Thursday, July 29, 2010


A few months ago I told you about a friend I'd had many years ago in Yellowknife (read about it here). Well after an email contact with him he said he'd been wondering what to give his wife for her birthday and since she'd always wanted to visit France he'd decided to surprise her with a trip to see us—and Paris!

Here's the boy I as I remember him at the age of 18 when we visited Ottawa in 1967.

Well needless to say, forty years has wrought changes in the both of us such that it occurred to me to wonder if we'd have any trouble meeting each other at the train station. As it happened, we knew each other at first sight and before we knew it we were embracing like old buddies just recently parted.

Here he is now (reaching for his iPhone):

They had decided to spend a week with us (from the 23rd to the 29th) and end with a week exploring Paris—a good choice, we thought.

What a surprise to discover all the little mannerisms I'd remembered so well. He remembers the last time he saw me was when I was visiting him in hospital in the summer of 1970 as he'd badly broken his leg falling down the Cameron Falls thus completely missing the royal visit and the centenary celebrations that were held at that time exactly 40 years ago!

We had a lot to catch up on and a lot to laugh about and a lot to sympathize together about. It turns out that neither he nor his wife have been in excellent health lately but the Lord has preserved them.

We put them up in the spare room (the "studio") and spent the week taking care of them and showing them around at whatever they wanted to see. We spent a day seeing over the castle at Amboise and then visited a market in Tours. Another day we went to the D-day beaches (especially "Juno" where the Canadians fell) and the war memorials there, then on to Bayeux to see the famous tapestry. Always there was coffee on sunny terraces afterwards.

On Wednesday they accompanied Sarah and Camille as they took all the children to the lake for swimming and a picnic. Ken taught the younger ones some card games and got along with everyone so well.

Later on there was time to see another castle at Bessé-sur-Braye and have a picnic at the troglodyte village of Troo. Finally, this morning we got up early to visit the gorgeous cathedral in Chartres. I don't think I've ever seen a cathedral so monumentally impressive by the sheer superlative quality of everything about it. The hundreds of stained-glass windows have to be seen to be appreciated.

While there we took a mini-bus ride around the town—and followed on with a visit to an international centre of stained-glass windows giving us all the details and techniques used over the years. Chartres is surely a delightful town!

After much lingering around town we took him and his wife Barbara to the train station and bid them goodbye. I told Ken we really shouldn't let so much time go by before getting together again. Here's a parting shot of them both:

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Amazing. I don't think I would have recognized him at all, so I'm glad you did! Mind you, obviously, you knew him much more than I did. I am trying to see his Dad in him but fail to even do that as I think he resembles his mother more (as I remember her anyway). What a blessing to be able to get reacquainted after such a long time!!