Celebrating Laura Smith’s Birthday.
We hated to part with the Roths so soon, but we had another engagement east of the city in Orleans at four p.m. So after being dropped off to pick up our car, we drove on out to join the Narraway clan. Honestly, they are a bit clannish. I don’t attribute this to the fact that collectively they may have watched too much Red Green but all the brothers seem to have been born with a roll of duct tape clinched in their right hands and a screwdriver in the left. I doubt if I would have wanted to raise the four of these boys all at once. They are one tough brood. They fish, fight fires (start a few of them as well), build, break and fix stuff (almost anything) and work in the out of doors without mitts at thirty below zero. I always admired this as I am a complete all thumbed wimp, so when I had really hard or big projects to do – things I didn’t really want to do – I would call Brother Bud. the oldest of the four boys and the one I knew best.
I can pretty much say that our two families grew up together. As I pointed out in an earlier blog, Bud was about the third person that ever came to faith through my testimony. His wife Debbie was maybe the fourth. At any rate, for all intents and purposes Leslie, Jed and Mel were cousins to our kids. Leslie, the oldest of their three children, is now married to my friend Larry Brune and the reunion was being hosted in their home though they were otherwise preoccupied and couldn’t make it.
The second Narraway kid, Jed, grew up to be quite cultured in spite all of his father and uncles’ attempts to turn him into a “tough as nails” rough-neck. This being said, there was a time when Jed was a “tough as nails” rough-neck. I know, because as my children have gotten older they have spread some of the stories. Jed will deny it but he may be the one who taught my children how to swim through the perilous spillway at Merrickville’s Rideau River locks. But now Jed has grown up, bears very few scars, a handsome Christian fellow, a high school history teacher, married to Donna with three extremely beautiful and tender kids. Fortunately, for him and Donna, they are all girls and carry none of the Narraway trait to swing stray cats over their heads by their tails. Okay, I am exaggerating; they wouldn’t harm a cat but they would tip a cow.
Lastly, we have Melanie. Mel is an absolute sweetie pie and everyone will tell you the same thing. She and her husband, John, met at Bethany Wesleyan Bible College in Sussex, New Brunswick. They now have two children and somehow they both turned out to be gentle as well. Go figure. Now, one thing for sure, these are five sweet grandchildren for Bud and Debbie. I didn’t even know these children before we arrived at the reunion, but they would just crawl up in my lap or give me a hug and I doubt if anyone thought to coach them to do so. These are naturally loveable kids.
All joking aside, Bud and I stood in the front yard as cars pulled away from the curb and imagined together where our families might have wound up if we had not encountered the Gospel some thirty-five years ago. We have been blessed coming and going out! We agree that bad patterns have been broken in our lives and future generations, even yet unborn are unknowingly the benefactors of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps I have spent too much time on this introduction but this is the real story.
When we arrived, all of these were there on the patio with about ten others. Thirty-five years ago Bud was in partnership with a fellow by the name of Don Smith. Don was married to Carolyn and Carolyn had a sister named Donna. She and Don also had two children, the first dubbed “Little” Don (we still refer to him in this way today) and a younger sister Laura who now works for a member of the Canadian Parliament. These folks and others showed up from the west and east coast to be there for Laura’s birthday party and our arrival. Of course after all of these years – twenty or more – there were hugs and many hand-shakes all around.
For almost two years we met for church in the Smith living room in Merrickville. It was there in that house that many people found the Lord and grew in their faith. It was a reunion of both ancestry and faith. It is said that children need both roots and wings. Many contemporary parents are making dead certain that their children go to good schools, do their home work, make it to soccer, ballet and karate. They expend every effort so that their children have all of the advantages of this world. I have news for you: this world is passing away. Our bodies, trends and fads are changing “faster than greased lightning” but the Word of God lasts forever. While temporal skills are useful for the enjoyment of life, they are an expense. The spiritual formation of our children and grandchildren, however, is an investment. On this day we saw the evidence of a bountiful return.