Monday, 6 October 2014

There and Back Again

"There and Back Again Lane" is a named street in Bristol, U.K.  It is a dead end.

I have just been "there and back again" to Hendersonville, N.C. where I visited with my SRQ winter neighbours Ed Green and Eddie Palmer.
I flew using the niche "point to point carrier" Air Allegiant, (Punta Gorda FL -Asheville NC- Punta Gorda FL)  for a bargain fare of $200 (round trip).  (I could not have driven "there and back again" for much less).
Both flights took off on time and arrived on time. (There is something to be said for Air Allegiant's practice of flying in and out of under-utilised airports). 
(On the way home one of my favourite St. Boniface, Sarasota FL parishioners was in the seat behind me!).
Ed and Eddie are good guys.  They knew that I did not need to be entertained because I was there to visit with them, rather than to sight-see.
Nonetheless we went out to see the famous (in Episcopal Church circles) "Kanuga Conference Centre".  I've been hearing about this place for well night thirty years.  It was less grand and more rustic than I had imagined.
I especially liked the all wood Chapel at Kanuga.
After our Kanuga visit,  Ed, Eddie and I wandered the Main Street in Hendersonville and peeked at various stalls at the annual arts and crafts show.    I also enjoyed looking at some of the late 19th C - early 20th C buildings -  from an age when the USA was beginning to feel so confident about itself.
 On Sunday morning Eddie and I worshipped at Hendersonville's St. James Episcopal Church. 'Tis a gorgeous building.  The music was splendid and the sermon was engaging. 
A parishioner congratulated me on my ability to sing the hymns without a Hymnal -  from memory and in harmony. I let him know that I have been singing these hymns for nearly forty years  (and that I am a retired Episcopal minister!).
Sunday night we traveled about ten miles to have dinner with Eddie's second cousin Della and her partner Lou (ise).  I'd met them last year and we were anxious to see each other again.  We had a nice reunion with great conversation and terrific food.
Dell and Lou have been partners for nine years.  On Dec 26th 2013 they were legally married in Maryland (Dell's home State).  Surely it is nothing but good when same sex couples are able to be united, and committed to each other until death do them part.
Forty-five minutes after landing in Punta Gorda I was at the home of the fabulous Ron and Charlotte Thompson where my good dog Penne stays when I am away.
Ron and Char love Penne, and the feeling is mutual.  Nonetheless Penne became a whirling dervish of irrational exuberance when she realised that her "Papa" was back at home.
As we drove from Ron and Char's home to mine, Penne and I had a long conversation. I "sweet-talked" her , and by gosh she responded with sweet and happy whimpers. (That's the truth!).
Surely this is life at its best.  To be with loved ones, to share meals, to laugh, and to engage in good conversation.
These are the things which are sought by, and enjoyed by human beings from every culture, background, nationality, religion, and political/economic system.
The trick is to be open and fearless enough to enter into them with people from very different  cultures, backgrounds, nationalities, religions, and political/economic systems.  That's when we grow.


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