Saturday, 24 November 2007

On flying AIR TRAN

Povey Prattle returns!

Ben Morse and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to New England. More about this next week.

On the second leg of our return flight, from Atlanta to Sarasota, the cabin staff members were surly and unsmiling.

Ben and I recalled the days of wonderful service in trains, planes and hotels. I imagined that Ben made a very odd request of our stewardess, and that this was her reply.

“But of course Mr Morse, I will bring you a horse.
You will ride down the aisle in incredible style.
It will dance, it will leap,
It will prance - even creep.
We will do what we can.
We’re the best - we’re AIR TRAN”

Tomorrow (Nov 25th) I’ll blog two sermons, the one I preached and the one I left at home.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

From former Pittsfield parishioner Steve Harris, to his Dad.

To Dad

Thanksgiving 2003

Love Steve

Thanksgiving with Mom

My Personal “All Saints Day”

I enjoyed speaking with you three weeks ago on Sunday, “All Saints Day”. I was glad to learn that both of us attended two different Church services (St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Pittsfield and Wellesley Hills Congregational) to hear our respective Ministers read Mom’s name, in recognition of hers and others’ deaths to honor their lives and understand the hope of eternal life. All Saints Day is normally about the “major league” saints like the Disciples who have helped shape our Christian Faith. But I truly believe the real saints in our lives are the “regular folks”, our loved ones, like “beacons of light” show us the way to love and grace everyday. These are the people that help us learn, work, love and shape our faith in our respecti ve paths to God. Saints, “major league or regular folk” have their faults but these faults pale in comparison to their “good works” of love. I know that Mom was with us on All Saints Day and every day! Each day we “do our thing”, “striving for this or that” but when I see a loving gesture, a smile, a friend, a kind act, I see and feel Mom. As we approach Thanksgiving I think about all those special people in our lives who over the years have shared Thanksgiving Day with us. They too have helped us to see “our way” to knowing love.

On this Thanksgiving, I know Mom will be with us as she played a huge role shaping our understanding, experience and love of the Thanksgiving holiday. I have some fond, vivid memories of Mom’s cooking and good humor. The tastes of many special foods Mom prepared like the scrumptious pumpkin, apple and blueberry pies will be missed but not forgotten. To this day, I actually have fun tasting any pie and measuring it against Mom’s world class standards. But it was not just the food on Thanksgiving but her selfless efforts to make the day “work” for all. These were all acts of love and I’m more thankful now than when I was as a child. Each one of us “kids ” happily applies Mom’s and your traditions in our family Thanksgivings today. I’m sure we will continue to do so in the future and hopefully our children will do so for their children in the future. Thanksgiving is a powerful tradition of love!

So now what? There is no doubt that the holidays will be different this year without Mom. But for me her death is a very strong reminder of love and her role as a “Saint” in our lives. I feel blessed to have shared in her love and life. I will “keep the faith” and be true to Mom’s love and to all the other “saints” who have touched our family. This Thanksgiving Day will be a more poignant reminder of this love and I intend to cherish the day!

Stephen J. Harris

Monday, 19 November 2007

I am being silly!

Many have seen the “fish decals” on the boots (trunks) of cars. Here is what it is all about

The use of the Ichthys symbol by early Christians appears to date from towards the end of the 1st century AD.

Ichthus (the Greek word for fish) is an acronym, which is a word formed from the initial letters of the several words in the name. It compiles to "Jesus Christ God's Son is Saviour" or "Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour".

Iota is the first letter of Iesous Greek for Jesus.
Chi is the first letter of Christos Greek for "anointed".
Theta is the first letter of Theou genitive case of "God".
Upsilon is the first letter of Huios Greek for Son.
Sigma is the first letter of Soter Greek for Saviour.

I see more than enough of them in SRQ, often placed the wrong way round. But I feel certain that more than half the population does not know what they represent.

Fish feature a good bit in the Gospel stories, and some have posited that the Eucharist might have been a meal of bread and fish - from the feeding miracles. Just as well that it wasn’t. Dried and salted Cod at northern clime Churches in mid-winter might not have brought folks nearer to God. Wine is much more jolly!

But I was thinking, as one does, “what if fish had become a chief Christian motif, and we had named our Churches for fish instead of Saints?”

Just imagine

“St. Haddock’s-by-the-Sea”

“St. Tilapia and All Cat Fish”

“St. Minnow the Lesser”

“St. Monkfish the Monastic”

“St. Carp the Complainer”

“St. Crab the Miserable” (yes, yes, I know that a crab is not a fish!)

“Holy Hakes”

“Blessed Guppies”

“St. Bass the Profound” (a musical fish)

“The Church of the Good Swordfish”.

“All Halibuts”.

“The Plaice Place” (a modern “with-it” Church)

“All Soles Church”

“St Koi the Shy”

“St. Black Crappie” (‘nuff said!)

“St. Wahoo the Wonderful”

“Holy Grouper the Friendly”

And of course I could go on and on. But you may click on “comment” and add your suggestion.

Tomorrow (20th November) I’ll have a guest blogger (posting at about 9:00 a.m.) and then this blog will take a rest until the weekend. (Povey is off to Cape Cod - now there’s a religious sounding place!).

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Let's hear it for Spotted Dick

How could I have omitted other wonderful “afters”.

Tinned peaches or apricots with evaporated milk were not bad.

Jelly (Jello) and Custard were never a favourite of mine, even if the Jelly contained Mandarin oranges (from a tin [can])

I liked blancmange even less! (look it up on Google). It is pronounced blah monge. My best friend Jeff Davies was a great tease, and knowing how much I disliked this dessert, would call me “monger”.

Trifle was a rare treat. Even now I sometimes make it for guests, but it takes quite a while. You’ve just “gotta” have sherry on those lady fingers. And fresh fruit (raspberries and strawberries) work better than the frozen type.

Mum and my two older sisters would make the best Christmas Puddings, and Christmas Cake (sans Brandy) in mid-November. Americans call Christmas Pudding “Plum Pudding” and serve it with white sauce, but ours was always served with “Birds” Custard. We ate it with care, for who knew, there might be a silver thrup-knee bit hidden in the pudding.

Christmas cake was dark and rich, with all manner of dried fruits inside. It would be coated with marzipan (always the best bit for me!), and a hard icing. I’d eat the cake first, then the marzipan, and then suck on the hard icing.

Mum never made Bakewell Tart, but it’s one of my favourites. I remember having home made Bakewell Tart in Sheffield, Yorkshire in about 1962. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven (I exaggerate a bit!).

But Mum made the best little individual jam tarts. She’d mix in some desiccated coconut and bake them to make a lovely treat.

But the best “afters” which I forgot yesterday.

Rhubarb pie, made when the rhubarb (force grown in old chimney pots) was sweet and tender.

Gooseberries - stewed or in pies. If you have not eaten a plump, sweet, juicy gooseberry, then you have not lived!

Fresh sweet greengages - a sort of plum. I last ate these in France about 8 years ago.

And, unavailable in the U.S.A. - black currants, white currants and red currants. To die for!

“Spotted Dick”. Why I almost forgot Spotted Dick. It’s a sponge, or suet pudding with raisins or currants inside, (hence the spots). ‘Tis served best with warm treacle, or with Tate and Lyles ‘Golden Syrup”. “Birds” custard will also do.

In America you can buy tinned (canned) Spotted Dick and Birds Custard mixture at your local British foods store, or on line.

One of these days I’ll have a dinner party with Faggots as the main course, and Spotted Dick for afters.

Wanna invitation anyone?