H. and I went to Pioneer Days at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach today. We’ve been at the Village various times over the years, and it’s always a great way to spend a day. This time, among the “attractions” on offer at Pioneer Days such as demonstrations of spinning, bread baking, blacksmithing and more, yours truly was reading from This Hidden Thing in the site’s Lichtenau Church. (It’s one of two churches at MHW; as curator Roland Sawatzky said, “Any good Mennonite village has to have at least two churches!”) It was good to visit with some folks we know, but also to meet new readers and to know that besides locally, copies of the book are heading to Toronto and to Pennsylvania!
After the reading, it was time to indulge in a waffle with sauce — cooked outside in an old cast iron mould, one-and-a-half minutes per waffle we were told. A waffle fills an entire plate. Then we listened to “3 Mol Plaut,” a group that sings in Low German. I probably understood less than a quarter of what they sang, and got even fewer of the jokes, but H., who grew up with the language, could be heard chuckling throughout. Low German lends itself to any number of plays on words. (Actually, it often sounds amusing to me even when I don’t catch on.) We didn’t stick around for the supper-hour tribute to Elvis, however; not sure how that works in this context!
Last year at this time we were down in Paraguay for the Mennonite World Conference and an extended visit to family in the Chaco, but this summer, except for a quick trip to a nephew’s wedding in Saskatoon last weekend and my few days at a conference in B.C., we’ve been at home. H. had a pleasantly light July, work-wise (he’s a drywall contractor) and it’s been lovely, sitting on the front porch or back deck (depending on the sun), watching the tomatoes ripen, reading, and catching up on home projects. August will be busier for both of us, but what a treat these summer days have been so far. — (Thank You, thank You, thank You!)