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A Parson's Diary

Published January 14, 2008        by Matt

Wednesday, December 23rd - After household duties I start off about 11:30 a.m. on my motor-cycle along a main road, partly good and clear, partly rough and icy, to Simpson, seven and a half miles. Dinner with a good friend and borrow his horse. Ride across country another seven miles to a country schoolhouse to take part in a Christmas entertainment and to act Father Christmas. Start back about 5 p.m. to Simpson. Leave horse and start off again on motor-cycle. Arrive at 8 p.m., at which hour the Christmas tree entertainment starts. As I have to act in the cantata there, I have to change my clothes pretty quickly. Rush across and arrive just five minutes before my call. Affair went off well. Get supper and have a chat with some friends. By the way, on the Christmas tree was a silk scarf and pair of hair brushes from my congregation.

Christmas Day - Up and light the fire in the church. Tidy up self and house. Christmas Communion 9:30 a.m. - twenty present. Put on innumerable wraps while one of the ladies gets me a small breakfast. Off on bike to Simpson, seven and a half miles. Arrive 11:30 a.m. Warden has got the fire going and the Communion vessels ready. Christmas Communion. Dinner with some good friends of mine and play with their children. Then some music, supper, and card games. A quiet but most enjoyable Christmas. 10 p.m. begin to say I must go to bed, but we get talking on religion and it is 12:30 before I get off to my shack. Bed at 1:15 a.m.

Saturday, 26th - Innumerable odds and ends and a feeling of slackness and a wish that Sunday did not come so soon. Motor-bike back to Imperial. Get mail, letters, etc. Light fire, draw water out of my tank under the cellar floor and fetch my fruit out of the paper-padded box down there, which keeps it from frost when I am away. If I left them in the room the fruit would go rotten and the water freeze solid and burst the bucket or tank. Work out sermon between the visits of two men who are great friends.

Sunday, 27th - Up at 7:45 a.m. Telephone out to Rouse country district to ask if I am to come. It is a cold, windy morning, with probably between thirty and forty degrees of frost. I am ready to go if the people will turn out. Someone offers to light the fire in the schoolhouse there and have things ready. All right. I start at 9:20 a.m. after a light breakfast and motor-cycle along a main road for six miles. In a sleigh five and a half miles more over snow. No fire, no one there. Must feed the horses. I light a fire in the stove. It is frightfully cold in this cold room, at least ten degrees below zero. Suddenly up come two men and the wife of one of them, a communicant, who has never been able to get to Communion since I began to have Holy Communion there twelve months ago. Also she brought her baby to be baptized. So after it seemed that we should have no service at all, we have had a baptism, which would have been almost impossible to manage for the next three months, and our Christmas Communion with six present. The drive back is not so cold, the wind having dropped. Reach Lucas' farm at 2:40 p.m. Five minutes to swallow some lunch and start off down to Imperial for Evensong. About twenty-four present. Wrap up and set off again before it gets late. Arrive 6:30 p.m. at my neighbor’s house at Simpson, where they have a lovely hot supper waiting. Hurry across to church to take Evensong there. Congregation of twenty-four. A group of us adjourn to the shack, where I have not had time to light the fire. Two wardens are in from the country for service, so we get some important cheques signed and business done. Bat my ink has frozen solid and the fountain pen ink freezes as it reaches the nib. I borrow ink from a neighbor and it too freezes as we write. So we have to dip the pen into the ink and hold the pen over the lamp and write quickly. Then to the house of a member of the congregation for coffee and cake and a glorious smoke.