Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homelessness and Happiness

Every morning on my drive to work, I drive through Winnipeg's inner city.  It is not as scary as some larger cities I'm sure; but we do have a lot of homeless persons who wander the streets in the downtown area of the city.  In the summertime we might not see many street people wrapped in blankets lying beneath structures, because they tend to congregate on the river banks and live under the bridges.

This past week I have seen street people wrapped in dirty old blankets, lying under the overhang of one building I pass by.  I will continue to see them there all winter, I'm sure.  It is an old apartment building with some pretty fancy architecture, and it is under this fancy architecture that they lay - close to the buildings right under the large vents from the heating units.

Seeing this has reminded me that I have several bags of knit and crochet squares sitting in my closet, ready to be sewn together into blankets.  Another project to do.  I need to organize a sewing bee... and get that done - winter is coming, and the homeless will need more blankets.

Michaels craft stores have a drop off box every year where you can donate knit or crochet squares... if you have spare yarn, and a few minutes to work it, it is a very worthy project to contribute to.

And now a wedding... Chapter 21 begins

They were married two weeks later in a civil ceremony performed by Magistrate Brown in the tiny courthouse one hour’s drive from home.  
They set off on their journey early in the morning, before the heat of the day was fully upon them.  Karl, dressed in the same black suit he had worn for his first wedding, could barely stand the anticipation of two days spent entirely alone with the love of his life.  Emilie, wearing the new two- piece ivory suit and matching beret that Annie had made and presented as an early wedding present, felt like a princess as she sat demurely beside her intended nervously clutching the bouquet of flowers picked from her own garden and presented to her from all the children.
As they made their way across the prairie, they could not help but notice the disastrous effects the hot, dry, windy weather was having on the countryside around them.  The ditches were filled to the top in places along the road with top soil blown in from adjoining fields, and every crop they witnessed looked exactly like their own.
Karl shook his head as he filled his gaze with the ruins of the hot dry summer.  “It looks pretty bad, Emilie.  I don’t think we are going to have a crop this year,” he told her sadly.
“Surely it will rain, Karl,”  she said with confidence,  “Then everything will revive itself.  Just look at how good my garden is doing!”
He chuckled at her ignorance.  “Your garden is only surviving because you have been emptying all the wash and dish water on it,” he said lightly, and then a frown replaced his smile.  “Even if we get rain today, it’s too late for the crops.  The crops needed the moisture when the stalks were developing - now the part that gives life to the grain at the head of the plant is so dry it is like a straw, and no amount of water will revise that.  The plants are all but dead.”
Emilie swung her gaze to her future husband.  Worry etched a straight line across his brow, and for the first time Emilie wondered what would happen if they were not able to harvest a crop come fall.
By the time they reached town, the unrelenting sun was already baking the earth.  Dusty and parched from their ride, they stopped for a drink and then proceeded to the courthouse.  As they entered the small building, Karl reached for Emilie’s hand, and together they approached the young clerk behind the counter.
“Good morning,”  a dark-haired young man addressed them with a friendly smile.  “What can I do for you folks this morning?”
“We have come to get a marriage license, and hopefully to be married.  Is the Magistrate in today?”  Karl asked.
“You are in luck,”  the clerk opened a large book, and asked for their names.  After getting the information he needed to issue the license, he instructed them to have a seat to wait for the Magistrate to make his appearance.
Emilie clutched Karl’s hand tightly and joined him on the small sofa that took up most of the far wall of the small room.
“Are you nervous?”  Karl turned to Emilie, and squeezed her hand reassuringly.
She met his gaze, and smiled into his eyes.  “Not at all; I just wish that the children could have come with us, that’s all.”
His finger gently stroked her small hand,  “But then we would not have had a honeymoon,”  he answered, and watched as a delicate flush covered her face.
“The Magistrate can see you now,”  the clerk interrupted them, and led them into the judges’ chambers.
Magistrate Brown was a jolly, robust man, who enjoyed the part of his occupation where he could unite young couples in holy wedlock.  As he watched the couple nervously approach, he knew that today would be no exception.
He addressed them both.  “So you wish to be married today, do you?”  he asked in a kindly manner.  First I would like to ask you a few questions if I may?”  he waited for their consent and when it was given turned to Karl first.
“What is your occupation, Karl?”  He read the man's name from the paper in front of him.
“I’m a farmer, sir.”
“A trying time to be a farmer, isn’t it?”  The judge sympathized.
“Yes sir.”
“How long have you known Miss FreiheitFreiheit?”
Karl gazed at Emilie and smiled warmly,  “About eight months or so, I guess.”
“And how did you two meet?”
“Emilie came to work as a housekeeper for me at the recommendation of my sister who lives in Winnipeg.”
“Really!”  Magistrate Brown’s eyes swung to Emilie,  “So you are from Winnipeg then?”
“Oh no!”  Emilie smiled at his mistake,  “I am from Germany!”
Indeed she was, the Magistrate thought as he heard her heavy German accent for the first time.  “How is it that you happened to be in Winnipeg then, Emilie?”  
Emilie recounted her story once again, and when she had finished the judge nodded his head in understanding and sympathy, and addressed them both.
“I can see that the two of you have grown close over the months you have been together, and that is a good basis for a long and lasting marriage.  You have much to offer each other, and I see no reason to delay the event any longer!”  he pushed the papers away from him, and rose from his desk to call his clerk into the room.
In less time than it had taken them to answer the judge’s questions, they were pronounced man and wife.
“You may kiss your bride,”  the plump Magistrate folded his hands across the middle of his ample belly, smiled benevolently, and watched as Karl Wright did just that.

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