I think for many people in our community, some of our most favorite memories are those formed while on Community Vacation! Leading up to vacation, the excitement is high! Many of us would have attended the annual lobster boil at Joan Gilfoy’s house – sitting in the backyard, supper having just finished and many people eating their desserts, the list comes out and we learn together where people are going on vacation and with whom.

I’ve been fortunate to join several members of our community on trips to my first community at L’Arche in London, Ontario. The excitement of introducing my Antigonish friends to my London friends was a real thrill: at Bethany House, Jim McGeough joined us downstairs as Annabell, Sachan, Carol Anne, and Elizabeth MacDonald learned to use their player piano; or when Elizabeth MacDonald, having just met Gloria Cripps, was sitting on the couch giving her a foot massage – because that’s what new friends do!

One of my favorite memories of community vacation was going to East Park’s Wally World in London with Elizabeth, Christian, Heather MacGillivray, Eunice, and Hannes. We were joined by my mother and spent the entire day enjoying the laziness of having nothing to do but to enjoy each other’s company, the sun, and the water slides! At the end of the day, I was exhausted and had no energy left to spare, Elizabeth, swimsuit on and towel in hand, entertained the theme park with her skillful dancing – a lesson for all, to enjoy oneself and to dance like no one’s watching!

Equally entertaining was another trip to London, this time with assistant Rachel Agwata. We had decided as a group to visit the local pioneer village – which happened to be heavily populated with groundhogs! I remember the excitement of Rachel – from Kenya – who had not seen these before and quickly took off after several trying to see if she could catch one! Needless to say, we were all amused by her several failed attempts.

The stories are endless and 40 years of vacationing together have provided many in our community with memories for a lifetime! I would encourage you to ask a member of the community about one of their favorites – I am sure you’ll join us all in a good belly laugh!

“[Happiness] comes when we choose to be who we are, to be ourselves, at this present moment in our lives.” – Jean Vanier, Founder of L’Arche