I spent my fourth of july weekend with my family: relaxing, catching up, and being pyromaniacs on the eve of the 4th. My grandpa told the family about some unusual behavior by my grandma lately, and we’re not sure whether we should encourage it or be concerned. She’s been hugging strangers a lot.
Grandpa broke the news this way: “Did I tell you about grandma hugging the Canadians?”
We all looked at him and then her like they were off their rockers. “No…” we all replied, in unison, a little bit worried.
“You know we’ve got all these Canadians coming down and shopping down here now. I think she’s responsible. She’s been hugging all of them.”
We all laughed because we thought he was making a joke. And grandma was just deadpanning along with it, as if this was some well rehearsed gag they’ve been doing for awhile.
But, it quickly became apparent that, no, they were serious; grandma was indeed hugging the Canadians.
“Mom, why are you hugging the Canadians?” My mom asked, flabbergasted.
Grandma was very serious in her response: “Because I love our Canadian neighbors.”
We all just stared, mouths open. Grandma had finally lost her marbles. I was wondering, does she walk up to every Canadian she sees or just the women? Does she approach them in the stores or in the parking lots?
According to grandpa, it’s all of the above. Grandma will see a group of them and proceed to hug the whole lot of ‘em, telling them, “I love our Canadian neighbors; now give me a hug.” She’ll just go right down the line, regardless of age or gender and hug them all. She’s been known to hug people outside and inside stores.
Frankly, I want to know how you can spot them so clearly, but grandpa claims they’ve worn a specific kind of smile since their dollar went up.
Apparently, this all started when grandma read a nasty letter to the editor in the newspaper from some local yahoo who wanted all the Canadians to stay out of our country. You see, my family lives in northern Washington, near the Canadian border, so with the Canadian dollar being worth so much and gas prices being relatively lower here, BC residents are flocking across the border to spend money in the county. This man was annoyed that the roads are more congested and stores are busier.
Grandma, seeing that this sort of message is getting out, is making it her mission to counteract it by welcoming the Canadians with hugs.
My grandma, who hasn’t read the book, Three Cups of Tea, has the right idea for international diplomacy. One person can do a lot to undo the negative messages sent by our culture. I also believe that one Christian can do a lot to undo the negative message sent out by some people who claim to be Christians. There’s also just a lot of weird assumptions about Christians out there that some intentional displays of love might help dispel.