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“Unity in things necessary, liberty in things doubtful, charity in everything.”

– Marco Antonio de Dominis (1520-1624), Catholic bishop


It was a warm, summer evening. We had just finished milking when the sedan ground to a halt in front of the barn. It was an old-timer with large tailfins and paint faded to a pallid blue. I had been tending to the pail bunters – calves you feed with a pail and yes, they do bunt and splash milk onto themselves, the floor and any person unfortunate enough to be feeding them. I was happy for a reprieve so set down the pail and stepped outside.

I didn’t recognize the vehicle but the occupants were familiar the moment they emerged from it – our neighbour, Jess and eldest son, Valentine. Jess and his wife had ten chil...

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