19 July 2011


Several years ago the youth group and I went to Vancouver in a serving-the-community endeavour. It was only for a week, but it was one of the greatest weeks in my life.
One of the funniest memories was in the kitchen of one of the churches.
Most of our group was assigned to help at a kids' camp in this church that must have been last renovated in 1972.
Three of us were assigned to the kitchen to fix lunches and snacks for the kids, per the menu the director had written out for the week. On the Wednesday, burritos were on the menu and Kristin, JJ, and myself were fixing them.
Kristin was at the far end of the kitchen mixing a five-gallon jug of fruit punch and I was shredding cheese when JJ started to chop the onions.
He was at the far end of the counter, beside the sink under the window which no longer opened and the exhaust fan that made more racket than a German metal/scream band when it wasn't tripping the main power breaker.
I was at the other end of the counter, near the door and the bulletin board, with my back to his, shredding cheese with the tiniest hand-grater on planet Earth into a little bowl.
Within a minute of JJ's first cut into the little onion, my eyes had teared up. Soon it was so bad that I couldn't open my eyes the slightest crack to see what I was doing and quickly discovered my hidden ability to shred cheese manually with my eyes closed.
But that wasn't the end of the onion's vengeance. Oh no.
Even though I'd already squeezed my eyes shut, they still stung. The pain in them only diminished when I squeezed them more tightly shut.
I now know that it is possible to squeeze your eyes shut so hard that the muscles in your face begin to cramp. I can't imagine what JJ was going through, since he actually had a sharp knife in one hand and he was much closer to the onion than I was.
Despite all this though, for some reason we found it utterly hilarious and we laughed and we rubbed furiously at our burning eyes which only made it worse and we made onion jokes that I don't remember as tears streamed down our faces. Anyone without the ability to smell would have thought we were all certifiably insane.
But it was so much fun. (Even as I write this, my eyes are starting to sting from the memory.)

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