Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fun With Friends

Linda and I were treated to a marvelous weekend of fun and fellowship in Waterloo with our friends, Debbie and Bethany, to celebrate Bethany's 18th birthday.

Our first hour was spent just getting re-acquainted, then we headed out to St. Jacobs to enjoy Mennonite cooking at its finest, at the Stone Crock Restaurant. The cook even came out to discuss our dietary needs, pointing out which items on the buffet table were free of wheat, gluten, corn and dairy.

After supper, we headed across the road to shop in a knick-knack store. It was jam-packed with all sorts of baubles and curiosities. There were a few quality items, but most of the things were the sort of "treasures" that end up collecting dust and causing more trouble than they are worth. There were good calendars, however, and Bethany ended up buying one (shhhh, don't tell Debbie!).

The next store was "Magnolias", a high-quality store with beautiful items ranging from baby clothes (the softest fabric imaginable) to aprons and tablecloths. We all agreed that we need to get sewing, because we were challenged by the beautiful little dresses and frocks available. If we can find the time, I'm sure we can make clothing like that, in order to bless our families. It was too bad closing time crept up so soon - I'm sure we could have spent a lot more time examining each of the rooms full of dishes and bedding and vases and so on.

The evening flew by as we sprawled on the beds or sat comfortably in chairs, chatting up a storm. We caught up on all the news in both families, and discussed all sorts of things from politics to the depravity of man. Great stuff!

Saturday morning found us all refreshed, and after breakfast we headed to the St. Jacobs' Farmers Market. The sounds and smells and press of people both thrilled us and exhausted us, as we made our way from booth to booth. Highlights included a wonderful musician, Fernan Enriquez, who played a variety of flutes, including a pan flute, which has a haunting sound. We also loved the furniture store, and we sat on a number of beautiful sofas, dreaming of the day when we could purchase leather furniture. We chatted with a lady who sold Elk meat - and even tasted some of her elk pepperettes. Debbie confessed her goal of working with Bethany on a quilt, and we enjoyed examining the work of an elderly Mennonite lady as she stitched precisely and carefully on a quilt, set up in the attic of a store. It was all great fun!

Debbie petting a pony at the Farmer's Market.

We ate our big meal of the day at Kelsey's, where Debbie and Bethany taught us a worm trick. You have to be there to get it, but it was quite impressive!

See the worm?

After supper, we explored a huge Antiques store. I can't tell you how many things I have thrown out over the years that might have been worth some money! It was fun seeing things that I remember from my youth (and Debbie insisted she was too young to remember them!), like the old cash registers with the pop-up totals. I remember seeing those very cash registers in use when I was a very young girl, over half a century ago!

I restricted my purchases to an old tape set about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and an apple sieve. Debbie and Bethany found a few treasures, too. But the best part of our shopping time was watching Linda and Bethany as they examined books and war memorabilia, laughing and chatting non-stop, enjoying the shared experience.

Last evening was spent in a very competitive game of Pictionary, followed by Dutch Blitz. The more elderly ones won Pictionary, but it was a fierce battle right to the very last second. We laughed so loud at some of the drawing or the interpretations of those drawings that we thought we might be in danger of being booted from the hotel.

I have some advice for anyone who ever would meet dear Bethany: don't play Dutch Blitz with her. It's just not fair. She is incredibly fast, and shows no mercy, even to first-timers. We were all impressed at her speed and agility! She also tricked us soundly in a few riddles and card tricks.

Bethany is a picture of grace, serene and sweet, pure and dear. Her physical beauty reflects the inner beauty this young woman possesses, which comes from a life of faith and peace with God.

Lord Byron said it well:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Happy Birthday, dear Bethany!
We were blessed to have spent the day with you.

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