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.