Especially when Altar Guild folks are still at work, it’s a little close in the room we call “sacristy” but the tiny space adjacent to the sanctuary (in the proper Episcopal sense of the word) also houses the wardrobe that during my tenure I had built to hang clergy vestments — still including at least one of my chasubles, the plain green one, that I left there upon retiring in 1998), but all that was finished and done as last Sunday afternoon I vested for our three o’clock baptism, so I had the room to myself. Making my entry in the Service Record Book, and signing it, I glanced round but did not see the Parish Register for official note of Nick’s baptism, but maybe the rector will write and sign it or myself another visit.
But I did spot there, on the countertop, a rather tattered priest’s copy of The Book of Common Prayer, red, hard leather-bound cover, that gave me pause and a start. Looking like, it reminded me that somewhere in various travels I had forgot and left my own copy a few years ago; so I picked it up and looked inside: sure enough, mine. Delight, an unexpected gift to find it again. I’d ordered it in 1983 when first ordained, and’d taken it here and there as needed, my liturgical aid in numerous weddings, baptisms, funerals over the decades, and missing it a year or two ago, quietly mourned its loss, no idea where I’d left it. Was lost and is found in a week when Luke tells us Jesus’ parable about a lost sheep and a lost coin. My lost book.
My preference this morning would be a slightly chill morning to bundle up and sit outside on 7H porch to think, but it’s nice enough out here, reading, reminiscing, starting to write, another cup of coffee as a larger Navy craft makes for the open sea. No worries, she’ll return in time for Happy Hour.
So, what do I fear, of what am I so afraid? Having watched history, of being silenced. Of the new politically correct, its vicious rudeness, violence at those who disagree. Having watched history. Speak for your own, in my lifetime I have observed, am still watching, “Christians” especially dismantle what Lewis calls the Tao, principles of common human decency, disintegration of a moral core perhaps best in my memory laid out as “had to destroy the village in order to save it,” and photographs of dead infants. Let the reader understand. The nation I was so proud of, sang about in my childhood, served my life for, no longer exists, overlaid by an incredible grotesquery of personal rights.
Breakfast this morning. Lemon water early. Black and Dark. More black. Article a friend sent. Five “extra small” Willamette oysters roasted then spread on a sandwich of extra thin w.w. bread, drizzle of olive oil, toasted again. Another cup of black.
This time next week I’ll have been eighty-one for a day, still trudging through +Time+, the word is inexorably. To what might I go back if Alley Oop knocked on my BeckDoor with a time machine. Maybe late summer 1984, forty-eight and will turn forty-nine next week, standing in an old kitchen, looking out across the back fence as I lay Apalachicola oysters on two slices of whole wheat bread and shove them into the toaster oven, hurrying because George Chapel will knock on the rectory door any second.
Would I really go there? Does it matter? If I could go there, what would I change the second time round? Or might I go back to that 1928 photograph around here somewhere that's marked Louise 16, Tom 17 ...