Fifty Years Later

Happy 50th

The above photo was taken by Lynne Ford.

My husband and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.  We were married on a warm September day in 1969.  It was a stellar year for NASA with the moon landing, for children’s television with the first viewing of “Sesame Street” and it was for us a big step compared to Neil Armstrong’s “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Our big step made the newspapers too, but only our loved ones made note of it and kept copies of it for my parents.  Now looking back over 50 years of marriage I find it difficult to realize how very young we were. That is until I look at our wedding pictures.  We look like teenagers, and we were barely adults at 22 years old.

Bud and I just married

I made my wedding dress – no Kleinfeld’s for me.  It was my decision.  I couldn’t bear the idea of spending hundreds (not thousands like now) on a dress I would only wear one day.  So Mom and I went looking through pattern books and searching through material bundles in the local sewing stores.  I made my dress out of a beautiful white cotton eyelet and lined it with satin.  Wow, it was heavy.  It cost me under $100 dollars.  I spread a white sheet over the basement floor and I stitched it together on my mother’s old White-Elna sewing machine.  My sister and my good friend wore turquoise dresses (also homemade). My fiancé  bought a good grey suit and his friends wore their best suits and matching grey ties.  I carried yellow roses, daisies and gladiolas.  My attendants carried baskets of daisies and roses.  We posed for photos in my parent’s backyard, at the church, and at the hotel where we had the reception.  My aunt made our wedding cake and the hotel iced it.  There was a great dinner, which I was too nervous to eat for fear of dropping something on my dress.  We had lovely speeches but no dancing.  We drove to a cottage for our honeymoon while everyone else gathered at Mom and Dad’s for a big after party.  That was the way it was done then.

Our first home was in a small one bedroom apartment over a garage on an estate.  It was once the apartment for their cook and chauffeur.  Every time the owners arrived home the automatic garage door would make a loud noise going up and startle any guests we had visiting.  Quite often the owner, who was losing his depth perception, would hit the end wall of the garage.  The furniture in the apartment was not all ours.  The bed, for example, had a valley in the middle of the mattress and was missing one leg so it was balanced on a pile of bricks.

Our second home was in an apartment right in the middle of a well-known (except to us) criminal element.  We heard sirens quite often, ambulance and police.  We moved out after our first child was born, but he spent his first months in a second-hand car bed on the metal trunk next to our bed.  Remember car beds?  How did we ever survive the contraptions we travelled in as babies and tots?

After our third apartment, we had both saved enough money to make a downpayment on a home so we went house-shopping.  Everything  in the city was either too expensive, or too decrepit.  We began looking outside the city and finally found the piece of country that we could afford.  We bought a few acres of sandy soil surrounded by a border of elms and evergreens.  We had a house plan that we had designed but after taking it from one builder to another, chose a house plan that a builder showed us.  When we finally moved in our little family expanded.

Four children, several dogs and five grandchildren later, it seems that those years just sailed by, but in truth there were hard times as well as happy times.  There were late night trips to hospitals, early morning trips to work and school, sad moments at gravesides saying goodbye to parents and neighbours, anxious moments wondering if we would be able to pay the mortgage and whether we would be able to help our children through college or university.  But there were happy times too – laughing at the antics of our children and our pets, marvelling in the sunrises and sunsets, listening to birdsong, harvesting our garden, seeing all the animal life on the farms and in the fields around us and enjoying the friends we’ve made.

Fifty years is a milestone and we have grown together as best friends as well as sweethearts.  My dad said to me going down the aisle 50 years ago, “it’s not too late to change your mind”.  I knew he was trying to make me smile.  I was so nervous, not about what I was about to commit to, but that I would trip on my dress and fall flat on my face. He was joking (he’d paid for the wedding after all) but I meant the vows I made at the altar and so did my husband.  We are in this together for the long run, till death do us part.

Some Say

Some Say

© 2019 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

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Some say I believe myths, Lord,

But I think that’s so unfair

Since they believe that U F O’s

Are flying everywhere.

 

Some say You are a crutch, Lord,

But You’re just what I need

For I am lame in Spirit

And your help makes me succeed.

 

Some say its just happenstance

All the miracles I see,

But miracles keep happening

When I ask You faithfully.

 

Some say that I am blind, Lord,

To the truth that science finds,

But I cannot forget, Lord,

That You made those human minds.

 

Although I love my friends, Lord,

I know they’ve been misled.

Please open up their hearts, Lord,

To the truth You’ve done and said.

The One Who Makes the Wind Obey

Jesus Calms the storm                                                                                               

The One Who Makes the Wind Obey
© 2019 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

1)
The ocean swells with the rising tide
And I cannot see the other side.
My craft is small and the water deep,
But I must cross it before I sleep.

refrain
How wonderful to trust my frail steps
To the One who made the ocean depths;
To the One who makes the wind obey,
My Jesus, who carries me all the way.

2)
As I sail over the bounding waves,
I trust my soul to the One who saves,
Mightier is He than any king,
God, the Maker of everything.

3)
I am never alone, have no fear,
For my Protector is always near.
He guides me through every storm
And shelters me from eternal harm.

Something About That Man

Jesus carrrying his Cross

 

Something About That Man

© 2016 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

 

Oh, what’s the hubub in the street?

I hear the sound of marching feet.

I hear the shouts of and angry crowd-

They’re coming near; they’re getting loud.

 

See the Man with the crown of thorns?

He is the one that King Herod scorns.

They’re driving him up Godgotha’s slope-

A merciless place without hope.

 

There’s something about that Man’s face

Reminds me of a time or place

Where he and his friends shared their meal

And went about to teach and heal.

 

They say he now claims to be God

And his miracles were a fraud.

But I saw the lame he made walk,

The blind to see, the mute to talk.

 

I heard the stories that he taught

And felt the hope that Man brought.

I must protest this awful fate

Brought on because of fear and hate.

 

Yet, I stand silent on the hill,

Urging my conscience to be still

And when they plant that awful tree,

My voice is stopped; my eyes won’t see.

 

As I gaze at the darkened sky,

I hear his words, his groaning cry,

“Father,  forgive them for my sake,’

And I feel my own heart break.

 

 

Dad Taught Me to Love Books

Dad looking out to sea

My reading life didn’t have an auspicious beginning.  I spent most of my grade one year at home sick with every childhood illness going – chicken pox, red measles, scarlet fever etc.  This was before inoculations for these diseases.  Consequently, my opportunity to learn to read was limited.  Our grade one class was divided into reading groups named Robins, Sparrows and Skylarks.  Although the labels were designed to disguise our reading prowess, we all knew the skylarks were the best.  My parents learned with shock at one of the parent/teacher confabs that their little “genius” was in the bottom group – the Robins.  That decided it.  Dad would soon change that status.

So began a daily regimen of reading practice that I dreaded.  Dad would sit in his easy chair, my reader on his lap and I was instructed to stand behind him and read every word perfectly.  If I made a mistake or tried to fudge it by adding a word that wasn’t there, I had to go back and repeat the whole sentence however many times it took me to get it all correct.  It was tortuous.  I usually ended up in tears, mom would be all for giving me a rest, but Dad was relentless.  No child of his was going to stay in the Robins group.

I should probably explain that my father was an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, trained in communications.  My lack of reading skill was an affront to his training.  So he persisted in drilling my recalcitrant brain to recognize and sound-out syllables until I understood what the dancing black symbols spelled.  It might have been a total failure had I not wanted so badly to be able to read.

Mom and Dad had read books to us before bedtime every night.  They read our favourites over and over.  I loved “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Little Red Hen” and the now totally politically incorrect “Little Black Sambo”.  I knew them by heart and wanted desperately to read any time, not just at bedtime.  So I stood behind Dad’s chair every night for two solid weeks until I could read my whole “Dick and Jane” reader without stumbling.  My teacher was astonished at my progress and I got an immediate promotion to the Skylark group.  Ever after that she had to continually tell me not to read ahead of the others.

Once I knew how to read, I was voracious.  I read anything in front of me from the backs of cereal boxes to the daily newspaper.  That last item became the bone of contention between Dad and me as time went on.  Dad liked to read the newspaper first when he got home and sometimes, if I wasn’t quick enough to put it back together, he would discover a missing section and knew exactly where it was.  Heeheehee – his reading drills came back to haunt him.

As I got older Dad and I shared a love for mysteries, historical novels and Zane Grey westerns which we traded back and forth.  After reading so much, I began to want to write my own stories and well, the rest, as is said, is history.  Thank you Dad, for the gift of my favourite pastime -reading.

Caleb’s Coat

© 2006 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

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“Grandfather, tell me the story about the  wooly coat.”

Isaac looked fondly down at his little granddaughter and smiled. She was the only one that asked about about that chilly night so long ago.  Everyone else had heard the story so many times that they no longer listened. Everyone but Sara.  He smiled and nodded and she climbed upon his lap to hear it.

“It was so many years ago,” Isaac began, “when I was just a little bit older than you.  My brothers were tending sheep in the hills.  Every day I tried to follow them up with the sheep.  Every time they would get as far as the brook and then one of them would turn around and tell me to go home.”

“Why did they do that, Grandfather?  Why were they so mean?”

Isaac chuckled, “Oh Sara, they weren’t being mean.  They knew that I couldn’t keep up to them and that could be dangerous if I lagged too far behind. But, one day I was able to keep up to the flock. 

“Was that the night?  Was that the night of the beautiful star?”

“That was the night, Sara.  I remember it was very cold and Caleb gave me his wooly coat to wrap up in.  It had been a long day and I had done a lot of climbing.  I curled up by the fire and fell asleep.”

“Then Caleb started shaking you and calling, ‘Isaac , Isaac, O Isaac the star’!”

“Yes, he woke me up shouting about the star,” said Isaac.  “ I sat up with a shiver and there was light all around us and such beautiful singing, Sara, such glorious singing!”

“And the sky was filled with angels, “ continued Sara, her eyes shining into her grandfather’s. “Were you frightened?”

“Oh yes, at first we were all frightened, but the angels spoke to us in such soft voices that we just listened and listened.  The music was so sweet it almost hurt our ears.”

“What did the angels say?”  Sara knew but this was her favourite part.

“The angels told us not to be afraid, that a special baby was born in Bethlehem, a king, and that we should go and see him.”

“Did you go, Grandfather, “ asked Sara smiling.  She knew what came next.

“Yes, I went, Sara, but I couldn’t walk as quickly as my brothers and soon, I was far behind. I began to run, but I stumbled and hurt myself.  Caleb heard me cry and he came back to get me.  He put me up on his shoulders like this, “ Isaac paused to put Sara up on his old shoulders.   Sara giggled and then Isaac sat her back down beside him.  

“We walked into the town and tried to find the others.  It was very dark except where the star shone.  We followed the starlight to a stable.”

“Were your brothers there at the stable?  Was it a real stable with cows in it?”

Isaac looked down at his granddaughter.

“It was a real stable, and there were cows there, but in their manger …..”

“In the manger was a tiny little baby,” whispered Sara.

“Yes, a tiny new born baby, “ repeated Isaac.

“His hair was shining, his face was shining and he looked right up at me.”

“And what did you do then, Grandfather?” asked Sara.

“ I thought the baby looked cold.  I gave his mother Caleb’s coat,” said Isaac.

“And did she put it around the baby?” asked Sara.

“Yes, she wrapped Caleb’s wooly coat around the baby and he smiled.”

“Did you walk back up into the hills?  Weren’t you cold without the coat?”

“We walked back up to the hills and our sheep, but I wasn’t cold and Caleb didn’t mind about his coat being left for the baby.”

“Did you tell other people, Grandfather?”

Isaac didn’t answer for a moment, but then he finally said, “Yes Sara, my love, I’d telling you.”

“Did you ever see your brother’s coat again, Grandfather?” 

Isaac smiled fondly at the excited child.

“Many years later, I took your father to listen to a great teacher speaking on a hillside not far from here.  Everyone was talking about how intersting his stories were and how he could heal people’s illnesses.  There were many, many people listening to everything he said.  They were all around him, but we got up as close to him as we could,” said Isaac.  

“He was very kind and the children crowded around him too.  Some people wanted the children to go away, but he told them to come closer.  So we did too. “

“And what was the teacher sitting on, Grandfather?” laughed Sara, putting her hands around her grandfather’s neck.

“He was sitting on Caleb’s wooly coat,” answered Isaac with a big smile. “Jesus was sitting on Caleb’s coat.”

******

Harvest Tea Invitation and Envelope

At our church we host a tea for the ladies of the church and their friends twice a year (Spring and Autumn).  We all have lost loved ones, family or friends and these teas give us a chance to spend a pleasant afternoon being served tea and special baking treats and sharing our experiences.  We set small folding tables up that seat four and decorate them with seasonal decorations.  We use real china cups and saucers and share a short meditation and encouraging words.  We all enjoy our tea and conversation.  This is the invitation and envelope that I made for our next event.

Harvest Tea invitation and envelope