Friday, May 31, 2013


Most people probably have forgotten Hudson cars, which have been done here before. Named after Joseph Hudson owner of Hudson department stores and a heavy investor in the automobile venture, Hudson Motor Car Company was formed early in 1909 and a few months later their first cars rolled out of the factory in Detroit. 

Behind the 1909 or 1910 Hudson runabout above is a 1948 Hudson Super club coupe. They're obviously at a Hudson enthusiasts' meet of some sort.

Because of price and quality, Hudson was popular early on, during the WWI era even was the world’s largest producer of six-cylinder cars. My Weller grandparents had a Hudson touring car in the nineteen-teens, drove it and a Model T Ford touring car when they left this house after Alfred’s death and moved to Ocilla, Georgia, where Pop was the Ford dealer for a few years. 

If my time-turner would do it this morning, I’d go back twenty years and ask my father what model year their Hudson was, and what color. But once when I was fantasizing about time travel, a friend pointed out that there would never be time travel, otherwise people from the future would be here now. 

So, I’m guessing it was probably black, and probably a 1915, 1916 or 1917. Alfred had just turned 18 when he died, and I’m guessing that as the apple of Pop’s eye he probably picked it out and that he probably drove it.

In late 1947 when the brand spanking new 1948 Hudson hit the showrooms, our Hudson dealer here in Panama City was on W. 6th Street, on the north side of the street, across and a block or so east of Daffin Mercantile. The building, pictured on +Time a time or two already, is still there, pretty shabby. 

It will be pulled down someday, but for the moment it serves use.

Hudson was mainly a “middle-price” car along with Pontiac and Olds, Buick, Mercury, DeSoto, and very handsome.

During the 30s they offered the Essex in the low-price market, 

and then the Terraplane,

and during the “compact car” era of the mid-50s they offered the Hudson Jet with conservative styling that proved not a hot seller, though I liked it

My best memories of the Hudson are the prewar models that resumed for 1946 and 1947. At the time I judged them homely cars, but anymore I see them as near classics, especially convertibles and four-door sedans with the “suicide doors.”

Hudson struck the tone for new postwar styling with their 1948 cars, which were, at the time, stunningly beautiful, wide and low to the ground, and with something new called “step-down” design. 

Hudson offered two models, Super and Commodore, and two engines, a straight six and a straight eight. A practiced eye spotted Commodore or Super instantly by the trim over the front headlights and by whether the taillights were plain or fancy. And interiors of the two models were vastly different, the Super spartanly plain, the Commodore a presentation of luxury. Shortly they introduced bug-named Hudsons with the supercharged Hudson Hornet and then the lower level Hudson Wasp.

No air conditioning in those days. And even with the new 1948 models when Olds, Pontiac and Cadillac had Hydramatic and Buick was just introducing Dynaflow on their top of the line Roadmaster models, Hudson still had only three-on-the-tree manual shift transmissions, but the available overdrive was really neat, because it could be shifted without using the clutch. And Hudson offered quirky semi-automatics until 1951, when they began purchasing the popular and excellent Hydramatic transmission from General Motors. 

In the 1950s Hudson merged with Nash to become American Motors, which has been talked about here before. Hudsons from that point on were not Hudsons at all, but rebadged Nash automobiles. Some quite nice, some hideously chromed and colored.

The last cars badged "Hudson" were 1957 models. After that both Nash and Hudson became Ambassador and Rambler. The old ways weren't best, but they were more interesting.


236 W. 6th Street, Panama City, Florida

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Gina recently gave me a larger picture of Alfred, now hanging in a special place. It’s the family’s best picture of him, and it is said that the dead live on through us and our memories and the things we do to honor them. When I was a boy many southern towns had a statue of a Confederate general in the square, a similar notion; your hero lives forever by being honored in such a way. In our age of political sensitivities some of those statues may have been pulled down as the statue of JoePa was quickly removed from its place of honor at Beaver Stadium. 

At my seminary there was a statue of Martin Luther sitting, and it was tradition for the juniors to splash Luther with paint and for the middlers or seniors to prevent that happening. 

One who commuted daily from Harrisburg, I never got into the close community that characterizes seminary life, but I do recall the excitement when dawn broke on Luther painted. Seems to me that every Lutheran seminary has a statue of Luther, but the one at Gettysburg is said to be the only statue of Luther sitting.

Painting the SAE lion was a big deal at UFla in the mid-1950s too; another symbol, both the lion and the ongoing determination both to paint it and to keep it from getting splashed. Our KA house had a portrait of Robert E. Lee over the mantle in the living room and an oversize Confederate battle flag always hanging over the front door, more symbols. Laws of the Kappa Alpha Order have since forbidden display of the CSA flag as well as forbidding wearing Confederate uniforms for the springtime Old South Ball; but apparently they still have the portrait of General Lee as the symbol of honor, courtesy, kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness. 

The church is filled with symbols, a prominent one being a Cross on or over or behind the Communion table. There’s a baptismal font, customarily near the entryway symbolizing that baptism is the way into the Christian community and the way to the Altar. In the font, some churches have holy water that one may touch and make the sign of the cross to commemorate one’s baptism. An eagle lectern signals for sure that this is an Episcopal Church, or CofE in England. The bread and wine are our chief symbols, the Body of Christ, the Blood of Christ, a particularly powerful symbol when the bread is baked in someone’s home and brought lovingly at the Offertory as a warm, fragrant gift: taste and see that the Lord is good*. In some churches there’s no Cross, and when Episcopalians who have visited come back they often say with obvious astonishment, “There’s not a cross to be seen in that church.” And in some staunchly low-church Episcopal parishes, no candles, “too popish.” There are other symbols, though. Carrying a Bible to church is one. 

This blog post started out to be about Hudson cars, because thinking of Alfred often reminds me that in the nineteen-teens my grandparents had a Hudson touring car, and Alfred, to this house, to the Hudson my family drove to Georgia when they moved away after Alfred died has strong symbolism for me.

My grandmother’s chicken crates strapped to the running boards and fenders of both the Hudson and the Model T Ford as they drove away from this house is a symbol of that era. My mental picture of it symbolizes the obedience of Abraham and Sarah leaving Haran at the command of the Lord, driving off into the dawn in their red BMW 3-series coupe with the chicken coop strapped to the car's top, and of course the sunroof closed. 

Tom in +Time

And of course, this house is a symbol to me. 

* Psalm 34

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



In the second half of the nineteenth century, cousins of Mamie McClammy Gentry, my mother’s mother, made their way from Alabama to Texas, thence as cowboys in an 1880s cattle drive from Texas north to Montana, and settled there. William McClammy married a woman of German and Indian ancestry and the McClammy name became and still is part of the Native American community on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana. In genealogical research my sister found McClammy family there, last year went out to meet them. A third cousin has come down from Montana, and we are enjoying getting to know her, and our family connection to Sioux, Assiniboine and Chippewa.  

My interest in family history has been back into the male line, Weller specifically, because of the church connection. But limiting myself that way is dumb, because my heritage is equally back into both sides, male and female, Weller, Godfrey, Gentry, McClammy, the names doubling with each generation. 

In Pensacola I have often stopped by St. Johns Cemetery, where all four of my grandparents are buried. The Weller plot is easy to find because it is imprinted in my mind from my first visit for the funeral of Mom, my father’s mother Carrie Godfrey Weller. Her death in January 1947 was my first experience of it and the graveside service was traumatic for an eleven year old grandson who wondered how all the cars could keep moving and people could keep going on about life as usual when my beloved grandmother was dead. As a memory and life experience, it is one of my treasures. Having these things happen early helps us deal with life as we go on, just as exercise strengthens us for whatever is on today’s list, even if it’s a heart attack, John, and as our work experience prepares us for the next job.

St. Johns is a historic Pensacola cemetery that was beautiful before being totally devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Lush plantings were everywhere, making it easy for me to go straight to the trees and enormous camellia near the graves of my Gentry grandparents. But the first time I went after Ivan, the place was as desolate as any wilderness, and still is not much recovered. I walked around for the better part of two hours, never found the Gentry plot, eventually gave up and left. Going online, though, I found a picture of it, took a bearing on houses in the distant background, and found it easily on my next visit.

For years after, when visiting relatives in Pensacola at Christmastime, we took flowers to Mom’s grave, and there with her were daughter Carrie (Sep 2, 1897 - Aug 17, 1898), and our Alfred (Sep 25, 1899 - Jan 7, 1918). I don’t remember when those visits died out. My mother always said she was not one to visit the cemetery, but visits are always helpful to me. Opportunity for reflection, and grounding in a way that nothing else can be. In our generation our family practice has come to be cremation and scattering ashes. To me, this return to nature is sacred and holy; but it does not leave a grave marker for future generations to know about us.


Heart and prayers this morning, John Darrah, in Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans after yesterday’s heart surgery following a heart attack. No word this morning, but at 7:12 last night the news was good.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

If that's my wife, tell her I'm not here

     Sure, it can be distracting, not to say annoying, when someone’s cell phone rings at the highlight of your sermon, or during the holiest action of the Mass when the people are meant to look up at the elevating Host not looking round for the perpetrator; but the word is agape and the deed is forgiveness and the call may be one of life and death, so don’t mind, never mind. 
     My cell phone problems are other though: (a) my phone is usually not on my person but laid down somewhere “safe” so I can get it soon as I finish with this task, but then I forget it altogether and can’t find it later; and (b) when I turn off the sound I can never remember to turn it back on later. Thus, here we are Tuesday morning and I just came across my cell phone, which has been sitting here in my “den” where I never would have looked for it, with the sound still turned off from Sunday morning before the 8:00 o’clock service, and missed several calls and texts those days.
     One of these days I’ll have enough sense to just leave it on during church on Sunday morning and if it rings it rings. If it rings during the rector’s sermon, I’ll just turn round and glare at the acolytes.
     Our first mobile phone was one I gave Tass for Christmas, one of those big handsets you plug in in your car and sit it between the seats. It was actually for my peace of mind. That would have been December 1990 when she was a freshman at her college in Virginia. I had bought her an M-B 300SD: did you know it costs more to keep a Mercedes running with monthly trips to the shop than it does to pay for the damn thing in the first place? Let the reader pardon the language.
     The thing that actually annoys is a swinging rope. There’s a movement in the corner of your eye, especially when you’re the Celebrant. At a slight pause between sentences you glance quickly and there’s an acolyte swinging his/her rope. Cincture is the ecclesiastical term, or girdle. I’m with rope because girdle is stupid, archaic and Victorian, and when you say cincture the kids start giggling. Anyway, with naught to do while you stand there, you absentmindedly stare out at the congregation with your mouth open and your eyes glazed over and you swing your rope. When I was an acolyte at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church it wasn’t a problem, because we didn’t wear alb and rope we wore red cassock and white cotta, no rope. Seems to me we even wore a black cassock until we were trained and qualified at which time we graduated to the honored red cassock. But no rope to swing.
     When I was a boy the acolyte knelt at the end of the Altar as the priest said the magic words, and sometimes the boy keeled over. That never happened to me, I never fainted, but I think it happened to Tom, maybe Jimmy or Julian. 
     In those days The Peace was not community commotional, but quietly between priest and acolyte. At the end of the consecrating prayer the celebrant quietly murmured “The peace of the Lord be always with you,” and the acolyte responded “And with thy spirit.” The people didn't even get into it.
     Low Church, raised slightly by Father Tom Byrne who shook the heavens by wearing the first chasuble, we never had incense. No ropes to swing. No bells. 
     And sure as aitch no cell phones.


Monday, May 27, 2013

We shall not sleep

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

We beseech thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear the authority of government in this and every land, that they may be led to wise decisions and right actions for the welfare and peace of the world. *

     The article below was sent to me by my friend and fellow Navy veteran Paul Herbert. Simply copy and paste, I have not verified, but trust the information, which is circulating on the internet, is correct. The Wall is to me not only a crushing symbol of my Navy life and years, but of my very being as an American, and is the most emotionally overwhelming place I have ever stood. Or wept.
     In the prayer above, my inserted emphasis on "wise decisions and right actions" -- whether spoken in congregation or written -- is correctly understood as my view, not politically but as a human being and citizen, that governments', especially our government's, decisions and actions are generally light years from wise and right. This almost invariably so with respect to policies and actions that directly affect the lives of human beings foreign and domestic. Nevertheless, I am not cynical, and still and above all, I am not bitter. Angry, perhaps very angry. As we celebrate -- no -- honor Memorial Day, very, very angry and ineffably sad. But never bitter. And ever, forever and always American, heart, mind and soul. In ways, even above the Cross.

The Wall ...

A little history most people will never know.
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam..

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day inVietnam ..

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

31 sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School inPhiladelphia . I wonder why so many from one school.

8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

BeallsvilleOhio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginianson the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in theApache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, thenine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a
group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only three returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, and shipmates.

     Nearly forty years ago we were driven out of Vietnam in shame and disgrace, and there was a feeling throughout America that we had learned a terrible lesson and would never again let such a thing happen to our country, nor ever again be drawn into such a quagmire. But it is wrenchingly clear with Afghanistan and especially Iraq that we have learned nothing. Like a child who cannot learn not to touch fire or stick his finger in an electrical outlet, we have learned nothing at all. Nothing whatsoever. Worse, worst, we have broken faith with those who died and are dying and will die today, this morning, this afternoon, and tomorrow. The Iraq War is a monument to monumental government evil, and Afghanistan may surpass. At least united Vietnam is at peace and somewhat open.
     The Wall stands as an enduring monument, not only to the lives of tens of thousands of honored dead for whom our hearts will forever grieve, but as a reminder of government fallibility, evil and pride, of sacrificed young American lives, and of untold generations of American children and grandchildren who will never be born.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row ... 

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep ...

We have our own field 
watched over night and day 
by Washington himself.
We shall not sleep ---

TW Commander, U. S. Navy (Ret)
USS TRIPOLI (LPH-10) 1969-1971

* BCP 329, Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church and the World
"In Flanders Fields" by Lt Col John McCrae, MD, 1915

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Don’t Eat That

Her column yesterday struck head of spike again. In the relief of the moment we can’t help being thankful, but feeling blessed for surviving the tornado though the neighbors lost their home and a child, what about them, why weren’t they blessed? Or is my religion selfish, even obscene, or worse, my God partial? Yet our God is personal, and in Cleveland that day I truly felt blessed with all the prayers and awaking looking up at Nicholas and Tass. Moreover, being thankful is a gut reaction for us. But Connie Schultz, while others thanked God for a miracle, God is good, when three Cleveland women were rescued from a decade in hell, Schultz said of herself, “I am a deeply flawed Christian” -- instead of thanking God -- for wondering where God was the ten years the women were chained, raped, bullied and tormented by a madman. 

Religion is always dragged into the present kicking, screaming and inquisiting. With the enlightenment, Copernicus, Galileo, modern cosmology and genetics, and progressing somewhat beyond believing that the blue dome of the firmament is one half of the corpse of Tiamat* holding back the churning waters of chaos above while the other half of her corpse forms the dry land that holds back the chaotic waters below, religion continually needs enlightening: who or what is God? Lynn H., a beloved parishioner of years past, used to say as she shook my hand going out of church Sunday mornings, "You've certainly given us something to think about!" Lynn was such a kind and positive person that I always took it as a compliment. But we do need to think. Reason: an Anglican precept. We need to think and progress, not only generally, but specifically about the question: who or what is God? We must not be Christians whose God is small, whose minds are vacant or afraid, and whose religion is more evil than the tornado itself -- asserting that the tornado was God’s punishment for Jason Collins coming out. What about the innocents killed by the tornado, swept away by the tsunami, buried in the landslide? Voltaire has the answer: while God was punishing sinners, the deaths of the innocent was the work of the devil. Sarcasm is better than stupidity. And if an apocalyptic meteorite hits earth today, an ecclesiasticus of mental cripples will trace it to the Boy Scouts of America.

My coffee just now is in a new mug that says among other things, "no snake handling, we can believe in dinosaurs, you don't have to check your brain at the door." We religious must work at shriving imbedded absurdities that see the wrath of God in every storm. Theologically, metaphorically, there is evil in the very nature of things, danger is woven into the fabric of Creation, viz. the divinely created serpent. When evil is random, Rabbi Kushner has the answer: the question is not why? but when. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, progeria, tsunamis and floods. Avalanches, lightning strikes, brain tumors, shifting tectonic plates and volcanic eruptions, crashes beyond the control of the innocent. Random and impersonal, but we can rage. Twice when a William died I cursed the heavens, yet I am still alive, and I will shake my fist again, perhaps yet today when I go by to say hello and pray and maybe leave a flower from our Altar. Christianity, faith, religion that cannot accommodate creation, science, and observable reality is roadkill, don’t eat that, don't swallow that.

Candide has a line. “At length, while the two kings were causing Te Deums to be sung in their camps,” each side singing praises to lure God on side thus assuring victory for their cause. Are we fools? 

Progressive religion sweeps away the roadkill; but for many, perhaps for most, perhaps even for Christians of Reason, the obstacle may be unscalable, Word.A.Day says himalayan. Mark Twain said faith is believing what you know damn well ain't so. It doesn't have to be that way. Created in the likeness of God, we can think.


* enuma elish

Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen To Good People

Saturday, May 25, 2013

406 and Counting


Linda’s mother loved to travel, and after Linda’s father died in December 1970 she managed to do so to her heart’s content. During the Cold War, she traveled widely including in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain, returning home shuddering at the grim uniformed guards with tommy guns throughout every city block and on every rooftop.

Death or Life. It’s a caution to judge others when one is equally liable for judgment on various counts of life. One can’t judge the Arias jury who were dismissed after inability to decide unanimously on execution or life imprisonment. Another jury won’t likely find it any easier; I know this because even a dozen members of my Sunday School class can’t agree on anything. If Arias prosecutors take the death penalty off the table, the case could be settled from a couple of life sentence possibilities, billable hours could be closed out, and millions of taxpayer dollars could be spent elsewhere over the next thirty years that Arias might sit on death row. Pathetically whining for her life, Arias is now a systemic pawn in which the lawyers are the ones who are going to make all the money off of it, and we are going to pay, and that not only in dollars but also in sense.

The emerging terrorist threat has surfaced in London: horror on the street in full public view. In the emergent world we don’t need armies and drones, but millions more armed uniformed police officers saturating streets and public places, surveillance cameras monitoring and recording every movement of everything that walks and breathes or waves in the wind, every person over twelve carrying a firearm and every child who isn’t bar mitzvah escorted by armed guard, rounding up the usual suspects, concentration camps, barbed wire, a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a GTMO in every county. Anyone willing to live in United Dystopia might read Nineteen Eighty-Four and Darkness at Noon and someone needs to write Four-Oh-Six so we can see where we are in history. 

It’s a cool morning of the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. Pink sky over TAFB across St. Andrews Bay, flat blue sea, sunrise shimmering the tall pine trees to gold. It’s the right time and day and age to be seventy-seven and not counting.

In the severe winter of 406 AD the Rhine River froze over allowing the barbarians to walk across unchallengeable, sealing the fate of the Roman Empire, which fell in 476. 

The metaphor is set, and those who don’t learn from history are not simply bound but doomed ... .



T still in +Time

Friday, May 24, 2013

Back Porch Theology

Back Porch Theology

Trinity Sunday coming up, said to be our only feast day commemorating a doctrine. But maybe that’s not strictly true, because the Trinity is actually three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each a person of God’s Being as Christians apprehend God.

Lest anyone decide that the Trinity is hypothetical nonsense from the muddled minds of factious old bishops prescribing definitive Creeds about Undefinable Unknowable Incomprehensibles, there is reasonable [Reason a pillar of Anglican theologizing] reasonable scriptural [Scripture another pillar of Anglican theological discourse] reasonable scriptural foundation for our Christian doctrine of the Trinity. An example is our Gospel reading for Trinity Sunday Year C, day after tomorrow, John 16:12-15

12 “I have yet many things to say to you, but ye are not able to bear [them] now; 13 and when He may come -- the Spirit of truth -- He will guide you to all the truth, for He will not speak from Himself, but as many things as He will hear He will speak, and the coming things He will tell you; 14 He will glorify me, because of mine He will take, and will tell to you. 15 All things, as many as the Father hath, are mine; because of this I said, That of mine He will take, and will tell to you ...” (Young’s Literal Translation)

This is Jesus as he tells his disciples goodbye, promising that the Holy Spirit will come in his place. Granted, it’s in the Gospel according to John (that I think it was Lazarus and not John is not my issue for this morning, after all the gospel is anonymous, and after all “John” is just the title that was attached to it sometime during the second century), where “John,” who more than two generations later, sixty years on, perhaps 95 to 110 AD, extensively quotes Jesus verbatim, may be challengeable; nevertheless, we’ve canonized it as Holy Scripture the Word of the Lord, and it’s what we’ve got. Anglicanism is Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, and this is Scripture, so look at what The Man says.

Here in The Gospel according to John, Jesus distinguishes himself from God the Father. Jesus speaks of himself in an ongoing sense. Jesus distinguishes the Holy Spirit as neither himself nor the Father but someone else, a third person. Thus there are three persons in this gospel reading for Trinity Sunday. Scripturally the Trinity is Three Persons all emanating from whoever or whatever Incomprehensible God is. I’m saying that the Trinity is unquestionable.

There’s more. We can argue all day and unto the ages of ages about the gender of God, and especially about the gender of the Holy Spirit. The masculinity of the Father seems reasonably clear, and the masculinity of Jesus even more so. To us in English the gender of the Spirit may be fuzzy and arguable. Jesus spoke Aramaic (where I’m not going this or any other morning), but “John” quotes Jesus speaking in Greek, and I will go there. Jesus says of the Spirit “ἐκεῖνος” which is nominative, masculine, singular: He. Jesus does not say “it” or “she,” he says “ἐκεῖνος” He. So that settles it, the Spirit is He, eh?

Oops, hold on, wait a minute, just a sec, keep reading. Jesus says “το πνευμα της αληθειας” the spirit of truth. And “αληθειας” truth is genitive, singular, feminine. So the Spirit’s character, trait, characteristic is -- She.

Just saying.


Thursday, May 23, 2013


Porches are the very best places, and my house has three, no four, all good. On the south side, two screen porches look out over St. Andrews Bay. The downstairs porch is cooler in summer; upstairs, Alfred’s Porch, has the better view, where before the trees grew that last inch or two I could see all the way across the Bay to Shell Island. This upstairs porch is developing some bad wood and we’re considering replacing the tongue-in-groove with new aluminum decking and replacing all four column bases.

There’s a gutter across the front. I put it there in 1993 or 1994 when the postman still brought mail to the front door and complained that when it rained he was getting drenched from water pouring off my upstairs porch roof. But as long as that acorn-to-oak-tree doesn't get too presumptuous there’s no way I’m getting up there to clean the gutter of a second story roof. A cardinal keeps landing on the gutter edge just in front of me, and I hear scratching sounds. Surely birds are too instinctive to build a nest in a gutter that would swamp in every rainstorm. Maybe they're waiting for the oak tree to mature.  

On the other end of the house, the broad porch is the entry to our north front door. It’s open, not screened, and hosts my porch swing that Tass and Jeremy gave me for Father’s Day 1998. Round the corner from it is the new (2002) side screen porch that was first my breakfast porch, then for years the Cat Porch and is still called that, then with the Ascension of the final cat became my porch again. These sanctuaries can’t be used mid summer and deep winter, but fall and spring they are paradise. Now especially the almost totally silent XCat Porch which looks out on a lovely stacked garden Linda recently made and is still fashioning, with a hundred or so pots of plants and colorful flowers. It’s quiet here at the back corner; and over the fence and above the neighbor’s roof, a block away, grandiflora blossoms of a southern magnolia tree set in blue sky.

Why on Earth anyone would want to leave this World and go to Heaven beats the Hell out of me. Just sprinkle me in the Bay down front.

This is a quiet neighborhood. Sometimes. It was quieter in Alfred's day a hundred years ago before TAFB fighter jets deafeningly buzzed the house. They distinguish between noise and problem. There's noise but as long as they don't have red stars on the tail there's no problem.