Friday, February 24, 2012

enough is enough...and everything is beautiful

Tomorrow I'll preach at the memorial service of Dick Harris, 87, who was a friend and a supporter.

In less than 6 months I've preached at the funerals of Reed Smith, Bill Penfield, Kay Bergin, Sue Parker, Zeinith Punter and tomorrow, Dick Harris.

Plus, my remarkable friend, Norman Harrower died but left explicit orders that their not be a funeral or memorial service.

I don't know if I more resent not being able to honor Norman or having to honor the half-dozen dear, dear people I've preached for to God and whoever else was listening....

It's beginning to wear on me. All this dying.

Today I took the Puli to walk the canal. The town of Cheshire plows the pathway brilliantly. The only snow on the asphalt had fallen from trees.

Snow was falling from the trees into the water of the canal. Those remarkable concentric circles water has were spreading out and colliding with other concentric circles of water. It was the "Chaos Theory" in action.

And it was beautiful.

The dog and I had the canal all to ourselves. The silence was deafening. Bela didn't go darting off in all directions, sniffing madly. He walked right beside me for a half a mile out and a half a mile back. At the beginning he had peed a quart or so and at the end he pooped copiously. But in between, he walked at my heel and seemed, in my understanding, at any rate, to notice how beautiful it was--how quiet, how absent of humans, how lovely....

'Course he didn't, I know that, it was just that the snow made smells of other dogs muted so he just walked with me.

All those wondrous people were like the concentric circles in the water of the canal. Their lives swirled out and out, touching so many and making chaotic patterns in the river of life.

Sometimes I am simply astonished by how beautiful life and people are.

I subscribe to the Chaos Theory of wonderment....And I am so glad to have known those people, now dead, and to hold them in my heart.

Ponder, for a moment or so, the dead you hold in your heart....You'll realize, I believe, something about the beauty of life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why I didn't eat chicken as a boy

I was in New York on Friday, having lunch with my daughter and Tim, her companion. On the way through Grand Central someone handed me a pamphlet "25 Reasons to be Vegetarian". I've looked it over and though I was vegetarian for several years when Bern and I were first married, I don't think I'll go back to a meatless life.

But I didn't eat chicken when I was a boy because of one of the reasons for being Vegetarian--"would you be willing to kill the animals you eat?"

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother as a child. She lived up on a hill in Conklintown, WV, just five miles or so from Anawalt, where I lived. Gramma's name was Lina Manona Sadler Jones and she was like a wondrous grandmother for me. Except for the chicken thing....

Gramma kept chickens and ducks. I ate lots of duck eggs in those days but I wouldn't eat chicken. Gramma also had an outhouse--a two seater (consider who you'd sit next to to have a bowel movement...) I can't come up with a single person....During the cold winter months, the chickens and ducks would lay around the outhouse and you'd have to shoo them out of the way to go in. Human waste decaying produces a remarkable amount of heat. I never thought it was very cold in the outhouse and the birds just wanted to absorb some heat.

When she wanted to fry chicken, Gramma would go out in the yard and pick up one of the chickens, hold it gently in her arms, talk to it softly and then, quicker than the eye could follow, she would wring that chicken's head right off with her hand and throw it away so the gushing blood wouldn't hit us. "Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off" rings really true to me! It was the weirdest thing to watch that chicken run around for a while, spouting blood, before it fell over and Gramma picked it up and took it to the porch to pick off the feathers.

In spite of that experience, I would have probably eaten chicken, but the next step was to singe off the pin feathers with the open flame of her wood cook stove. The smell of that was worse than outhouse smell by a long shot. It made me gag.

So, that's why I didn't eat chicken as a boy. More the loss since I was told by all my cousins that Gramma's fried chicken was the best in the world....

A stranger story than mine was why my father never ate turkey. He grew up on a turkey farm and you didn't eat the cash crop. So, he and his brothers and sister were told turkey tasted dry and stringy and only people in the city would ever eat it. When he left home to work in the coal mines, he stayed in a boarding house. One day he told the woman who ran the boarding house that the meal she served that night was 'the best roast chicken I've ever tasted"

The woman laughed. "That was turkey, Virgil," she told him. She had to take him in the kitchen to show him the carcass before he would believe her.

Ponder what necessary lies we tell children....

Ponder why you don't eat certain things....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Goat in my food trap

I have this terrible food trap back in my last two molars on the upper right side of my mouth. I just spent 5 minutes clearing out the goat meat. Goat, it seems to me, is one of the most stubborn food stuffs--requiring picks, and two kinds of floss.

There is a reason I have goat in my food trap--I helped with the funeral of Zenith Punter today and there was goat at the reception after the interment.

Zenith was a couple of years younger than I am. She was married to Vincent and had 4 or more kids, my favorite of which was Keshia, the youngest daughter. There were 450 people at the funeral, almost all of them natives of Barbuda--a tiny island near Antigua.... It always seemed to me that there were as many Barbudans in Waterbury as there were back on the island. I know that's not true, but it seemed that way.

The first time I ever tasted goat--which I like, by the way--was at a Barbudan funeral in my first few years of the two decades + I spent at St. John's. I didn't know what it was--it tasted a bit like pork but not as sweet and was horrified when someone told me it was goat. But I liked it. (It's sort of like when I ate tongue in Israel and loved it until someone told me what it was....)

Zenith was part of a remarkable extended and extended some more family at St. John's. I always referred to them as "The Webber's" since "Mrs." Webber was the matriarch of the whole clan. I always called her "Mrs. Webber" and she always called me "Father Bradley" (though her accent made it "Fadder Bradley"). That was our way. I tried to make her call me 'Jim', but that wasn't going to happen. And I never even considered calling her "Renetta". We were very close, but our closeness was because of our respect for each other.

At any rate, the "Webber Family" was vast and far-flung and occasionally descended on St. John's, like at Renetta's significant birthdays or the baptism of some of the children. An elegant, refined, wondrous family they are. All the men are handsome and all the women are beautiful and all the children are astonishingly well behaved.

Two stories about 'the family'.

Seminarians would come and go at St. John's, and to a one they would at some point ask me, "why do most of the Black people sit together?" like something was wrong. I would say, what it you so 30 or 40 people sitting together, all with red hair and freckles? They would ponder and say--"a family?"

Precisely, I'd say.

Then there were the people with children who would tell me they wanted to come to church more often but 'the children, you know, just can't sit through it'. And I would invite them to watch the Barbudan children who not only 'sat through it' but sat through it with white gloves on the girls and suits and ties on the boys.

This family meant so much to me. I'm sure they don't know how much.

Today, though it's only been two years, when I saw the children I nearly wept and rejoiced all at once. So grown up, the ones I knew as adolescents, so refined, those I knew as grammar school age. Astonishing how powerful DNA is--these are GOOD people.

Good people who eat goat.

There seemed to be one station empty on the endless food line. There was scalloped potatoes, ziti (obviously a food learned from our culture) , green beans, mac and cheese, goat, ham and chicken in two directions. So I handed out scalloped potatoes to half of that 450 group.

Michele, the one who seemed in charged, asked me why I was serving. I told her, "today I am an honorary member of this family."

Raven, who was doing the pasta beside me and is about five inches taller than me though she's still in high school and incredibly beautiful, looked at me and said, "Father Bradley, you've always been a member of our family...."

I could have wept then and there.

May the expansive soul of Zenith and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Hysterical Society

So when Henry and Jose and their 5 man crew showed up to work on the roof (probably doubling the number of Hispanics in Cheshire this morning) Henry went to Town Hall to get a building permit. Strange, I thought, since they'd already done a full day's work and finished about a quarter of the shingles. But another contractor today told me people do that a lot since building permits for roofs are pro forma most of the time. They are really great guys and are doing a remarkable job and leave the site immaculate.

Since having 7 people on the roof hammering and scraping makes our already neurotic dog a basket case, thinking he has to protect us from the onslaught, I was in bed reading and he was beside me. (The bedroom is the only place he'll calm down and stop barking.) I was half asleep when Bern came in and said, "the have to stop working".

I showed a sleepy uncomprehending look and she said, "Go talk to Henry."

"The guy was signing the permit," he told me, "and started to hand it to me when he noticed the address again. He said, 'which end of Cornwall is this on?' and when I told him the Route 10 end, he took back the permit."

So the guy who gives building permits said to stop whatever they were doing since this would have to go by the Historic Commission. That had never occurred to me since we were replacing shingles with shingles and not making a structural change. It seemed like normal and needed maintenance to me.

So I go to talk to the guy at Town Hall who is the staff liaison to the Historic Commission and the Planning and Zoning Committee. He shook my hand and looked extremely grave. "I don't want to put you to any trouble," he said and proceeded to put me to a great deal of trouble.

He laboriously explained that a new roof is, in fact, an alteration to my frigging 1850 house that needed either an exemption or approval from the Commission. So I filled out a form for an exemption since I consider a new roof 'maintenance', gave him a check for $25 for the privilege of filling out the form for an exemption and told me again he didn't want to cause me any problems and he was sure this could be resolved at the March 5 meeting of the Historic Commission which, obviously, has no process to do anything except at their monthly meetings! I was about to say, "isn't there someone I can bribe?" when I realized Planning and Zoning people probably wouldn't realize it was a joke and I'd be in big trouble....

So I come back to talk to Henry and Jose and explain the bad news. They cleaned up (though the guy at Town Hall told them not too) and nailed a huge blue tarp to the part of the roof that is exposed (though the guy told them not too).

So I have to bring a sample of the current shingle and a sample of the shingle that covers a quarter of my house to the Historic Commission Meeting on March 5, not make jokes and ask pretty please for an exemption to whatever rule we have seemed to violate. Given I have a quarter of my house with new shingles, a quarter with old shingles and half shingle less, It seems a weird exercise.

(I'm no good with Historic Preservation people. When I was Rector of St. John's in Waterbury we wanted to tear down an old building for more parking. A church needing more parking seemed a good thing to me but, lo and behold, it was in the historic district and we had to go to the state Historic Commission to get permission. I went to the first of several meetings and listened to the Commission drone on about the historic significance of that building and offering options to tearing it down. Finally, I interrupted and said, "It's just an old building...."

They had to adjourn for a few minutes to get their composure back and the lay folks never let me go to another meeting with the State Historic Commission....)

Maybe I'll change my voter registration to Republican or Libertarian and start protesting with the Tea Party dudes about 'getting government out of our lives'....

Well, that won't happen, but I was feeling a bit homicidal after meeting with the P and Z guy....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Things I learn walking my dog

This morning I walked my dog, Bela (who is a bad dog we love ultimately), down on the old Canal Greenway and we were assaulted by the songs of a myriad of birds, more birds than I've heard since September.

Even Bela stopped several times and listened. It was a concerto that sounded to me a lot like Spring.

I hope they didn't come back too soon, for their sakes. I don't want birds whose timing was off to die on a February Connecticut night. But, for my sake, I hope their centuries of DNA told them right and soon all the birds will be back. I've missed them. I lean toward Spring....

Then, at 5:30 or so, when night was coming on hard--though later each day by a few minutes (God bless the tilting of the earth back toward the sun in the Northern Hemisphere)--I walked Bela down on Main Street, hoping he'd do his business somewhere close to the huge house of the bad man who used to live across the street from us and yelled, unmercifully, at his kids. I'd have picked it up, but I don't like that man and like that Bela often poops near his house. (Once, a few years ago, he came out when I was walking Bela and yelled at me. He yelled something like this: "Your dog always urinates and defecates near my house! I want that stopped! My children smell it in their rooms!) Nevermind that I had a plastic grocery bag in my pocket and nevermind that picked up dog defecation and un-picked up dog urination couldn't possibly be smelled on the second floor of his house. And never mind that I heard him yell equally irrational things at his kids when they lived across the street. Never mind all that--who in the hell says "defecates' and 'urinates' when they are angry and yelling???

If he has enough self-restraint to not say "shits and pisses" when he's yelling, why doesn't he have enough self-restraint not to yell at a neighbor or his kids? Go figure....

We walked down toward the Town Hall and three of the Tea Party guys who are there several drive times a week were in front of Town Hall.

They had three signs.


Well, I voted for Obama before and will again. I'm a 'yellow dog democrat', but believe you me, our President is not a 'socialist'. I actually wish he was. He's a moderate Democrat, much more moderate than me. I can't for the life of me understand that sign or why someone would write it or hold it.

The second said, EXTREMISM IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM IS NO VICE. That's a quote from Barry Goldwater. I was a devotee of Barry Goldwater when I was 17 years old. I was a convinced conservative back then. I even spray painted AUH2O on several public buildings, which meant I could have been arrested for vandalism except my father's two brothers owned most of the little town where I lived and being a Bradley was license to deface.

Then I heard Barry Goldwater promised to privatize the Tennessee Valley Authority, a government entity that provided cheap electric power for a vast swath of Appalachia. That he thought a private company would be as generous as the government had been woke me up.

That's when I grew up and became a Liberal.

I didn't mind the Goldwater quote at all. I actually believe it, just not the way the Tea Party guys do.


Bela and I stood there for 10 minutes or so, watching the three old guys (all of which, I imagine, haven't sent back their Social Security checks or torn up their Medicare cards!) try to hold three signs and two American flags between them.

It was drive time and Cheshire's two major industries are Garden Centers and traffic--mostly on Route 10--Main Street to natives--so Bela and I waited and watched and listened.

Only 4 cars honked in 10 minutes out of several hundred that passed by. An unscientific poll at best. But it gave me faith.

Then, here's the awful thing. The three guys left, gathering their flags and signs and I watched them go. They had parked in the parking lot of Town Hall!!!!

Wait a frigging minute! If you "hate government" and yet you stand on Town property and park in a Town Hall parking lot, isn't that a bit hypocritical. Do you hate the ground you stand on and the parking lot you use? The Town of Cheshire is, last time I looked, a organ of GOVERNMENT, that hated, reviled thing. When people 'honk' do you want the sidewalk to disappear and your cars to fall into a black hole because both are 'government property'?

Don't ever try to tell me, not ever, never in anyway, that IRONY isn't writ large in the world we live in.....

And I, for one, am glad about that.

Irony makes the world go 'round so far as I can see....

Honk if you love IRONY.....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

stacking wood

Did I tell you I've been stacking wood? Of course I did to impress you that I have physical prowess as well as intelligence and great good looks. (I can also cook....)

So, I stacked a lot more wood today and I feel like what we used to say back home--'homemade s***". Of course, when you ponder if for a bit, absolutely all s*** is 'homemade' in a very direct way. So, what we used to say we felt like when we felt awful really doesn't make much sense since there is, so far as I know, no "store bought s***" around anywhere. Wouldn't find much of a market, I'd imagine....

I hurt all over--well, actually my eyes and ears and head don't hurt, or my teeth and tongue for that matter....but most of the muscle tissue (or what passes for muscle tissue on my body) aches like hell....

I shuffle along like a guy in the nursing home. Sitting down isn't bad, but getting up or going down into a 'sit' is awful.

Back home (boy, I must be in West Virginia in my heart tonight!) we used to joke that even though a girl wasn't very attractive, she could "carry much wood"....Well, it was funny back then to adolescent boys, but now it screams "sexism" like your foot just caught on fire.

So, there's still more wood to stack...we had a tree down, our neighbor's tree fell on our yard and we got the wood from that, and the guys trimmed the old horse chestnut tree so next storm, the limbs don't fall off and go into our neighbor's roof. Lots of wood.

I guess you might say that how I hurt is 'good for the soul', reminding me that I am frail and sinful and, beyond that, out of shape. A momento mori of sorts.

Good for the soul, you might say.

All I can say is "I feel like homemade..." well, you know all that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

learning to fly

Jennifer Hornbeck, a seminarian I worked with at St. John's in Waterbury, sent me a quote from Patrick Overton that goes like this:

When we walk on the edge
of all the light we have
and step off into the unknown
we must believe
that one of two things will happen:
there will be something solid
for us to stand on
we will be taught to fly.

That, for me, is the essence of faith, of trust, of believing, of knowing--beyond all the evidence to the contrary--that God is in charge.

Flying is the ultimate answer to the problems of the world. Just soaring above the endless nonsense that passes for 'political debate' today. Winging above the social issues and the economic issues and trusting in a God who loves us, just as we are.

I was stacking wood today (just to let you know I do manual labor from time to time) from the tree and trimming from October. I got three free pallets and piled up a lot of tulip tree and horse chestnut wood.

"Work", actually physical labor, is a gift.

There is a story in Islamic lore of Jesus walking through the old city of Jerusalem and coming across the corpse of a dog, dead for quite a while, stinking to high heaven, decomposing in the street. All the disciples are disgusted and hurry ahead. But Jesus kneels by the dog, touches it's rapidly rotting body gently and says, "what beautiful teeth this dog had...."

Flying has something to do with recognizing the beauty and the nobility of everything in life. Even the teeth of a dead dog.

There is so much negativity in the public square these days. We need to fly above it and lean into the light, the hope, the beauty, the wonder, the holiness of life.

At least I think so, but what do I know? I don't know anything. I just ponder everything.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Amazing discovery that turns out to be obvious...

Last night I made an amazing discovery!

That then, after I told my wife about it, turns out to be obvious....

Let me back up a bit.

On our visits to Baltimore and our granddaughters visits with us, Bern has been playing Tic-Tac-Do with the 5 year old twins, Morgan and Emma. I don't play with them because, unlike Bern, I'd never let them win.

Under my laid-back, calm and patient facade is the heart of a person absolutely dedicated to competition and, most of all, WINNING....

But last night I had a little time (actually, I have a LOT of time since I'm retired) and I played Tic-Tac-Do about 25 times with myself. And my Amazing Discovery was that I could never, ever beat myself in the game. I was astonished. What a good player I must be that I could never beat myself!

So I told Bern all about my Amazing Discovery and she looked at me the way she looks at me when I leave the refrigerator door open while making a sandwich or trim my beard and wash the trimmings down the bathroom sink or reach up into my sweater to pull down the cuff of the shirt underneath when I could have merely held the cuff in my fingers while I put on the sweater. (There are lots of other examples about when Bern gives me the look she gave me when I told her, "I can't beat myself at tic-tac-do", but I spare you having to read about them.

Here's what she told me about my Amazing Discovery that I could never beat myself at Tic-Tac-Do, "Of course you can't. That's obvious. You always know what you are going to do."

She didn't say, "you'd have to be a moron AND an idiot to beat yourself at Tic-Tac-Do", but I did hear a faint echo of that though she didn't say it, being compassionate, to a degree, about my idiosyncratic way of being in the world.

Here's what I wonder now: could someone who has multiple personalities have one that could beat another at Tic-Tac-Do?

That's probably a "politically incorrect" question. But I have as much difficulty with that as I have with leaving the refrigerator door open....

Monday, February 6, 2012

Such a misplac'ed springtime afternoon

Years ago when I was a card carrying Romantic Poet, I wrote a sonnet that began like this:

When thus it comes upon a winter day,
Such a misplac'ed springtime afternoon....

I don't remember the rest of it, mercifully. I was probably 21 or so when I wrote it--lots of winter days and springtime afternoons ago. And at the time, I felt not a twinge of regret of writing "misplaced" as, "misplace'ed".

Historically bad poetry, let's face it, but I still have a soft spot for my Romantic Poet Era and have thought a lot about those words when the February mornings turn into early April afternoons these days.

My grandmother called this kind of weather, "pneumonia winter", because the warm afternoons and chill nights seem like a Pietra Dish (if that's how you spell it) for viruses. I know all sorts of people who have never-ending-colds and stomach flues and coughs. I, myself, don't know if my voice is going to work right when I talk since the weather has caused me to sound like Lauren Bacall after four scotches and a pack of Camels.

I'm sure the rest of my poem was a celebration of unexpected warmth and the juices that boil when that happened. Hey, I said I was a Romantic Poet back then!

I heard today about a dear friend who has decided to die with some grace and dignity and on his own terms rather than filled with tubes with anxious medical professionals crowding around him. Never mind the details, just know that he will almost certainly be dead before the First Sunday of Lent. And it is his choice to end it all this way. He could probably make it to Easter or even to summer dealing with the doctors. But, he told me when we talked on the phone today, he'd rather it be this way.

I feel that feeling in the back of the throat that you feel when tears are near just writing about this. I'm going to see him tomorrow. I'll take him communion. I'll offer to give his the prayers for the dying. I'll anoint him with oil. I'll listen to him and hold his hand too tightly and sit in my car for 10 minutes afterwards crying.

He's an odd old bird, prickly around the edges but soft as butter in August inside. A man of great commitments and 'as good as his word' and he was always even better than what he promised. He's a different generation than me--one of the 'Greatest Generation' while I'm just an early Baby Boomer with all the problems we've caused. There are things about him my coddled, privileged kind can never understand. A depth of soul, perhaps...a wondrous expansiveness that allowed him to live and breathe and have his being in the nexus of Need and Responsibility.

What a joy it was to be a part of his life. How I admire his decision. How I hope I'll have his courage when it comes my time to open that inscrutable door to 'what comes next'. How I both dread and look forward to our time tomorrow.

I learned long ago that it is a humbling and miraculous opportunity to sit by the side of one who will soon shuffle off this mortal coil. I am not unacquainted with death. Being a priest involves you intimately in the ironic blessing of traveling nearly THERE but pulling back with other sisters and brothers.

I learned all this on a February afternoon that might have set a record, it was so much like early spring. Somehow it is appropriate. My friend has chosen Spring over Winter. He moves on, impatiently.

I ponder what all that means. I retreat to my Castor Oil Tree and wonder whether to rail at God for losing yet another friend, or to thank the Holy One for the warmth....

Saturday, February 4, 2012


For some reason, while walking the dog tonight, I thought about my childhood friend, Lloyd. (That's not his real name, but I chose it because I could do the same thing to it as I can do to his real name--pronounce it in Appalachian.) "Law-ed" or, more precisely "Law-ED" because Appalachian folks tend to accent the last syllable and go up on the end of a sentence. My name, for example, was "Gem-E". Like THAT....

Lloyd was a great kid. A bit shy, but not overly. Very smart, when you got him talking. A medium athlete, like most of us. A little smaller than average. But, in the end, he was the All Star, Super Hero kid of the kids I hung around with.

His mother taught third grade. I didn't have her as my teacher, but I knew, from going to Lloyd's house, that she thought the plural of you was 'you-ins'. But then, we all talked like that--Appalachian.

Nobody knew until it happened, but Lloyd's home-life was a nightmare. Apparently, for all his life, Lloyd's father, who was a little fellow like him, physically abused Lloyd. I don't know if there was anything sexual in the abuse, but back then, back there, we wouldn't have known how to speak to each other about so abominable a thing.

Anyhow, Lloyd had a baby sister. Much younger than him--6 or 7 years or so--and Lloyd had warned his father, when we were in high school, if he ever touched Lloyd's sister he would kill him.

Apparently, looking back, the warning didn't take and at some point Lloyd's father abused Lloyd's sister.

So Lloyd took his daddy's shotgun and shot his daddy dead as hell. Just like that.

I was in college when it happened and missed the trial and the verdict. Lloyd spent some time in a prison in West Virginia for manslaughter, but his sister and his mother were liberated from the abuse none of us knew about. I'm sure Lloyd thought it was a good deal--a little time in prison for freeing his family from a monster.

I don't know why I thought of Lloyd as I was walking the dog. I haven't thought of him in years. And the thing is, I grew up in such a calm, loving family that I can't imagine (and don't want to imagine) what Lloyd's childhood was like.

But I know this: Lloyd is one of my real-life heroes and I hope and pray he's alright these days.

Had I been in his shoes and his genes, I hope I'd have had his courage and his outrage. Really. No kidding.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, dusk, evening, night--over and over again.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snack. Over and again.

We live within patterns.

I was sitting in the front seat of my son's car with Emma and Morgan, my granddaughters, in the back seat, secure in child seats, while Josh went into Starbucks for an iced-tea on our way to church at the Cathedral of the Incarnation Baltimore last Sunday morning.

We were looking at a strip mall--a very Yuppie strip mall--and I reminded the girls that we had all been at the Italian restaurant just in front of us.

"Remember," I said, "when we were there Tegan" (the 5 year old twins 2 year old sister)"got so upset that the adults had to take turns being outside with her. Remember that?"

Emma said, "So Mommy and Daddy and you and Grandma kept coming out to be with Tegan?"

"Yes," I said, "just like that."

"That was a 'pattern'," she said.

I was astonished that she's said that. "So, what's a 'pattern', Emma?"

"It's when something happens the same way over and over," she told me.

Just then Morgan said, "Did Daddy bring a snack for church?" The Cathedral is very wonderful about children--they eat, color, read, play video games on their parents' smart phones and eat snacks after they come back from Sunday School at the Peace and nobody minds.

"Daddy always forgets to bring the snack," Morgan said.

"He remembered this time," I said, because the snack bag was between my feet.

"So," I said to Emma, "Daddy broke the pattern."

She thought for a moment. "Yes, he did," she said.

Patterns are how we live...the better to break them, I'd say.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.