Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Church Bells

My friend, Karen, post writing prompts every Wednes day and so I decided to try one out. The prompt this time was "You hear church bells in the distance."
No editing is allowed while writing so this is a very raw draft.
Here is what I wrote.

The church bells floated across town on the same breeze that rustled the skirt of my new dress. I smoothed down the blue ruffles and turned to ask Grandpa what he thought of my dress. He was staring into the leafy top of the maple dream, a small smile on his face.

“Grandpa, what are you doing?” I tugged on his hand.

“Someone has died, my pet,” he said, the smile disappearing into the wrinkles that marred his face.

I lifted my head and listened to the bells. Shaking my head I turned to him. “How do you know?”

To my young ears the bells sounded no different then they did on Sunday when they called us to worship.

“They are slow, solemn.” He lifted a hand to the air and pulled on nothing. “Old Bertha, little Mary, hear how slow they ring?”

I stared at him. Had he lost it like Mommy was always saying. “Who’s old Bertha and little Mary? Did they die?”

Grandpa shook his head. “No, Bertha and Mary are two of the bells in the church.”

He lead me to the porch and slowly climbed the stairs. His bones creaked as he sat in the old rocking chair. He lifted me into his lap and stroked my red curls. I leaned into his comforting embrace and felt his heart pound out its own rhythm against my cheek.

“When I was about the same age as your brother I started ringing the bells in that church.” His hand stilled as the sound of the bells faded away. “Every Sunday morning I climbed into that bell tower and began to pull the ropes to call everyone to church.”

“Where they heavy?” I had seen the bells from below and they looked big. How my brother could pull them I didn’t know. He was only twelve and even if he did think he was strong I could sometimes beat him up even if I was only ten.

“Yes but I soon learned not to think about the weight. For years I rang those bells, for wedding, funerals, baptisms.” He voice rumbled on in my ear as he told me of the bells and what each was used for. He spoke of how he learned to play different songs as each bell played certain notes. He used the names he had given the bells and spoke of them as if they were old friends.

“Why don’t you play the bells anymore, Grandpa?” I asked as his voice trailed off, lost in the memories of the old friends that never betrayed him even in rain, snow, war and night.

He smiled sadly at me. “Because the people of the church thought it was time for me to retire. Your cousin plays them now. He learned from me and one day he will remember those bells as I do.”

He set me on my feet and disappeared into the house. I stood for a moment, straining to hear those bells again. But the wind had died and the bells were still.

I sat on the steps trying to understand what I had just heard. For just a few minutes Grandpa had seemed happy and young again. The wrinkles in his face had lifted and his blue eyes sparkled again. And as he spoke his hand had reached up pulling on nothing in the air, pulling as if he still stood in the bottom of that bell tower letting the town know that it was time for worship. In his mind it was him pulling the bells to let the people know that someone had died, that new life had been welcomed into the open arms of a growing family.

And I wondered if he had rung the bells when I was born.

Three days later the bells rang out their sad tune again and this time I walked beside my brother from the church. My blue dress had been replaced by a black one. Mommy walked beside Grandma and Grandpa lay in the black box as the horses pulled it away.

And the bells, Bertha and Mary, rang out one last time as my grandfather’s body was lowered into the ground.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ten Things I Miss About Canada

I know that I'm supposed to be enjoying a new culture and trying new things but there are some things that I really do miss about my homeland.
I guess the saying 'Home is where the heart is' is true. I may be enjoying Australia and all the new sights, sounds and tastes, but not so deep inside I am a true blooded Canadian.
Here are a few things that I find myself wanting on any given day or just plain missing.

1. Tim Hortens - no one around here can make a cup hot of chocolate like them.
2. Bagels -  they have never heard of them.
3. Driving on the right side of the road - okay, to them we drive on the wrong side.
4. Knowing where I am going when I leave my house -  let's just say that I have a habit of misplacing myself out here.
5. Hockey - yeah, yeah, I hear you. But really, it's at least fun to watch. They like cricket. Makes no sense and is boring to watch.
6. My piano -  no around here seems to own one.
7. My family - even Luke.
8. My friends -  the people out here are awesome but they can't replace my Canadian friends.
9. My books -  I could only take so many with me.
10. Snow - alright, I admit it. I do miss that white stuff. Not the cold, mind you, but the sight of a snow covered world with a sun in a blue sky.

I don't think any continent could replace Canada. I mean, we have the Rockies, Niagra Falls, hockey, PEI, the CN Tower and Tim Hortens. Australia has the Sydney Opera House, Kangaroos and Koalas, lots of cows, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef. Okay, both places have some pretty awesome attractions. But the place where you are born and raised becomes the place you think is the best.
Canada, you rock!

Monday, 4 February 2013

New Job, New Experiance

Last time I wrote, I was all set to work in a town outside of Adelaide, South Australia. Now I am working outside of Perth, Western Australia.
In 26 days I have moved from one side of the country to the other. I have spent a week with people I never imagined hanging out with, bought two cars, brought one back, lost a job, gained another and applied for a third. Yes, it has been crazy but still in some ways a lot of fun.
A week and a half ago I arrived in Perth. At that time I had lost my first job for reasons I still haven't quite figured out and I wasn't really sure what to do. But my parents knew. They called my aunt who called her nephew who called his parents. A few hours later Dad called me and told me to fly to Perth and someone would pick me up from the airport.
So I booked a ticket, brought my car back from where I got it, boarded a plane and landed five hours later in Perth. I was picked up by my aunt's niece and stayed with her and her parents for a few days. In that time I found a new job, bought a new car and moved to Gidgenannup.
My new job is one that I have always wanted to do. I'm a part time groom. Which pretty much means I feed horses, saddle horses, unsaddle horses, bath horses and sweep floors. It isn't glamerous but it is good honest work. I'm living with my employer's parents and have my own room and all the food I want.
I live out in the country surrounded by trees, horses, dogs, kangaroos and birds. It's a place that holds so many possibilities and experiances. The family I work and live with are amazing people. They are always asking if I need anything, eager to have me join in with them as they hang out with friends.
So for now I am settled in a place I am enjoying with people whom I greatly respect.
I have just applied for another part time job to fill in some of the hours I'm not spending working with the horses.
God has been good for me, helping me find a good job, a good group of people to hang out with and a church to attend. Maybe somethings that have happened haven't been what I wanted. Yet I have learned through all of this that God's plans are better then mine. I thank Him for the opportunity to show His love to more people, to learn new skills, to meet new people.
Australia is a land of good people, great oppurtunities and strange but wonderful creatures.