It’s now official. We move to Nassau, Bahamas on June 3, and I will be inducted as the minister of St. Andrew’s Kirk on June 6. Thinking a lot about what we’re leaving behind, here are the 10 things I’ll miss the most:
10. My hockey cards
Yes, I know—I’m not six years old anymore, but collecting hockey cards is not something I ever outgrew. I fondly remember my father buying me cards after each of my hockey games. I blame eBay for taking my borderline obsession to the next level. My Gretzky, Lemieux, Sittler, etc, rookie cards will have a new home in a Royal Bank safety deposit box.
9. Tim Horton’s coffee
I’m not a sophisticated guy. Starbucks just doesn’t do it for me. I actually crave Tim Horton’s coffee. And how cool is it that my favourite coffee is named after a former Toronto Maple Leafs player?
8. Miss Vickies Potato Chips
This 5 star potato chip has its origins in Alliston, Ontario (very close to my first pastoral charge). Pepsi eventually figured out what I already knew, and bought Miss Vickies. Dear Pepsi: How about selling these chips wherever you sell your pop! Multiple Miss Vickies bags will be a prerequisite gift for any Canadian friend seeking to stay at chez MacPhails.
7. St. Louis B&G chicken wings
What will I do without the ‘Monday Special’? I can picture it now: I’m sitting down to a freshly prepared conch salad, but all I can think about is……chicken wings!
6. Attending Alistair Begg’s Pastors Conference
Yes, I do realize that this conference is in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Only a four and a half hour drive away, I have journeyed to this conference for 8 straight years. Unless there is a seat sale on a flight from Nassau to Cleveland, it appears that I’m looking to conferences in Orlando or Atlanta in order to charge my spiritual batteries.
5. Playing Facebook Scrabble
Someone explain this to me. When I’m in the Bahamas, and I attempt to access facebook Scrabble, the application tells me that I’m in a “invalid country”. Thankfully, the $5 I spent on the Scrabble app for my iPhone appears to be a decent workaround.
4. Attending Toronto Maple Leafs & Toronto Blue Jays games
I realize that it has been a while since the Leafs and Jays have had competitive teams, but I can’t stop cheering for them. Thank you Duncan Macgregor for furnishing me with so many opportunities to watch my favourite clubs. I know this is something Anya will miss also. And if you are wondering if I plan to come back for the Stanley Cup parade…you bet! I’ll be at Front & Bay St, painted blue & white!
3. My cottage
Also known as the ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’, our cottage has been the perfect getaway spot for Allie and I. Many outlines for my Sunday messages were born here as I sat by the fireplace in the winter, and by the lake in the summer, with my note pad and my Bible. I’ll also miss those lazy days when my biggest project was completing a 1,000 piece LOST puzzle.
2. Playing hockey
I realize that the days of competitive hockey have passed me by. I’m 37 years old. But for 32 of those years I played hockey. I’ve circled May 13 in my calendar as possibly the last game of ice hockey I ever get to play. Those who know me well get that this is a huge sacrifice for me. I do, however, look forward to joining the Nassau Ball Hockey League in October and taking a run at the Stanley Conch (real name of the championship!).
1. Friends & Family
This is the runaway winner within this Top 10. Allie and I have shed many tears anticipating saying good-bye to those we love. One of the great things about Nassau though, is that many people want to visit there. I suspect that many of our friends and family will want to visit. I hope they do. We need them to. Friends: Come often. And bring some Canada with you!