Thursday, October 15, 2009

50 Years! What a Milestone!

And Very Happy Anniversary to Chris and Barry!

50 Years ago tomorrow, in 1959, my sister and her husband 'tied the knot' in a tiny church in Goole, Yorkshire, England Friends and relatives came from many corners of the UK to celebrate with them

The Happy Couple

And the not-so-happy bridesmaid --

I was very shy, very nervous,

and not at all happy with my

orange, organza bridesmaid's dress, and the 'coronet' I had to wear in my hair

(I was a real tomboy!).

It was a fine wedding, and a great beginning to a whole new life for them -- not only together, but in a new country.

Almost immediately after the wedding, they walked across the street and entered the train station to catch a train down to London, where they would begin their journey to Toronto, Canada, and a REALLY new life together!

They attended Toronto Bible College, which became Ontario Bible College, which ultimately became Tyndale College and Seminary. And Barry became the pastor of Ringwood Christian Church in Stouffville.

Barry, in front of the church, renewing acquaintances, years later, with two of his congregants, Ada Steckley and Frances Vague.

For my part in the wedding, Chris gave me a gift: A pretty little silver cross (about 2cms long).

Of course, I still have it, but there is a story that goes with it.

I always appreciated it as a piece of jewelry, but that cross became much more meaningful when I gave my life to Jesus. That took place in 1966, a few years after I, too, had immigrated to Canada. From that point on, I wore the cross almost daily for many years.

In 1974, I took my children to the UK to visit their grandparents. We were playing in my parents' beautiful garden. Yes, that IS me, with my father in the garden!

Dad had fashioned a swing to the huge walnut tree and the kids had a wonderful time on it. It was later in the afternoon that I noticed my cross had disappeared from around my neck. I was devastated. We all hunted high and low in the grass and all around the huge garden, to no avail.

I went to bed that night and prayed that God would help me find it -- the cross had become so special to me.

The next day, even though we had looked there numerous times, there we found the cross, on the grass under the walnut tree -- a miracle!

Many may think that to be married for 50 years is nothing short of a miracle! For sure it takes lots of unconditional love and patience -- which only God can give -- and no doubt lots of hard work too!!

So, again --

Congratulations to you both, and may your day be a very special one, filled with great joy and wonderful memories!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

When We Were Very Young

There are some in our family who consider themselves poets -- I'd say they are talented. But I have never been able to put myself in that category. I have had inspiration from time to time, but the results of it are scribbled on scraps of paper that are really not fit for public viewing. Here, though, is one I wrote when I was about 12 years old (53 years ago, by the way!):

The World Today:

In this world of toil and strife

there's a great deal of meaning in everyone's life.

With H-bombs and satelites all threatening to kill,

and people control birth with only a pill.

Surely some thought must be made for those folk

who do not regard these things as a joke.

The majority of people I'm sure will agree

that things are left best as they once used to be.

I know, I know -- tacky!

My mother, bless her heart, was a poet of sorts -- and although her work will never go down in the annals of history, they are precious to me.

I've mentioned before, on this blog, how our family vacationed frequently on the Norfolk Broads in the south-east of England. We would rent a cabin cruiser for a week, and float lazily along the winding rivers past quaint thatch-roofed cottages, barely making it under low-rise, antique bridges ("don't forget to batten down the hatches!"), moor by the side of tiny picturesque villages and purchase our breakfast from the man who would arrive at our boat at the crack of dawn selling bread, butter, cheese, milk and eggs. It was idyllic.

(l-r: my mother, a family friend, me on the Norfolk Broads, 1959)

My parents were the managers of the Flamborough Head Golf Club in Yorkshire in 1955, and had no doubt left the clubhouse in good hands while we had our week on the Broads. But, while it was out of sight, the staff and clientele was not out of mind.

My mother penned this poem on the back of a postcard sent to the Golf Club:

The five aboard "Commander Four" are having a heck of a caper.

We couldn't care less if Sam wants a pint, or Reg Armstrong, Ted Hutton or Raper.

We don't speak of 'bunkers' or 'birdies' or such -- it's "anchors aweigh!" and "ahoy there!"

And it's "keep your head down when you go through the hatch, or you'll find yourself flat on the floor there!"

No 'handicaps' here except for the time, and that's flying past like a streak.

So I'll finish this off with regards to you all.

Cheerio, till we see you next week!

Years later, long after I immigrated to Canada, my children and I headed back to the UK so that they could meet their grandparents. While there, they fell in love with A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh poetry books, and my mother gave them both Now We are Six and When We Were Very Young to bring back to Canada with them. They read them over and over again for years.

Mother penned a little poem for them in the front of this one, certainly not a la A.A. Milne style:
Kevin and Wendy came to stay
with Grandma and Grandad one summer's day.
With Shep the dog they had such fun,
and went a-visiting everyone.
But oh! the time it went so fast.
It was time to say goodbye at last.
Off in the jumbo-jet they flew,
back to Canada, boo-hoo-hoo.

Ok, so now you know where I get my poetry talent from -- NOT!

So let's go from the ridiculous to the sublime -- and this one, by A. A. Milne, is dedicated to my cousin Pete, who can probably easily identify with this poem, called The Engineer:

Let it rain!
Who cares?
I've a train upstairs,
with a brake
which I make
from a string
sort of thing,
which works
in jerks,
'cos it drops
in the spring,
which stops

with the string,
and the wheels
all stick
so quick
that it feels
like a thing
that you make
with a brake,
not string...

So that's what I make,
when the day's all wet.
It's a good sort of brake
but it hasn't worked yet.