Saturday, 24 November 2012

Superfluity and memory

Memory is so odd.

* It is random.

* It springs up without advance notice.

* Who knows how it is triggered?

For example  as I was walking with Penne on Thanksgiving morn I, all out of the blue, recalled these words from the King James/Authorized version of the Christian Bible (first published in  1611)

"lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness" ( James 1:21)


From where did this memory spring?


There is a deliciousness in  17th C English which has all but disappeared from 21st C speech and writing. 

It  is a lovely, poetic and evocative phrase.


I often love to be naughty.  I would be more than glad to partake in a "superfluity of naughtiness".


Care to join me?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012: Menage a trois? Non, non. Repas pour trois

I promised to myself that I would not go to any store on Thanksgiving Day.   It’s not that I am likely to rush off to the late opening (bogus) “sales”, but I have been known to go to the local supermarket to get this or that.

I made this promise for a couple of reasons.

 Firstly: as a wee act of solidarity with the retail sales clerks/assistants/associates that have to work on holidays, when they should surely be allowed an un-interrupted day with friends or family.

Secondly: to free myself from the tyranny of what I call recreational shopping - a habit of many retirees who have “nothing better to do”.

I kept my promise. There was a minute of wavering when I realised that I needed some corn starch to thicken up the gravy.

Would I drive a mile to the store to buy some?  No, I remembered that my good neighbour Jean almost certainly had corn starch in her pantry, and that she would give me a couple of tablespoons worth.  That she gladly did.

My dog Penne loved the day. Her “Papa” was at home all day – so there was plenty of time for long walks
I enjoyed the peace and quiet. I enjoyed a day with no need or reason  to use my car.

All this allowed me plenty of time to prepare dinner.

The menu included pork shoulder which a cooked in a crock pot – five hours on “low”. It came out moist and juicy.

I made roasted carrots, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and sweet potatoes

 I cheated a bit and included some “Trader Joe’s” frozen roasted white potatoes.

The gravy came from the meat juices with some puréed pearl onions (and a bit of cornstarch!).

I also steamed some pole beans and sugar snap peas, ........and baked a dressing (made from a box – “the famous-in-the-U.K.” Paxo brand sage and onion stuffing mix – available at our local British Goods store).

All of this preparation was in order to entertain my guests from Bristol U.K.  – my first cousin Janet and her partner Steve, - who are at their timeshare on nearby Longboat Key.

We had a lovely unhurried and relaxed time together.   It was probably “all the better” because there were but three of us.

Steve and Janet professed to enjoy my meal.

I delighted in their company.

Dessert was simple:- some “Key Lime Pie” ice-cream from “Fresh Market”, with delicious macaroons from the same store.

It was one of my best Thanksgivings in so many years.

Peace. Quiet. No shopping.  A good meal.  Good company

Who could ask for anything more!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

This and that

1. My good dog Penne has an ear infection which has been bothering her greatly. Following a visit to the Veterinarian and an $89 bill for medicine she should be “all better” within a week.

2. Today I facilitated the prayer service at Resurrection House (a day shelter for homeless people in SRQ).  I do this every week.

One middle aged woman prayed that the oceans would open up so that all who had died at sea would be released and then walk out.  Her prayerful logic was that Moses had parted the Red Sea so that people could walk to freedom.

A twenty-something man prayed “for the person who stole my blanket last night”

3. A joke via my Staten Island cousin Kippy:

 A priest dies   and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket and jeans.

Saint Peter addresses this cool guy, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?"

The guy replies, "I'm Jack, retired airline pilot from Houston."

Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the pilot, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom." The pilot goes into Heaven with his robe and staff.

Next, it's the priest's turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am Father Bob, pastor of Saint Mary's for the last 43 years."

Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the priest, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom."

"Just a minute," says the good father. "That man was a pilot and he gets a silken robe and golden staff and I get only cotton and wood. How can this be?" 

"Up here - we go by results," says Saint Peter. "When you preached - people slept. When he flew, people prayed."

4. I have “taken the pledge” and will not shop for anything on Thanksgiving. The more of us who do this the better, for every worker in retail is entitled to the whole day off with her/his families and/or friends.

5.  No blog on  Thanksgiving.  Back again on Friday.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Judy Beers and a circle of friendship

So, when I decided to retire to Florida in 2006,  Judy Beers of Wakefield MA, the parish secretary at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge MA, urged me to be in touch with her Sarasota friends, Ron and Charlotte Thompson.

That I did.  Ron, Char and I “hit it off” immediately
In due course the Thompson’s met my SRQ  friends:  Barbara Dunne, Kay Dohoney, Ben Morse and Bob Lewis. (I knew Kay and Barbara from my Pittsfield, MA days).

Ron, Char, Ben, Bob, Kay and Barbara like each other immensely.

Next in 2011 I was privileged to introduce my brother Martyn and his son Sam (from the U.K.) to the Thompsons, and to Bob, Ben, Kay, and Barbara. “It worked”.

I am glad to say that “it worked” again in 2012, when Martyn visited again with Sam (who brought his friend Toby).

Earlier this year Ron’s sister and her husband Den retired to Sarasota.  Now they are part of this circle of friendship.

And the circle gets bigger.

For my first cousin Janet and her partner Steve visit this area from Bristol U.K. each year.

As a result of their visits they have come to know Ron and Charlotte, and last night they  met Karen and Den for the first time.

HEY!  Thanks Judy Beers. You  have  enabled a big circle of friendship.

Monday, 19 November 2012

For adults only. This is racy stuff.


Love Story

I will seek and find you . .

I shall take you to bed and have my way with you

I will make you ache, shake & sweat until you moan & groan.

I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop.

I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I'm finished with you.

And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.

All my love,


The Flu

Now, get your mind out of the gutter and go get your flu shot!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Actors and Priests: Theatre and Liturgy.

My good pal Ben and I went to see a production of Wm. Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at Sarasota’s Asolo Repertory Theatre this afternoon.

I know very little about theatre, but when the actor who played Duke Orsino spoke the very first lines of the play “If music be the food of love, play on..” I guessed that there might be a problem.

“Something” did not seem right.

Ben has spent a lifetime in and around professional theatre.

At the intermission (I called this “half past twelve -  bad joke!), he began to expound about the shortcomings of this particular production. I respected his professional judgment.

So we quit, and went home.

As I thought about this I “knew” from where Ben was coming.

For you see, as a retired Priest I often cringe at the sloppy, casual, or unfocused ways in which various Priests in various parishes lead the liturgy.  My professional judgement is offended, and I often want to get up and leave, (I did so once).

It’s not that I am “better” than those Priests.

It’s more like what happens when an electrician sees faulty wiring, a plumber sees lazily installed joints, a bricklayer has to re-do poor work.

As “pros” we actors, priests, plumbers, electricians and bricklayers want to do our very best.

 So we are dismayed when others in our skill-sets seem ready to settle for sloppiness and second best.

Since my retirement (2006) I have attended at least nineteen places of worship in the Episcopal Church.

In some of them the liturgy has been abysmally presented;

in others the liturgy has been mediocre.

In a few the liturgy has been good.

In three the liturgy has been excellent. 

They were:

1. Trinity Church, Wilmington DE where I happened to be in late 2006.

2. The Cathedral in St. Petersburg FL where I was for the funeral of the wife of the Bishop of South West Florida.

3. The Cathedral of St. Phillip in Atlanta GA where I was for the ordination of my friend Tracy Wells Miller.


Good actors and good Priests are similar. We long for excellence in our “shows”