Monday, 23 June 2014

And the Celebratons continue....

A dear friend of mine, who has accompanied through the highs and lows of the last decade, travelled with me to the Kitchener/Stratford area.  We decided back in the late winter that we would celebrate our decade birthdays together by attending the Stratford Festival.  We ordered our tickets back in March, made arrangements to stay with my brother and his wife in Kitchener and eagerly awaited the arrival of this past weekend.

What a glorious weekend it was!  The warmth of friendship made the drive very delightful as we travelled.  When we arrived at my brother's home, we were met by the joyous tail wagging bundle of energy called Maxi.  She is 11 years old but she still has the energy of a puppy.  Next to meet us was my sister-in-law with a huge smile on her face as she welcomed the weary travellers into her home.  This is what I love about my brother and sister-in-law.  They welcome friends and family into their home with grace, laughter and love.  My brother had met my friend once before about 10 years or so ago.  My sister-in-law had never met my friend but that didn't matter.  Her arms were open wide to receive us with all our belongings.  Due to my brother's work schedule, we didn't see him when we arrived.  Regardless of this ,my sister-in-law took us downstairs where we enjoyed some snacks, water and getting to know each other.  The television was on as we started watching an old movie with Errol Flynn and Maureen O'Hara.  I was so tired, I don't even remember the name of the movie!  And you know what?  The movie didn't matter.  What sticks in my memory is the warmth and love of friendship and family.  As my friend and I were quite tired (I was nodding off during the conversation and movie watching), we retired to our beds earlier than I normally would.

Saturday morning dawned nice and bright.  We three women again enjoyed each others' company as we had our cups of tea and coffee and then breakfast.  My friend and I then enjoyed a leisurely walk with Maxi around the neighbourhood.  We heard the birds singing, saw lots of other people walking or jogging with their dogs and children playing at the local playground.  All the happy sounds and bird songs made for a very relaxing start to the day.  Unfortunately, there was a phone call from my mom with some sad news.  A good family friend had passed on in the night from a heart attack. Outwardly, I continued on but inwardly, my heart was burdened.  This family friend was a man of great faith and I have no doubt that he is with his Saviour. He is also reunited with his own parents and his daughter who tragically died many years ago when she was in her early twenties. My heart has been aching for his widow although she will also be comforted with her own faith in Jesus. My prayers continue to be with this family. As I said, outwardly I continued on with my day. My friend and I drove to Stratford for the matinee showing of "King Lear" starring Colm Feore as King Lear.  As we arrived at the Festival Theatre with time to spare, we enjoyed a stroll alongside the Avon River and over the pedestrian bridge to the island and back.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time together and the show was spectacular. The time passed very quickly.  Then we hopped in the car and drove downtown to the Avon Theatre where we found parking.  A quick walk of a block or so and we were at our dinner destination which was The Annex Room.  I loved how our day was entwined with threads of affection, friendship and appreciation of the "finer things in life".  We enjoyed lots of conversation and laughter as we dined on some fabulous food.  Within, I had decided that I would not have dessert.  But....when the dessert options were listed from memory by our friendly waiter, I could not pass up my favourite dessert of crème brulee.  I have not found one that comes close to the crème brulee offered up at Chez Piggy but at The Annex Room it was just as good. This is a huge compliment!  My friend and I enjoyed our desserts (she had a trio of sorbets) along with cups of peppermint tea.  We did not feel rushed but our waiter was certainly unobtrusively attentive.  After our dinner, we made our way to the Avon Theatre.  We still had time so we browsed through the Theatre Store.  Then off we went to see "Man of La Mancha".  Again, it was a tremendous show.  Just before the first act ended, there was a scene that was so intense, it shot like an arrow right through to my core.  I felt anxiety, fear, and worry about the female lead.  What a well done job of acting and choreography.  As the lights went to black and then the house lights came up for intermission, I felt very unsettled.  I truly believe it is a true compliment to all who work on the or in the show that I would feel so deeply.

My friend and I were both weary and tired by the end of the day.  Thank goodness, my brother's home was only a 30 minute drive away.  As we drove down the highway through a rural area, we could see an orange glow to the right. Oh no....this is never a good thing to see in the country!  My heart plummeted.  Then I remembered that we had seen a controlled brush fire on the way to the Stratford Festival earlier in the day.  I've watched the internet for new regarding a barn fire but there's been nothing.  I hope it was only the brush fire which had raged out of control.  As we drove by, I could see the silhouette of the barn back lit by the flames.  There were fire trucks and personnel there battling the flames. My friend was driving, so I was able to see all this in an instant as we drove by. We arrived at my brother's home and again we were welcome with open arms, warm love and the excited wagging of Maxi's tail.  My brother was awake and it was the first time we saw him.  My friend had a cup of peppermint tea and I shared a glass of red wine with my brother and sister-in-law. It was an emotional day and I was glad it had started with the love of family and friends and then ended with the same positive warmth of love.

Yesterday, we all had a leisurely start to the morning. As we all arose at various times, we congregated on my brother's deck. It is a wonderful oasis of shade, birds and privacy. As we sat around my brother's patio table, we sipped on coffee and tea as well as just chattered and enjoyed some more warm fellowship. At one point, there was a chickadee hopping around the railing of the deck as we sat and admired him (or her?). Next we were visited by various sparrows. Nearby in the the neighbour's tree, a cardinal sang with a clear beautiful voice. We then decided to rouse ourselves from this beautiful location and go out for breakfast where we enjoyed more laughter and conversation.  The kernel of the idea of celebrating our birthdays by visiting the Stratford Festival, grew and popped into a full fluffy popcorn filled with love, appreciation and so much more than "just" going to a play or two.

My friend and I drove home feeling weary but I was filled with an inner joy and was sad to see the adventure end.  However, now I will be looking forward to the next adventure on the road of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment