Sunday, April 26, 2015


Oh my goodness, pick one, choose, choose today, choose a disaster to write about 

Devastating earthquake in Nepal, 
Chaos and riots in Baltimore as peaceful demonstration for Freddie Gray turns violent, 
Buses on Sabbath in Israel, 
CIA drone program, 
Mass firing squad execution of foreign drug convicts in Indonesia, 
Russia hacking Barry’s email,
Bruce Jenner has news.
Dear Leader with Bad Haircut: what’s it cooking up? Something fer sure, something fer dang sure, as it can’t stand being ignored, longs to be center of attention, photographed grandly riding its 1950s submarine while its generals take notes. Pop quiz. Why isn't its submarine yellow? Because it doesn't know the tune. Why didn’t it scarf up Gaddafi’s wardrobe. Because one of the uniforms had holes in it. Why are all males in DPRK required to wear the goofy haircut? Because there’s a CIA drone with DL’s picture on it.

Sunset last evening --

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Xn irony Sunday when the lamb is the shepherd and the shepherd is the lamb. Our final confirmation class, what to teach? Come and chat. 


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Oysters & Blueberries

Blueberries for supper last evening, bowl of blueberries. Frozen, large berries from Sam’s, had them before. Earlier in the week I had two packages of buy-one-get-one-free fresh blueberries from Publix, tiny ones recalling wild blueberries we enjoyed in Maine summer 2008. Fresh or frozen, blueberries are one of my favorites, learned the first time my mother made blueberry pie for me as a child. Golden Corral's dessert display has “unsweetened blueberry pie,” which I tried once, thought delicious, had again the next time. Blueberry pancakes are my favorite, best was years ago, breakfast at Webers Motel & Restaurant in Ann Arbor. We were there for Nick’s high school graduation, Kristen with us. We went up by AmTrak, and the ride from New Orleans to Chicago is the swayingest track imaginable, roughly side to side all night long. We returned via either Washington or NYC and down to Jacksonville, a much better ride. 

Thursday evening supper was oysters. Now and then I buy a pint of oysters at a local fish house and am blessed to be the only person here who eats them, so whether there’s a pint or a gallon I get them all. A gallon is too much, takes three or four days to eat a gallon of oysters. Best breakfast, oysters on whole wheat toast from the toaster oven. For supper, as Thursday, half a pint in a bowl, plastic cover, microwave sixty to ninety seconds: bowl, fork, two fingers of Islay single malt scotch with one ice cube, go out on balcony porch, sit facing Shell Island, eat oysters and sip scotch while watching Bay traffic. 

Before that, supper for two nights was a bowl of fruit, buy one get one free. Fine though watermelon seems to be a diuretic which makes for an active night’s sleep.

Yesterday morning’s task at the house was to take the blower up on the roof and blow off a couple months accumulation of leaves from roof and gutters. Later as we relaxed on the front porch, our buyer came up, introduced himself and we had a visit. Meeting him, I feel much better and can relax about my house. 

Last evening as I sat on my balcony porch working on the Confirmation Class lesson for Sunday morning, I counted twelve shrimp boats running out on St. Andrew Bay in my line of sight. There should be fresh shrimp in fish markets and restaurants this morning.

Task for this morning, finish prep for our third confirmation class tomorrow. Topics: history, organization, thumb through the prayerbook.


Friday, April 24, 2015

gēargemynd at MLP


Later this morning I will work at my house. There is extensive clearing out to be done, the attic, some closets, my heart. Clothes, papers and files, pictures, memories. There are many, many pictures to bring, even more in history, memory, my own and family history that has become as much part of me as if I had lived here a hundred years. Pictures of children, grandchildren, grandparents, great-grandparents. And there is that I can not bring with, and even so, no place to store but a crevice of the mind with embers that won’t quench.

What's so special about this one,

I have wandered through vacated houses before, a California house in sight of far mountains, a house in Ohio where Tass came into my life, in Northern Virginia a house overlooking a stream where Civil War bullets could occasionally be found, a creekside house by the Conodoguinet in Pennsylvania, a century old rectory in Apalachicola where Tass grew up too soon; why such wracking grief this time, this house. My grandparents built this house in 1912. It left the family in 1923 and my parents bought it back in 1962. I've owned this house since 1993, twenty-two years. "Kristen was here," I raised and loved Kristen in this house, every room is filled with memories of her growing up with me. And oh! what to do with the garage out back hiding its couple of cars, that Oldsmobile Cutlass, and the yellow 1951 Cadillac I never got to drive; the window for peering in from time to time, door still ajar. And gēargemynd the corner of the back screen porch where I sat this moment a year ago, read news and wrote a blog post: only a madman conspires how to bring the corner of a back porch, but I can’t possibly leave that, can I, it has to come with, where’s my chain saw. No, the contract says leave it intact.

Yesterday morning I became Esau. After signing a contract to exchange my heritage for a bowl of red beans, I stood on the front porch of my grandparents house and watched my uncle Alfred walk by and down the front steps into eternity.  Snapped a picture of where I stood in 1962 as my father pointed to the fireplace in the living room 
 and said, “My brother’s casket stood right there,” winter 1918. 

My father’s memories are mine now, aren't they, he passed them on to me, or did he, maybe he took them, I’d rather believe that even if I don't. Here in the old kitchen at the table by the back door is where seventy-five years later I sat and held his box of ashes. And eighteen years on almost to the day, my mother’s. Sat right here, same identical spot while my brother mixed their ashes before we took them out in the boat to spread upon what Adam and the Priest called “the face of the deep”.

These azaleas I planted when I was twelve and thirteen, the pink ones, faintly fragrant. That White Empress that my mother grafted and I planted. And years later she had Anderson dig up and move here from the house on Massalina Bayou. You can't dig things up, it's not in the contract.

A mess of potage. My God, what have I done. Belt it out, Frank, sing it, Blue Eyes

The way your smile just beams.
The way you sing off-key.
The way you haunt my dreams.
No, no - they can't take that away from me.

T at My Laughing Place

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Efficacious Finger

The Efficacious Finger

Nobody needs an early morning weather report from some Nutty Bubba, but it’s four o’clock and pitch black dark out here on the north shore of St. Andrew Bay, humid with a slight cool breeze, looking from east to west and south, and now and then a flash of lightning way out over the Gulf of Mexico.

Could that be, it seems too clear, stars in the sky, no clouds. But yep, there it is again. Sure enough, the map of the Gulf on my iPad’s Titan program shows a long east-west cloud with a spot of yellow-orange in the trailing west end of it, a hundred miles south of me and moving southeast toward Tampa: could I really see lightning from a cloud that far away? 

What stirs in memory about distance out here is a rainy night, in my upstairs front bedroom with the windows and door open and a radio on, nothing but sea between me and Cancun, listening to the weather report of a hurricane forty-five miles south of Panama City and moving westward. That would have been in the middle nineteen-nineties, after my father died.

A couple years before that, August 1992 it would have been, eh, a similar experience enjoying a week’s vacation in friends’ Gulf-front house on St. George Island. The friends were seasonal parishioners from Pittsburgh, he an architect, very generous with us about using the beach house. Worrying about Nicholas, watching the driving rain as Hurricane Andrew moved into South Florida and crossed into the Gulf of Mexico, and barreled toward New Orleans. Our friend Jocelyn died that week after years struggle with breast cancer, as I watched the rain. And dreaded the week’s passing, because it was coming up time to take Tass to Baltimore for her flight to London and college year abroad. Sitting out here in the dark this morning, it all returns, specific feelings as I watched the plane lift from the runway. Nothing in my life has been as wrenching as my transitions into the next stages in the life of daughter. 

My scientific observation is that hurricanes are generated when a TV star meteorologist turns officiously to a weather map of the Atlantic or Gulf, touches fingertips to a harmless blob, and makes a counter-clockwise circling motion. That’s what gets a hurricane started, statistics prove it. As I live and breathe and witness.

The same power in a meteorologist’s fingers that in a priest’s fingers transubstantiate bread and wine into Flesh and Blood. At that point of consecration, the F and B must be capitalized. Just so, harmless cloud becomes TS Aloysius and growing: it happens every time.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

don't read it

Clear, cool, lovely Wednesday. Walk, breakfast on the back porch at Big Mama’s on the Bayou. Up earlier than intended, I got distracted online with Die Deutsche Wochenschau from early to middle 1940s, and those enormously long Mercedes-Benz cars, touring car bodies heavily armored, parading officials of the Third Reich.

Besides Adolf Hitler this morning I watched Joseph Goebbels the propaganda minister sit down at a microphone in a broadcast house. Also Goering, Herr Reichsmarschall haughty and arrogant, resplendent and self-important in his white uniform, with his marshal’s baton. Cars always with top down. Goering with huge smiles, on tour, working the crowds. I always hope there are none of my cousins in the saluting arms and beaming, adoring faces around him. I see no innocence whatsoever.

One of those huge MB cars made the US tour in the 1940s on a flatbed trailer, billed as Hitler’s car. It was parked for several days or a week on Harrison Avenue in front of Walgreen’s at the corner of 5th Street. Must have been 1946, maybe even late 1945, right after the war.  

Another display there was a baleen whale, I think it was a blue whale, a huge creature, also on a long flatbed trailer about the same place. It too was making the rounds, and by the time it arrived on Harrison Avenue it seemed to have been out of the water for some weeks, because it was going off putrid.

Back to Youtube and DDW, the German newsreels. The propaganda was horrendous, vicious, inciting hatred and violence. Of course, our propaganda also was quite effective, seventy years ago this month including newsreels of our soldiers liberating the Nazi death camps, the effect on me still grips my feelings about Germans and Germany. I’ll never understand how people could treat each other so. Throughout that horrific chapter, we knew Americans could never do such, and I honestly believed that truth until our My Lai massacre of the village in Vietnam, with Life magazine photos of the murdered including infants. And years later, Shock and Awe with it’s fallout, including ISIS. I’m reading a book that makes the case, points out, that war and warring is our nature and has ever been so, from before history. Beyond sad. What to do? 

Just enjoy the view, I suppose? Seems rather weak. Seawall at E. Beach Drive this morning.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's what's for lunch!

It's my blog afterall, not some theological or spiritual enlightenment for mankind, so if the first thing that stirs me mornings is nature, all well and good, it's my blog, for me. Clear and cool, 64F and a gentle pleasant breeze, this is the clearest morning since we arrived here at our home just under the clouds. But there aren't any: the sky is as velvet black as my Bay, and full of stars. Two shrimpboats are moving in my sight, but far enough across to be silent, and they are. They must find the shrimp in the shipping channels. Across to the southeast are the lights of what I take to be the Tyndall bridge, though I haven't been able to settle that with binoculars in the daytime. 

The inky blackness of the firmament brings to mind a piece I found on Vox last night, "11 images that capture the incredible vastness of space." My unsettling habit is to stir such things into my theological mixing bowl, only to be caught up short when the cupcakes aren't plain vanilla: they're licorice. Or, like one of Harry Potter's jellybean flavors, earwax. Looking at this is so faithboggling that I have to keep rearranging my apprehension of Deity. Faith is not certainty but confidence in things unseen, and the Vox presentation shows me yet one more time again that what is unseen is beyond incomprehensible. "And yet," as the quinque vult says, "they are not three incomprehensibles but one incomprehensible." And here I am in a petty world where conservatives and liberals on this side of the planet hate each other more and more viciously like unto the shia and sunni on the other side as we speed through space on our way to oblivion. We could have done and been so much for each other, but here we are, fighting ants, oblivious to both seen and unseen.

Last week I went to Sam's to buy beef tenderloin steaks. In a whiff of conscience I noticed the streaks of fat and bought eye of round instead, half the price, heart-healthier, and so lean that tenderizer doesn't help. But it was beefsteak, which generates an occasional craving. I'll have a thin slice on my 40 calorie whole wheat bread for breakfast.

There’s an art to it, and even Giada doesn’t have it, my grandson Ray knows better than anyone how to quarter-turn a steak on a grill so it has perfect grill marks. When cooking my steak even Chef Ray needs me standing there sipping a couple glasses of red to scream “take it off” before it turns pink inside. 

Back in the news from wherever he has been working out, our beloved star Gator quarterback Tim Tebow is a witnessing Christian, but he’s so obsessed with his own self that he seems to have no notion whatsoever of what we in this vocation term a “call” from God, listening for God. I think that's a missing ingredient in his Xnty. Tim has been out improving his discipline, movement, control and throw, and now the Eagles are giving him another chance in the NFL. If it weren’t for Manning he might still be a Bronco, but that’s not where life has taken him, and after Denver it was a humiliating debacle. With any sense of “call” he would have known to go into college coaching as his ministry to help youngsters, instead of being so obsessed with getting rich making a name for himself. I’m losing patience. I pray Philadelphia turns out well for Tim, but it’s too late, it’s not going to happen and at some point he’s going to be selling insurance door to door and asking Why did you forsake me. The answer will be I didn’t, you didn’t listen, but he won’t hear that either. Nevertheless, God bless, TimBo.

Having begun by reading the end of the story because it’s Easter, today we’re continuing with the Beginning of the Gospel according to John. I love this! We’ve recently finished Mark and, gospelwise, John’s as far from Mark as it’s possible to get. Except if we put Secret Mark back in Mark chapter 10 where it belongs, an unquestionable similarity to John creaks out of the closet like an old family skeleton.

For anyone interested, Tuesday Bible Seminar, Holy Nativity Episcopal Church MSP Library across from the church office building at 1011 E. 3rd Street. All invited, all welcome, poodles included. Gather at convenience anytime after 9:30 for chat, coffee, and a crispy thing. After 9:30 but before ten, because we sit down at 10:00 and convene with prayer at 10:05 sharp. I’m not the teacher and no scholar, but I am simply the convener. We adjourn at 11:15, you can plan your lunch date by it. 

Speaking of, today we're broiling Spanish mackerel for lunch. Like they used to have at Morrisons Cafeteria.


Monday, April 20, 2015

If you look for it

Waves lap softly against the shore just below, but the main sound is the roar of surf from the Gulf of Mexico, what, some four miles directly across the Bay. 

Mornings at the house I walked down front for Linda’s PCNH, either down the concrete steps and path, or out the back door and down Calhoun Avenue. There were always the chirps of early birds trysting, don’t hear that up here except now and then from the park trees, may be seagulls screaming; but more, it’s flights of six or eight pelicans flying by the balcony almost reach out and touch close. Clearer here but sometimes I heard the Gulf surf then too. 

Regardless, my eye always counted on the green light of a channel buoy across the way and stirring. Stirring because sometimes a thing, sight or sound takes on a being of its own, a friend you can greet and be glad to see again. Daisy? Daisy? It may keep you mindful of who you are or bring present who you once were. Sound of the Gulf surf puts me at the jetties, it’s 1953; seventeen, I’ve finished my finals for graduation and escaped to the beach for a long afternoon that’s still available more than six decades later. Three score and two. Still there, I can see it from here, it’s just beyond the leftmost light this morning.

Knowing better, from prior experience, than to open my eyes in the tight enclosure, that’s where I went the hour or so I lived in the MRI tube at Cleveland Clinic that morning, to seventeen and the jetties. Despising the treadmill and recalling that place, I sometimes still close eyes and go there while plodding, hoping the clock keeps on ticking while I’m gone. We’re not walking this morning, so I’ll go downstairs to the gym and may get off at that same bus stop. Or I may climb down that cliff to the shore of Narragansett Bay in sound of the bell buoy. It’s all there if you look for it.

Monday: looking good.