The Epistle of Q — Chapter Sixty-Two (Happy New Year) — Part A

Where has 2018 gone already?

There was a funny little cartoon in the local paper on January 2nd wherein two animals were discussing the day it was and after realizing that it was already the second day of the new year they commented: “is the year ever going fast!” Well, here it is the 7th of January and I have made no comment on what is happening in my world… so here goes…

I hope the year has gotten off to a good start for you. And I wish you much joy and serenity in 2018. May this be the year that new mountains are seen if not totally climbed, that the plains are appreciated even without herds of buffaloes, that rivers are crossed even if on man-made bridges, and as each day dawns you remember dearly those who have passed and no longer get the opportunity to experience even the daily grind…

New Years saw a new experiment at the “Little Craftsman Cottage by the Creek” — a Levee! Yepp, a variation of the great festivities carried out on PEI but with modifications based on the successful version created in Ottawa by our long-time Grey Cup companions. Invitations had been sent throughout the west end of Bridgewater as well as to other good friends from the ski, symphony and dragon-boat world. Preparations were made — snacks, goodies, wine and other beverages — and then the wait began (as no one was required to RSVP). A fine turnout of two dozen people showed up and stayed pretty well the entire two hours — and most of the wine and much of the food and some of the beer had been consumed along with extensive conversation and copious amounts of laughter… it was a good experiment and thanks are due to Jeannine & Craig for giving us the inspiration as well as many helpful hints. Might just try it again next year… and I’d like to suggest that you try it too…it’s a great way to kick off the year (and it also means that you don’t have to worry about hosting any more events in your neighbourhood for twelve months!!).

The next three days were much easier to manage and plan. Get up, have brekkie and get in the SUV and head up to Apex mountain. Ski season is now in full swing and the snow this year is excellent. Already a base of over 140 cms and with new owners who are letting the groomers get out a little more often to make sure the stuff is well packed in on those runs that most of us over 60 enjoy best, it is simply a variation of paradise. Moreso because of the lingering cloud in the valley, as the sun was in full brilliance on Tuesday and Wednesday — this led to two 5-star days in a row!! Thursday, after spending the night in the condo on the hill trying out the new fireplace, skiing started with the very freshest of trackless snow and a hint of darkening cloud. After ten runs from the top which means about 5,500 Vm’s of descent, the legs were beginning to show a little weariness and cloud cover was now very dark and deep. Then it appeared on my goggles — water globules!! By the time the SUV started down to town it was raining fairly frequently. This continued on and off for the next couple of days which ensured that the three days would be suffice for the first week of the new year.

Friday the weather played havoc with the flights in and out of YYF which almost impacted a major workshop I had organized for St. Andrew’s Penticton. I had invited David Jennings who is one of the smarter Presbyterians I know, especially in regards to church re-development and the potential for real estate to help provide new options for old congregations. Although the local flights were cancelled, he managed to get into Kelowna and then drove down to Penticton in time for lunch with the local minister and myself. Then we had a 150 minute conversation with over twenty keen church leaders on how churches can expand, re-trench, re-develop and sink new roots in a community through thoughtful, well-researched and expertly managed real estate creations. It was a very interesting and encouraging conversation in part because it was not done with rose-coloured glasses. There were lots of cautions, concerns and moments of articulated difficulties in looking for solutions outside ourselves as members of an aging congregation. But by the time the conversation was finished, the was at least a sense of reinvigorated hope within the group — it will be interesting to see what happens at the up-coming AGM in early February.

Saturday: as part of a tradition that goes back to when I was just a tyke in a Presbyterian manse in Innisfail Alberta, the Christmas decorations & lights came down (on the twelfth day of Christmas, the Eastern Orthodox Christmas). And I also got to make some snow/ice dams on the side of the local street to direct the water from the melt into the storm-water drains. And that took me back to those same manses that served as homes when I was a kid…

And now I’m about to start the second week of the new year…wow, is it ever going fast!!