Monday, November 05, 2007


Saturday mornings are coloured golden yellow on my funny Excel schedule--the one I made in a futile effort to corral my life.

On Saturday mornings we have pancakes and coffee and we don't rush anything. It's time for friends and family and I love it. I wish the whole week could be Saturday morning, but then that would be heaven.

This past Saturday the first phone was from England. It was my dear mum's voice and my brother was on the other line too. He told me that the day before, he had come into Mum's flat to find her just putting the phone down. She told him that it had been someone from Holland calling to tell her that her dear friend for almost 60 years; tante Mies, had died. Robert said she had some tears and I was so grateful that he happened to come in at that very moment.

He said, "We've had a few extra cups of tea," and Mum said, "Yes."

Tea has amazing properties of comfort. Just the very act of putting on the kettle signals that all will be well, no matter how bad things feel right now.

I remember tante Mies and oom Bart from our visits to Holland when I was a child and teenager. She was tall and elegant of frame with long, black hair, pulled back into a bun. She always wore her nails long and painted red or orange,. She had dramatic, penciled in eyebrows. She and oom Bart had no children but her niece Ingrid and I, who were the same age, became friends at 4 and are still friends, 53 years later.

I saw tante Mies last year when I spent a few days in Holland. Her hair was no longer long and black, but short and white and she was blind. Added to that she had hurt her hip and was unable to walk, but she was still elegant and she still had the same warm, rich voice that I remembered from my childhood.

When Mum had a stroke in 2003, tante Mies prayed faithfully for her every day. She and Mum were so different, but what a precious friendship they had.

As soon as I put the phone down, it rang again. It was Frances and we had much to catch up on. We took delight in laughing at ourselves--a never ending source of entertainment.

Frances said, "I used to think that there were people who think like me and people who have to be taught to think like me." I was relieved to hear that she's moved on from that point of view, but it was funny hearing how she had once looked askance at a friend in her kitchen who used the handle of a wooden spoon to stir something. "It wasn't just that she used the wrong end," said Frances, "but it was the fact that she didn't care that amazed me."

We laughed at how we are all so different. As Frances put it, we are caricatures of ourselves--all of us, "There's you with your Excel spreadsheet," she said, "and me and my judgement."

Yes we are different and it is all good.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New Living Translation)
11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.


LoveMyStarr said...

What great memories! Where did you grow up?

Belinda said...

Hi Shawna,
I grew up in a little village in Worcestershire, England, called Alvechurch. My mum is Dutch so we went often to Holland on vacation, where I had a big family of aunts and uncles!