I had a speaking engagement in a small prairie town yesterday – similar to the small prairie town I grew up in. (I was in Boissevain, for those who know Manitoba.) I love living in the city, and I don’t ever plan to go back to the country, but sometimes I get a little nostalgic when I drive through a small town, see the old school, old church, and the little country store at the centre of town. The church I spoke in was a beautiful old stone structure with stained glass windows and a magnificent steeple. I’m sure sometimes it frustrates the locals to be in such an old building that needs so much tender loving care, but when I visit a place like that, I’m always so glad there are people who put their hearts into maintaining it.
When we arrived at our destination, we drove onto the farmyard of the people who were hosting us for supper. The woman came out of the house and told us her husband was in the shed, helping their nine year old daughter clear a corner of the shed so she could convert it into a summer playroom for herself. We wandered out to the shed and found them in there shuffling things about. The young girl had salvaged a set of old school house benches for her playroom corner. Again, I got a feeling of nostalgia. Sometimes I’m a little sad that my kids can’t grow up on a farmyard where there is so much space for exploring and building and playing. (D&L, expect our visit this summer!)
On Saturday, because we’d gotten an insurance rebate and had a little extra spending money, we took the girls out for supper. Of course, they probably would have been satisfied with Joey’s Only or the Olive Garden, but I was determined to make it a little more interesting. Since we can only afford to go out for a meal once every six months or so, I wasn’t going to waste our opportunity on some chain restaurant. We drove out of the city and ended up at Pineridge Hollow, a wonderful character place out in the woods. It was everything I’d hoped for and more – a nice evening with the family, AMAZING food, a pleasant environment, a lovely drive out to the country, and even a few deer spottings on the way. Oh, and of course, there was that inevitable restaurant moment when Maddie charms complete strangers and makes us wonder when she’ll end up going home with a new family.
Julie had her first soccer game yesterday. They say there’s something about a man in uniform that makes a woman’s heart skip a beat, but I say there’s something about a kid in uniform. My kids aren’t really big into competitive sports yet (I doubt whether they ever will be), but I do enjoy seeing them all dressed up in their soccer outfits. Look for pictures soon. I didn’t get to watch much of the game (because of the speaking engagement I mentioned earlier), but this morning I got the report that they’d won.
Nikki is getting SO tall. She stood next to me in church, and when I put my arm around her, I was caught by surprise how high my arm had to reach. She’s nearly as tall as I am. Seems like the little girl has disappeared and been replaced by this maturing young woman.
The girls and I visited the annual Children’s Hospital book sale – a booklover’s dream. It was the last day of the sale, so we got some great bargains – a whole bag of books for Nikki and Julie for only $5. (That was a HEAVY backpack to carry home from the mall!) I was hoping that would last them most of the summer, but since Julie has already read 2 of them, she thinks it won’t even last her UNTIL summer. Good thing the library is within biking distance.
We attended my nephew’s first communion service on Saturday. The service was all in French, so the content was lost on me. But despite that, if it hadn’t been for three bored children with me in the pew, I think I would have had quite a worshipful experience. Our church meets in an old supermarket (in other words, it lacks in worshipful ambiance), so sometimes I quite enjoy a visit to a grand cathedral with high ceilings, stained glass windows, stations of the cross, art work, etc. What I particularly loved were the magical moments the sunlight would stream through unseen stained glass windows high above the stage and cast an interesting pattern on the wall and the statue of Christ. Maddie was quite captivated with it too, and kept exclaiming each time the clouds would move away from the sun and the light would appear. The other moments I loved were the moments when the old woman behind us, who caught on I couldn’t speak French, would occasionally lean forward to explain something to me in the most friendly, grandmotherly voice.
Today is my Brother and Sister-in-law’s anniversary. Happy Anniversary B&S! Wow! Twenty-four years! I remember the day well – my sister and I wore yellow frilly floral floor-length dresses (a vision of loveliness!), and we were the candle-lighters. As I ascended the stage, I tripped on the hem of my skirt and had visions of burning the church down with the candle I was carrying. Fortunately, I was able to catch myself before I fell. At the time, B&S seemed so OLD. I was almost sixteen, and they were the ripe old age of 20 and 21. Now I think – what KIDS they were! I’m so glad they’ve had a successful marriage for so many years, because my sister-in-law is one of my favourite people in the whole world. (AP – thanks for forgiving me for insulting you when Technobrother brought you home to the farm :-)
It is also my Mom’s anniversary. It’s rather surreal having a brother married twenty-four years and a mother who’s been married only one. It’s been a whirlwind year for mom, and it’s nice to see her so happy. They’re off to Holland soon – she finally gets to do a little more of the traveling she always longed to do (yes, I inherited my wanderlust, as did the rest of my siblings).
That should be enough random bits to feed your curious mind (and perhaps to bore you to pieces). And, in case you need a little visual random bit, here’s a lovely, flattering picture of me speaking in church. The not-so-strategically placed cordless mic box nicely compliments my frumpy housewife look. (Oops - Blogger doesn't want to cooperate, so you'll have to wait for the picture.)