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Three Months at Dizzying Speed

Tuesday, July 19, 2013

Regular readers will know that there is a competition – entirely in my own mind, of course – between this space and FaceBook.

On the one hand, FaceBook is so easy!  Write a thought; click “post,” and it’s done.  But the expectation is that your thought should be brief.

On the other hand, I generally don’t have “brief” thoughts!  I have themes and sub-themes, and my thoughts interlace like a medieval weaving.  In short, they’re wordy.  And this space allows me to be as wordy as I wish!  So when I have a tale to tell, or an idea to spin, this is the place where I do it.

In the madcap pace of recent months
, however, there has not been a microsecond in which I could spin one of my yarns (my family calls them “sagas”).  So, again and again, I would resort to FaceBook as my instant – and only – means of keeping connected to all my friends and family.

Between April and July of this year (2013) a lot happened in my world that is of the greatest importance: Heather turned 65 and promptly and permanently closed her 12 year old law practice; Rachael and Michael got engaged in Paris; Troy married his dear and beautiful Marysia; and after I made my annual treck across half a continent to our cottage in Quebec, Chris came to visit for the first time in 25 years!

Much of this involved me in a very direct way.  As Heather moved towards shutting down her practice, I became her office administrator once more, and worked full time at it from April until the end of June.  At Troy’s wedding I had the triple role of Father-of-the-groom, emcee at the reception, and guest musician with the dance band.

I also had my “other” life – that of a retired Anglican priest who is still in possession of some of his faculties – and, apart from being a loving husband and parent, that is the life in which I delight.  It was hard to do much by way of Christian leadership while all that other stuff was going on, but I have managed to chair the Stewardship Committee of St.  Margaret’s church, make an educational presentation to the young adults of St.  Margaret’s, and mentor a number of people.  Not only that, I am on the board of directors of the Manitoba Medical Services Foundation, which involves meetings now and again, and some volunteer work analyzing their website performance.

And then there is this website.  Over four thousand people visit it each month, and some of those people contact me with questions about the priesthood or about the Anglican church, so I maintain an extensive correspondence all over the world.

So, really there is never a dull moment.  And hardly a moment to put anything up on this blog, so that all I have done for the most part is post a bit of news here and there in FaceBook.  If you are one of my FaceBook “friends” 1 then you’ve probably already read most of what follows on this page, for (with some exceptions) the items below are edited versions of what I posted at the time on FaceBook.  But if you are not connected with me on FaceBook reading the following series of posts will give you a partial glimpse of my life as it galloped past during these recent months.

Links to the “Status Updates” below

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Heather’s Surprise Birthday Party
Saturday, April 13, 2013

Today is Heather’s birthday and it is an important one.  With it, she officially becomes a Senior Citizen.  For months, now, I’ve been secretly arranging for a special banquet in her honour, and tonight it all came off perfectly.  An exquisite room in Bailey’s Restaurant 2, set up like the library in a stately home, was reserved, and twenty-five friends and family came.  There were classmates from Heather’s law school; people she likes from the Alzheimer Society (where she’s a past president); the Matron of Honour at our wedding; and our regular card-playing cronies.  Our family included Rachael and her true love, Michael, all the way from Boston; plus Troy and Marysia, Tim and Diana, Tawny, her son Michael, and our nephew Patrick.  Somehow we had kept the whole thing secret and Heather’s surprise was genuine and complete.  Rachael gave an exquisite toast to her mom; Heather’s friend Georgina Garrett spoke, as did I, and Heather’s reply was sincere, gracious, and elegant.  All told a wonderful event.

Rachael and Michael get engaged – in Paris 3
Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rachael and Michael on the Eiffel Tower
Engaged – in Paris
The very next weekend, Rachael and Michael took off for a long-anticipated trip to Paris.  They had tickets to a production, in the city of lights, of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George.”  Late this evening they went for a walk, and in the middle of a bridge over the Seine, with the Eiffel Tower in the background, Michael “popped the question,” producing a magnificent ring as he did so.  Rachael didn’t take long to consider, and just as the word “Yes” was out of her mouth, all the lights on the Eiffel Tower came on!  It was, to say the least, a spectacular proposal, and I understand that Michael timed it specifically to happen that way!

They then climbed the tower together, and Michael took the self-timed photo that you see here.

My Son-in-Law, Shai Maharaj, Returns to Work 4
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shai was discharged from hospital April 17, and has been improving steadily ever since, although memory is sometimes vague, and certain words escape from the top of mind.  He’s going to return to work – he is a high school teacher – tomorrow.  For a couple of days he’ll just observe, but next Monday he hopes to resume teaching his full class load.

Troy and Marysia’s Wedding Day
Saturday, June 8, 2013

The other Wedding Of The Century (second only to William and Kate’s) is now underway.  Friends and family have arrived from all over the continent.  It’s great to have so many people I love in one place, and we all hope that Troy and Marysia will look back on this and say, “It was the best of days, and the beginning of all that is good.”
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The happy, handsome couple

The picture at left is one of those taken by Rachael and Michael, and I’m so glad that they shared some of their photos with me, because I didn’t have my own camera at the wedding.

They’ve All Flown Away
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – 11:45 PM

The plane carrying the last of our wedding visitors finally took off a few minutes ago!  It was touch and go for a while...  Ariel and Shai’s plane was supposed to go at 6:00 PM, then at 9:30 PM, and finally at 11:30 PM.  We brought them back to the apartment for some of this waiting, but now they’re actually on their way!  Meanwhile Rachael and Michael, Christopher, Andrea and Alexa, all left yesterday.  Troy and Marysia’s wedding can now be said to be done and concluded.  It has been a wonderful weekend and we will dine out on delightful memories for a very long time.

Fathers’ Day
Sunday, June 16, 2013

I’ve not been posting much to FaceBook lately, having had almost no time to log on – what with working full-time at Heather’s office, and a wedding, and a number of volunteer duties at the church....  Still, today has been a very pleasant and laid-back Fathers’ day, full of little pleasures, for which I am very thankful.  As for my kids, although I know that they are fallible and sinful mortals as we all are, nonetheless in my heart no ordinary human being has ever been – or ever will be – more wonderful, amazing and simply luminous than Chris, Troy, Ariel, and Rachael.  Their chosen and beloved life partners and my grandchildren are right up there beside them as the objects of my completely biased love and affection.

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The Closing of Dixon Law Office
Saturday, June 29, 2013

It is done.  Months of preparation.  Weeks of office work grind.  Days of utter stress.  Done.  Heather’s law practice is closed.  She is now senior counsel at Pullan Kammerloch Frohlinger of Winnipeg, and as such she gives advice to lawyers, but doesn’t have an office or a desk.  We can travel, visit family, or go to the lake and not have to rush home.
Her files have been indexed, boxed, and stored; her furniture sold or given away; the office equipment that she needs has been moved home... all of the above by me.  Finally I can catch my breath and relax.  I’m exhausted, but satisfied.
Mind you... she’s working on a few final loose ends here at home: “Tony, how do I get this to print double-sided?”  Ahh well.  Gotta love her.

Driving from Winnipeg to Ottawa 5
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I’ve decided to stop in Thunder Bay.  I had intended to tent overnight in one of the many campsites along the way, 6 but am too tired.  Chickened out, in fact.  Took a motel room.  Now for some serious sleep.

a small tent on the ground
Having a Nap
Sleeping in the Great Outdoors
Thursday, July 4, 2013

Second night on the road...  wimpy wuss has been transformed into Mister Outdoorsman!  You can’t see me because I’m inside the tent having a nap (at Agawa Bay Ontario Provincial Campground).

At the Cottage (and yet again, the phone doesn’t work!)
Monday, July 8, 2013

We got to the cottage in good order yesterday, but once again we find our phone out of commission, so we can’t communicate with the world, nor can anyone reach us.  No phone...  and, because there’s no phone, no Internet.

So, how did I manage to post this status to FaceBook?  Simple: I’m posting it from my phone when we’re in the town of Hawkesbury getting groceries (my cell doesn’t work at the cottage either – no signal whatsoever, so don’t bother trying to reach us that way!).  A Bell Canada technician is supposed to come to the lake tomorrow, but my experience with those people has not been good; so we shall be pleasantly surprised if one does come.  The shaggy-dog story of our worst encounter with Bell Canada can be read beginning here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Is the word “Hallelujah!” appropriate?  The Bell Canada technician came, and came at the time specified!  And as a result of his ministrations, we now have a working telephone at our cottage.  Which is what I am using (via dial-up, of course) to post this status.  We are now officially “at the lake,” relaxing, vacationing, enjoying.  (BTW, as I had figured, our phone wire had been nicked by Hydro Quebec workers clearing underbrush from the hydro right-of-way.)

A Surprise Visit to Good Friends
Friday, July 19, 2013

So...  I couldn’t post anything on FaceBook for the longest while; (a) because dial-up at the lake is excruciatingly slow, and (b) because I didn’t want to tip off one of my great friends about a surprise visit that we accomplished today.  My son Chris, his daughter Alexa, and Troy’s newly-acquired stepson Nick have been at the lake with us for the past week, and in Chris’ case, this is his first visit to the lake in 25 years...  As it happens, not far from the lake live John and Karen Bradley, whom we love to visit each year – but the surprise for them, when we showed up today, was the presence of Chris, who is John’s godson.  The surprise was complete, and the welcome was absolute.  Better yet they have wi-fi, so I can post this little triumph here.

At the very time that I was composing the last entry you see here, and posting it onFaceBook, a tornado went roaring through our lake and several other tornados knocked power out in a large region of Quebec.  My next entry tells the tale.

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1  I put the word “friends” in quotation marks only because it is a technical word in FaceBook.  But I can assure you that if you are my “friend” in FaceBook you are most certainly my friend in real life!
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2  Bailey’s is an upscale Winnipeg restaurant, and is in fact the place where Heather and I went on our first date forty years ago.
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3  I didn’t post this one in FaceBook, but Rachael certainly did, and did so complete with the picture that you see here.
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4  This note was not on FaceBook exactly, but it is here as a follow-up to my last full entry in this blog.  If you didn’t know that Shai was in hospital, click here.  Shai himself did not speak of his ordeal directly in FaceBook, but in early May (around the time he returned to work) he used that social network to thank people for their prayers, and then began to post quips and comments from time to time, as he had done formerly.
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5  The drive from Winnipeg to Ottawa is approximately 2,100 kilometres, following the Trans Canada Highway through some of the most beautiful and wild scenery on earth.  The trip – which I’ve driven almost every year since 1965 – is most conveniently done over three days and two nights.
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6  Those who know us well, might be astonished at the plan to camp on this year’s journey to Québec, given that Heather absolutely and categorically refuses to have anything to do with camping!  Well, this year, Heather flew to Ottawa to attend the Anglican General Synod, taking place in that city, July 3-7, and I would meet up with her there.  Thus, I could indulge my love of camping, at least for the trip down.  We would return to Winnipeg, together, in the car, in early September, and stay in hotels along the way, as we normally do.
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