Having driven for about 13 hours and nearly 800 miles, the family decided to spend Thursday, August 4 at home with our cousins. My cousin, Eddie, is retired, and his wife, Lee, who I refer to also as my cousin, is recuperating after surgery. My brother, Ian, was also at our cousins’ home when we arrived in Toronto, the previous night. He had spent a week with us in Florida before flying to Connecticut to visit a former youth group friend and then on to Toronto, Canada.

As expected, we awoke rather late in the morning. We spent the day enjoying the wonderful Toronto summer weather (the temperature was in the 70sF), sitting on the patio while the children played on the lawn, and catching up on a number of topics. Judith, Ian, and I also played some games with the children. These included: “Red Light, Green Light, One, Two, Three,” but our son, Tadhg, created a variation to the game, calling it “Sly Fox.” What a sly guy (smile)! We also played several rounds of “Scavenger Hunt.” We were amazed at how well the children, particularly Aleksi, played the game of “Scavenger Hunt.”

All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing and fun day. It was delightful to spend a day where I did absolutely nothing. Those kind of days do not occur too regularly for me.

On Friday morning, August 5,  Ian left for Montreal, Canada, to visit friends and to join our youngest brother, Hugh, who was visiting from Barbados. We were sorry that he had to leave. However, later in the morning, the men of the house (my cousin, Eddie, and me) went to do some shopping. It was great seeing some of the old familiar places. We love the Toronto area but not the cold weather in the winter. If Illinois’ weather is colder, Toronto is colder. Nevertheless, it is the perfect place to be in the summer. Hence, why we go to Toronto at this time of the year.

In the evening, we visited the home of our friends, Michael and Erna, on the west end of Toronto. We like to see them when we are in Canada. We met over 15 years ago when I was invited to preached at their church, St. David’s Church. It was an interesting and enlightening encounter. While speaking with them on their way out and learning they were originally from Barbados, I soon discovered that she and my mother walked to school together in Barbados. From that time, we became close friends. They prepared us some wonderful “Bajan” delicacies. After spending a great Friday evening, we arrived back at our cousins’ home after midnight.

Saturday, August 6, the children and I decided to go for a walk in our cousins’ neighborhood. Judith remained at home. We left home at 9:00 a.m. and it was interesting to see the stamina of the children as we walked about 2 miles. We enjoyed ourselves – greeting people along the way, my children asking me “20 questions” as they see various things they were unsure about or did not know, and observing different styles of houses. But it was a great Dad – children time together. Next, it was off to visit a religious store which I visit every time we are in the Toronto area. While in the evening, we had dinner at our favorite chinese restaurant, Mandarin, with our friends, Violet, Vida and Stan. It is a standing annual arrangement for my family and these three friends to dine at this restaurant.

Afterwards, we spent the evening at their home. After a long day, it was time to return to our cousins’ home.

On this day, I also don the vacation clothes for the clerical, at least for a few minutes, and administered holy communion to a few persons and anointed those who were ill. It was a wonderful and spirit-filled Liturgy.

Although, we are on vacation, we always try to attend the Eucharist on Sundays. This year, we attended The Church of the Epiphany on Sunday, August 7, at the 10:00 a.m. It is the church home of Violet and Vida. We previously visited this church, attending the Eucharist back in the late 1990s. At that time, I preached. Father Brian, the Interim Priest, gave a children’s sermon with Tadhg and Aleksi sitting on the chancel step with a couple of children. He also preached about the story of Joseph, the man with the coat of many colors, whose brothers disliked him and wanted to kill him.  We were warmly welcomed during the reading of the Notices and Announcements, by the People’s (Junior) Warden, and received an invitation to preach the next time we are in Canada. After the service, we attended the Coffee Hour where we met and spoke with a number of people, before going home.

In the evening we attended a party for Lee’s granddaughter, Amaya, who celebrated her 1st birthday. It was a fun time for our children since they were other children with whom to play. The party was held on the 16th floor of an apartment building in downtown Toronto. The “older” or “old” people, like myself, sat around and chatted with each other while the children had a blast!