Monday, March 19, 2012
You can call me late...just don't call me late for dinner. ~ Anonymous
Sometimes the best laid plans go astray.
Yesterday Dear Hubby and I decided to make the 212 mile drive to Kitchener, Ontario, in Canada to attend one of our faith's little "branch" churches there. When we lived in Portland we attended the world headquarter's church for almost 35 years before moving to SE Michigan. Our faith's branch churches are scattered all over the US and Canada, as well as being spread all over the world. But here in the upper midwest the churches are usually many miles apart. We can either choose to go to the church in Chicago...or to the one in Kitchener. We're almost equidistant between the two. Since we have traveled to the Chicago area a time or two since moving here we know we're not big city fans. The traffic there is insane, no matter what time of day you go. Kitchener, on the other hand, is a lovely drive north of Detroit to Port Huron, where we cross the Blue Water Bridge into Sarnia, Ontario. From there it's almost a straight shot east on a beautiful highway that carves its way across miles and miles of western Ontario farm land. We spot deer and wild turkeys and hawks along the way. Each season has its own charm. And it's peaceful and oh so NOT stressful.
We arrived at the church in Kitchener and had a wonderful service there with the saints who are some of the most warm and welcoming people we've ever met. The vast majority of them come from Newfoundland originally. Because of the fishing and logging industries dying out in that part of Canada many of the people had moved to Kitchener for work and they established a church there. Since moving to the Detroit area we've traveled there as often as we can to attend church and whenever we have the pastor and his wife, who've become dear friends of ours, invite us over for dinner before we set out for the 212 mile drive home. We met up with them before and after church to say hello and to chit chat yesterday and as we went out to our car they were busy talking with some Filipino visitors so we assumed they were having them over for dinner and we headed off down the highway towards home, figuring we'd stop somewhere along the way to eat. About half an hour later Dear Hubby's phone rings and it's the Pastor. "Where are you guys?" he asked. I said, "Um....on our way home." "Oh no, you were supposed to come here for dinner!" he said. I told him we'd seen them talking to the Filipino gentlemen and had assumed they were having them over for dinner so we figured we'd just go ahead and leave for home. "Oh, no, no..." he said. "We had never met them before and were just getting acquainted. No, whenever you guys come you are to come here for dinner!" He invited us to come back but we were about halfway between Kitchener and the next city west, Woodstock, and Exits are few and far between on that stretch of highway. By the time we turned around and arrived back in Kitchener it would've been time for them to turn around and head back to church for afternoon Sunday School. So I apologized, he apologized. We said next time we come we'll take them out to dinner to make up for it.
I sent a message to the wife apologizing all over myself when I got home, I felt so badly. Here she'd gone to all the trouble of cooking a lovely dinner. But luckily one of their daughters and her children had been there for dinner too so I don't think anything went to waste. This morning I apologized again. And then I got a message back from her telling me no, no they should have made sure we knew we're to come every time. And she said it was pretty funny when they realized we weren't there any more and her husband went around the back of the church to see if we were sitting there waiting for them. Usually we follow them to their house. We weren't there...well maybe, they thought, we'd gone on ahead. But then they drove up to their house we weren't there either! Where were we? That's when we got the call. She said we missed pineapple chicken, rice, Caesar salad, a casserole their daughter had made, homemade lemon pie, and homemade blueberry cheesecake. Argh, lol! It would've been much nicer to visit with them instead of eating in a noisy and crowded Cracker Barrel restaurant but you live and you learn, ha!
As we were getting ready for bed last night I reminded Dear Hubby about something a friend of mine had emailed me when we first began attending church in Canada and I had told her how warm and welcoming the people there are. She said a friend of theirs who'd moved to Portland from Newfoundland had told her and her husband how hard it was to get used to the way things are done in America compared to his homeland. He said there hospitality is pretty much of the 'open door' variety...you can drop in to visit friends and family any time and you're always welcome. Well, we know how that's evolved here with our rush-rush busy society. You call ahead, whether you want to visit friends or family, to see if your visit is going to be scheduled in and welcomed or not. Pierre found out early on you just don't decide to go knock on someone's door at 3 in the afternoon and expect a happy greeting. Like I told the Pastor when we made our little cultural etiquette faux pas, Dear Hubby and I would never presume we were welcome and just drop in and expect dinner! That just goes so against the American way of doing things! I must admit, it's pretty fascinating getting to know our neighbors to the North. We are very similar in so many ways, and yet they still live by a much more polite and neighborly way of doing things. The way our country was when I was a little girl. I remember when friends and neighbors would just drop by, and if someone showed up around suppertime, another plate or two were put on the table, no questions asked. I like it. When did we lose it?