Keeping In Touch

22 Apr

Contacting Folks By Phone Is No Easy Task

“I might want to talk with you, but you may not want to talk with me,” I told my Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan. We were discussing my present endeavor to contact members our church congregation by phone. Ed, said, “Phoning people is as bad as knocking on their door. Seeing a pastor or priest at church is more than enough for most people.”

Ed advised me that I should leave the members of my congregation alone. Don’t call, don’t visit, and at church don’t ask about anything more personal than the weather. I think many folks would agree with Ed, but they might also say that no one from the church ever contacts me unless they want my money or my help. It is always a challenge to show love and encouragement to congregational members.

Self Sufficiency

22 Apr

Our Security Can Be Shattered In Seconds

“Security is an illusion,” I complained to Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan. I had received a letter concerning my pension plan from my church’s denomination. It seems it is no longer as secure as it should be. This unsecured pension plan could spell a big hole in my self-sufficiency in my future years. According to a major newspaper article, I am just becoming like many Canadians who cannot assume they will have a secure work pension in the future.

Everyone has watched stock market plunges that have devalued everyone’s savings in the short term. These stock market plunges have been estimated to have drained retirement accounts by 50 billion. Sadly, significant companies, and industries have toppled, putting once secure pension plans into bankruptcy.

Garden Itch

13 Apr

There Is No Cure For The Itch To Be In The Garden

“Some of you get the itch as early as February,” Ed my old neighbor from Saskatchewan said with contempt. The garden itch is something Ed will never scratch. “Gardens are for fanatics and fatalists who plant, weed and water to reap vegies that they force on unwilling meat eaters, like me,” Ed proclaims each spring and summer. As far as Ed is concerned, the only vegetable worth mentioning is a potato.

Ed’s negative attitude towards gardening steams from his forced labor as a child on his family farm when hoeing a large garden was a part of his life. I told Ed I thought of his resentment toward garden hoeing when reading the words of John Muir. In 1857 John’s father bought a section of land to be cleared. The property had no spring, creek, or lake. A well had to be dug, and the first ten feet were fine-grained dust easily dug, but at ten feet they hit solid rock. His father tried blasting the rock but made little progress. When that failed, John’s father gave him the job of digging the well with mason’s chisels.

Chocolate Children

30 Mar

Chocolate Easter Bunnies Are For Grandparents!

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, now has a stockpile of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies for his treat drawer at his Quonset. On their recent trip to Edmonton for Easter, Ed learned that the modern moms in his family restrict the amount of candy allowed their children.

Being generous and remembering the fun of Easter egg hunts for his own children, Ed had purchased a large number of chocolate eggs and bunnies for his grandchildren. His grandchildren were only allowed a minimum of both Easter treats, and Ed brought home a good supply for himself. Ruby gets a headache from eating chocolate, so Ed volunteered to eat the candy when he is working at the farm.

Surprise Visit

29 Mar

Unexpected And Unwelcome Guest At The Door?

“Better not go unless you check base with your family in Edmonton,” I warned Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan. Ed had already told Ruby his wife, that they were going to Edmonton for Easter. My old neighbor was looking forward to surprising his family there. I suggested that showing up at his children’s door, without advanced notice, could backfire as they may not be home. “They won’t be away all weekend,” Ed scoffed.

Ed was convinced that he and Ruby would be welcome and that their family would be glad to have them visit for Easter. I hope it happens that way. Some folks are so gracious and relaxed about unexpected guests. Some people get anxious and disturbed by family and friends that show up at their door. They act like the unexpected guest is as welcome as, ‘Crazy Mary from Londonderry who lives next door to the cemetery.’


29 Mar

Overwhelmed By Uninvited Interest And Advice

It isn’t always a good idea to share what I am doing here with Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan. He can be full of helpful ideas even when they are not requested. Yesterday, I shared with Ed that I have been dabbling in slogan writing.

He was quick to ask me if the slogan writing that I was doing was about pastoral work or the church. Before I could answer him, he was gladly offering slogans about me: “Tall talk of heaven, by a five-foot-five shorty!” “Beware of Pastors: they will call you a sinner!” Of course, Ed had a couple of labels that he hadn’t invented, but he liked, such as: “The church only wants my money!” “Church goers are hypocrites!” “The comfortable church pew is now empty and for sale.”