Thursday, October 23, 2014

this old house

This morning I really have no message to convey or thoughts to muse on. 

Linda and I had no idea until we arrived home from church last evening and Linda opened Facebook, that yesterday’s birthday observance for Beverly McDaniel at Holy Nativity Episcopal School was such a major happening, or we would have climbed down out of the attic and shed our grubbies to be there and help honor Beverly and the event. It was a big celebration of the star of our school. Disappointed in ourselves, we are sad to have missed it. Congratulations to Our Lady of HNES, and blessings upon you always!

Our retirement relocation project is progressing. Probably, these things are never entirely satisfactory to the people having the experience, and this one is particularly exhausting for the two of us, but day by day we are getting our house in shape for realtors to show it to prospective buyers. The house dates from 1912 and is in good condition, but we are clearing rooms of our furniture, art and such so buyers can better visualize their own ideas and style when they walk through. It is an enormous task, especially for a body who hasn't thrown away a piece of paper in sixteen years.

Looking to our future, we shopped a bit, townhouses, apartments and condos, and found our downsized next home at Harbour Village in St. Andrews. This after looking there, and in The Cove, and across the bridge at several places including Magnolia Beach, Bay Point, Thomas Drive and elsewhere along Panama City Beach, as well as Seacrest Beach in Walton County. But we are home folks wanting to stay in Panama City, and, determined not to be out of sight of St. Andrews Bay, ended up focusing on the shoreline from Beck Avenue to Cherry Street. What we have in view is a substantial downsize from our thirteen room house into a two bedroom condo. If reality accommodates hopes, we should move in February.

A movers van load of stuff has already gone to Specialists of the South for auction. Thursday morning: in a couple hours more movers arrive to move furniture and furnishings to relatives’ homes in town. In a couple weeks, they come again to move another load to Tallahassee. The house already is looking like some nice family used to live there!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sleepy Blue Ocean

Like A Sleepy Blue Ocean

No human creation, not even this MacBook with the lighted keyboard, could match the magical wonder of the human mind, way it wanders and zips, leaps and jumps from place to place and time to time, memory to memory and recreates reality that was as though it still is. It only wants igniting, a trigger. Last evening the Gulf of Mexico was as calm as I have ever seen the sea, filling up my senses,

calm, beautiful, flat and contrasting with the Pacific Ocean our Navy years in San Diego and me Down to the Sea in Ships. The California memory always moves through the morning I drove away from there, up into the hills and east, leaving my ship behind enroute to Columbus, Ohio via Phoenix and Scottsdale where Linda, Malinda and Joe already were. And Tass, whom Linda knew but I didn’t yet, incredible, unexpected, most beautifully astonishing news waiting for me to hear later that day. Who lighted up Columbus and my senses and life ever since.

July 1971, wasn’t it. As I sailed happily out of San Diego with the car radio on and loud, John Denver was singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” newly released and an instant hit, including a hit with me because this PCS would, as always, include direct from Arizona to Panama City and St. Andrews Bay, and family and house. Take me home.

The mind, see. John Denver, an all time favorite. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in 1971. Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert wrote it with him. “Afternoon Delight” in 1976 and you had to be there. Danoff and “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado.” The mind plays tricks and does favors and stirs memories. Missing John Denver and all that he did and loved and sang about. 

Come fill me again.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thessalonians Tuesday

Bible Seminar this morning, faithfully comes round every Tuesday on schedule during the season. Our church has any number of small groups getting together regularly, and this along with Adult Sunday School is one of my favorites. 

This morning, like the clutch going down while we shift into second gear, we will be reading and discussing 1st Thessalonians. When the clutch comes back up we will be back in gear to continue the Gospel according to Mark. But 1st Thess is Paul’s earliest extant writing, and not only that but is the oldest writing in the New Testament. Thomas may arguably be older, Q may be older, and a hypothetical passion gospel may be older, but Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica is our oldest canonical document. That alone makes it prime. But also the church gives us the reason and excuse to pause and interrupt our reading and study of the Gospel according to Mark by scheduling 1st Thessalonians as our Second Reading for the final weeks of our Season after Pentecost.

Every time I read 1st T I discover half a dozen things I hadn’t noticed last time. Come read and discuss it with us! Ten o’clock sharp to eleven-fifteen this morning, in my office conference room Through the Garage, 1011 E. 3rd Street.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday: Shore Leave

Those two ships anchored offshore are no more idle than I at the moment. We’ve been going into town to work all day on clearing our house and other regular doings of life, then, exhausted, return here afternoons or early evening. It has been and is incredible, compelling us to stop and enjoy. Better than roses, the salt air. Sound of the sea. You can see to the curve of the earth.

Sunday evening the sea was lapping ashore. Calm, flat Gulf, not rough. Sounds the same now, soothing peace in nature. Earlier the water was clear, taking several days for clarity to recover from last week’s severe storm. Linda is fascinated with the stingrays in large schools skimming along. I am taken with ships lying idle and remembering how it was to be anchored offshore in view of land and no liberty call. No, you had to get the lingo right: sailors had liberty, officers had shore leave. 

This was a hard week past. Exhausting. Last night it was relax and watch the sky. The two ships at anchor, watch their lights come on. Distance is illusive at sea, I’m thinking at least three miles out, maybe five, and long as I look out not down, I am at sea and thirty-five not octo. If an old naval officer were finishing up, no place could be more perfect than this.   

The gifts are incredible. Life. Breath. World around. Sky above and its horizon at sunset. Sea with its moods. Love in its time. Space on loan for a while, a metaphor for life itself. What can I give in return except gratitude. 

LORD, thou hast been our refuge, from one generation to another.
    Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.
    Thou turnest man to destruction; again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.
    For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday, when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
    As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep; and fade away suddenly like the grass.
    In the morning it is green, and groweth up; but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.
    For we consume away in thy displeasure, and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.
    Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee; and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
    For when thou art angry all our days are gone: we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.
    The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.
    So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalm XC, Coverdale Psalter and counting.

I have permission to go ashore.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Johnny & Paul

Got nothing to say about CFB this morning. For some odd reason I expected the Gators to do well against Mizzou. I figured anyone who went to the FSU game hoping to watch ND win was going to be disappointed. Michigan was off. Auburn off. I’m no Tide fan, but I still remember the SEC upstart and upstar Johnny Mouth upsetting Alabama a couple years ago, haven’t liked him or the Aggies since, and still don’t even though he's hopefully freezing his bee off these lake winters, but didn’t expect that level of shutout.

In church, which I know more about, we have finished Paul to Philippians and this morning start First Thessalonians. Even for those who feel about Paul as I do about Johnny Manziel, this is a fascinating letter to read and discuss. So while I’m not preaching on it, I think we’ll read and discuss First Thessalonians in Adult Sunday School. Five short chapters, read the entirety and then discover what it’s about and what some scholars say.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

anchors aweigh

Underway, shift colors

Seeing as it’s my blog and post, it’s none of your business whether it’s interesting or not, is it, it only need please me. But to be perfectly frank ‘n clear, it doesn’t even need to do that, I don’t need a blog, I have plenty to do without it, what with clearing out, getting ready to sell and move on with life and less, a seemingly unending undertaking. As Linda notes, we’re clearing through 99 years of my mother’s things, 90 years of her mother’s things, things each of us has each held onto for 157 years of individual lives and the accumulated detritus of 57 years of married life, not a collection but the acquisitions of a couple of hoarders. 

When a house has a walk-in attic that’s bigger than any other room in the house, you never need trash anything, put it out in the attic, we may need it someday. Or the children may want it. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a string of Christmas tree lights that quit burning thirteen years ago, I may try to fix it one of these days. 

And the +Time blog certainly doesn’t need me, it has a life of its own. If I stop writing, I bet it continues on it’s own for awhile as fingernails and toenails continue growing on a human body for a while after death of the host. It that’s too graphic, get real, get a life, remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

What’s exciting this Saturday morning? I didn’t hear it, but Linda awoke predawn and pitch black dark to the sound of loud voices. The bedroom door that was open an inch to admit the sound of the surf was also admitting the sound of voices, loud. She got up and looked out and around, thinking someone was out on their balcony or on the beach. No, the sound was coming across the water, from a large ship that has been lying at anchor offshore. Easily a mile from here, and slightly to the east. Brightly lighted in the living and working spaces, it’s picturesque to view from the balcony. And somewhat reminiscent. The voices heard may have been shipboard announcements, changing the watch, or “Now turn to, commence ship’s work.” Or, “All hands make preparations for getting underway.” Remember? I do. I love remembering far more than I liked being there.  

To do today. Some yard-work to spruce up a bit, still some picking up after the strong thunderstorm that swept through the other night. Furniture that someone’s grandchild might be able to use. My office that we’ve been using for the upstairs gathering room, mama’s sewing room downstairs likewise, jammed with stuff. Found more books in the attic, to move out. And GOK how many drawers of years of records and files. I was leaving all that for the children to deal with. 

A friend recently emailed reminding me that relocating, selling out and moving, is one of the several greatest stress events of life. I'm finding it just so.


Friday, October 17, 2014

And all I ask

And all I ask

For my next trick I’m thinking a world without politics and politicking and political campaigns. No television. Maybe a world with typewriters instead of people. Anglican Chant.

What happens there, what is there, whatever or wherever it is that we go or do not go? If it is and we go, I pray it’s a dream. I hope it’s not real, because if it’s a dream it will be whatever I dream, whatever I want it to be, my blue heaven. If it’s real ain’t nobody gone want to be with this bubba; but if it’s a dream, that makes no matter, because it will be who and what I dream of. Relax: just because you’re in my dream doesn’t mean you have to have me in yours. You will be as I remember. As I dream.

You won’t be smoking in my dream; a smoker on the next balcony drives me inside if not insane; I won’t dream him into hell, but if he appears in my dream he will have given it up, because there ain’t no way. He can smoke in his own dream if he makes it that far, which is doubtful, but not in mine. May be this same balcony, though. And this view. Heaven. And the sound. Sound of the wind and sound of the sea. Children shrieking and laughing.

Instead of a dream, would one rather drift mistily among and through spirits of the ages for all eternity? Not me, I don’t like a crowd, not even a gathering of ghosts. So if it’s real I’ll be the distant, ever receding light that C. S. Lewis’ narrator saw dimly in the night sky. 

Or board the tall ship docked at Bay Fisheries in front of my house, and sail across St. Andrews Bay, out the Old Pass into the ages of ages.

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


Thank you, Mike McKenzie
And "Sea Fever" thank you, John Masefield
And C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce