to them.
Day 24 Mom & Dad job
She did houskeeping in St Catherines, worked in a Nursery selling plants in Winona.
Entered a photo contest in the Hamilton Spectator and won. That started her career as a
wedding photographer. My dad would develop the black & white
pictures that she took. They were a team.
My Mom was a homemaker taking care of 10 kids. I remember her making 3 meals a day.
When I was young my dad was a lumberjack. The men lived in camps and came home for the weekend once or twice a month. Eventually the lumber company hired him to work at the saw mill in town. It was very physical work until his later years when he was given a cushy job in some booth outside filling trains with wood chips.
My Dad started out as a ‘bicycle repairman’ at a bicycle shop in Holland even though he grew up in the bake shop which was attached to the family home. He served in Indonesia as a soldier for the Dutch army – his skills as a baker were very much appreciated by his platoon – after Dad made an oven out of an old oil drum. It was as a baker that I had the experience of sometimes working in the bakery as a kid and every Saturday I would go on the truck with him from the age of 10 to 13. Those were special times I had with my Father. Many of Dad’s customers were farmers – Dad would bring fresh bread, cookies and all kinds of stuff that you find at the Dutch toko – everyone had to have their Faam or King peppermints for church or chocolate hail for thier bread! I remember how Dad always would wave at people – especially any farmer working the land. The Amish we passed recognized Dad’s truck and always wave to him! So it was not a surprise to me to have someone come up to me, whom I have never met before, during the fellowship after Dad’s funeral service, and say, your Dad who drove that white florist truck, often cheered me up and made my day – I could count on him to wave to me or tilt his hat, or open his window and greet me as he waited for the kids to cross the street – when I was on duty as a crossing guard!
My mom teaches core French in grades one through six. A couple times a month, she comes home with a really good story. She will have us all crying we are laughing so hard. Kids say the cutest things. A few highlights include kids rolling themselves up in carpets (like a burrito), mispronunciations of her name (“Madame Will-fart”), and vacation plans (“For March Break we’re going to Florida and we’re going to live in a condom!”). These aren’t my stories to tell (and she tells them so much better), but if you ever need a good laugh, ask a teacher for a good story!
Day #25 – An important faith moment.
In November 2016 we were having a Celebration Service where a woman was being baptized. That week had been a time of personal wrestling with the Lord. At the end of that struggle I sensed the Lord calling me to renew my faith commitment. I talked to the woman about it, and she was glad to have me confess my faith with her. After we baptized and prayed over her, I shared my own story of struggle and faith, and then renewed my faith commitments (also using the ABCs). After this I asked the woman to pray for me, and it was a powerful moment as she prayed, then some members of the congregation came forward and prayed for me too. I remember this moment even more vividly than when I first professed my faith in Jesus at 18.
In the mid 80’s me and my younger brother accepted the invitation of another brother to go to his church to listen to a Biker testimony. We went mostly out of support and encouragement for my brother. It was in the gym of a school, after the testimony I responded to the altar call. This was one of the many links in my search and walk with God.
Day 25 Faith Moment
We were visiting Sherman Ave Church in Grand Rapids. A deacon had
been nominated who was in a Lesbian relationship. She did not
want to hide that fact from the congregation. A panel was
assembled with various people who each gave their testimony.
The deacon to be started her testsimony with the song
I am a C-H
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
and I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T
and I will L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y
One more judgement went out the window.
Wow! to her testimony. We are all ” children of God “.
I was 14 years old and had been resting in bed for 9 month with t.b. One day I got very sick with a high fever. The next day I was rushed to the hospital. I expected to die but I wanted so badly to live. I pleaded with God to heal me and promised that if I would get better I would serve him the rest of my life. I never forgot the peace what I had . I was not afraid to die anymore and it would be okay. God healed me and I have tried to keep my promise to serve him. Whenever I am in doubt I remember the comfort and peace I had. Praise the Lord!
One general faith lesson that really changed my spiritual journey was learning about “The Liturgy of the Ordinary.” This idea was presented at a conference at my school last year and then I read the book and did further research. The general premise is that your ordinary life is sacred. There is a beautiful liturgy to the ordinary moments in your day (cooking, working, sleeping, etc.) and they are all spiritually meaningful. It really changed my perspective.
Day #26 — A funny family moment.
One time from my youth I recall is when we were sitting around the table eating dinner, and my dad grabbed the salad dressing bottle. He thought it good to give the bottle a good shake and with both hands shook it up and down… with the opening towards him. Unfortunately the cap was not firmly fixed, and in a few seconds my dad was completely dressed in a thousand islands. First the look of shock with rivulets of creamy dressing oozing down his face. Then the angry explosion that followed. Then the outburst of laughter from the rest of us. And then the slow cooling then smile of my dad as he began to laugh at himself. This still makes me smile when I think of it.
25 Important Faith Moment
It was early on in my University program that I started having doubts about my desire to prepare as an Agronomist to work overseas with CRWRC. I was struggling with 2 courses (a mathematics and a physics course) at the time. One morning as I was walking from my dorm to my first class that morning which was to be in Chemistry 200 lecture hall – I was thinking about this very much. I had been praying for the Lord to confirm to me that I what I was doing was his will for me. As I walked the number 105 kept coming in my head. It was persistent. So I continued up the steps to the Chemistry building and entered in and made my way to lecture hall 200. As I did students were approaching and turning around. When I reached the entrance doors I saw why: “Due to repairs your class has been move to Physics 105! I smiled and I saw God’s hand in this. I never looked back – I knew God wanted me to persevere – I doubled my efforts and passed the courses I struggled with and continued on to work for CRWRC.
A funny family moment! Well it was also very embarrassing but here it goes.
One Summer afternoon me and my wife and 2 pre-teen children went for a very long walk along Lakeshore road in Toronto and were planning on going to Ontario Place. We parked the car and walked for a few kilometers. My belly started to ache and could feel I needed to go to the washroom soon. We were in open space, there was no store or restaurant in sight, the car was too far to go back and I could not see any taxi in sight. Since we were almost there, I decided to pick up the pace and wished for the best. I did not make it in time and messed myself a bit a couple of times before arriving to Ontario Place. My family was laughing. My stomach was still gurgling a lot when we arrived and I headed straight to the washroom. There was a gentleman who came in and immediately went back out laughing and telling my waiting family that it stunk very badly in there. He was making signs with his hands, laughing and saying Phew! Phew!. My family knew I was the culprit and started bursting laughing as well. When I got out they had tears in their eyes and could not stop. I have to admit that I too was laughing at this whole embarrassing incident. Luckily I had a bathing suit and disposed of my undergarment. Once in a while, we reminisce on that outings and still laugh about it. One piece of advice, do not eat Burritos before going on a long walk!