Last night we got together here in Portugal with our friends Bonny and Jim Peters. Bonny and I have known each other since childhood when we attended girls club and Sunday School together at Grace Mennonite Church, went to each other’s birthday parties and played at one other’s houses after church on Sundays.
When Dave and I moved to Steinbach in 1976 we attended Grace Mennonite Church with Jim and Bonny and they were part of our early social circle there. For many years we lived on Westwood Street in Steinbach right across from them. Bonny and Jim’s two older sons became such good friends with our son. The boys spent many, many hours playing together and when our son was in kindergarten Bonny provided child care for him on the half days he wasn’t in school.
For the last nearly twenty years we have been in a Steinbach Grace Mennonite Church care group with Bonny and Jim and that has created many new opportunities for fostering our friendship. The group insisted we remain with them even after we moved to Winnipeg and started attending Bethel Mennonite Church there.
We had a great time with Bonny and Jim when they came to visit us during the years we lived in Hong Kong. So we were happy to hear that Bonny and Jim would be in Portugal at the same time as we planned to be here. They were traveling with Jim’s brother Rob and his partner Evelin.
Bonny and Jim came over on Sunday night to watch the Super Bowl at our place. Our TV was broadcasting the game while theirs was not. In Portugal the game was on from about 11:30 pm. till 3:30 am. I am pretty sure we would not have stayed up to watch it on our own but it was fun to watch it with Bonny and Jim who are diehard football fans and very knowledgeable especially about their favorite team The New England Patriots. Unfortunately their team didn’t win although Bonny held out hope I think till the last minute or so.
Then last night Bonny and Jim and Rob and Evelin invited us over for supper to the warm, spacious home they are renting in Porches. We took a walk along their beautiful secluded beach with high protective cliffs wrapped all around it. Rob cooked a fabulous meal for us of paella with shrimp and mussels, all kinds of appetizers, a salad and chocolate and port for dessert. The food was great as was the interesting conversation around the table that ranged from childhood memories, to memorable border crossings, to learning the facts of life, to stories about our aging parents, to our Portugal experiences.
Our friend Rudy had arrived the day before to spend several weeks with us. He is also a good friend of Bonny and Jim’s. Jim and Rudy worked in the same department at the regional highschool in Steinbach for many years and Bonny and Jim shared a warm mutual friendship with Rudy’s wife Sue who died in December.
It was great for all of us to spend time together. In his blog post about the evening my friend Rudy alluded to the fact that sometimes when you are away from your familiar surroundings you visit in a little different way with people and you can have the most interesting conversations. I think he’s right, but I also think the wonderful Portuguese wine enables those kinds of conversations too.