Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kortrijk - part I

Deerlijk is about five miles outside of Kortrijk. The branch met in Kortrijk and we would ride our bikes into Kortrijk for all our meetings. I arrived in Deerlijk just a little nervous about meeting Elder Mont Miller. Elder Davis had me quite worried. I'm a little apprehensive about writing about Elder Miller since this is a public forum and there is always a chance that Elder Miller will read this. So Mont, if you do read this please don't get mad at me and remember, this all happened thirty years ago. Let me start by saying that Elder Mont Miller (I say Mont to differentiate from my other companion Gene Miller) is one of the most sincere, intelligent and righteous people I've ever met. He also comes from rural Idaho and was home schooled and so had some odd peculiarities in his personality. Let's start with personal hygiene, Elder Miller would shower once a week on Sundays. When he did shower he never got his hair wet. I don't think he ever brushed his teeth the whole time I was his companion which was about three months. I slept every night with the window opened no matter how cold it was. In spite of all that, it was with Elder Miller that I had my most success. We met Chris and Claudine D'Hondt. They were a young couple and we became very close to them. They were eventually baptized and when they later had two boys, they named their oldest son Fredrick. I choose to believe he was named after me.

Mont loved to sing and if I have to be honest he was a pretty good singer. He would record himself on a tape singing the soprano part of a song and then he would play back what he sang and sing the alto part along with it. He recorded this on another tape using another tape recorder. He then played that back while he sang the tenor and then the bass. We had the Mont Miller choir. It became quite annoying after a while.

We became very good friends with an elderly Priest who lived in a Monastery in Kortrijk. He openly told us that he believed we taught the true gospel but he couldn't leave his church because; what would he do for a living? He was a wonderful old man and often showed us around his huge cathedral. One day we were way up in the top of this cathedral where the organ was and Mont asked if he could sing a song. Of course Pater Fidelis was happy to oblige. Mont belted out a heart rendering version of "Jerusalem" in his very loud and very deep bass voice. It didn't sound bad and as I was watching the people below I saw a Priest go around collecting money as Mont was singing. It was kind of funny. Pater Fidelis gave me a beautiful book on Belgium when I left Kortrijk and when Lisa and I got married he sent us a beautiful lace cloth that we put on a table.


Justin, Kira and Evan said...

Is that the Fredrick that I wrote for a while?

Are you still in contact with the Patre? He sounds like a really neat man to know

Fred ... said...

Pater Fidelis passed away some time ago. Now that I think about it you might have written Fredrick for a while.

The Margin Wight said...

I met Pater Fidelis too. My companion (Bardsley) was leaving for home and we visited him. He was a sweet man and gave us each an English Bible and a set of Parker fountain pens, which I used all the way through grad school. I only met him that one time.