Published Real Life Travel

Incorrigible Romantic

October 19, 2010

Thank you to everyone who has purchased my book, Bright Red Trousers!

If you have not yet read it, copies are still available at the Red Leaf Bookstore (Word of Life Church, Red Deer), Red Deer College Bookstore, or from me. The cost is $15 and all proceeds go directly to Home of Hope Rwanda.

I thought I’d share a chapter to give you a peak… Chapter 15, “Incorrigible Romantic”

A most memorable day in England for me was when Verity took me to the town she grew up in – Leigh – a coastal town bordering Essex and Kent. The morning we arrived the tide was out and old fishing boats had been creviced in mud ruts looking lonely and forgotten. We parked our lime green VW bug and set off on foot – her telling me stories the whole way of growing up by the sea.

We walked along the shoreline by the fishing huts. The smell of fresh fish tickled my senses while the sounds of the men gutting and cleaning greeted my ears. The clanking of the waiting boats, for some reason, made me feel giddy.

I wanted to pull a Tom Cruise and invisibly lean up against the wood of the sheds and just listen – to experience their lives just for a moment. Every other word was a swearword or “mate”. Tattoos and a cigarette in their mouths – somehow it all seemed typically what I’d have imagined.

As Verity and I crossed the railroad tracks, wandered through a church 1000 years old, and drove by where she used to live – I again felt that sensation that I was lost in a storybook. How did I get here again?

There is something so inspiring about the sea. The tide goes in and out. The seagulls scrounge for a meal and shout out when they’ve found some rubbish. The children play and run along the shore – being chased or chasing. The salt-smell invigorates every sense that could have been dormant.

We found a greasy-spoon-sea-side-café to dine at and watched the tide come in. By the time I cleaned off the last of the French fries the water had reached where just minutes before we had been picking sea-shells. Happy sigh.

And what day at the sea would be complete without cinnamon sugar covered donuts and a latte? Verity just laughed at my sweet-tooth she had come to know so well. I am most certain I did a dance by the sea. We hopped in the car and drove by an amusement park by the sea and headed towards home.

The tide had come in and the “forgotten” boats were now bobbing, ready to fulfill their created purpose. For a moment, they looked like they had been disposed of, but it was only a matter of time before it was certain a fisherman would captain them again.

My heart was light. I had no idea what that day was going to hold, but it was completely satisfying, and the day was not yet over.

I had bought Philip, Verity and myself tickets to the ballet in Chelmsford at the Civic Theatre that night. Front row, of course. It was the UK Central School Ballet’s final year tour. They danced a repertoire from different ballets such as Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Cinderella. There were a couple interpretive pieces that left me thinking how do they get their arms to go like that?

If I had to choose my favourite, which is very hard, I think the one I emotionally connected with the most was one they performed from Cinderella.

The pianist took his place down front, main level. One lady and one man left me spellbound.

Picture it…

Cinderella is in her rags curled up on the floor, innocent and insecure, under a lone spotlight.

The Prince enters. He reaches out a hand to the would-be-princess.

Dance with me. A statement, not a question.

Me? I don’t know how. She shook her head as she slowly graced herself to her feet. Eyes never leaving the hold of the Prince’s gaze.

Let me show you. He was convincing.

And they danced. Slow and hesitant at first. Him leading and assuring Cinderella he would be there. They evidently fall in love within three minutes. And ‘rella becomes free and uninhibited in his arms. Rags removed and white dress worn. I clapped with all my heart!

As we three walked home that night I relayed back my favourite dance of the night.

I said to them, “That’s what I need! A prince who will take me in his arms and say ‘dance with me!’ and we dance!”

To which Verity cheekily responded, “I think we have an incorrigible romantic on our hands!”

I laughed, knowing it was completely true.

I feel a book about my experiences and time in England would not be complete without honouring and thanking the church that hosted me. The Pastors and staff who made me feel so at home. To the youth who I learned so much about loving God and people so simplistically from. Who laughed at me as we attempted interviews in High Street for our video. Those who laughed when I, yet again, was able to find the greasy-spoon diner that offered the cheapest fish and chips at 11pm at night. To Philip and Verity who let me invade their home, cook in their kitchen and watch Friends any time I needed an American humour fix – thank you.

And as cheesy as this may sound, you are a part of my history where I learned to dance. Albeit without the Prince (wink wink appropriate).

Sometimes in our lives, we need the reassurance that our purpose is not forgotten or lost and that we will dance again. Sometimes, it just takes the right people to believe in you and captain you for a little while or lead the dance and remind you of what is inside.

So this incorrigible romantic wants to say, thank you. For helping me embrace my time in England, for welcoming me, making me tea and laughing at the way I say “saucy”.  You truly are wonderful people.

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