When I was young I used to read encyclopedias for pleasure. We had a 1969 (am I right on the year, bbd?) set of World Book encyclopedias. And I loved them. It was my goal to read every letter of the alphabet from cover to cover. I know I never made it all the way through but I can still vividly remember laying on my mother's brown couch learning things about art and Winston Churchill and Helen Keller and dogs and, and, and.
About (I'm going to guess) 6 years ago I tracked down a beautiful set of World Book Encyclopedias at an MCC store in Brandon. $15. And I bought them. Proud as punch I packed them in the back of my mother's car (we were in Brandon Christmas shopping) and off we drove. The problem was, at that time I might very well have been living in the world's tiniest apartment (Not only was there not a dining room, there wasn't even enough room in the kitchen for a table.) and I realized that I had no idea where I would put my encyclopedias. And so, that Christmas I happily (albeit a little bit sadly too) passed them on to my brother as being an encyclopedia lover himself I KNEW he would use them.
And now, interestingly enough, I married a man who ALSO read encyclopedias for fun. And in less than 50 days we will have more space than we had ever imagined.
I would suspect within the next year there will be a shiny (used) set of encyclopedias residing in our living room.
When we were house hunting it became quite apparent that Abby was in a ball-loving stage. We joked that we should play a little game of "Where’s the ball?" because if there was one ANYWHERE on the property our little girl would spot it and comment excitedly, "ball! ball!". It could be in the backyard. It could be tucked under the stairs in the dark. It could be hidden in the recesses of the garage. Wherever it was she would spot it. In fact, at times it seemed that she created them in her head as we couldn't see them anywhere.
There are days when this whole process seems completely overwhelming to me. There are days when I think it would just be so much easier to stay in an apartment indefinitely. There are days when the thought of how much everything costs makes me choke back tears. (And we've only just begun.)
But then I just try to think of a certain brown curly-haired little girl with big eyes who will now have a backyard to play in.
Thirteen Questions feel free to answer any or all of them
1. Why is it a lot of restaurants/bars have several different types of beer on tap but never have both Pepsi and Coke on tap? 2. Why is the bathroom so far away from my desk? 3. Why is it that in most homes women still do a lot of the cooking and yet the most famous chefs are men? 4. Why, when I enter the word "apple" in Google images do I get 9 images of Apple related computer paraphernalia before I get an image of the fruit? 5. Will it ever stop raining? 6. How many talent or romance type reality shows can they come up with? 7. Why did I just eat that piece of brownie when I really wasn’t hungry for it? 8. Why can’t I stop looking at houses even though we’ve found one now? 9. If your acting career has culminated in you dressing in a Listerine or toothbrush costume and figure skating on television shouldn’t you try some other career? 10.Why can I never be blasé about spending money? 11. Why do I always respond to stress by overeating? 12. in conjunction with #10 How much will I weigh by the time we’re all done with house decisions? 13. When does the Bourne Ultimatum come out?
But for today, not my story. Today a story about someone I've been thinking of a lot lately. Someone who's gone and can no longer tell her own story.
Mrs. R attended my tiny childhood church. She was, by society's standards, a completely unremarkable woman. Plain and ordinary. Not strikingly attractive. Nor wealthy nor particularly intellectual or articulate.
And yet, Mrs. R has a profound influence on my life. I could tell dozens of stories about her but for right now, only 3.
I was baptized as a teenager in our town's river. It was mid-September. In Manitoba. What does this mean? There had already been frost on the river that month. It was cold.Very cold. That's one of my main memories of that day: How very cold that water was. My other memory of that day? Walking out of that river to Mrs. R with her arms outstretched with a blanket. She was not my mom nor even a relative or a very close friend. And yet she had thought to bring a blanket to wrap me in.
I am 37 years old. I learned to recite the books of the Bible in order at about the age of 10. I still know them. That's 27 years. And, in that time I have taught the diddy I learned to at least 20 children. And who taught me that song? Mrs. R.
The third memory (and the one that seems to stick with me the most): Mrs. R lived on an acreage in the country. She had a rather unusual home surrounded by flowers. Just like their owner, her gardens were neither beautiful nor particularly well organized. And yet, there were flowers. Lots and lots of flowers of every colour and variety. And nearly every Sunday in summer those flowers graced the table at the front of the church. No two bouquets the same and yet all of them beautifully arranged and placed there in love and obedience to her God.
It's been nearly 20 years since I've had any regular contact with Mrs. R. And yet I still think of her. Often. And I think we should all be so lucky to be remembered for a warm blanket and bouquets and bouquets of flowers.