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Saturday, December 10, 2005

REMEMBERING OLD FRIENDS

SATURDAY, Dec. 12

I went to a senior's luncheon today at my Dad's old Church. A number of the people who used to belong to the Young Couple's Club when I was first married were there. One of them is also an old school chum, from our teens. And one is the daughter of a very dear friend, my hiking buddy, who passed away 16 years ago today. Her family and mine were very connected, like an extended family. And Paula is almost like a surrogate daughter.

It happened that during the luncheon they held a memorial for several of the Church members who have passed. One of them was a very old family friend, who died this week. Emmett knew my family when Dad was the pastor of a prairie church back at the end of the depression, when I was just a little kid. His family, including his cousins, were the only African Canadians around the area. They were very poor, but I always remember Mom saying that their house was so clean you could eat off the floors. Emmett and his cousin Macky used to attend Sunday School at Dad's church. A favorite story about them was that one Sunday they arrived at the service late, coming straight in up the aise to the front, dragging along a wagon full of beer bottles that they'd collected on the way. Emmett would laugh that low chuckling laugh of his and deny he was involved in the prank. "Must have been Macky," he'd say.

Years later when Emmett moved to the Coast, after the war when Dad returned from overseas and was offered this Church here, Emmett saw his name in the paper and came to the Church to see Dad. He has attended ever since, faithfully, right up til his illness and passing.

There were lots of stories told about him today, we all had to smile, remembering. There were also remembrances for several other old family friends, and friends who had chummed with my husband and I when we were all in the Young Couples Club.

The lunch (dinner) was turkey and all the trimmings. Church dinners are always special affairs. And after carol singing and various other amusing activities, they gave out gift bags to everyone which I thought was a very sweet gesture.

It's always a very nostalgic time for me to return to the Church. It holds so many of my personal memories as well as family memories. My father and mother were well loved and I was asked to say something about them during the memorial. I know they would have been pleased. It's so nice that I've kept some of the same friends from my Church days, including my friend who will accompany me to Malaysia in March. She is the girlfriend (my namesake) who I have known the longest, since I was twelve and we first moved here from the East.

And last night I went to a small party for my other very close and dear friend Rosie who I have known since I first met my husband. (She was a chum of the daughter of my husband's partner).
And Suzaki, who is coming for dinner tonight and an evening of dancing, I've known for over 30 years! How fortunate I am to have kept these precious friends all these years!

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