Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 2: Mad Hatters' Tea Party

It was possibly her first birthday in Three Hills: the lovely Charlotte, along with her parents, her sister and an in-law, graced the table called the Island (so called because no man is ...) and started to peruse the tea basket. Mulled Spice, Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea and Angel Falls Mist were selected; chai was ground and prepared; and the all-important decisions around dessert were executed.

But right before everything was served, when they told me it was Charlotte's birthday, I thought it would add to the occasion if she wore a hat, so I produced a flirty red confection that looked wonderful with Charlotte's beautiful face and Scarlett O'Hara-type curls.

The afternoon was lifted to a new level as a slightly giggly girl with shorts and a white tee shirt was transformed into an elegant young lady.

And at the end of the event I asked if I could take the girls' picture. But before I did I found a sumptuous black hat for Charlotte's sister, Jocelyn, to wear: the two of them together were visions, representing all that is good and beautiful about the TH.

But these two girls represent more than just that: they represent the face of a new beginning for Prairie Bible Institute. Their parents are Mark and Elaine Maxwell, and their family has selflessly given up their lives in Ontario to move to Trois Lumps in order for Mark to assume the reins at Prairie. There is already a renewal of faith, of energy, of optimism on campus. People are working together, trying to build up the body, seeking to know the mind of God and to act on that knowledge.

There is a return to the spirit of L.E. Maxwell, the founder of the school and Mark's grandfather.

And as a result, there is a breath of fresh air in our little town that has seemed to be dying by degrees. Tim Shearlaw, the man who will be sworn in as our mayor at the end of this month and who was also in the TH, commented to me that at a town-hall style meeting in the Prairie dining room last week it was announced donations to the school are way up, as is volunteering and interest in the place. "I was looking through the archives," remarked Tim, who cares more for this town than anyone I have ever met. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if the enrollment climbed back up to 800 or more, like it was in the peak years?"

And so the open, glowing faces of Charlotte and Jocelyn are a talisman for these next all-important years for Prairie and, by extension, for the town itself.

How grateful I am that they are here. Happy birthday, lovely girl!


  1. For those of you who asked me, sorry for the delay on this post: I had to push through an un-beautiful migraine on Saturday evening through into Sunday morning. All is well now - thank you for caring!


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