Sunday, May 25, 2014

Woodstock Ontario - Jasper's Baptism

Despite our early bedtime, we slept late this morning. Heather called my cell about 8:00 AM and asked if we could pick up some crackers, sugar and ice on our way to their house.

The sign in the breakfast area said "complimentary continental" so I filled a bowl with raisin bran. Then I discovered hot eggs and sausage patties on a different counter and changed my focus. Following breakfast, we went over to WalMart and got the items Heather requested. Mal and I delivered them to the house, where we met Tom's parents Stan and Zofia, before going back to the hotel to dress.

Once again, I put on the new pants and shoes (with two pairs of socks), topped with my dress shirt, tie and conservative blue blazer.   Despite all that, Sandy (as usual) looked a lot better than I did. Then we headed back to Tom and Heather's just in time to join the procession over to the church.

Leaving for the church

Heather and Tom carrying Jasper

Holy Cross Polish Catholic Church was a small building. It only holds one English mass a month and this was it. The family gathered outside and then went in, taking pews near the back. Always near the back. I immediately realized two things. One, it was hot inside the church. And two, only a very few of us were wearing ties and jackets, much less anything dress at all. In fact, I saw a lot of shorts and golf shirts. Oh well, I am not very current on this whole church thing and didn't want to be disrespectful. This weekend, I probably attended more church than I have over the last five years.

Holy Cross Polish Catholic Church

Great uncle, uncle, aunt and other grandparents

 Jasper doesn't seem too concerned

The son-in-laws

The mass was....... OK, I have nothing to really compare it to. It lasted about 45 minutes and it was warm. The service was English but the hymns were Polish. I sat and stood respectfully and soon it was over.

Once the regular parishioners had gone downstairs for coffee and cakes (apparently it was a mortal sin to skip this, or so Father was reputed to have said), the family gathered at the front of the church for the baptism. Jasper was the only one getting christened today so we had the place to ourselves.

The priest was a very pleasant fellow, although it was obvious that he was more comfortable in Polish than in English. He also had  a sense of humour, telling Jasper that his baptism certificate was a "driver's licence to Heaven". Uncle Mike (Heather's sister's husband) and Aunt Agnes (Tom's brother's wife) are the godparents. In a slight mix-up, Jasper was almost christened Justin. That would not have been great. Through it all, young J.J. was stoic, even when the water was applied.

Gathered for the service

Parents and godparents

Meeting the priest

 Tom dabbing his son

 Heather doing the same

Welcome Jasper James Gronek

Back to the godparents and parents

From the church, everyone went back to Heather and Tom's house where there was some food laid out. Some might be an understatement. A person would never go hungry at any Polish social event. I tried to go easy but succumbed to a large bowl of bacon wrapped sausage. Another thing I was not familiar with was the baptism dinner sponsored by the parents. We would be dining later at the Elmhurst Inn in Ingersoll.

Jasper's christening outfit

The happy family

Kim and Mike had taken the girls to Aylmer to stay with his parents while the baptism was going on. They were going back to Aylmer to pick them up for the dinner so Sandy, Mal and I opted to follow them in the Kia.

Mike's parents Gail and Peter live on a nice property south of Aylmer. When we got there, the kids (and Peter) were taking a nap. We sat  out on the deck visiting with Gail, who is both outspoken and funny. Before too long, the sleeping beauties were up and about.

Robyn and Jolene with Grandpa Koolen

After a good visit, Mike loaded the kids in their van and we headed back to Ingersoll, which lies just before Woodstock on the 401. The Elmhurst Inn and Spa is a nice facility based  around a historic building that was constructed in 1872. The newer parts are tastefully concealed behind the original structure. We arrived a few moments before the contingent from Woodstock. They seated us in a private room in the restaurant, which is located in the historic section.

The meal was a buffet laid out in another common room. It was an excellent spread, including a superb prime rib and lobster. My biggest objective was to not overeat since I usually have the willpower of a goldfish when it comes to unlimited food. Robyn and Jolene behaved admirably during the meal.

 ElmHurst Inn fine china

Jolene and Robyn behaving well

And now enjoying themselves

A pleasant private room

After dinner, Mike, Mal and I took the girls outside to play on the front lawn. They have several fountains, large trees and a gazebo. Before long, they were joined by their cousins Adrian and Maya. The weather was still gorgeous, proving that summer was finally here.

Pleasant grounds

The original 1872 structure

Jolene and Robyn exploring the fountain

Cousins at play

Eventually, it was time to go. After saying our goodbyes, we drove back to the Best Western. Kim and Mike followed us to pick up a few items Kim had left in Sudbury back in April. Kim drove with me to talk about her work situation while Sandy went with Mike and the girls.

Back in the room, I tuned to the Coke 600 (NASCAR race from Charlotte NC) on the TV but told the others they could change the channel if they wanted. Instead, they went to sleep and I read my Kindle for a while before turning off the light.

It was a good day. And Mal got to meet the rest of our children's families.

No comments: