Today’s Memory

ATL Cancer Care Sign

Today, I went to my doctor’s office for a routine echocardiogram.

His office is one floor from Lynda’s chemo-oncologist.

I dropped by Atlanta Cancer Care today to say “hello” to the office manager who handled all of our appointments and was so kind and generous.

I’m grateful for the hope that the doctors and staff were able to give Lynda…and me.  I can’t figure out how everyone there keeps going forward in the midst of all the difficult news they have to dispense.

It’s a place where there often is not any hope.

But ours lasted 16 months and I’m grateful.

Crying at the Post Office

Postage Stamp

 

A couple of days ago, I went to the post office to mail a package.

There was a L-O-N-G…L-O-N-G line.

A woman joined me at the end of the line and asked the young woman in front of me if we would hold her spot in line while she ran to Kroger to get an item.  She promised she’d return before we got to the front of the line.

Shortly afterwards, she returned and she and the young woman in front of me began conversing.  This “Kroger woman” was wonderful.  She engaged the young woman in terrific conversation.  She had brought her a snack from the Kroger deli.

Within minutes, she learned that the young woman was looking for work, had geriatric experience, and was available to help the “Kroger woman” with issues related to her mother.  I enjoyed listening to them exchange emails, addresses, etc.

Then I looked on my iPhone at Elizabeth’s debut blog (search for adverturouslyauthentic on WordPress—You can also look at my list of BLOGS I FOLLOW.)

While standing in line at the post office, I began to cry.  (Yes, I did!)

The “Kroger woman” turned and asked me:  “Are you having a particularly tough day, sir?”

I told her that I was not but that I was just simply moved by my daughter’s writing in her blog.

We talked all the way to the counter.  She asked if I’d send her the link to Elizabeth’s blog.  Then she walked me all the way to my car where she told me about the “Ladder of Charity” that was a part of her Jewish beliefs.

It was an absolutely wonderful and spontaneous encounter.

Meeting and conversing with her…was terrific.  But Elizabeth’s writing (in her debut blog and again today) brought the tears.

I’d suggest following her blog if you want to have some adventure and explore being authentic.

It may make you cry.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Lynda and Bureaucracies…and All Saints’ Pews

You all have probably experienced the passing of a loved one and then had issues with bureaucracies dealing with this issue.

This week, I had two to deal with.

Verizon Bill for Lynda's Phone Came This Week

Verizon Bill for Lynda’s Phone Came This Week

First, Verizon did not “drop” Lynda’s phone as I requested.  They put the phone on a “hold” and recently reinstated it without letting me know.  So yesterday, I went to Verizon with a bill for her phone…and stayed until I got it fixed!

DeKalb's Retirement Luncheon Invitation Came This Week

DeKalb’s Retirement Luncheon Invitation Came This Week

Second, Lynda got an invitation from DeKalb County Schools inviting her to a retirement luncheon.  They KNOW of her death…but the invitation, I’m sure, was initiated by a computer.

These issues are irritating (I don’t have to tell you!).

Pews at All Saints' Take a Break

Pews at All Saints’ Take a Break

Went to All Saints’ today and found that our 100+ year old pews are out being re-invigorated.  They should return to duty soon.

Hope you’re having a good Sunday!

Summer Singers of Atlanta—First Rehearsal

The Tenors and Director William Baker

The Tenors and Director William Baker

Last night I had my first rehearsal of the Atlanta-wide choir I joined this summer—The Summer Singers of Atlanta.

We had just over 100 singers directed by William Baker.

A friend from All Saints’ has sung in this choir for a while and when she visited the condo in November she urged me to join…and I did.

Last night we sight-read all the music we will be doing on Sunday afternoon, August 3rd…Mozart’s Requiem and several pieces by American composers who were contemporaries of Mozart.

Difficult music…but the experience will challenge me mentally and physically.  Getting out each Monday night for rehearsal will be an excellent social event for me.

Can’t wait to get online and watch the tenor practice videos.

I hope you are happy for me.  I’m doing very well all the way around!

Terrific Friend, Worldwide Missionary, and Fellow Dork

Terrific Friend---Steve Moore

Terrific Friend—Steve Moore

On Wednesday afternoon, I met Steve Moore at the Atlanta airport where we shared a 2 hour+ meal during his 5 hour stay over.  Steve had been in Italy (near Venice) for over two weeks with a group of volunteers from his home church in Ft. Smith, Arkansas doing some work with a new evangelical church he and a similar group had started on a trip there over three years ago.

Steve and I started seminary on the same day.  We became terrific friends and have remained so for over 40 years.  Our seminary “group” was known as the DORKS (and I’ve told you about them already).

Steve and Laura Moore

Steve and Laura Moore

Steve and his wife Laura kept Elizabeth (our daughter) overnight on the first trip we did out of town after having her—a trip in which we needed someone we trusted implicitly to care for her.  It was easy for us to choose Steve and Laura.  This was before their three children came along.

On Sunday we had fun catching up with each other’s lives.

Both he and Laura came last fall to see Lynda…and Steve even came another time that fall.

You don’t have many friends like them…and I’m sure glad I do.

No Name Book Group Ends Its Run

Wally, Lynda, Claudia, Wayne, (Jonathan---was in Austin but, thanks to Barbara's creativity, we took him with us), Thomas, Ralph, and Barbara

Wally, Lynda, Claudia, Wayne, (Jonathan—was in Austin but, thanks to Barbara’s creativity, we took him with us), Thomas, Ralph, and Barbara

Twenty years ago this July, I met with five people who would become life-long friends: Thomas and Barbara Dorn, Ralph Roughton, Jonathan Jay, and Wayne Grinstead. I’d known Wayne a dozen years earlier but that month we both joined a book group consisting of these people.

They became “the best friends ever.” I even performed the marriage ceremony for Thomas and Barbara some time after we began the group. In later years, Jonathan moved to Virginia, and Claudia Dickerson and Lynda Buckner became regular members.

We would meet (usually at first at the Dorn’s condo in Decatur—and then at Ralph’s condo in Dunwoody). Every July 4th we had a celebration at the Dorns and every Christmas the group met at our condo and enjoyed Lynda’s book-related table decorations.

Alpha

Alpha

The first book we read in July 1994 was Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.

Omega

Omega

Last month, the final book we read as a group was Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman.

In the intervening months, we read many GREAT books…including what we called “tomes” like these…The Magic Mountain (Thomas Mann), Les Miserables (Victor Hugo), Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy), The Odyssey (Homer), Moby Dick (Herman Mehlville), and Ulysees (James Joyce).

As you can probably tell, we were a bit “high brow.” We never read (to discuss) a John Grisham novel.

But last night, via email, we decided to remain friends forever but to stop our monthly meetings. Each family grouping has issues (and you know mine!)…and I believe we are a bit tired…and growing older.

I looked forward to each time our group met.

Years ago, when book groups began taking names (eg. The Jane Austen Book Group), we chose our own name: The No Name Book Group! We couldn’t be like every other group.

We’d get together (nearly) each month, catch everyone up on our lives, talk about popular culture issues, movies we had seen, and then someone would mention the book of the month…and discussion would follow. After the discussion died down, one of the members served a small dessert and then anyone could nominate a book to read for the next month.  It was always marvelous.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

One Memorial Day Weekend (2002), we all took a road trip together. The No Namers flew to Milwaukee to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum. The building designed by a hero of our group, Santiago Calatrava, was breathtaking and we wanted to experience the space. We had so much fun.

I was the unofficial archivist for the group and for a long time regular kept an official list of books we had read.

NNBG Map

NNBG Map

I also began recording the authors we had read on a world map which led to discussions about what author we could read to fill a spot on a blank country on our map.

We are all serious readers…but the Dorns tell stories that stick in my imagination.

One summer, we were all to read books of our own choosing and then get together in September and report to the group about our reading experiences. In September, Thomas reported that he had read seven (yes, seven) Japanese novels (in translation). My question was: “Why?”

Barbara would at times confess that she had only read each left hand page!

Once when she was speaking to a coworker about needing to leave work on time because she had book group, her coworker asked: “What do you all talk about? Like how far you got?”

I will still continue reading (especially books recommended by the No Namers). And I will continue my close relationship with these people.

But I will miss our monthly gatherings.

What a wonderful set of memories I have because of these folks.

Love to each.

 

 

Memorial Weekend in Asheville, NC

Tree at Bird Sanctuary in Asheville, NC

Tree at Bird Sanctuary in Asheville, NC

Sorry I haven’t been sending out blogs.  I’ve been out of town with friends in Asheville, NC.  If you’ve been there, you know what a great, entertaining place it is.

Will try to send more info out in the next day or so.

Thanks for your love and thoughts on my behalf.

Doing well!

 

Silence and Quietness in the Rain

All Saint's Episcopal Church Sanctuary

All Saint’s Episcopal Church Sanctuary

I arrived at church this morning shortly after 8:30am for the 9:00am service. I like to arrive early and to sit, meditate, and listen to good music on my iPhone (with earphones). Today I was the first to arrive.

 

Before going into the sanctuary, I went by Lynda’s grave for a brief “chat.” It was a good way to begin the day at All Saints’.

 

Today’s service is what we call a celebration of Rite 13. It acknowledges the transition of young boys and girls and their growth into becoming young men and young women. For Episcopalians, we celebrate this rite when after the youth have their their thirteenth birthdays.

 

The liturgy involved our rector, the young celebrants, their parents, the congregation, and our current youth group. At the conclusion of the Rite 13 liturgy, at the altar the youth leave their parents (who sit on one side of the sanctuary) and join the current youth group (sitting on the opposite side).

 

It was a very nice ceremony and I love the “theatrics of worship” which Episcopalians “get” (moving from one side of the sanctuary to the other).

 

You’ve probably heard me talk or write about how I enjoy the silence that is a vital part of Episcopalian services. Today was no exception.

 

Today, I sat quietly before the service and thought about a poem by Madeleine L’Engle that a friend sent to me this week. It was published in Plough in November/December 1995.

 

In prayer

The stilled voice learns

To hold its peace, to listen with the heart

To silence, that is joy, is adoration.

The self, is shattered, all words torn apart

In this strange patterned time of contemplation

That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me

And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.

 

Hope you are having a good Sunday and staying dry!

Sewing Items Moving On…and BLUES Memorabilia

Susan Vinson Sorting Cloth

Susan Vinson Sorting Cloth

Sewing Items

Today, for whatever reason, was the day Lynda’s sewing items began moving to new homes.

Her “new” sewing machine (4-years-old) went to a good friend who I have breakfast with each Saturday…Pam Higginbotham.  She’s coming back next week to look at the Bernina chair Lynda used.

The almost 40 year old Bernina 830 was taken by Susan Vinson—the Gift of a Day Coordinator at Crossroads Hospice.  Susan walked up as we were examining the Muffy’s on Wednesday and they immediately showed her the “sewing Muffy” since they knew she was a seamstress affiliated with the 450-member Atlanta Sewing Guild.  We talked and arranged for her to come by this morning to look at all the fabric Lynda had stored…and to take any non-sold sewing machine home to photograph and sell for me to a Guild member.  Susan has a Bernina 840 so she was very familiar with Berninas.

She was mesmerized and filled with joy as she took the fabric out of the cedar chest and packed it to take home.

I’m very glad that these items are going to places where they will be highly valued.  Lynda’s spirit keeps on giving, right?

Framed Blues Memorabilia

Framed Blues Memorabilia

Blues Memorabilia

Yesterday my framing company, Avery Gallery in Marietta, called to say that the items I had given them from my trip to see the St. Louis Blues in March was framed and ready to be picked up.  They did a beautiful job (as they have on nearly every item in the condo).  Thanks again to my brother, Mark, for the tickets, the press pass, and for arranging the on-ice photo.  Had a great time.