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– A Sig Blessing

About 10 years ago I was asked to be one of the speakers at a Ladie’s Retreat at  Camp Caroline. The theme of the weekend was “In the Company of Friends”. As I recall I was to give two talks, one had to do with joy/laughter/friends and the other was on spiritual companionship.

Since Karen and I have been laughing together for years, I told her about it as I was preparing for the weekend. I was just into my description of the “Humour Impaired” part of my laughter talk on the first night when Karen walked into the room!  I couldn’t believe she’d driven 4 hours from the other end of the province to be there!

The retreat organizers made it possible for Karen and I to share a room for the weekend, which was lovely. I was grateful that she took the top bunk and, although it was tiny, we had our own bathroom. Camp Caroline is not a “roughing it” kind of retreat cetre. It’s actually quite wonderful and remains my very favourite place in Alberta.

After she got herself and her sleeping bag organized, Karen asked me to pass me her Bible from her suitcase.  As I handed it to her I noticed that she had written the words to her favourite hymn inside the cover.  It wasn’t your usual  “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art” kind of hymn, it was the nearly extinct, “When He Shall Come” – a hymn that (unbeknownst to her) was also my favourite.

Eventually Karen and I will add a page to this blog that charts all the mysterious similarities between us. This was just one more link in our chain of friendship.

Fast forward a few years to one of my “significantly-numbered” birthdays. Karen and her daughter flew out for the party at my house, meeting some of my new friends in the city and generally making the party a big success. Afterward, when the leftovers were stowed away, Karen presented me with the gift which now hangs over the piano in my livingroom.

– A Combination Sig/Karen Blessing

It’s a musical memory day. Karen’s sent me a note to report that “I am eating pumpkin (half squash) pie with whipping cream, both of which are nearing their expiry dates, and listening to Musica Imtima perform “O Magnum Mysterium.”  I doubt if it’s ever been done better (the pie’s good too). Very mysterium.”

I am picturing her all snug in front of the fireplace,  with the perfectly blended, soul softening voices of Music Intima hovering around her while the snow is piling up outside. I checked with Environment Canada and the forecast for her part of the country is -19, (but feels like -26 with the wind chill) with periods of snow until the morning.

On days like this I feel blessed to have been paroled from prairie winters (as Karen reminded me in her Christmas card). I served a 20 year sentence and I’m still not sure what I did wrong. Karen appears to be in for life. I’m glad she has leftover pie and beautiful, mystical music to keep her company. She will also have her Bible nearby and she will feel conspicuously blessed.

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July 2020