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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sometimes the last paragraph of an anecdote really should come first

After our wedding Henry and I spent several days in Stratford, Ontario, home during the summer months to a renowned Shakespeare and theater festival. We stayed at a charming bed & breakfast attached to a restaurant; the delightful morning meal in the Garden Room was fully worth the trip.

Since we had industriously combined our households into our new home during the three weeks before the wedding, R&R was high on the priority list. Although theater holds center stage in Stratford (deservedly so -- go if you possibly can), the days were filled with relaxing and meandering. Stratford is in the middle of fruitful Ontario farm country, and it so happened that the Ontario Pork Congress (yes, you read that right) was taking place at the local fairgrounds. Well, we didn't have anything else to do that morning, and the thought of a country fair sort of thing was intriguing, so we made our way over there.

There were no piggies in evidence, however. This industry gathering for pig farmers meant business. Huge shiny tractors lounged around the parking lot. Inside the steel buildings, neat fellas in polo shirts and khakis promoted farm equipment, herd management software, genetic laboratories (these aren't your grandpa's pig farms), deordorizing power washers, and everything the industrious swineherd might need to maximize his market day profit. We were a bit nonplussed, but we were in a mood to enjoy whatever life brought, and the barbecue tent smelled pretty good. And both of us are curious about new things.

As we wandered the arena, we fell into conversation with Art, a representative of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. He was taken aback, to say the least, that (1) we were not pig farmers, (2) not from Ontario, and (3) we had wandered over from the Shakespeare Festival where we were spending our honeymoon. Since an industry gathering isn't the best place to find Christian fellowship walking by, he was probably genuinely glad to chat with us for a while about his organization, his family's roots in farming, and his hopes (however remote) that one of his children might take over the farm someday.

One of his daughters gave us a small New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. I haven't had one of those since my college days. They're very handy to keep in a purse, so I accepted with thanks. As we strolled away, Henry began paging through it and found a favorite passage. He began to read it aloud, as he does so well. It was delightful, but one of the more improbable romantic moments one might hope to encounter during one's honeymoon.

* * * * * * * * *
And that's how to came about, boys and girls, that Roz's dear husband ardently declaimed to her Proverbs 31's praise of the excellent wife in the middle of the Ontario Pork Congress.

5 comments:

Salome Ellen said...

I love the Old Prune! I've never been there in the summer, because my husband and I do a winter vacation in Stratford (we stay at Bentleys' Annex -- half price in the off season) and the restaurant is closed. But the Stratford chef school has its practice dinners there, and we've been to several of those.

Jeff said...

I'm sorry for being off topic, but I saw your comment about Mary on Mark Shea's blog and thought you might not see a response there.

I know exactly what you mean and I used to feel the same way. And it's worth mentioning that Pope Benedict once felt the same way. He wrote somewhere that he felt that Marian piety was exaggerated in his youth and he felt distant from it.

But, he said, he had come to appreciate it more and more over the years, until now he really understood why the old Fathers said, "De Maria nunquam satis!" "About Mary never enough!"

Just keep plugging away, even with dryness, and drop by drop, she will work on you!

marylea said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
marylea said...

Well written, per usual, Roz. A heartfelt congratulations to you and Henry! I have been to Stratford in the past and enjoyed it very much. What a wonderful place for a honeymoon! I love the serendipity of the Pork Congress (Congress has such a nice sound to it!) and a chance meeting with someone from the Christian Farmer's Federation of Ontario. I only wish it had been the Christian Pig Farmer's Federation of Ontario. Now that would have been something! (I checked, and I don't think there is one!)

Even so, there is a place for all of us in God's plan! Hmm. Wonder if there is a group for Christian/Catholic Nurse Practitioners who wish to spend more time being mediocre gardeners/photographers...

Cheers.

Therese Z said...

I just Jeff's comment, which was directed at me (Therese Z). Thank you, I appreciate knowing that you've made progress in this. I feel a little left out in having very little devotion to Mary.

 

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