Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Murry, Joe and MyJohn

There is a Christian Mission in Elim Poland that is supported by a women's group in Heidelberg Germany. I've seen pictures of the mission and the nearby orphanage they serve. It makes me wish I could do more for them. It makes me wish I had followed this path when I was younger instead of the more traditional American way of life in which I failed so miserably. But, I digress.
I was amazed to find European people suffering and starving. I thought South America, India and Africa had sort of cornered the market. I don't believe I'm being elietst, I've never seen or heard of any mission work in Europe other than Russia. Just shows to go ya I've led a sheltered life. One of the women in Heidelberg had a sewing pattern for the entire Nativity scene. From baby Jesus right through to Camel's and donkeys. They're done in wool which looks perfect on them. I suspect it's all they have and not something done by design. When the Elim women got started making the figures none of them had ever operated a sewing machine. No one had money for them. They lived in concrete block house's no bigger than my living room. But they learned, and have been able to better their lot in life through these stuffed dolls. One woman proudly displays a small cook stove sitting under an electric light bulb. All items bought with her earning. Each woman learns one figure. They have created a little co-operative where they put together the finished ones.
Karen, my friend and Gwyndolyn's Mom, purchased one of the Nativity sets last year at a Bazaar in Heidelberg. We set it up in the living room on the coffee table (the one that looks like a coffin) Gary's StepDad made. Karen put out Mary, Joseph and the donkey first. Gwyndolyn liked them, but wasn't much interested in playing with them. We told her the dolls were named Mary & Joseph. Her 2 year old interpretation of that was Murry & Josie. I told her if she was going to call Mary "Murry" she might as well call Joseph "Joe" and for once she listened to me and that's what she did. Karen was concerned some of her more righteous friends would object to the Holy Family going by Murry and Joe, but I told her just tell them it's my fault. They'll accept that.
The big surprise came when one of the shepards came out of the box to join the set. Gwyndolyn snatched it up immediately pronouncing it was "myJohn". She flipped the shepard upside down so his staff or crook was pointed to the ground. She chewed on the end of it a bit, she even sang some garbled baby talk into it. Then she tucked "myJohn" under her arm and went out of the room chattering happily. She did eventually allow him to join Murry & Joe in the coffee table tableau. What made this so interesting to me was that she hadn't seen John for 3 months!
The first time she met John she was younger and more skittish. In an attempt to win her over he rolled the tip of his cane towards her thinking she would want to play. Instead, she cried and wouldn't even look in his direction. She didn't warm up to him until near the end of the trip, much to his dismay. The next time she saw him, she greeted him like an old friend. Practically jumped in his arms at the door. The two of them were inseparable the entire two weeks he was there. The same goes for his last trip, in which she happily snuggled down in his arms to nap, talked to him for hours, played games with him (Aztec sacrifice being a favorite) and in general staked her territory on him. But 3 months is a long time in a childs life. I didn't expect her to remember him as well as she did. Murry, Joe and My John. He use's a white cane to navigate around things. Gwyndolyn hated the cane the first visit, but by the 3rd visit she would often pick it up and walk with it. The shepard she picked had a raised staff he held towards the front of his body. I'm sure that is what connected for her. I sure got a smile when it happened. I related the story to John later and he too enjoyed it. I find that I think of him a lot as My John. It flows from the lips as smooth as silk. Thanks Gwyndolyn.
MyJohn loves babies and for the most part they love him. Gwyndolyn and he grew to be "thick as theives". In Florida he laid on the floor so the twin babies could crawl all over him. He wagged his tongue at them. He tickled their tummies, he steadied them as they crawled over the top of him on their way to a toy or food. It's official, MyJohn loves babies. I think that's cool cause I love them too.

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