Tag Archives: Quality Dairy

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

Ethan and Evan on their 4th birthday
Ethan and Evan on their 4th birthday

I’ve been going through a box of old papers from my college days at Bricket Wood in England.   The box is over 40 years old.

In it was a letter from the first minister I knew well, a man called Vivian Bassett.   He was the Methodist minister who first influenced me when it comes to religion.   It must be 50 years since I last saw him. I’m sure he’s been dead for quite some time.

He was a really nice man, a good example of Christian love, compassion and mercy, three qualities that are rarely found even in ministers of religion.

He was also a great servant.   He visited all his parishioners twice a year on foot, even if they rarely attended church.  He didn’t scold them, but rather encouraged them and listened if they wanted to talk about their problems.

Before he left our church he was ministering to thirteen widely scattered congregations – and did so without a car!

Thinking about him reminded me of what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 20:

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.   And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NKJV).

Vivian Bassett was not an ambitious man.  There wasn’t a political bone in his body.  He had no desire to head the Methodist Conference.  He simply wanted to serve the people at the pastoral level, which is what he did.

I remember his last service well.  There was standing room only in the church as people we rarely saw at church turned up to honor a highly respected and deeply loved man.

The new minister arrived a few days later after the Bassetts vacated the parsonage.  The new man was a highly academically qualified minister who knew his Bible better than most.   His name was Dr. Letch (we teens called him “Lurch” after a popular character in a hit TV show at the time) but knowing your Bible isn’t enough.  He did not have the same rapport with people that his predecessor had and did not come over as caring and compassionate, which are more important qualities in a minister representing Jesus Christ.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ.”  (Phil 2:5)

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The twins in Indianapolis, Ethan and Evan, are now four years old.

Their mother, our eldest daughter Alix, reported a few days ago that she had gone to the bathroom and found the floor covered with water. She asked the boys what they had been up to (a question she frequently asks!).

This time they proudly told her they had washed their own feet — in the toilet bowl — and “look how clean they are!”   Yes, being a mom is a mixture of Aawww and Eew . . .

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Meanwhile, their three-year-old cousin Leeson in Lansing has added a new word to his vocabulary.

That word is “Never!” as in “Never! Never! Never!” (or more accurately with a British accent “Nevah nevah nevah!), his typical response when asked to do anything.

At first, I didn’t think he knew what it meant, until I asked him if he wanted an ice cream and did NOT respond with “Never! Never! Never!”

He also knows how to tease with the three-word expression.   When I wanted to give him a hug before he left for school, he again responded with “Never! Never! Never!” but very quickly afterwards ran to me and gave me a big hug, loudly proclaiming that “I wove you, Gwampa!” (As the chief supplier of his drug of choice – ice cream – he can’t afford to upset me.)

But when it comes to following instructions, depending on his mood, we most often hear “Never! Never! Never!”

Jesus Christ told us to be like little children.   When I think of Leeson, I’m mindful of how his words should be our attitude to sin at all times: “Never! Never! Never!

Most Christians would likely agree with that.

But what about the words in Matthew 7:1-4?

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? For how can you say to your brother “let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye?”

When it comes to judging others for their sins, few Christians would exclaim:  “Never! Never! Never!”

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The BARNA Group that studies religious trends and attitudes in America illustrated this in 2013 when they published the results of a survey of thousands of conservative Christians.  They had been asked a series of questions to determine how much they were like Jesus Christ.

Only 14% had the mind of Christ.   51% of these conservative Christians were like the Pharisees.   They defined the Pharisees as people who judge others harshly for their sins while justifying their own.

That’s 51% of conservative Christians!

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Yes, Leeson and his brother have started school. Leeson, aged 3, is in the Head Start program that lasts three hours each morning, Monday through Thursday.   His brother Aubren, ten months older, is in the Great Start program that is seven hours a day.   Both are thriving in their new school setting.

The first few days were difficult, especially for their mother and, perhaps more so, for their grandparents.   There was lots of crying, weeping and wailing – and that was just from Grandpa!

My wife and I were about to look for a Grandparenting Support Group to help us get through the emotional trauma of taking our grandchildren to school.

Fortunately, we found a support group of sorts, in a Quality Dairy we stopped at.   It had a really good display, a “group” of fresh donuts!

Comfort food – that’s exactly what you need after dropping off two young children at a new school.   I don’t think we are going to need any other support group – we have about a dozen donut shops en route back from the school.

 

 

ICE CREAM WITH GRANDPA

Coming back from our walk.
Coming back from our walk.

We recently moved into a new neighborhood, which has a handful of small stores within walking distance.  Our four-year-old grandson, Aubren, asks me daily to take him for a “walk,” which is his way of asking me for an ice cream, sold at one of those stores, Quality Dairy (QD).

It’s still challenging to walk, even though it’s been two years since I came out of the hospital following two major back surgeries.   I also have problems with my feet. But I love these walks with Aubren – and I only buy one ice cream when we go!

Aubren’s mother is a nurse and frequently reminds me that ice cream is not on the list of recommended foods for diabetics.   I find this bewildering – how can anything that makes you feel so good possibly be bad for you?   Nurses can be illogical – in the hospital, they would wake me up in the middle of the night to give me a pill to make me sleep

Aubren literally drags me to QD.   He pulls me along as we take the twelve-minute walk. Actually, more precisely, it’s 12 minutes 30 seconds – I timed it last night and that extra thirty seconds makes a big difference! I can feel the level of excitement rising in his little body as we get closer to the store.

When we arrive, he pushes open the door and immediately turns left to the ice cream counter.   There are 24 different ice cream flavors to choose from but he always goes for the “green”, mint chocolate chip.   But last night, there was no “green” ice cream.   Not to worry, he soon found a “brown” substitute, Mackinaw Island Fudge.

After receiving the “scoop,” we leave the store and walk to a nearby hill, where we sit. He takes his time with his ice cream, while we both look at cars approaching the intersection from four different directions.   He already knows the car he wants when he gets older – “the red one, grandpa!”  Any red one.  But it has to be red.

I smiled as I remembered a minister I knew many years ago who told one of his parishioners he must return his brand new red car and get one of a different color, as “red” was the color of the scarlet colored “harlot” of Revelation.   I smiled at this reminder.   At 4, Aubren is not concerned about such things, and I hope he never will be.

Mackinaw Island Fudge definitely is not as good a flavor as mint chocolate chip.  I know this because Aubren suddenly took his ice cream cone and started painting the parking lot with it.   This ruled out any thought I might have had of finishing off his ice cream – Mackinaw Island gravel did not appeal!

We started walking back, a slower walk as Aubren was no longer in a hurry.   He was now commenting on the “white van” in one driveway, the dog in another.   He was no longer thinking of ice cream, though there was evidence of consumption all down the front of his tee-shirt. I should have taken his top off to remove the evidence.   Parents sometimes get upset when I buy one of my grandchildren “food” that tastes a lot better than what they get on their dinner plate at home.   I’m not trying to compete with dinner but, rather, to supplement it!

We’ve had all nine grandchildren in the house all week. I took our four granddaughters, all aged 9-11, to get a milk shake one afternoon.   We took 3- year-old Leeson with us – he could not believe his luck at being included!.   As the six of us sat down to our treat, I said:   “Do you remember, girls, a few years ago, I used to take you all out for a walk in the park, or to the zoo, or around the neighborhood?   All I can do now is take you all out to get food that’s bad for you!”

One of our 11-year-old granddaughters came right back with:   “And we love you for it, Grandpa!”

This is what grandparents are for – spoiling their grandchildren. They are the center of our lives as we age and think about the legacy we will leave behind.

61 years from now, when Aubren is my age, he will still remember his walks with Grandpa and those mint chocolate chip ice creams.  I would like to think one of his grandchildren will be pulling him to the nearest ice cream store.   Hopefully, he will have learned to take some “wet ones” to remove the evidence before returning his grandson to momma, especially if she’s a nurse!