The road less travelled

Ruth Jenkins, aka Rookie Photo: Contributed
Ruth Jenkins, aka Rookie Photo: Contributed
Published October 1, 2012

Every weekend when I get home to Belleville, Ont., my 85-year-old mother picks me up at the train station. She drives a little blue Chevy puddle-jumper whose licence plates read Rookie (pronounced ROO-key). It was a nickname my father gave her many moons ago. Maybe it was because her name is Ruth. Maybe it was because she was a babe (still is). Whatever the reason, the name stuck.

While I struggle to get my suitcase wheeled through the new train station after my commute from Toronto, Mother waits for me in the car. My little black Cockapoo, Charlie, sits on his towel in the back seat, craning his neck to see past her as she teases him: “Here comes Mommy! Here she comes!”

It’s a wonderful welcoming committee. I couldn’t ask for better. I never know who to kiss first, my mother or my dog. Mother doesn’t seem to mind if I kiss Charlie first, and vice versa. So I mix things up.

But it is my mother’s drive to pick up Charlie from my sister’s farm 20 minutes on the other side of town that is the most remarkable thing. Just as amazing, she actually volunteers, despite the distance, the gas, the driving. She says she “gets a kick” out of the way Charlie jumps into the car without being asked. (My sister, Laura-whose own dogs have never set foot inside the house even though Charlie sleeps in her bed-doesn’t take offence. Another saint.)

For Mother, the drive back into town with my dog has some secret significance. It’s just Rookie and Charlie: the white-haired one in the front seat and the black-haired one in the back. Kind of like Driving Miss Daisy-only in reverse.

I never expected my family to pick up the slack with Charlie. Maybe Charlie is an extension of me, and they can bestow on him what they feel too inhibited to share openly with me. What I do know is that my family has always loved animals. Maybe for some, it’s the safest way to express love, knowing it will be received and reciprocated.

Every so often, a gift is delivered. You don’t question who’s giving-unless it’s an axe murderer. You just say “thank you” and count your blessings.

That’s the way it is with the advertising that helps support the ministry of the Anglican Journal. One of our advertisers is World Vision Canada, and every fall, it places a glossy insert into two consecutive issues of your national newspaper. Like all our advertisers, World Vision pays for the privilege of coming to you.

Still, we continue to hear complaints about this advertising. Some say it competes with the Gift Guide of the Anglican Church of Canada and takes away from fund-raising efforts such as the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund or the Anglican Appeal. But the bottom line is that it’s all for a good cause. Whether you write a cheque for one or the other or several, you have choices. The decision is yours. Like Rookie, you are in the driver’s seat.

I ask that the next time that World Vision insert falls out of the Journal, instead of feeling irritated, you feel grateful that this advertiser-whose CEO is Anglican, by the way-is stepping up to help support the ministries of your national and regional newspapers. We certainly do.

A few words about the national readership survey. A summary of it was published in the September issue of the Journal and many of the diocesan newspapers. It shows that we have lots of loyal readers 55 years of age and older. However, we seem to have few readers younger than this. Does this really come as a surprise? As the national newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, our readership consists mainly of people in the pews. And we are getting older.

Some have asked what we’re going to do about this. Frankly, I don’t see this as the responsibility of the Journal. But we can certainly help the church, and we do so gladly and with gratitude.

As I see it, our job is to connect you to the broad spectrum of voices in the church and to open the door to the Anglican church of the future. That church will be defined by the next generation of leaders. We will introduce you to them so that you can be part of what is coming, what will be.

Anglican youth may not read the Journal, but they too have a voice inside its pages. Listen to what they have to say. I know you will feel as inspired as we do.
It’s not a long drive to get to where we’re going, but we must get into the car. Let’s do it together, shall we?

Kristin Jenkins is editor of the Anglican Journal.
email: [email protected]


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