I’m back!

My provider was upgrading my account so I’ve been off-line for a while.  I couldn’t even get to the blog so I’m sure you had problems.  Welcome back!  I finally made a comment on the review post below, so take a look. 

I’ve been losing the battle to a winter cold the past few days but I’m feeling better now.  I’ll be back in a day or so with a new post.

Any football fans out there?  How about those Giants!

Enjoy your week!

5 thoughts on “I’m back!

  1. I’ve had an interesting weekend.

    On Friday, at about noon, my brother-in-law’s mother, Mary, and I set off on what turned out to be quite an odyssey of about 420 miles round-trip. north-eastward. The occasion was her granddaughter’s, my niece’s wedding on Saturday. On our trip north-eastward, we encountered snow-covered roads and drifting snow but nothing too serious and we arrived safely at our destination after about 4 and a half hours. My sister picked me up after the rehearsal for a “rehearsal party” at the groom’s parents’ house.

    The 30-minute ride to the church on Saturday was along winding country roads. The wedding was very moving in several ways, from the meaningful message offered by the officiating pastor to the vows of the bride and groom. Beyond that, we were entertained by the antics of the 2-and-a-half year-old flower girl and the 5-year-old ring-bearer on stage. The meal was a hearty, healthy one with only a few speeches.

    Mary and I had originally intended to leave right after the reception, but that and the opening of the wedding gifts took a little longer than expected and left no possibility of our getting back home before dark. Besides, the weather had grown somewhat worse. Therefore, we decided to stay over another night.

    The next morning brought us sun but higher winds and we set out prayerfully, trusting in our Lord to keep us safe from harm. In the first ten miles of driving from the farm, we saw the wrecks of two accidents, enough to bring caution to any heart. But we soldiered on. About 60 miles later, we got to a road-block that obstructed our way south. So we decided to continue in a westerly direction through ever-increasingly drifting snow fueled by up to 40 mph winds. About 40 miles later, on our next attempt to go south, we came to another roadblock. Trying to drive further west seemed futile as well. So reluctantly, but gratefully we decided to stay in Durham, ON for the night. There was no hotel or motel in town. That meant about 18 to 20 hours to spend somehow.

    Luckily, the Tim Hortons Donut chain store in the town of 2500 was open on this Sunday afternoon. The Canadian Legion hall was slated to be open from 3-6 p.m. However, they had been alerted to the closed highways and were ready to feed, entertain and shelter stranded motorists. The Legion hall provided games, TV, DVDs and above all, conversation as we became friendly with each other.

    Most of us were headed to London, ON. One woman was scheduled to have a hip replacement at 3 p.m. the next day, Monday. We were most concerned about her because her missing her appointment could mean a postponement of several days or weeks. About 6 hours after Mary and I arrived, we were graced with the arrival of two busloads, 50-60 first-year medical students who had been skiing near the shores of Georgian Bay, a part of Lake Huron. They were jokingly asked if they were prepared to operate if necessary but they modestly and justifiably declined. There were several other carloads of skiers among the rest of the stranded.

    From somewhere in town pizzas, hot dogs, drink boxes and other goodies appeared for all of us. Then came firefighters and another group to provide cots and blankets, at least 120 of each.

    A bunch of us, including yours truly, never did get to bed. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep since I have trouble sleeping anyway. A few others, besides two men who were members of the legion hall, stayed up all night. They had to help an elderly lady who had been playing euchre during the evening. She woke up and on her way back from the restroom became thoroughly disoriented. Another woke up with a bad headache and I was able to help her out with a painkiller. A man came out of one of the smaller rooms with bad cramps in his legs. He walked around for a while. About a half hour later his wife came out looking for him but nobody could remember seeing him for about 20 minutes. So someone looked outside in case he had gone out and fallen on one of the many icy patches in the parking lot. One car seemed to be missing from the lines of cars parked there.

    So she waited with us until the husband walked in about 15 minutes later. He had been scouting the roads. The town’s roads were smoothly plowed but the roads out of it were still closed.

    All night we kept watching the Weather Channel. Red weather alerts were constantly being shown. Around 6:30 a.m. a policeman arrived to let us know that the highway south was open, though not totally cleared. The way north was still blocked. As we were speaking with him, it began snowing more heavily to add to any drifting snow still swirling around. Mary woke up about that time and we decided to leave as soon as possible just in case the weather got even worse again. On the way south, we encountered another closed road and had to make a small detour. The section of road Mary had been most concerned about was still closed. However we now made good time, reaching almost normal speed limits and entered London at 10:30. We had stopped for breakfast at another Tim Hortons.

    I met a younger couple from Romania, a man who emigrated from Germany to Canada on the same ship we came on only a month before our family did. He also showed me and gave me the instructions for a neat card trick that requires no sleight of hand; good for me to try since my hands are not very flexible. We also played “bingo” with a 4-year-old, her 7-year-old sister and their mother. Mary began a scarf that the latter wanted to knit for her new boy cousin.

    One of the young med students looked like a punk. He did it in order to collect money for his charity, the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He had a Mohawk with stars shaved into one side of his short hair. Apparently one year he had died his hair blue and worn a button saying something like: Ask me about the blue. He wanted to tell everyone about the charity. When the legion members heard this, they immediately told him that they would send a check to his charity. At this point, another student said his mother was on the board of a charity for challenged children. He was promised a check as well. It was really a time of camaraderie.

    As Mary said, it was wonderful to see that kindness, friendliness and generosity still exist among people and organizations.

    This experience made me think more about those displaced by disasters. We were never under the immediate threat of bodily harm, loss of homes, livelihood or precious reminders of loved ones. We were very fortunate. In the normal course of events only further driving posed any threats. Still we felt a sort of solidarity with our fellow strandees and even the young people, often reviled for ingratitude, repeatedly thanked those that were from the town for all that they had done for us.

    I hope that it was an experience from which all of us learned something for the rest of our lives–besides a few card tricks. It’s certainly an experience of seeming misfortune that turned out to be a blessing in disguise that I will never forget.

  2. P.S. I just had to share this somehow. I hope you don’t mind my hogging the spot.

    I do hope you’re well on the way to recovery from your cold. They are definitely no fun.

  3. Sigrun, thanks for sharing with us. What a lovely story and a wonderful adventure for you and your b-i-l’s mother! Look at the neat people you met and positive interactions you had! You could not have planned a better getaway. I bet you had the best wedding story of anybody–well, except the bride and groom.

    It does make you think about others who are displaced and makes you remember how important it is to always be ready to lend a helping hand. Cherish your memories of this trip, Sigrun. It was indeed a special time.

    Again, thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Hey Angela,

    I replied to your earlier email about book reviews also.

    This trip reminds me of a church choir tour I went on once which I described as a trip from hell! Segrin’s was much more pleasant but I think this could be someone’s next story…Christian fiction if you use my choir trip theme.

    How about: “The St. Mark’s Recording Choir Tour Bus Trip from Hell” as the title. I could see developing this Angela.

  5. I’m glad that you two got something out of my story. Instead of being a bad experience, being stranded gave me a time of adventure and meeting with a lot of people. In many ways that was a once-in-a-lifetime weekend, one that originally I wasn’t even going to have since I was not one of the original wedding guests.

    BTW, Gottfried, one of the words below, is a German male name and means “God’s peace” (Friede Gottes, yes both words capitalized, as all nouns are in German.) It’s also the name of the last cousin of my father’s with whom I have any contact. Gottfried’s father’s first family was killed during the bombing of Dresden, Germany during WW II. He married again after the end of the war, with the result that G. and his sister, of the same generation as my father, are younger than I am. G., his wife and 4 children went through a lot of deprivations as staunch Christians in the German Democratic Republic. Unfortunately, I lost their address after visiting them in 1995 in a town between Munich and Salzburg to which they were able to move after 1989. I’m still hoping to find it again.

    And what a lovely word from God on this Sunday morning: “God’s peace” which reflects one of my favorite bible verses from John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

    How precious and important that verse is to me since I seem to be “troubled” most of the time until I think of God and his loving care. I have to constantly remind myself of that.

    Well, I’m so glad that I came here because I couldn’t sleep. I know it was God’s leading, including getting your e-mail, Angela. Thank you for sending it “out of order.” Usually you send it early in the month, not near the end of one. What sweet affirmation from God through your caring as well, though I know you thought to get some response from other readers, not another long comment from me.

    P.S. I must have missed that blog about “book reviews” or I just can’t remember it. But then, I still haven’t found “The Amen Sisters.” Like Gottfried’s address, it’s still “lost.”

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