A May Memory



Bluebells, ring them bells
Bluebells still echo from April sightings in Cornwall, UK.

Up-To-Slow-Speed, 30 May 2015–It happened a long time ago. On a May 24 Canadian Victoria Day, Grandfather Solomon loaded some of us on his milk truck and took us fishing in the Nith River; the location might have been at Haysville, Ontario. Other siblings or cousins might be able to pinpoint the location and add their own memories.

I don’t remember what we caught, if anything, but the memory of an adult taking time out to  feed our budding spring exuberance has stayed with me. It was common then to start going barefoot the weekend of May 24. The fishing excursion just added to that thrill and connection to earth and family.

That’s my May Memory from the early 1950s, maybe even late 1940s. If we did catch any fish, Grandma Rachel would have done up a fine feast. Thank God for grandparents.

On the subject of fish, Revd Francis Kilvert (1840-1879) is quoted (21 July 1870) as saying: “The Vicar of St Ives says the smell of fish there is sometimes so terrific as to stop the church clock.”  Pilchard (sardine-like) fishing used to be the big thing in St Ives, Cornwall, but no more. Thankfully, there’s still some small-scale fishing on-going there. We spent February to early May in nearby Carbis Bay. I had some nice seafood meals, certainly including fish and chips and whole pilchard.

May 2015 memorable moments. The first Sunday home we  attended worship at Prairie Street Mennonite Church. We don’t own a pew there but somehow we chose to sit in the same spot. Doesn’t God want us to play musical pews once is a while, certainly not to have proprietary claim to a certain seat? Surely we’re up to letting the Spirit prompt us to mix it up more. If church were an airplane, every seat would be Welcome-Here-For-Random-All-First-Class-Seats!

The next Sunday we attended the graduation of a great-niece, Vienna, from the University of Notre Dame. The morning ceremony took place in the ND Stadium and the afternoon events indoors. My ticket No. was 007436. It was a privilege to be part of the commencement exercises for Vienna, along with her parents Chuck and Shari, sister Iona, fiancé Adrian and grandparents Gerald and Mary. There were stirring speeches, music, pageantry, roses and food. Way to go Vienna! And way to go Iona! who graduates high school in a week and who will be a student at Notre Dame in September.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a drive along Redbud Trail in Michigan, lunch in St Joseph, Michigan, where the St Joseph River flows into Lake Michigan, and a visit to Fernwood Botanical Gardens near Niles, Michigan.

Also in May, we fulfilled a tradition of more than 30 years in attending the Stratford Festival of Canada with friends Dean and Gwen. We saw both familiar and new shows. If the word “smashing” can carry the richness of what we saw, then smashing is the word. The Diary of Anne Frank, Sound of Music, Hamlet and The Physicists kept us amazed at the power of story, the thrill of music, the vicissitudes of human nature . . . all within the wonder of the good and the survival of the spirit. The Festival theme this year is “Discovery.” We ended our stay in Ontario with a smashing Bender family cookout. It was so good to reconnect with the extended family and to see the newest cousins interacting with each other on bikes, some with training wheels, with ball and bat and so on. Bravo! Encore!

The Canadian Tourism Commission has identified nine different types of Canadian travelers based on age, lifestyle, social and travel values. From the BIG ADVENTURE GUIDE 2015, this one on Northeastern Ontario, I quote:

Cultural Explorer: You are a very active traveler who enjoys frequent escapes. Always on the move, you immerse yourself in nature, local culture and history.

Cultural History Buff: You strive to go beyond your own roots to understand the history and culture of others. You are the most likely to own a passport, and you enjoy solitary travel.

Free Spirit: Something of a thrill-seeking hedonist, travel satisfies your insatiable need for the exciting and the exotic.

Gentle Explorer: You like to return to past destinations and enjoy the security of familiar surroundings. You appreciate convenience, relaxation and typically look for all the comforts of home.

No-hassle Traveler: A bit of an escapist, you search for worry-free and secure travel. You look for relaxation, simplicity and a chance to experience the outdoors with family and friends.

Personal History Explorer: You travel to gain a deeper understanding of your ancestry and heritage. Your travel tends to be a shared experience both during and after the trip.

Rejuvenator: For you, travel is a chance to totally disconnect and just “get away from it all.” All you want to do is rest, recharge and renew. You usually take short vacations to familiar places, often for family visits and celebrations. While you might seek out destinations with a few interesting things to see and o, you don’t want an overly-hectic schedule of events. After all, travel is meant to be relaxing, not extra work!

Virtual Traveler: Tending not to travel very often, you prefer the comforts of home to the uncertainties of new places or cultures.

Authentic Experiencer: Your travel type is something of an improv artist, exploring nature, history and culture, all on the path to personal development.

That’s the list. You’ll probably find your travel type as some combination of the nine points. Somewhere there’s got to be room for grandparents doing neat things with grandkids. You can find out more about your travel type by taking the online quiz at bigtravel.ca.

This afternoon we have the honor of attending the wedding of great-nephew Trey Christner and Kaitlyn Kershner. Let love flourish and mutuality with individuality abound as Trey and Kaitlyn engage their vows.

Coming up June 13 is Funk Fest at church. Each year we focus on a theme that reflects the life and thought of our founding pastor John F. Funk. This year the theme is mentoring. Topic: “Mentored by Jesus: Engaged Spirituality.” The presenter is John Bell of the Iona Community in Scotland. The event runs from 9am-4pm, with registration (cost $20) at the door. Be well! -John



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