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Friday, May 13, 2011


I hadn't seen her in twenty years.
We first met in 1987 when we landed up on the same cross Canada musical tour that was the outcome of time well spent at Capernwray Harbour, Thetis Island, BC.

We drove our van-mates crazy. Constantly. All the way from Silberfeld Manitoba to Burnaby, BC. We laughed at all the same outrageous things. Behaved obnoxiously. Laughed some more.

When the tour ended, and the summer stretched before us, my new friend spoke of getting a job at a Bible camp for the summer. I said; sign me up too.

We spent the summer at Camp Arnes, driving more people crazy, learning a lot about how to live on no sleep in unreasonably hot conditions, and indulging in some more laughter.

With summer drawing to a close, I invited Donna to share a one bedroom apartment with my sister and me. Too bad I forgot to ask my sister first. (oops.)

I can't believe that I landed up spending almost every single day for five whole months with a girl I met in a cargo van along the long and dull prairies. But I did. And what we had in common at the time was that we both loved people, laughter, snack foods, and obnoxious behavior.

I saw Donna again a few years later when a friend and I backpacked around in Australia. Donna's life had taken a different course than mine at that point. She had married a pastor and was taking care of their chubby little baby boy when I spent a week in their home.

Fast forward twenty years. Donna's four kids were mostly grown up. My four were in the process. Donna flies to Canada to celebrate the sixteenth birthday of her youngest daughter who has taken a year to attend school in British Columbia. They want to come visit.

Of course, I wanted to see them! But I was nervous- not knowing who she would be after all these years. Wondering if she'd be disappointed in who I had become.

They should have e-mailed and told me how fabulous they are.
Then I wouldn't have had to worry.

Their impeccable sense of style.

Their fondness of ten year old jeans patched in the most creative of ways.

The most amazing eye for handbags;)

The best sort of hobbies.

Times would find us each lost in our own worlds, twirling buckets of buttons around in our hands, altering ancient "Op Shop"* items, or searching for more treasure in any junk shop we could get our mitts on.

It was so good for the soul to see my dining room slowly be transformed into a button shop.

Sheer bliss.

*(Op Shop= oppurtunity shop. ie; thrift shop, second hand store. I absolutely adore this term, and have decided that we should all adopt it, immediately).

Enjoying our daughters.

what an unbelievable gift to watch the girls love on each other! Kindred souls, these beautiful young women. I enjoyed every moment of watching them all become friends.

We did nothing really well.

And its a good thing, because although I tried valiently to give them some tourist experiences, most of my ventures were hopeless at best. The weather was terrible, but I took them to The Forks to check out the water level and go snoop through the antiques market. It was closed.

Arianna had raved about a fudge place that we could maybe drown our sorrows in.
It was gone.

We also went to the worst movie ever produced in the history of the production of movies.

(Beastly. Our kids made us. We will make them pay.)

McDonalds wasn't closed, and it never disappoints.

The girls said they wanted to get nostalgic Happy Meals together, but when we got there, they realized that they were Big Girls now and too hungry to settle for a meal that comes with a toy.

So our big tourist meal in the city was McChucks.


Never mind that.

As if buttons weren't enough reason to cause bliss beyond reason- between Brian and Donna outdoing each other in the kitchen, I didn't cook for a solid week!

She also did dishes and laundry.

Gee I miss you doing all that housework your company, Donna.

We also took the kids out for bubble tea.

I think one of my favourite lines of our week together was hearing Donna admonish her daughter to "Finish your dessert!" She's not one for tapioca texture, as it turns out.

Nor was Micah.

Or Sam.

I'm not sure that Donna and Nik will be rushing back to Manitoba for our movies, antiques, bubble teas or fudge.

But it's just possible that some of us will work on rushing to Sydney to check out their attractions!

I love my friends. They are the biggest treasure that I have on this earth.

I did a lot of thinking during my week with Donna. I wondered at how our interests had evolved in such bizarrely similar patterns. I enjoyed her deep and cynic-free faith in God. I was amazed at how many parallels there were in the way we saw the world, our families, and our place in this life. I thought about how rich life is- how what you choose while you're twenty-young can come back in bushels when you're in your forties.

I was glad that we'd both taken chances- Both then and now.

And it makes me say-

Live your life with enthusiasm.
Embrace all sorts of people in your life.

Don't always choose what's straight forward- take some risks.

And imagine possibilities.


mmichele said...

I need the recipe for that dish that is topped with beets.
Next time you need dinner in the city, would you please stop by? My goodness. I can't believe you went to the Forks and didn't come for dinner!

bygeorge! said...

oh how lovely...
and, am I mistaken? who works at subway?
Ginny by the jar full.

joyce said...

hey michelle- just had that amazing lentil and apricot soup again today. Love it love it loveit.

Love to come by. really. Really?

Lory, tis true. We have a working girl in the house! She's a "Sandwhich Artist". Ah, the life of an artist.

Kristine said...

Beastly really was the worst movie in existence...can't believe I wasted 5 bucks to see that atrocity