As predicted, I have been a little unwell the past few days. Collywobbles and the queasies. However, with great foresight, I had already scheduled “get sick” into Week One of my holidays. So, while I have managed to catch up with quite a few people this week which has been lovely, and run around doing Christmas shopping and other run around type activities, the last couple of nights have been self-imposed TLC Evenings. Cosy on the lounge, snug as a bug in a rug, cup of tea nearby, reading. No TV, no radio, no music. Just me and a book. Nice. I have been finishing off a stack of half-read books, one of them being At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. It’s the first in a series about Father Tim, the pastor of an Anglican (Episcopalian?) church in a small American town. It’s an easy, undemanding, sometimes predictable read, with a nice mix of delightful and eccentric characters, humour, and touching moments where, yes, I confess to getting teary-eyed.

Some of the humour is laugh out loud, especially if it involves Father Tim’s huge black dog, Barnabas, who seemingly only responds to commands that are bible verses, or Wordsworth. Other humour is more of an in-joke for church goers, like this one:

[Context: It’s Thanksgiving and the ministers of all the local churches are paying a visit to Homeless Hobbes. Each has brought a bag or basket of food. Homeless reveals that he will be giving “the best portion of these eats” to others in the area who are worse off than himself. One of the ministers then suggests they bless the food.] “Let’s bless these ham biscuits, boys,” he said, and launched into a prayer covering world hunger, food stamps, stray animals, firewood, the Baptist conference, Little Mitford Creek, Big Mitford Creek, the sick, the unsaved, an unwelcome forecast for more snow, the town council’s decision on sidewalks for Lilac Road, the president, the Congress, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the local fire and police departments. “Amen!” said Homeless. “That ought t’last me ’til this time next year.”

Well, I found it amusing. *sigh* It makes a pleasant change from Austen-like digs at the church and ministers who are invariably portrayed in a negative fashion in most fiction, theatre, and tv programs these days. On that note, a most surprising delight has been observing and enjoying what an excellent job the story does of presenting Jesus and the church in a very positive light. Scripture is woven into the story and dialogue quite naturally, and the Sinner’s Prayer and an adult baptism are also included. I can’t remember the last time I read anything quite like this. It’s refreshing. My Mum introduced me to the books, and Dad has been reading them too. My hope is that they somehow meet Jesus in the act of reading. I’m pretty sure that I have.