Our Northern Cousin

Anita pus up with us both.
Anita puts up with us both.

Grant Shenker and I attended Asbury Theological Seminary together.  We worked in the Multi-Media Department and once I got over his severe Canadian accent, we became good friends.

Grant never said it, but I could always tell that he was frustrated by my lack of understanding about his native country and its strange ways.  I tried to learn their customs, like Thanksgiving at the wrong time of the year and the need to say “Eh” after every sentence and making everything a question.  After all, I think I’m a pretty tolerant person.  But these are big barriers to overcome for even the best of friends.

Why can't our countries just get along?
Why can’t our countries just get along?

After graduation, Grant returned to his native homeland to pursue a life of ministry.  As far as I know, he still lives in Canada.  But I haven’t spoken to Grant in many years and suspect he’s been eaten by the wolves in the Northern Country.

It is possible that he is making a life for himself and surviving on moose jerky and tree lichen.  I check the news media frequently and look for his face when they show the Iditarod in an effort to catch a glimpse of him.  It is also possible that he is running dog sleds to deliver the mail.  But I am uncertain.

I do see from his Facebook that he is organizing an occasional wedding, but given the severe male-to-female ratio in Canada (1.05 males to every 1 females), this must be tricky.

Grant gets his revenge.
Grant gets his revenge.

It is also of note that he is performing funerals and these are probably on hold now until the ground thaws and they can dig the holes.

I worry about Grant.  He was such a frail boy and the harsh winters will take their toll on him.

I recently uncovered these pictures of me and my friend and realize that it is probably best that he is living on the other side of the border.  I’m not sure our two countries will ever be able to get along and our friendship was just a snapshot of the hostility our northern cousins feel toward us.  I think it has something to do with our ability to wear clothes that don’t include beaver pelts.

God Bless You, Grant Shenker, where ever you are!

1 Comment

  1. Well, well. Curt! You are still the creative storyteller that I remember! I am so flattered that you wrote this article and remember the good times we shared. I see your posts on FB regularly and wish we were closer. Back in 1997 our family moved to Florida when I accepted a pastoral position at a church in Largo. We sold our coats, boots, hats, mitts, and prepared ourselves to eventually retire in the sunny south. But after three beautiful years, INS had different plans for us. Yes, they sent us back North to the hinterland. Had to sell the house, resign my position, and buy new winter clothes!!!

    I am happily living close to the border, and whenever I travel – by land, sea or air – it is always in the southerly direction. My blood did apparently get thinned out…. but my hair never has!

    In addition to weddings and funerals, I am also working as a therapist at a Counselling Center close to Toronto (you can find that city on a map, or just google it). I am so glad that distance and time don’t ruin true friendships. And you, my friend, are a true one!

    With kind regards,



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