Notes from Jan

One Story at a Time

June 8, 2017

All These Wonders, true stories about facing the unknown, came as a birthday gift from a friend.  The book’s filled with stories, collected and edited by Catherine Burns, from an NPR program called The Moth. Ms. Burns wrote in the Introduction,  “Sometimes it is easier to make sense of the world one story at a time.”

Arrived in Rotterdam yesterday to visit with our Dominican daughter and Gordon alum, Raquel. Today we walked about Gouda, cheese market day with a good portion of the town square covered with bright yellow rounds of cheese. In the background a mock auction took place between cheesemaker and buyer, bargaining by slapping hands until the final clap, “Sold!”

Later, we sat on a bench nibbling the best  fries from a paper cone, watching an array of bicyclists and people from many parts of the world, shopkeepers selling their wares, luring us with aromas from Turkey, Italy and Holland.  Raquel and I talked about the senseless killings, acts of terror so close.  Neighbors.  Raquel asked, “How do you recognize the enemy when we are all together like this?  We’ve been a welcoming place.” I wondered as I watched a muslim woman, covered head to foot, cycle past alongside  a woman with a mini-skirt, black lace stockings and high heels.

As I embark Saturday on a cruise from Rotterdam with 2000 of my closest friends and Garrison Keillor, I’m hoping to hunt stories, to learn from places and people who differ from me,  attempting to”make sense of the world one story at a time.”  

Heading towards the parking lot, I noticed a sign and asked Raquelita to translate.  It read, “Zo Kan Het Ook.”  You can also do it this way.

Maybe that’s the short story for the day.

Live to learn.

Learn to live.




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  • Reply Marty Lefever June 8, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    You’re doing BOTH well!! ENJOY!

  • Reply Dale Lefever June 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Or, as my Mennonite relatives would say, “we are too soon old and too late smart.” Thanks for the wisdom. However, I looked up Rotterdam to make sure it wasn’t Roscommon, MI and read the following: “Rotterdam follows Amsterdam in banning hissing at girls on the street.” Trust you are not disappointed.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Katherine Bagley June 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure you are on! Enjoy it and I am sure you will have many stories to share!

  • Reply Dan Russ June 9, 2017 at 12:12 am

    I hope you will be able to share a few tips with Garrison about good storytelling: two masters!

  • Reply Elizabeth June 9, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I can’t imagine a better story teller to travel with than Garrison Keillor. I don’t think you will have any trouble finding stories. The stories are going to find you!

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