I drive west along the seventh line. On the edge of our little village, what was once farmland has become The Club at Bond Head, a very ritzy golf club. It is evening and an artificial lake reflects the colours of the sunset like a jewel in the dusk.
I never tire of this drive; this feast for the eyes between our home and church.This evening the sun vacates the sky in fine style, leaving showy swirls and feathers of cloud tinged in palest pink and peach over fields just emerged from winter.
I glance to my right, at a farm nestled deep among the fields at the end of a very long laneway: Inez's farm.
I think of her kitchen empty, and piano untouched. On the seat beside me lie a salad and loaves (including the ever abundant Amish Friendship Bread) that I am taking to the church for her funeral lunch tomorrow.
When our church first began, many of the people from surrounding farms were its first members. Now the demographics have changed and we have a more diverse congregation with many young families that commute to the city, but Inez was a faithful constant, tying past to present.
The newer families probably don't know how long she has been part of the fibre of the church. Tiny and birdlike, with a slight frame, she had deep set blue eyes and a head crowned with white hair always set in the same short, immaculate style.
Before we had the luxury of three pianists, guitarists, drummer and violinist,Inez was our back-up pianist. There were a quite a few times when I stood beside her piano in the farmhouse, as she practiced the songs I had picked out for the worship service the following Sunday. She never found it easy, but she believed she was supposed to share the gift of music God had given her and I was grateful!
Her voice was beautiful. Again, no one in recent years probably knows that, because she has been in frail health, and gave up singing solos many years ago. But tonight, I remember, and see her as she was.
I will miss her familiar presence across the church, in "her pew." Tomorrow the family will gather and say goodbye and as many of us as are able, will honour her memory by being there.