Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Dementia

The Last Stop Is Not the End of the Line

Why does one arise so blasted early, why does the mind in the wee hours seize the moment to obsess? And that on matters not even the deranged intellect can resolve, much less in this darkness when only Tōshō is open. Why? Ah, this morning’s delanceyplace.com extract is from Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. America, where mental restlessness is pandemic. Except in the Bible Belt, where Ussher reigns and the mind is checked at the door.

This coffee is perfect for the sunrise watch: Trader Joe’s 100% Kona, rich and smooth, whole beans ground in my Coffeemaker Extraordinaire, but what’s that hot thing discomforting my left kidney? Ah: laptop recharger transformer box dissipating heat: science.

Sony +32.0, Toyota down 25 and I can buy or sell from this green sofa if so moved, General Washington would be incredulous. He lived as the Enlightenment set and the Second Great Awakening dawned mixing, Menand asserts, “popular superstition and folk therapeutics with traditional Christian mythology.” 

Actually, we Christians deny being mythological, don’t we.

But my favorite Menand line as a now-and-then electronics fanatic, “the last blast of supernaturalism before science superseded theology as the dominant discourse in American intellectual life.” 

There is an American intellectual life? Intriguing assertion, Louis. Why? Why has “science superseded theology”? While theologians detrain at the firmament and gaze down upon creation, Hubble strikes out for the edge of the universe, visualizes the multiverse, and never looks back.

Next stop, the Big Bang. Is that the end of the line? Depends on who’s speaking (singing if Aslan got there first). 

Imagination without borders is what got us banned from Eden in The Beginning.

It the reader fails to understand, we must read and know different things, eh? I know nothing. Nothing

Nevertheless, RSF&PTL. 

Superstition, therapeutics, mythology, or faith?   


TW+

Monday, September 29, 2014

Eagles in Heaven

Eagles in Heaven 


Always in life there’s something else and new to learn, isn’t there. Anu’s wonderful word this morning is luftmensch, which pretty much suits me perfectly at times. Most times. Some airhead priest instead of a realtor or new car dealer as I contemplated my university years: there was no Chrysler-Plymouth dealer here and it was going to be me, Thanks a lot, Buzz. 

There was “nothing but sand” across Hathaway Bridge as my father often said, and I thought to sell it. Instead, a luftmensch, literally an air man selling -- what? A notion of eternity. Ride that across the heavens with me in the yellow Cadillac of my dreams.

Let’s hope there’s plenty of room up there, my friends may be zooming back and forth in F-15 fighter jets and Navy Tomcats. I’ll be 17, they can be whatever age they choose, minimum 21 for hitting the O Club. Even St. Peter has rules.

Raining so hard the walk is cancelled, first time in months.

That’s not the Eagle I meant. Let the reader understand. We're dreamers, baby.


W

Sunday, September 28, 2014

are you kidding me?

It’s worse than it wasn’t a good Saturday. Buddy Boy, it was a bad Saturday. What happened? South Carolina. Michigan. SCAR I’m stunned. STUNNED. MGoBlue, not stunned just embarrassed yet one more time again, the profane texting acronym starts out WT.. and ends with a question mark. Even the team I most love to hate disappointed me by, as Megan said on FB during the game, apparently their defense didn’t make it to Raleigh. “No. 1 Florida State rallies to beat North Carolina State” are you kidding me? I like a Florida team to be number one, I do not like it to be FSU, but it is -- if I were still a sailor instead of some preacher I could salt it better -- 21-24 at the half? Are you kidding me? There's a profane texting acronym for that too. FSU -- RALLIES -- to win? Are you kidding me? Since when does No. 1 “rally” to win a football game? Somebody better rethink their vote on this ranking. Maybe Thanksgiving Weekend 2014 isn’t looking so hopeless after all. Nah, I already ordered our range crow.

It’s Sunday morning, time for Adonai. See you at church? There are only two good and valid excuses for missing church this morning: 

#1 reason is “feeling too lazy,” in which case here is your dispensation: + granted by a real Episcopal priest, and you don’t have to come.

#2 reason is “sick about Saturday CFB,” in which case stuff it, get your axe out of bed and get dressed for church.


TW+

house clearing out giving away update later today --

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prince of Test & Quarrel

Anyone who has reached this age and stage of life has confronted exasperation and dealt with frustrating situations and issues of uncertainty; not least matters of personal health and wealth, wellbeing of loved ones, death and taxes. This rises to the surface this morning as in the wilderness with Moses the Israelites find that Moses and God have encamped them in a place where there is no water. 

Moses, remember, grew up in the palace as a prince of Egypt. Adopted as an infant he was given an Egyptian name, accustomed to being served and waited on, he knows little or nothing about roughing it. He even speaks Yiddish with an Egyptian accent. Yes, he tended the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, but even that the Lord rescued him from by appearing in the Burning Bush and tasking him to the role of leadership because he probably looked like a movie star. Well, he did look like a movie star, didn't he. 

Moses never sewed on a button, carried a bucket of water from the well, fried bacon over an open fire, or knew which knob to turn on the washing machine. Here in my pre-dotage I may be some fool priest mucking about spouting Bible verses, but at least I was a Boy Scout and can pick out a place to pitch my tent near water, where it’s safe to build a fire, and where I won’t be flooded and swept away if it rains tonight. Poor Moshe is so blinded by the shekinah and the glory of being senior pastor that he can hardly see the mundane world around him.  

So here for tomorrow is the mess Moses has gotten himself into this time:

From the wilderness of Zin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah [Test] and Meribah [Quarrel], because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Believe it or not, even with divine help, Prince Moses even messed this up. Let’s tackle it in Sunday School tomorrow morning, eh?

TW+


Exodus 17:1-7 (NRSV) Water from the Rock

Friday, September 26, 2014

Second Post for Today

Second Post for Today

Good second morning, friends is a good way to continue today! Folks who were at church Wednesday evening heard that Linda and I have finally conceded, after two or three years of wrenching back and forth about it, that this wonderful old house and property have just become too much for two octogenarians (no, Linda declines that high honor) in thirteen rooms and 4 1/2 baths, furnished, finished, and decorated with our art and things from two and three family generations! Large yard with cedar trees, fig trees, lemon trees, prolific grapefruit trees, flowering plants including Florida classic azaleas, camellias and gardenias. MLP and the Bay. Not to mention the ubiquitous palm trees. For those blessed with long life, the hour cometh and now is to sit back with a glass of wine and muse on how wonderful it has all been. 

We’ve listed the place with Charlie Commander. A dear friend is going to let us try out her place at the beach to see if we enjoy condo living, and we are browsing possibilities online and driving around. We’ve already moved the hundreds of books out of the house, some to county library, some to church library, most to my office where I’ll sort through them and set aside those I use and mean to keep; the rest to the parish library or shelve in my office for loaning out or giving away. 

Thursday an appraiser and auctioneer came out to look at multiple sets of dishes, crystal, dolls, paintings, objects of art, knickknacks and furniture. For myself, I am finding that once the mountain is scaled, looking down the other side brings back all the excitement and adventure of each Permanent Change of Station move that made our Navy years such fun. 

I’m saying all this today because I’m starting to picture here on my blog, things that we love and use but need to get out of the house right away and so are here today starting to offer to friends and church friends who might enjoy, or need, and will use. No delivery, these things are free for taking away. Taking to use, not taking to sell. There’s no junk. Over coming days I will update list and pics if/as appropriate. Anyone who wants something should email me at twellerpc@gmail.com but not phone because I’ll never remember. Because we need these things gone, it will be whoever shows up first to get it, not who emailed me first and asked me to save something!! Here’s a starter list, some with pics, some without.

Swivel stool. There are two of these. One is worth infinitely more than the other because Fr. Tom personally sat on it many mornings typing +Time blog posts. Free though for the coming and getting.


A towel hanger/warmer, no pic yet. Never used.

NordicTrack treadmill with 30 x 56 track. Really nice one. Who will use it may have it free for the taking away; wherever we live next will have an exercise room. 


Flowered family room sofa 90 x 36, often the joy of my nap time. Imagine having something in your living room and being able to hang a sign over it, "Father Tom Slept Here."




and going with the sofa and two pillows that match the ottoman, items from Harrison House, we’ve loved them, goes the

Blue ottoman 28 x 45


Recumbent exercise bike, it’s upstairs in my bedroom, I used to faithfully ride it exactly 10.1 miles every morning without fail. No pic yet.

Glider chair with glider footstool, magnificent furniture and extraordinarily comfortable, my granddaughters were nursed gliding in them. After I got them I sat there many cold mornings gliding back and forth, snuggled up warm and writing my blog posts. A historical item: Father Weller glided here. I will not deliver the set, but someone may come get it for a loving home.


Computer desk 60 wide, no pic yet.

Blue leather chair, custom made by a furniture factory in North Carolina. Singularly comfortable. No pic yet because it's loaded up with art that we've taken down off the walls: maybe tomorrow.

Dinette chair. There may be one or two more in the attic, I’m not sure. Rollers, and swivel, quite comfortable at table or desk. 


An extraordinarily comfortable turquoise leatherette easy chair (long Linda’s favorite chair for sitting until she inherited my mother’s platform rocker). Use and enjoy as-is or have it reupholstered. No pic yet, but soon, maybe tomorrow. 

If interested, kindly email me first, twellerpc@gmail.com no just showing up unexpected and unannounced at my door, please. Any stranger who shows up at my door without emailing me first will be turned away, sorry. I'll tell the emailer whether the item is still here.

We are boldly going where we have never gone before: off into ancient age. Ahead, warp seven, Scotty.

TW


Delightful Gulf Party

St. Andrews Bay Times
St. Andrews, Florida, June 22, 1916

Delightful Gulf Party

Monday evening a party of young people with large baskets well filled boarded a launch and sped across the bay to the Gulf where several hours were spent very pleasantly bathing, emptying those baskets and otherwise enjoying themselves only as young people can.

Those constituting the party were Misses Gaynor, Eva and Laura Thompson, Dorothy and Grace Ware, Gladys Wilcox, Lydia and Ruth Smith, Elsie Jordan and Mrs. C. . Gideon, accompanied by "Rosy" Nelson, Earl Thompson, "Rube" Williams, George and Harley Combs, A. R. Folks, F. A. Reynolds, Alfred Weller and a Mr. Treadway.

They returned to St. Andrews in the wee small hours of the night, feeling that time had passed only too soon.

--------------------

Alfred was 16 years old at the time. My father always said lovingly that Alfred was the apple of Mom and Pop's eye. 

other news in the same edition of the Times for June 22, 1916 --

Maritime

The fishing smack “Annie and Jennie” of the Bay Fisheries Co. of this place, is in port from the snapper banks with a good catch.

The fishing smack Martha Lillian of the Bay Fisheries Company, returned from the snapper banks Monday and reported rough weather in the Gulf. Her mainsail was completely carried away in a gale.

The smack Bonita, Alexander master, was in port Monday with a good catch of red snappers for the Bay Fisheries Co.

Smack Princess, Capt. Andrew, was in port Monday awaiting good weather.

----------------------

I had an email this week from the grandson of O.T. Melvin, who was shipwrecked on the Annie & Jennie when they lost the range lights leaving out of St. Andrews pass. Dr. Vagias’ grandfather was one of only two men who survived the wreck. Dr. Vagias shared with me his grandfather’s memory that he walked the beach for days afterward and found the body of my uncle Alfred, who was lost in the wreck. And of that night that was so catastrophic for my family, including “He always said that after the men went into the water, he could hear their screams but was unable to help them. Then, the screams, he said, died out one by one. ‘I can still hear their voices all these years later’ he would say.” 

Dr. and Mrs. Vagias are to come over from Niceville next week to meet us and to see our old homestead that my grandparents built in 1912, and where my family were living at the time.

Over the now nearly four years I’ve been blogging daily, first on CaringBridge leading up to my heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic and then here on +Time, I’ve several times shared family memories and stories. One has been my own keen awareness that had that shipwreck not occurred Mom and Pop’s hearts would not have been broken that day, they would never have left this house and moved away trying to run from the memories of St. Andrews Bay, and my father and mother would never have met, and I would never have been born. Some in my family don’t understand my sense of owing my life to Alfred; and of living here in his house in his place and in place of his children and grandchildren, and thinking of him every single time I touch the bannister every single time I come down the stairs, every single time all these years. There’s a sense in Jewish theology, from whence comes our Christianity, that we live on through the loving memories of those who live on after us. I think in that sense, that even though he died at 18, Alfred may have lived on longer than anyone I've ever known. 

Where will he be in another hundred years? And where will I laugh?

My deepest memories have been from my father, and my grandfather and grandmother, Mom and Pop, telling me about Alfred and the wreck of the Annie & Jennie. Just this week another dear friend said she is moving to Lake Caroline, next to where Mom and Pop built a house in the early to mid 1940s, and my memories of the dirt roads there at the time, and the dirt road that runs east/west between East Caroline and West Caroline, where on both sides there were tall, thick blackberry bushes; in late summer they were always loaded with blackberries and my cousin Ann and I would pick blackberries and take them home and Mom would stop whatever she was doing and make blackberry cobbler for us. It was always sandy and gritty but so sweet with sugar and love.

The devastation of Mom and Pop’s life when they lost Alfred, my father showing me “my brother’s casket was right there” in front of the fireplace here in my living room, the 18 steps in the stairs and the bannister. Mom died January 23, 1947, my first experience with death and my own life's heaviest trauma because we were so close. Pop died in June 1964 while we were stationed in Japan. The last time I visited Pop, June 1963 just before the Navy moved us to Japan, talking with him about this old house and asking why he had never come to visit after my parents bought the house back in 1962. Hearing him say quietly, “I can’t go back there because of Alfred.”

Some things and places and memories in life just carry your heart away.

Early autumn morning on my downstairs front porch. There’s that channel marker light, flashing green. At me. 

TW







Thursday, September 25, 2014

or lump it

St. Charles

65F and 84% at four o’clock predawn. The gentlest waft of air seems to be coming off the Bay down toward the west behind me, not from the south in front of me as usual. These azaleas are months past blooming, I need to trim the tops; when I sit here I want nothing between me and the Bay.

And camellias can be demanding, whatever will mama’s White Empress do? And my favorite, the extraordinarily bright red single with yellow stamens: mama disliked it because its blossoms were supposed to be thick and full when she planted it fifty years ago, but it disappointed her and she never let up on it. Winter blooming, that unloved camellia is my Christmas tree that Charlie Brown brought home because he felt sorry for it. Who is ugly most needs someone to sing You Are So Beautiful To Me.

The boy’s a saint, you know, for all his naive innocence, Charlie Brown is the good guy. Pensive, melancholy, hopelessly in love with the little red-haired girl, sitting on the end of the dock staring out into oblivion, and always checking the mailbox for a valentine. Bit eccentric. What was Charlie Brown like at eighty? Of Charles: I knew a bishop who made a triphthong out of God.

Spring and winter flowers. Summer? These blasted fig trees that are usually so prolific? Last year I trimmed them so far back that this July we got nubbins and leaves from one and leaves and four figs from the other. A dozen years ago when we added the new kitchen in the side yard, I dug up the fig trees and moved them around front. Before that, one always yielded so many figs that on a July morning I could walk round and round it picking and eating my breakfast; it was a joy of being home in July on Navy leave those years. The other I dug up and brought home from the rectory yard in Apalachicola, where I had planted it when it was just a boy and I was forty-nine.

Life goes on, doesn’t it: how long, Lord?

The flashing green light was winking from across the way after Jimmy Gatz was gone, and yep, there’s mine, did Alfred see it that night? Besides the foolhardiness of Captain Caton, and heading out to sea with a damaged rudder, that a channel marker light was out in the Old Pass was reported to have been one reason for the shipwreck. Does anyone but me owe their life to a channel marker? ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω

Whatever are you thinking, Uncle Bubba, what's in mind this morning? That yellow 1951 Cadillac Series 62 sedan with the black top again. I was fifteen. Fifteen, sixteen. Long years parked in my garage out back, it was gone the last time I looked, maybe it's waiting in the circular driveway in front of my mansion, eh? I hope it still runs, because I intend to drive it across the universe. It will be that shooting star you see a hundred years from now.

... in my Father's house are many mansions. Maybe we will be neighbors again.

Who can tell a 1951 from a 1950 and a 1952? And a Series 62 from a Series 61? It will be on the test, you know, you'd better be ready. I drove a black 1950 Cadillac a few times, and owned a two-tone blue 1952 sedan, but never got to drive that yellow one.

Thing about a blog post pecked out in the predawn darkness of late September: it don’t have to please no damn body but myself; and not even me. But it does though, it does please me this first morning of the rest of my life. Let the reader understand. 

Or lump it.

W

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

higher and greater than

Gentle breeze out here on the downstairs front porch, 67F and 90%, my kind of early fall Florida Gulf Coast morning. And there’s that green channel light winking at me from across the Bay. The weather page reports Wind 0 mph but the weather man isn’t sitting here on my porch with me. It would be nice if this fall weather holds on.

What I’m thinking about yet one more time again though, doubtless like everyone else I know, including my noble readers this morning, is Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834). A clergyman, son and grandson of clergymen, prominent German bible scholar and theologian, his name was Friedrich Daniel Ernst but I don’t know what his mama called him. My mama called me Bubba and I am one, but F.D.E. was no Bubba. Always trying to salvage something that made sense in religion, in 1799 he published On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers trying to reconcile the Enlightenment with Protestant Christianity, some of which we read in seminary. He’s not the best known German theologian but he might be my favorite. 

Two things about Schleiermacher that I remember and appreciate are his scoff (my term, certainly not a fair word for him) that some elements of Christian orthodoxy specifically found in the creed of the Nicene fathers are beyond human knowing; and his assertion that in each of us is planted a sense of the infinite.

Why are we religious? The nearer I get to the flashing green light the more the question pops up. I swear off ordering books, SHMG, but yesterday arrived a penny plus postage book from Amazon, The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures, by Nicholas Wade and I started reading it last night. For a bookmark in it I’m using a clipping Linda cut for me from yesterday’s NYT, “Growing Majority in U.S. See Religion Losing Sway.” 


We need higher and greater than self, or at least, looking out at the flashing green light and on off beyond the stars this predawn, I do.  


Bubba

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

IN THOSE DAYS

Panama City Pilot, Thursday, January 10, 1929

New Chevrolet Six Finds Large Demand

The beautiful new six-cylinder Chevrolet, placed on display here for the first time on December 29 and viewed by more than 500 admiring visitors the opening day, has taken this section by storm, officials of the Bennett Chevrolet Company asserted yesterday.


In proof of their assertion, they point to five deliveries -- all that they had been able to obtain up to Tuesday, together with twenty-five positive orders for delivery as quickly as possible, and more orders coming in every day.


Those who are already enjoying possession of the new Chevrolet six, together with the model purchased, are Mr. Morris Chambliss of Millville, a coach; Mr. B. B. Williams, Panama City, a coach; Mr. Gover Rodgers, Panama City, a coach; Mr. J. E. McQuagge, Panama City, coach, and Mr. O. G. Griffin, Wewahitchka, a 1 1/2 ton truck.


In the new models, everything that ever gave occasion for criticism in Chevrolets of other years appears to have been eliminated. Among the changes, the advantages of which will be readily recognized by Chevrolet owners, may be mentioned a self-lubricating universal joint; extended exhaust line preventing burned gases from coming up through the floor of closed cars; full alemite lubrication on chassis including all parts of steering gear; greater strength of longitudinal members and additional cross members in frame; positive gasoline supply to carburetor by pump driven off cam shaft; dash-pot on carburetor preventing stalling of the motor when throttle is opened suddenly. In addition to the fore-going there are a number of other changes and refinements making for ease and convenience of operation.


The new Chevrolet six must be seen and driven to be fully appreciated.


----------------

Judge A. M. Douglas Joins Local Law Firm

Friends of former County Judge A. M. Douglas, who was succeeded in tha toffice by Mr Carl E. Russ, will be interested to learn that Mr. Douglas is now associated with Attorneys J. Ed Stokes and W. F. Phillips, the firm name having been changed to Stokes, Phillips & Douglas.

During his four years of commendable service as County Judge, Mr. Douglas devoted most of his spare time to study of law ad late last fall successfully passed the bar examination in this state.

----------------

Surfacing of Coastal Highway Starts Next Week

Work of hard surfacing the Gulf Coast Highway will begin some time the first of the approaching week. The State Road Department has already made a request to the city to grant them water connections, this request having been complied with. It is surmised that the actual work will start where the paving leaves off in Millville at the cemetery corner and continue out to the east approach of the Alfred i duPont Bridge, spanning the east arm of St. Andrews Bay.

As soon as work is completed on the Fons A. Hathaway Bridge, across the west arm of the bay, which will be some time the latter part of this month, the thoroughfare from that bridge on into Panama City will be ready for hard surfacing by the State Road Department.

COMMENT.

1. FIRST READING THE CHEVY PUBLICITY I THOUGHT BOY, THEY SURE HAVE A LOT OF COACHES BUYING CARS, OR SOMEBODY BUYING CARS FOR THEM. THEN I REMEMBERED, "COACH" WAS THE NAME USED IN THOSE EARLIER DAYS FOR A TWO-DOOR SEDAN. 

2. AS A GM AND CHEVY FAN, I THINK NANCY DREW SHOULD HAVE DRIVEN A CHEVY ROADSTER INSTEAD OF A PLYMOUTH ROADSTER, SO I PICKED OUT THE ABOVE RED OPEN CAR FOR HER.

3. WHEN WE MOVED TO APALACHICOLA, THE COUNTY JUDGE WAS A MUCH-LOVED FORMER CLERK OF COURT WHO HAD EITHER RUN FOR OR BEEN APPOINTED JUDGE. SHE WAS NOT A LAWYER BUT KNEW HER STUFF. BY THE TIME SHE RETIRED, APPARENTLY STATE LAW HAD CHANGED SO THAT A JUDGE HAD TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BAR. APPARENTLY SOMETHING SIMILAR WAS THE CASE ALSO FOR JUDGE DOUGLAS, WRITTEN UP IN THE FRONT PAGE ARTICLE ABOVE.

4. GULF COAST HIGHWAY! BY THE TIME I CAME ALONG IN 1935 THE TWO MAIN BRIDGES INTO AND OUT OF BAY COUNTY HAD BEEN FINISHED. BEFORE THAT PEOPLE HAD TO USE FERRIES, OR THE TRAIN (WHICH IS HOW MY GRANDPARENTS TOOK ALFRED'S BODY TO PENSACOLA FOR BURIAL), OR I SUPPOSE DRIVE UP AND AROUND IDK, OR GO ON THE S.S. TARPON, WHICH IS HOW MY GRANDMOTHER BROUGHT MY FATHER FROM PENSACOLA HOME TO ST ANDREWS SOON AFTER HE WAS BORN.

TW





Monday, September 22, 2014

fissiparous?

a lunchbox full of gears

Fissiparous? Okay, Anu Garg, I’m off my rocker just enough to appreciate the unlimited notion of using word parts to create new words as needed. If Johnny can build himself a Cadillac “One Piece At A Time” http://www.metrolyrics.com/one-piece-at-a-time-lyrics-johnny-cash.html by sneaking out a part a day over 24 years, there’s no reason anyone has to be trapped in a dictionary. Webster can stuff it. One of my own words, “certitudinous” has often proved useful over the years and is at least as legitimate as the splendiferous new, unique and exclusive names that parents have been creating to damn their children to lives of crime. I don’t see working fissiparous into a sermon but might casually drop it into a blog post one early morning.

“U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms” reads today’s NYT headline. Seems that Peter Arnett was right, we’ll have to destroy the world in order to save it. What will it look like when we’re done? Cormac McCarthy has the answer in The Road. Some years ago I attended an EfM training session at Sewanee, where as part of each person introducing themselves I mentioned being a retired naval officer. Later someone on faculty, who had noted my saying that, said something to me about “your military mind,” which triggered my response in a rage of furious putdown that startled her into shutting up and everyone else at the table into astonished silence, but in retrospect probably proved her point. One of my least illustrious moments, that event comes to mind this morning as, thinking of ISIS beheading innocent Americans, I read the NYT headline and react “it’s about damn time.” I’ve not always been some fool politically correct preacher, nor am I yet when my closet door is left unlocked and the beast emerges. But “... in thought, word, and deed, ...” I’ll cover it again during confession next Sunday and the priest will absolve me for the moment.

Linda and I are cleaning up and out. Hundreds of books already taken to my office, and the church library, hundreds more on the dining room table downstairs yet to be carried to the car, which already has a load for her trip to the public library and other stuff for an animal welfare organization this morning. We’re at the grandparents’ standard plea, don’t give me things, just a hug, a chunk of cheese, a chocolate bar, bottle of red wine; and hear me when I say I love you: it’s not just words, it’s everything I am.

One of the things we’ve come across is this little stack of Panama City telephone directories that my mother laid aside. I was hoping they might date back into the thirties and forties, and there may be more; but the oldest I’ve come across, and am thumbing through at the moment, is February 1963. Being among those who complained years ago when our area code was changed from 904 to 850, I had forgotten that it once was 305. There’s the Studebaker, Packard, Mercedes-Benz dealership. The Willys Jeep dealer’s phone number is POplar 3-6581. Christo’s Five and Ten Cent store, and McCrory’s a couple doors down, are in the 400 block of Harrison Avenue. My grandmother had been dead sixteen years, but my grandfather was still at 1040 E. Caroline and sixteen months to go before he joined her. 

We were living in Ann Arbor and soon to head to Japan. February 1963: I'd voted for Nixon but Jack Kennedy was President, where were you?

Panama City Pilot old issues found in a box mama marked and stored away. Here’s the Thanksgiving A.D. 1931 Pilot reporting that the Cove Country Club has been thoroughly renovated and a golf pro from St. Charles, Missouri hired to be in charge. The issue for February 28, 1926 has a photo of the "beach front at the foot of Harrison Avenue eighteen years ago.” On November 12, 1936 the Pilot announces that the Ritz Theatre has a brand new, modernistic front. Front page of the same issue announces, “Three Negro Women Are in County Jail Because of Fights,” remember this is not my doing, I’m just copying and OMG how times have changed. The January 10, 1929 issue has a front page article I’ll have to read, “New Chevrolet Six Finds Large Demand.”

This December 27, 1937 issue of LIFE has an ad for Ipana toothpaste, pictures of Arturo Toscanini and his wife window-shopping, and an advertisement from Glover’s Mange Medicine for curing patchy baldness, dandruff and itching.

Here's an issue of “The Modern Priscilla” for November 1913 with an ad for the magnificent Wing Player Piano. 

And the June 1916 “Home Needlework Magazine.” Mama started sewing early, but not at four years old, so this would have been my grandmother Gentry’s magazine. “Do you need a Sewing Machine?”

Penny post card, no doubt.

W

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mike, Tom, and Paul

Away at a convention of USAF fighter pilots, Mike will not be with us in Sunday School this morning, it’ll be just me at the end table plus whoever wants to sit up there or down there with me and kibitz. 

The Episcopal Church observes the seasons of the church year, and we are in the Season after Pentecost, that long green season that stretches from Pentecost to Advent. In worship we read from a prescribed lectionary that runs in a three-year cycle. Because of our wonderful summer-into-fall of reading old Bible stories from the Old Testament during this Lectionary Year A, we’ve been talking about the Old Testament in Sunday School, and have had a couple of fascinating sessions. This morning, though, I think we'll digress because our lectionary launches a four-Sunday series of reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. So I think we may have this one Sunday School session as an introduction to Philippians.

The warmest and most loving of his extant letters, sometimes described as “sublime,” Paul seems to have written it about 50 to 60 A.D. to the church he founded with which he had the most positive relationship in the years that followed. 

Paul seems to have had three reasons for writing to his Philippian friends and converts to Christ -- 

The folks in Philippi took up a collection of money to help support Paul and his evangelical mission, and sent Epaphroditus to take the money to Paul, who writes back thanking them.

Paul seems to be in prison during this time, but doesn’t tell us where, so scholars like to argue about that and manage to sell lots of seminary textbooks with the arguments; but Paul finds that his being confined is a good thing because those who are competing with him in preaching Christ are bringing many people to Christ while he’s in jail, and Paul appreciates that.

Also, and perhaps the most interesting because it shows up elsewhere in Paul’s writings, Paul is constantly at odds with evangelists who are coming along behind him and telling folks that in order to become Christians they must first convert to Judaism and submit fully to Jewish law including circumcision. Vehemently disagreeing with this, Paul fights them bitterly, and the fight is clear in his writing as he insists that with Jesus there is a new covenant in which everyone is welcome, only Jews are bound to the Law of Moses and the practices of Abraham: Gentiles, the non-Jews to whom Paul is sent to preach Christ, are invited and welcome, come as you are, just as you are. Paul warns the Philippians to beware of these false preachers who bring a false gospel.

Many scholars think Philippians is not a "unity" but is actually three letters that Paul wrote to Philippi at different times, canonically cobbled together to form a letter that isn't necessarily cohesive or reasonably sequential. We might look at this in Sunday School this morning.

In Philippians chapter 2 there’s the famous so-called “Christ Hymn” which over the years has been misunderstood as Paul preaching the eternal divinity of Jesus Christ. But Paul was a monotheist Jew, high christology was/is a feature of the much later Gospel of John and the later Church, and the “hymn” is actually an exhortation to Paul’s readers to be humble as Jesus was humble. Maybe we’ll talk about it.

TW+ 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

... but no ...

Shame but No Apocalypse

Shame, isn’t it, disgraceful that sports in America, especially football -- at least that’s the one I’ve cared most about or paid most attention to since MLB faded decades ago -- shame that football and sports don’t lead in morality instead of responding to morality. Jameis the Jewel won’t be playing at all today instead of penalized half a game. It isn’t just CFB. Yesterday the commissioner, whom we looked at but muted because enough already, made his excuses for himself and NFL. Was it money and winning all along, or wasn’t there a time when honor, honesty and integrity were the rules of the game. No, there never was such a time, it’s something we say in church and Boy Scouts that has no meaning for life as we live it. And far back as you can go, every generation decries the new immorality. 

Yea, even God's ownself. Even unto Marcus Aurelius.

Am I ashamed to be American? Hell no and I am and have been as normally inhuman as you lot, close but no cigar and I too haven't tried all that hard either. So, Genesis 6:5-7, why hasn't there been another Flood? 

Oh, I almost forgot, Genesis 9:11. But then, James Baldwin said The Fire Next Time. Who doesn’t smell smoke needs to have eyes to see and ears to hear and watch the News. 



Friday, September 19, 2014

TGIF

TGIF

Strange this morning, at least it seems odd to me as a non weather person -- sitting up here in my bed with the blind open in the door so I can see out into the blackness, thought I glimpsed a quick flash of lightning. So I look at the iTitan weather display on my iPad to see what’s going on. Shows us and the entire northern Gulf of Mexico to the west of us from about Morgan City to, now as I watch, drifting into Apalachee Bay, covered in green, indicating rain, or rain clouds, with the entire -- I suppose it’s a system -- apparently moving eastward, such that we soon would be covered. However, and this is what caught my eye, right smack in the middle of it, south from Gulfport to Pensacola, is a band of yellow and orange clouds that seem to be fighting their way westward. Is it rotating? IDK, it seems to be more -- sliding -- sneaking -- the bottom sneaking east and the middle moving west and leaving its castoff part to the north of it drifting eastward and over us. WTH? 

If the thing is moving west I won’t worry about it. But I can’t really tell. At least it isn’t circular with a hole in the middle, it’s long and narrow, like somebody stepped on it and squashed it out flat but didn't kill it and it's still fighting to become what it's not yet. OK, tell me it isn't tropical and I'll relax.

No matter what happened yesterday, so as not to be distracted I’m not even glancing at A.Word.A.Day yet, much less email or the news. My mind is on my books. I have, I’ll have to count them, hundreds of books here, well, surely way more than one hundred, in my upstairs office, or study, or whatever I might call the upstairs bedroom at the northeast corner of this American Foursquare house. Yesterday and the day before I loaded them into my arms an armload at a time and lugged them downstairs. Some I’ve already taken to my office at the church. Once I get them all there, and I think it’ll be a couple hundred books, I’ll pick out any few I want to keep and set them aside. The rest I may put out on a table in the parish library for anyone to take. For the most part these are not books that would likely interest anyone browsing the public library, most are related to my vocation. Want a Greek N.T. and books on N.T. Greek? Got you covered. Want to read Frederick Buechner, John Claypool, Martin Bell, C.S. Lewis, Barbara Brown Taylor, ... ? Gotchoocovered.

Linda is doing the same with her collection of books, mostly novels, especially those very long historical novels in which series of books carry the reader across centuries.

Why are we doing this? Because there’s too much stuff in this, count them, 13 room plus one, two three, 4 1/2 bath house that’s over a hundred feet long counting covered porches at each end, and varies 33 to 45 feet wide. Built in 1912 for seven, and nearly doubled in footprint if not s.f. by Linda and me, there are two of us and three households of furniture and things crouching here with us. We are starting to clean house, eh? Books first. Maybe dishes next? Or furniture. Or art.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the huge walk-in attic is loaded. 

Want something? Need anything? 

TGIF is not for clergy, for clergy it’s TGIM. 

Pax


Tom+ still mucking along through +Time

OMG, I forgot, there's another couple hundred books in my downstairs study and in Joe's room ... aaahhhhhhgggg

Anybody need some sofas and chairs? How about my old Mickey Mouse doll? Or a car model? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whatever Am I Thinking?

Often as not, my daily blog post begins without prior thought as I start typing while sipping my first cup of coffee. Something occurs, evolves. Maybe after walking down the front concrete path for the PCNH and, looking out across my Bay, pausing to recall the flashing green light that, across his bay, cost Jay Gatsby his life because of a dream he so passionately believed in but, even as he died, never saw was not real, an illusion. ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω. His life and his dream were illusions. Was my dream real? I don’t know. It no longer matters. What matters is that I have no sermon for Sunday. 

If there are possibilities in the OT reading, say a Bible story I learned as a child, I prefer to find a sermon in that instead of my old Episcopal habit of standing in the pulpit and beginning yet one more time again, “In our gospel for today ...”. Yesterday in fact I was reading the Exodus 16 story of God and Moses and the whining, complaining, grousing Israelites in the wilderness, and the flaky white goo that the Lord rained down on them as bread. “Man-hu?” they asked, “Yuck, what is it? We're supposed to eat this?” Wandering from the NRSV translation from which we read in worship, off into the Orthodox Jewish Bible, an English language version that charmingly uses Yiddish and Hasidic cultural expressions, I started to explore a Hebrew-English interlinear that would have given my seminary OT professor thundering apoplexy, and realized, why am I doing this, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here and now or anyplace and ever, so deleted that blog post and wrote about Me, Myself. Persona v. Being. One you see, one I know.

There’s the crescent moon, high. At an earlier hour earlier in the week it was nearly half, pointing to Orion. Truck door closes and voices down on the Bay. Casting for mullet? Can’t say.

See? Mind of the octopriest. Despite “often as not,” this morning’s blog post began otherwise because I couldn’t resist peeking at what delight Anu Garg might have for me this morning. Even better than I’d hoped. This week he’s serving adverbs, verily, my favorite flavor of words. Today it’s perchance but Tuesday took me back -- what? -- sixty years? His name slips my mind, but my law professor in the business school at UFlorida was -- second only to my German professor when I was pre-theology before psychology 301 or whatever number nearly decapitated me -- my all time favorite professor as an undergrad. He was captivating as a lecturer and instructor, you didn’t take your eyes or ears off him lest you miss something, and with him another chance to laugh. He kept using a fortiori until somebody said you sound like some lawyer and he said I am some lawyer and have been for many, many years, and told everybody to use a fortiori in the exam at least once. 

Tuesday morning, Anu Garg thought he had me, but I was already there, have known a fortiori 60/80ths of my life. As those who do higher math know, that's 3/4 -- 75%.


Today, perchance, good. But Anu's thought for today is superb: Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. - Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784). It’s agape’ which is the New Testament word for love. To put it extreme, I can hate your guts, but the Second Commandment requires me to be nice to you. Love is not a feeling, it’s how you treat people.


And yes, that’s MLP this morning.


W+ 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Me, Myself, and

Me, Myself, and
An expert is someone carrying a briefcase who arrives from out of town to tell you you’re wrong. No expert, I know not much about anything but a little about several things. Like everyone, my range of knowing is different from yours. Our knowing overlaps variously yet is not common, e.g., a St. Andrews Bay native, graduate of a theological seminary and the naval war college, yet expert in nothing, I’ve some knowing that others don’t. A bishop laid hands on, mashed me down, and ordained me to wear a goofy white collar that fools the naive into assuming I’m expert. Not so, yet when I wear the fool thing they call me “Father.” Who, me?
Just as when I wore the coat with stripes and the hat with scrambled eggs they called me “Sir.” Don't call me Sir.
It was only me.
Our knowing is different. Our knowing and also our having been. Stirring the knowing and the having been, each is so different that no two match. Different knowing and being.
If I offer a Sunday School class and a Bible Seminar, people come, some illusioned that I'm expert, others confident I will share my different knowing and having been. None see that my different knowing hardly fills a teacup. Barely enough Greek to do minor damage, no Hebrew, and the older I get the more discouraging my attempts at learning, but I say the first line of the shema and recognize אֶהְיֶה as the name God told Moses from the burning bush. 
No prophet, no expert, a St. Andrews Bay native, I am still, always, just and only a local.
My credential? Gone forty years, scripturally enough to return with briefcase, collar, and peripheral knowing, and be called Father instead of Bubba. And Sir.
Oh, it's only you, Tom.
W+

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sand Frog

Across the Bridge

At least for those of us who enjoy the predawn darkness, it is so easy to love a predawn thunderstorm. Now Dasher, now Dancer, it came rumbling noisily through, awakening me from the slight doze to which I’d returned after Father Nature’s quick traipse. In a Navy ship, a headcall, but in those days it didn’t strike during the wee hours. Lightning and thunder, on Donder and Blitzen, and the sound of rain on the upstairs porch roof just outside my door. I went out to appreciate it for a moment and check for the PCNH, not there yet, and to read the thermometer, just over 80F and gaspingly muggy. Back inside just as the storm, which had a chance to make itself proud but didn't, drifts on off toward Apalachicola. 

The iTitan program on my iPad shows another string of yellow revolving toward me from just this side of Fort Walton Beach. 

Stretching from Grand Isle to Ocala, this weather system covers this entire part of the Gulf of Mexico. It has its back arched to the north and is rotating slightly clockwise, which means nothing to worry about, just enjoy the sound and fury. It would be nice if its bite is as wet as its bark, but typically these late summer storms go either slightly south of us, pouring on Shell Island, or just up the road, drenching Advance Auto Parts and the Hertz outlet at 15th and Frankford, but leaving us parched. 

Here comes a little more now, and the newspaper’s there at the end of the path. But I’m not going downstairs and out yet. Hoping it is but betting it isn’t, I’ll trust the carrier double-bagged it this morning. 

Across the Bridge. Yesterday Linda and I had an adventure, left here about ten-thirty or eleven, drove out to the beach and explored the eastern shore from Bridgewater to Bay Point and on across the Lagoon bridge to Thomas Drive and Schooners. My mouth was set for the oyster basket until someone laid the blue menu in front of us and said “we’re still having our lobsterfest” so we both ordered from that. OK but Buddy Boy, this ain’t Maine, next time I'm with the local shellfish. On the beach just beyond our table someone was sculpting an enormous frog in the sand. Beautiful, and really well done. I should have gotten a picture but was busy texting Tass and Kristen.

After lunch we browsed back along the bayshore, returning to Magnolia Beach looking across toward St. Andrews. When I was a boy nothing was over there before WW2 but Major Wood’s homestead. True to its name, the place is covered with magnolia grandiflora, and from one place we stood on the quiet and peaceful bayshore looking straight across at the Port. That freighter looked close enough to toss a stone across and hit it if I were George Washington.

Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.


TW

Monday, September 15, 2014

Life Is Good

Life Is Good

If Life is to be not simply Good but Better, Best to be comparative, superlative, Life might include some treats, eh? Friday morning we stopped at Somethin’s Cookin’ and caught my eye a treat that Linda totally forbids, liverwurst, as heart unhealthy, so I no longer eat it. As a child I loved liverwurst sandwiches, thick on bread with butter. The liverwurst my mother bought was sliced, and you peeled the protective string of fat off each slice; this was just the little sausage.

Anymore the only time I had liverwurst in recent years was a long October weekend Linda and Pat went to the church women’s conference at Blue Lake up near Andalusia, and that was several years ago. She never suspected and if she doesn’t read this blog post my secret is still good. 

But there it was Friday morning at Somethin’s Cookin’, Deutschland über alles, the real thing, just a tiny sausage, and I bought it for my 90th birthday treat in case I don't make ninety. Jeremy helped me eat it, and I ate the last bit as early breakfast with black coffee from beans Becky brought Tass from Tanzania.

Monday mornings Robert and I walk, maybe an extra mile for the Leberwurst. Home to shower, then to staff meeting at church, home again to pore over the Gospel of Peter for tomorrow morning’s Bible Seminar. 


TW+

Sunday, September 14, 2014

octopriest

octopriest

CFB heart attack day, however all but one of my teams won, Michigan, PennState, South Carolina, Florida Gators. My only loss was whoever was playing Ohio State. My teams would have had a second loss except that FSU had a bye week. 

For next week there’s not the slightest chance of another rained out cancellation, the only hope is that the Gators get lost on the way to Tuscaloosa. For chrissake, Will, take the wrong exit.

Okay, it’s official, Bubba is 79 in spite of myself, starting my eightieth year this morning. Does this render me an octogenarian, or must I wait to actually complete the eighty? I claim it anyway. 

My parents named me Thomas Carroll Weller, Jr. and the first two years of my life we lived in a house across from a ball diamond on Frankford Avenue, a dirt road, a block from where my grandparents were living on Baker Court. In 1937 my parents built the house on Massalina Drive: it was finished and we moved there in January 1938 a couple weeks before Gina was born. Walt was born a year and a half later, and the three of us grew up in that house, played in the surrounding thick woods, and went to Cove School and Bay High. This house where Linda and I live today my grandparents built in 1912. My parents acquired it in 1962. Mine now, it’s a great place to live but the longer we’re here the huger it gets. I won’t be the last octogee to notice that sort of thing.

Happy birthday to the holy man


T