We went for a long drive yesterday afternoon to a town far south of us. My husband is on the clergy rotation there so that our diocese can provide church services for this particular congregation that presently has no priest of their own.
It was so much fun, despite the wickedly cold temperatures, to be able to get out for a drive on a winter Sunday afternoon. All we could see around us for hours of driving were pale blue sky melting into white waves of snow in the surrounding fields, a few farm buildings and a ribbon of icy patched road ahead of us. We did drive through a few small communities. It was obvious by the size of and brick fronting on some of the remaining buildings that they were once thriving rural communities, now relegated to nearly ghost town status with the depopulation of the rural farmlands around them. As we drove on and on through this vast, white wilderness, it was sometimes difficult to tell for sure where we were. We could have been anywhere on the prairies, anywhere in any of the 3 prairie provinces as the rolling whiteness continued kilometre after kilometre. After even a couple of consecutive hours of this view it becomes rather daunting. Few cars came driving toward us and we saw no signs of human life at the few farm houses we drove past, although there were plenty of deer alongside the road foraging for bits of plant matter that had pushed its way up through the deep snow.
The service and people at the church were lively and fun. You never know as a visitor what sort of welcome you will receive and prairie people can be quite shy and reserved with strangers, but this was a group of live wires. We ended up staying quite a lot longer there than we had planned.
There was one moment during the Eucharist that was quite giggle inspiring for my husband and I. One of the parishioners is gluten intolerant and so his wife brought a rice cracker for him to have rather than the usual wheat wafers. The cracker she had provided, rather than being a plain rice round, had a generous sprinkling of dark green nori (Japanese seaweed) flakes on top of it. It was on a separate paten in order to prevent it from touching the other wheat wafers and it looked like it was supposed to be the King of the Wafers with its little crown of nori. So cute!! I suppose that was the only kind of wafer she had at home and it certainly provided a moment of levity for us during the very serious eucharist.
The day provided a happy ending to a wonderful weekend. On Saturday we were able to have a spontaneous lunch visit with some seminary friends as they passed through town and that evening we had a long Skype with a friend in BC we haven't seen in a long time. Church services all went well. The power pack for our modem died sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, but by evening my husband had located another one in his big bin of electronic flotsam and jetsam and we were up and running again. I concede that OCCASIONALLY it is a good thing he doesn't listen to me and get rid of everything I would like him to get rid of that is cluttering up our space.
So, a happy weekend and we are facing a most busy week this week. Hopefully my husband will be able to take his full day off today....well other than a phone call he has to make before noon....and a few work emails that have to be answered by this afternoon....and.....sigh....well, at least he is having a great sleep in. So far the danged phone has not been ringing. YAY! A good start to the week.