Change Your Identity and Start Over Far Away

Ed, my neighbor next door, has changed to his winter identity, as an invaluable bowler and curler. He is glad winter has taken over his farm, so he can get serious about being a celebrity at the bowling alley and curling rink. Ed claims he has always been a little better at both bowling and curling than most others. He is careful around his teammates not to mention it. Ed says that they can see for themselves how good he is at swaying their team score.
Ruby, Ed’s wife says that the times Ed is off bowling and curling are the highlight of her winter. She claims every good wife should encourage her husband to pursue his interests. Ruby has always encouraged Ed to be a good team player and show up in lots of time for his games. She tells Ed that spending time with the guys after the game is good for building team spirit and that is important too.

Every year about this time, Ed likes to have a heart to heart talk with me about how long and cold winters are in Saskatchewan. He tells me how the wise folks move to B.C. especially, Victoria, to escape prairie weather and how they all love it there. I tell Ed that not everyone lives happily ever after in British Columbia. It has too many trees, too many mountains, and too much rain to suit me. Ed is convinced I don’t want to move there as a retired pastor. Ed says that pastors make folks uncomfortable everywhere. I should legally change my name and move to the West Coast. Claim I’m retired from Walmart which is has a bit of truth to it. There I could become a security guard in the winter and fruit picker in the summer.

Every year about this time, I have to have a heart to heart talk with Ed and assure him that I have never said he and I are friends. I also promise not to embarrass him in the future by saying such a thing. Ed’s problem is that he is a talker, and in spite of himself he ends up talking to me, and he gets worried people could get the idea that we are friends. I keep telling Ed that he cannot catch religion from talking to a pastor or priest. We are not contagious like a person with a cold. Ed says that I just don’t understand gossip in a town like ours. If rumors get started that we are friends then wild stories will circulate that he and Ruby are going to church, and he might have to think about going to B.C. himself.

Ed has missed that times have changed. Ed imagines himself as a rebel and nonconformist hero when it comes to church attendance. Little does he understand that most folks aren’t in church on any given Sunday, among them many church members! Christmas Eve is the only time lots of folks show up at church as it is a tradition that lingers from the past. We live at a time when folks might be described as they were in the book of Judges; “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”


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