The Long Cold Winter Brings Out Daring Board Chair

Looking out my window this April, I recall how an irrepressible Manitoba grandmother became my newest hero.

What I see are the same piles of snow that have greeted me for the last five months, only slightly diminished since spring made a calendar (if not actual) appearance a few weeks ago.  An unusually snowy winter followed by an unusually cold spring has me living in what feels like pre-redeemed Narnia, where it is always winter and always will be. Spring fever, which has claimed more than a few victims in other parts of the continent, is definitely chilled here in the Canadian prairies.

My hero, Kim Bright, looked at those same piles of snow on the first day of spring and saw a great opportunity for fun. Donning her black swimsuit, furry hat (with ear flaps) and don’t-mess-with-me winter boots, she headed outdoors, with her son as a cameraman. The result is a series of videos posted on YouTube (see “Canadian granny defies winter”) that has reaped thousands of hits. In the videos, Bright is engaged in typical winter activities, like skiing, tobogganing and ice-skating (my personal favorite). Her snow angel lasts a thrilling 20 seconds. As she skates, or dog-walks, or snow shovels near the camera, she cheerfully sings out, “Fight on, Manitoba! Fight on!”

Melissa Miller emulates her Manitoba hero.
Melissa Miller emulates her Manitoba hero.

Her rallying cry invigorates me, whether I’m picking my way over an icy sidewalk or through delicate situations I encounter as a pastor. Or in the enormous adventure of chairing the MennoMedia board (meeting this weekend at Virginia headquarters, April 19-20).

Daffodils and tulips are in bloom in Virginia, just in time for board meeting.
Daffodils and tulips are in bloom in Virginia, just in time for board meeting.

It is a time when the landscape of Christian resources is shifting dramatically and unpredictably. When faced with challenges, we can wrap ourselves in gloom and misery, or strip down to the basics and throw ourselves into the bracing elements.

Which way do you think is more fun?


Melissa Miller, MennoMedia Board Chair

P.S. Melissa reports that on April 15, five new inches [13 centimetres]
of snow were predicted in Manitoba, with fierce wind. She will be happy to get to Virginia.