Saturday, 2 May 2009

My Mum's family of origin.

My Mum was one of 8 children.

There were two who I never met.

Her sister Kate died of “lock-jaw” (tetanus poisoning?), long before I was born.

Her youngest brother, Albert was killed in Normandy in August 1944, three months after my birth.

I met her oldest brother John but once, when Mum arranged a family reunion in about 1960.

He had long before hoved off to Southend-on-Sea. There he was the town Mortician. He had a daughter, my cousin Margaret. I have never met her.

Her brother Harold lived in our neighbourhood. He was a cobbler, back in the days when cobblers were common. I met him often, together with his wife “Doll”. I remember him as a simple (in the best sense of that word) man.

I met their son, my cousin John many years ago – but only once.

Their daughter, my cousin Sheila, became a treasured friend to us, her Povey relatives, until her sad and untimely death from cancer when she was in her 50’s

Reginald was another of my mother’s brothers. He was a bit of a braggart. I never cared for him, or for his wife Dorothy. In fact none of my sibs liked him very much. He was full of piss and vinegar. They had no children.

Uncle Fred lived nearby with his wife Phyll. They had but one daughter, my cousin Rosemary.

She died in her early 20’s from Hodgkin’s disease. After her death she was “laid out” in her family’s parlour until her burial. That used to be the universal custom in Great Britain, but her “at home wake” was the last I ever saw – in about 1960.

Then there was Uncle Wally. He was an old fashioned man, devoted more to lawn bowling than to his family.

He and his wife Irene had four children: my cousins Alan, Janet, Kate and Christopher.

Alan died a couple of years ago - he was much too young for death. He lived for many years in Holland, and is survived by his Dutch wife Betsy and their two children.

Kate lives the hippy life in Spain.

I am in contact with Janet and Christopher.

Strange ain’t it.

My mother had 7 siblings, but only 8 nieces/ nephews.

I have 8 siblings, and 19 nieces/nephews.
We are not exactly over-breeders!

Friday, 1 May 2009

More old pics

A few people have been happy to see some of my old photo’s on this blog.

I have been able to attach them since my new Epson printer has a scanner.

Maybe I have wanted to attach them since I plan to be in England this May to be with my sibs, (there are nine of us) and to celebrate my 65th birthday.

Here are some pictures of my twin (Elizabeth) and me.

You will see us as babies - I am the one holding a key.

There is another picture taken when we were approx 3 or 4. I am already gazing upwards!

The third picture is when we were (maybe) 9 or 10. Already my twin is taller than I.
It was not until puberty (late in my case), that I leap-frogged her by an inch or two.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Some old photo's

My mother with her nine children (1979). Dad had already passed.

When I had hair. With my then girlfriend Anne in 1974

When I was thin. In the backyard of the Rectory, Pittsfield, MA in about 1992

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Susan Boyle visits Pres. Obama on his 100th day in office and contracts Swine Flu

I check in on five newspapers each day.

In London: the Telegraph, and the Guardian.

In Boston: the Globe.

From Pittsfield: the Berkshire Eagle.

In SRQ: the Herald Tribune.

I also read the B.B.C. on line.

I listen to a bit of news on National Public Radio.

Since I am interested in the near and middle East regions, I try to broaden my news sources by, on occasion, reading or or

In most of my reading I have discovered that Susan Boyle has had her day. She is off the front pages.

It’s all very depressing, but my varied news sources are, momentarily, obsessed with just two “stories” – President Obama’s first 100 days, and the Swine Flu scare.

But, to put the “Swine Flu” story in perspective I quote my St. Louis colleague Mike Kinman. He writes:

Deaths this year from swine flu worldwide: 200. Deaths this year from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa: 410,000.

That information has not been on any front page that I have read.

Instead, in my five or six daily sources, (with their “news” gathered from two or three weary sources), I read the same two or three dreary stories, ad-infinitum and ad-nauseum.

But there truly is a different affect between reading newspapers on-line, and reading the print editions.

I need to subscribe to a print paper.

In thinking about this, my guess is that we have but two worthwhile newspapers in the USA - the Washington Post and the New York Times.

When I get back from my May vacation I must try to bite my tight-wad bullet and subscribe to the print edition of the New York Times, which will be delivered here each morning.

(The Washington Post is not available here in a print edition).

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

We know that we are in a foolish world when public officials say things such as:

JERUSALEM (AP) — The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel

Monday, 27 April 2009

On dealing with sh-t.

Sometimes we have to deal with other folk’s crap. Sometimes we must deal with our own.

I made a mistake yesterday.

I gave some fatty beef rib bones to my dog Penny. She enjoyed every lick, every chew, every gnaw.

She enjoyed them, but they did not serve her well. They gave her the “runs”.

I woke this morning to find some dog poo in my hallway. I commended Penny for relieving herself, in extremis, on a tiled floor. Later I discovered that she had also evacuated on the carpeted floor of my Lanai.

To be fair to Penny, I’d heard her whimpering during the night, but I'd ignored her.

So I had a fairly extensive clean-up session this morning. I did this with as much grace as I could muster.

Penny did not receive a single scolding. I took responsibility for my own foolishness.

This was all like ministry as a Priest.

Often I was called upon to deal with other people’s crap.

They wanted me to solve, resolve, or clean-up the mess they had made in their lives and loves.

I could often help with the clean-up. But I could not (and would not) take responsibility for the other's shi-t.

The best I could do would be to suggest ways through which they might avoid making messes in the future.


Of course, I had also to deal with my own crap.

I had a choice.

Either I could project my messes on to the failures, inactions, and actions of others.

Or I could accept responsibility for my own crap, and not only apologise for it, but also admit when I had been wrong.

This was tough, and I often apologised, but did not always admit my own wrong.

But when I did – it inevitably led to a break-through in trust and truth with parishioners.

The road to healthy relationships takes a good turn when I/we admit to our own mistakes, and acknowledge the messes I/we have caused.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Sermon for April 26th 2009.

Sermon for April 26th 2009.
The Revd. J. Michael Povey at St. Boniface, Siesta Key, FL
1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36-49

Each Tuesday morning a group of local Clerics meet at St. Boniface to learn from each other as we look at the passages for the following Sunday. We are appropriately serious about our intent. We are not afraid to raise honest questions about those passages which we find to be strange, or stupid, or incomprehensible. We are not afraid to express strong opinions about the passages. We try to bring our own lives under the scrutiny of the texts. We read the bible reverently and critically.

Last Tuesday as we read today’s passages and especially about the incongruities in the Gospel; we talked a bit about how it feels when someone comes back into our lives after a period of absence. One of our members is looking forward to this summer when his and his wife’s daughter will have graduated College, and will be home for a while. “I want my daughter back” he said “and part of me wants my daughter to be back in just the way she used to be”.
He is savvy enough to know that it will not be like that. She will be back, but it will not be the same.

In today’s Gospel Jesus “came back” to be with the disciples, but it was not the same as before.

In 2003 a fabulous family joined our congregation at St. James’s in Cambridge. Mum and Dad are skilled professional musicians. There were two older twins – boys aged 9 – Ramsey and Connor, and two younger twins, a boy and a girl aged 6 – Molly and Hunter.

The younger twins caught my heart, for I too am a twin and have a twin sister.

On my first visit to their home for dinner Ramsey and Connor were intrigued by my naughtiness. Molly, as bright as they come, fell in love with me right away. Hunter resisted all the tricks of the trade which I employed to gain his favour. He would scarcely even look at me. He seemed determined not to like this Minister who had invaded his home for dinner.

Later Mum, Dad and I helped out as the four sibs splashed around in a huge bath-tub, then we went to one of the bedrooms for a romp, for a story and for a good night prayer.

In the midst of the riotous romping Hunter took himself to the top bunk of a bed, stood up, and looked down at me. Then he spoke to me for the first time. Here is what he said: “Michael Povey, I like you”.

In February of this year, Hunter, now aged 12, developed flu. His condition rapidly worsened. He was rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital where he died 24 hours later.
I spent some time on February 28th to weep, and pray and listen with Mum and Dad, with Molly and with the older boys. My heart is yet sore, and I cannot even to begin to imagine their grief.

About three weeks after Hunter’s death Molly wrote on her Facebook “I miss my shadow”.

A week later, Mum screamed on her Facebook “I want my boy back”.

I know that in telling this story I am opening old griefs for us.

Grief for the loss of a spouse or a child.

Grief for the loss of our innocence.

Grief for what we could have been, or should have been.

Grief for what might have been - if only.....

.....If only we could have things as they were.

I know that this is what the disciples were thinking in their numbing grief for Jesus. “If only we could be back in Galilee when it all began, back to the good old days”.

Those disciples as their story is mediated to us the gospels have something to say to us. We treat their witness with critical reverence.

They will tell us that we cannot go back to where we were, but that the Lord Jesus can come to where we are. He’ll not the same as once we knew him, but it will be him.

They will tell us that the divine love and hope is encountered most often in the ordinary – if we have ears to hear and eyes to see.

“Give me some dinner for goodness sake” said the Lord “if you really care for me, why can’t you think for a moment that I might be hungry”.

They will tell us that we get unstuck from the places in which are trapped when we allow ourselves and other to be honest. They disbelieved. They wondered. They were startled. They were terrified. That’s more honest than the come to sweet Jesus crap which we often hear.

They will tell us that we have to begin and engage in the conversation. Silence and secrecy is our enemy. They talked with each other on the Emmaus journey, recorded in Luke just before today’s passage. They were talking with each other when Jesus came and stood among them.

They will tell us that we must learn to listen. The disciples listened as Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures.

Our lives will never be as once they were. Our griefs and regrets will never disappear.

But as we live into the ordinary – eating a bit of dinner;

as we allow ourselves to have honest lips and ears;

as we engage in the often painful conversations;

and as we learn to listen - those griefs and regrets become part of who we are – important rings in the tree of our lives.

And we hope and believe that the Lord Jesus is helping us to grow new, more vital, hope- filled, and sturdy rings around that grief.