Friday, December 16, 2011

Day Seventy-Five: Many Thousand Thanks

It's Sunday night as I begin to write Friday's blog. I close my eyes. What have I learned about treaty? I don't even remember what happened Friday. My legs ache as I walk downstairs and get my camera. I start looking back. A less-than-full-moon in a black sky. A pink horizon before the sunrise. A railway track in a valley.

Students on guitar. Students at the chalk board. Students with worksheets. Students with scissors. Students making faces. Students chilling out. Students posing with Ms. Jade. Students in the hallway. Students on exercise bicycles. Students jumping in the air on the count of three.

Staff stressing at the photocopier. Staff talking in the office. Staff working with students. Staff smiling beside Ms. Jade. Staff posing at our glow-bowling Christmas party.

Arwen hugging the decorated tree. Moira putting the angel on top. Counters full of bread to dry for stuffing. Keitha and I spent the afternoon in the city, shopping for our Outreach Christmas dinner on Tuesday.

This morning at Outreach's Sunday Circle, Alfred Cyr begins reading to us from Third John, and a few verses in he asks his son, Chris, to keep reading for him. Alfred talks to us about truth and forgiveness, and how when we live in this truth, it will set us free, and how we need to forgive if we want forgiveness. "I know I want to be forgiven," Alfred says.

"Another word for truth is love," Michael adds. "And like Alfred said, 'I want to be forgiven' too." 

We sing "Amazing Grace". We pray a "chain prayer" where anyone can add their voice. We share communion, commenting on our equal status before our Creator. We use Welsch's grape juice and Norwegian flat bread. "Jesus loves Norwegian's too," I say. Everyone laughs. Our visitor nods his head.

We eat elk spaghetti which Michael made at four in the morning, fruit of his insomnia. Three of the men are hunters, so want to know who got the elk, and I say it was either my brother, Ian, or my dad.

Jim thanks us in Saulteaux.

I practice saying it phonetically. "Me-gwitch" and a fellow visiting us for the first time from Cumberland House up North tells us how they say thank you.

Jim asks how the Dene say thank you.

"Merci Cho," I say.

"That's French," says Jim.

"Well, the 'cho' means big. So it's both: big thanks." I add that "munga-tousan-tuk" is many thousand thanks in Norwegian.

Jim laughs. "My mother-in-law is Norwegian. How do you spell it? I'm going to text her." He pulls out his phone and keys it in.

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