Once upon a porch

Anything can happen on a porch. Connection. Refreshment. Reflection. Rejection, sometimes. Even buying and selling. As a child in the sixties, I had the chore of sweeping our small front porch clear of its weekly accumulation of dirt and spiders. Rarely do I remember anyone but company using that porch …

Saying good-bye to dear friends

Glenda and I have been best friends almost 30 years. I don’t need to explain the close friendships of women to the ladies reading this. How you can laugh together so loud and long that your eyes get all squinty and your nose and eyes and makeup run and you’re …

Photographs of my father

He’s ninety-six now, living in a residential care facility in B.C. I can’t call him on the phone anymore. He hears very little and struggles with dementia. My sister tells me that until she mentions me, he doesn’t speak of me. Then our father remembers the daughter two provinces away. …

Family funerals – hello, good-bye, see you soon

I said a final farewell to a pair of beloved relatives this week: my father’s identical twin brother, Dave, and his wife, Dorothy. Though they died many months apart, their memorial service waited until relatives could gather. Gather we did, a collection of Neufeld cousins and friends from as close …

Grandparents, faith and laughter

“The reason grandchildren get along so well with their grandparents,” I heard someone say, tongue firmly planted in cheek, “is that they have a common enemy.” Our six live about an hour from us. Fortunately, on (almost) all things, the Preacher and I and their parents agree. We feel blessed …

Love notes that matter

“Dear Nana. I’m good. But I’m in love with you. Benjamin.” He wrote that note at around five. His crooked, pencilled letters sprawled across the full eight and an half inch width of paper. I keep it in my Bible to show his future wife, should he marry, that I …

What lies between life and eternity?

Dad, ninety five now and in a nursing home, receives some surprising company. “Dave comes to visit me,” he’s told me and my siblings often. “He sits beside the bed and reads me the Bible.” Dad’s twin brother Dave, my favourite uncle, died two years ago. That doesn’t bother my …

Twelve years after the pirates, here we stand

Sometimes I forget that our four oldest grandchildren never knew their grandfather when he was healthy. Never saw him leap high into the air and toss a ball into a hoop. Never descended into a cave with him, hiked a mountain trail together, or knew him as someone who often …

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