Submitted by Joyce Harms Kehler
June 25, 2023, was one of those magical days. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm; the scenery outside Mt Lehman Winery was lovely, although the irony of having a Mennonite celebration at a winery, owned by a Mennonite did not escape me. We were very grateful to Vern Siemens for his generosity, and the fact that Rick Redekop worked there so we got the friends and family rate: No charge.
The cars started pulling in at 4:00 and the Lepp’s charcuterie trays arrived at 4:30. People sat on the porch and talked, after picking up their name tags and raffle tickets for the two “swag bags” that MEI provided. There were no awkward silences, and everyone felt included; it felt like only weeks had passed since we had seen these people last, not 50 years. It was such a pleasure meeting as adults with none of that teenage angst and catching up on each other’s lives. After the welcoming speech, and a beautiful rendition of “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”, people were asked to start filling their plates, and there was all manner of drinks served, including Mt Lehman Winery wines. There were homemade buns, and the trays had many different kinds of cheese portions and crackers and breads as well as sandwich meats, and olives. On the side, stuffed eggs and vegetable trays were also served. It was great to see Bev Greenway and David DePape as a couple, because I used to think that might happen, but it took a long time for it to come to pass. They came from Vancouver Island. Frank Blom came all the way from Kamloops, and Staryla Dyck and Kathy Rogalski came from Alberta, as well as Caroline Thiessen. Ed and Val Hoppe came down from Osoyoos. After the meal, we did the raffle draw, and it was a little embarrassing that my ticket was drawn. I totally denied the calls of “Fixed” and I do love my new coffee mug and MEI hat to keep the sun off. Sandra Friesen Nikkel won the second bag. We then brought up a birthday cake with candles and sang Happy Birthday to Rick Redekop, whose thank you speech left a lot to be desired:-). He said he was dreading having this kind of fuss made when he realized which date we had chosen because he was sure I would remember it was his birthday. Actually, his wife Donna phoned Adina and mentioned it. Then Adina got the cake for him:-).
It was dessert time and people appreciated the 8 pies provided by Krause Farms via Alf Krause, as well as the Bienenstich and gluten-free/dairy-free desserts with their coffee. The visiting went on till past 8:30 and people slowly started drifting home. David, Bev and Frank stayed to help the organizers and their spouses clean up after the party, and it was done quickly and efficiently. Frank Blom and I dropped off much of the extra food at Cyrus Center, which is a homeless teen centre in Abbotsford, and it was greatly appreciated there.
There were so many comments about how glad classmates were that they came, and how much they enjoyed it; this was very gratifying to hear after all the work the committee had put in. Thank you to all who came, everyone who helped out; all the people who lived too far away to come and really wanted to, and to God for protection in our lives so that we could all gather again.
Plans are underway for a 50-year reunion on Sunday, June 25, 2023 at Mt. Lehman Winery > See UPDATE from Joyce Kehler
To Keep Informed
- Contact your reunion organizer, Joyce Harms Kehler to express interest.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 604-556-6810
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February 22, 2023
Dear Fellow Graduates of MEI Class of 1973,
We hope this message finds you all well.
A number of grads have expressed interest in having an informal gathering for those who attended MEI and/or were in the graduating class of 1973.
Thanks to Rick Redekop’s connection to Mt.Lehman Winery, we were able to secure it as our venue. This is for Sunday, June 25, 4pm.
We will be able to send you more details once we know the numbers that will attend. We would appreciate a reply on whether you are able to attend or not.
We look forward to reconnecting with you and enjoying some visiting time together.
Please RSVP to Joyce at email@example.com (or phone 604-556-6810) as soon as possible. Thank you.