Chuck and Miriam (Friesen) Mathews -- Memories from dorm life

Posted: Feb 26, 2013

Chuck Mathews, and 1951 graduate of Briercrest Bible Institute is now a retired after 50 years pastoring 7 different churches. He recently took the time to write out and mail in a comical memory from his dorm years at Briercrest.

Caught in a Jam

In 1949, at Briercrest Bible Institute, 12 sundry and assorted guys roomed together in a former air force barracks. Humour ruled the day.

Remembrance of birthdays was a festive occasion, and since I was the only occupant with a surplus bank account, I always gladly provided the eats.

Our fare was usually one large can of Canadian strawberry preserves, supplemented with several loaves of fresh-baked bread, compliments of our campus baker, George Zimmerman.

One party I will always vividly remember was nearing its conclusion because the bread was all gone, and the strawberry preserves were down to the last gooey inch. As we endeavoured to enjoy the last few scrapes of precious jam, we noticed a huge beetle, about the size of a quarter, perfectly-preserved on the very bottom of the can.

Someone requested prayer for those who felt sick. Another suggested a funeral for the bug. Roy Block, one of the more spiritual instigators, directed the final farewell service. I don’t recall details of it – 62 years later – but I took the canned bug, still embedded in some strawberry gook, to Art Sundbo, our store supervisor, and explained our plight. I later learned that he sent the evidence to the company who, one week later, sent a free can of strawberry preserves, with two pictures of their plant – a sparkling, spotless, stainless steel operation, with white-coated and rubber-gloved employees – along with an apology for our embarrassment.

The fresh can had “WOB” on it a code or trademark of some sort. Someone suggested it meant ‘Without bugs.” Another, that RIP (rest in peace) would have been more appropriate.

Lesson: We learned to keep our eyes open, and our mouths free of foreign objects – living or dead!