Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Birthday and some Anniversaries

This is a "catchup" posting covering some things I didn't get to last week.

You must be getting older when your youngest sibling has just turned 50. I mentioned before that I had made a trip to Beamsville May 13-15 – in part to travel with my brother Rob to a medical checkup but also to help my youngest brother Lawrence celebrate his 50th birthday on May 15.

My parents - Mervyn & Jean - brought 8 children into this world over an 18 year period from 1938 to 1956. -- 3 girls and 5 boys. I’m in the middle of the boys and in the middle 2 of the 8 (the middle of 8 is between 4 & 5 – so my younger sister Ruby and I – at numbers 4 & 5 -- are the middle children).

The picture, which was taken at the surprise party on his birthday, shows Lawrence (at the left) with his 2 sons (Mervyn) Lee and Gregory (at the back) and his wife Lily and our Dad in the front. His daughter Lene, her husband Bruce and granddaughter Kahlan live in Pampa TX so weren’t able to be there but they did call during the party to say a surprise second Happy Birthday (having already called earlier in the day to avoid creating suspicion that more was coming later).

We managed to completely surprise him by having a “fake” birthday gathering on Sunday at my sister Ruby’s house. The real reason was that it was Mother’s Day and since Rob, Dad & I, my oldest sister Goldie and her husband Morris were in the area – she had invited Lawrence's family and Goldie's son son James and his children Chris, Shaun & Sarah. -- 17 in total -- for Sunday dinner. Ruby’s husband Art was traveling and her youngest son was enroute to Papua New Guinea so it really wasn’t much of a Mother’s day rest for her. She said she was going to celebrate Mother’s day on Father’s day

Last Sunday was our monthly potluck at church. It also turned into a anniversary celebration to honor Ralph and Gladys Forfar on their 60th anniversary (May 24th.). At the same time, we acknowledged Richard & Ilse Herzog who celebrated their 59th anniversary on May 17 and my brother Rob & his wife Marilyn who celebrated their 27th on May 21.

Ralph & Gladys have been part of the Pinehill church for longer than I have been around the Sault (which goes back over 40 years). And the same is true of Richard & Ilse Herzog.

Both couples were supportive and helpful to me as a young man fresh from the country when I came to the “big” city in my late teens to work for a summer at the steel plant. They also befriended Linda (before we were married) when I was away at school and she was in Nursing training here in the Sault. We left the area after we married while I was finishing university studies. We moved to the Sault in 1974 and being a part of a church family with both these couples who have devoted their lives to serving God is a continual blessing.

Ralph was the person in charge of the young people’s class when I first here (in the early 60's)and he provided a lot of wisdom to a young man just starting out. He is a forester and he is now in his late 80’s but is still active planting trees. Gladys, for several years, collected stuffed animals, cleaned them and shipped them to the Dominican Republic. She has been less active recently due to various health problems.

Richard and Ilse came to Canada from Germany following WWII. They have been part of the church here ever since. They have set a standard of commitment to worship and service to the church that is difficult to match. Richard served as an elder for many years and he continues to minister in his song leading. Ilse was a Sunday school teacher and mentor to many ladies. She is well known for her hospitality having many friends and visitors into her home for superb German food. Her knowledge of the Bible is legendary. They both still spend a morning once every few weeks helping at the local soup kitchen.

Rob & Marilyn were married in Burnaby BC. Linda & I traveled to the wedding with our youngest (Melissa) as a babe in arms. Rob has worked at Algoma Steel since the early 70’s and plans to retire next year.

Marilyn is a school teacher and after raising their family has worked with Program Read – a literacy program for adults. Both Rob & Marilyn are active in the church. Rob has served as Treasurer for many years and Marilyn co-leads the Sunday school program and teaches most of the time.

Their son Ken is still at home. He graduated from Algoma University in Geography and returned to Sault College for a diploma in GIS but hasn't yet been sucessful in finding work in his field. Patricia (Trish) graduated from the Education program at Nipissing University last spring and is working (half days) with the kindergarten program that operates on the campus of Great Lakes Christian college in Beamsville. She works in a video store the rest of the time to earn enough to cover her living expenses.

It is a great thing to have a bother & sister-in-law so close by who share many of the same values and interests together.

Well that's a wrap on the "special ocassions" for now

God Bless

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