Daily Archives: March 15, 2004

Memories of … chocolate

Birthdays are a good time to bring out the memories.  They seem to pop out of nowhere in fact.  Just sitting around the table with kids and grandchild seems to have that effect on the conversation.

Kieran was sitting in the highchair at the restaurant tonight.  Crackers were scattered all around – tray, seat and floor.  And Grandpa was trying to slip him a few sips of pop that he is NOT ALLOWED to have at his young age.  Grandpa(Leo) began to reminiss about Eric sitting and covering himself with chocolate in his highchair when we lived for a year in Belgium. 

And then the conversation turned to another time – a few years later – and chocolate, and Kieran’s dad (David).

We were on “home assignment” – a euphenism for a good old fashioned furlough from the mission field.  Furlough – the required return to North America after a four year stint on “the field” – in our case Zaire.  It was our first.  Home assignments were so named to give a certain idea that while we were back in North America we were not just lazing around.  Our first was also a time of recovery for Leo as he had contracted TB.  So we were allowed to do regular work instead of travelling around the country in Canada and the US speaking. 

Towards the spring, we were invited to make a trip down to the USA to speak in a few churches in California.  When you have just spent six months in a cold Saskatchewan winter after three years in the tropics, it is not hard to feel the call to go south to speak.  So just before Easter we flew off southward, speaking in several churches which supported our family. 

While we were in the San Francisco area, we made a trip out to Turlock to visit another missionary family.  They had a pool and we were excited about seeing them again too.  On the way, I picked up a bag of those tiny little chocolate bars.  I thought they would be nice for treats for the kids and since they were small, the boys wouldn’t overdo it by having one now and then.  The boys liked chocolate and so it was a real treat for them and a good way to bribe them when they needed it.

That evening David found the bag.  He found it and sat down and ate every last one of those little chocolate bars.  That evening and night he was sick – stuff coming out of both ends! 

We got home a few days later to begin the Easter holidays with our families.  This was the first time the boys had been around to be indulged by the grandparents with Easter candy.  And of course chocolate.  They both got very large chocolate Easter bunnies.  Eric thouroughly enjoyed the attention and the surprise.  David – two at the time – had learned a lesson.  Chocolate makes you sick.  It was several years before time erased those memories of his and he was willing to try chocolate again. 

Tonight we had chocolate cake for my birthday.  I think he is cured but he still remembers the year he refused the chocolate bunny. 

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A day off

Today is a day off for me.  I booked it off a long time ago thinking that I could take off on my own somewhere for a bit of peace and solitude.  Then as “fate” would have it, I ended up spending most of my weekend in Regina or driving back and forth for the Provincial Soccer playoffs.  I am still very glad I booked off this day.  It gives me a chance to catch up after a busy weekend.

The girls played hard at the tournament – won two games then lost the semi-final match.  But it was a good game and Sara played well. 

One of the reasons Sara wanted me to take her was that Sara is probably the youngest member of the team this year.  She thus doesn’t have as many close friends her age – it is just the way her birthday falls in the spring of the year and it makes her cross into the over 14 age group before September.  So, she didn’t feel like just going by herself, staying in a hotel room with one of the other team members families when she isn’t that close to the other team members.  But the under 14 girls were also there playing and so she spent some time with those very good friends. 

All in all it was a good weekend – Sara was also happy when one of Leo’s public health collegues suggested she talk her father into letting her buy a new pair of pants for the wonderful goal she scored.  Sara was 100% in favor of that so she asked and she received.  (I’m not sure that this kind of reward is at all needed – Thanks Pat – since she plays for the love of the sport, and since it hurts my bank account!)

I also took some time to visit some friends and that was great.  I know we need to work to keep close ties strong and this was a good opportunity.  So we shared a cup of tea and talked of stuff important to both of us.  She has learned a lot of lessons in life and I hope will be strong enough to help others learn from her story. 

I got home in time last night to meet with the group of women who have been getting together to study Yancy’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew.  We finished it last night and are now contemplating where to go from here. 

We were talking at one point about the incarnation and what it all means in light of the crucifixcion and resurrection.  It is incomprehensible that God would choose to become human – but he did and am I ever grateful that he loved us enough to do this.  The discussion reminded me of a poem I posted here a while back – The Coming by R.S. Thomas.

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