I think that it was on Wednesday last that I decided to visit George M at "The Pines" Nursing Home and Rehab Centre here in SRQ.
George (God bless him) was the son, grandson, and brother of Ministers in the Episcopal Church.
I met him first (with his brother Bill) at the Episcopal Church on Longboat Key, (All Angels by the Sea"), and later at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key.
His brother Bill was a retired Minister, who died last year.
George himself has had a hard time in recent years. First he had a leg amputation (because of a mean and nasty infection),
and second because of some surgery on his spine ( surgery which did not go well).
Hence he was at "The Pines" for rehab. That's why I visited him.
Yesterday (14th Feb 2015) George ate his breakfast at The Pines, and then scooted out in his wheel-chair to sneak a smoke on a patio (where he and I had sneaked smoke last Tuesday).
BUT, after this cigarette, George keeled over and died.
I will miss him, even as I am grateful for the grace which urged me to visit with him last Wednesday.
THE WONDERFUL DAY BIT....
1. Liz C was a parishioner at St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, I like and admire her, even though we have not see each other in fifteen years.
She let me know that she would be in Englewood, FL this weekend to visit her Mum, and that they would like to hook up with me. (Liz teaches at the Conte School in Pittsfield, MA where she knows some of the grand-children of the late Barbara Hanger).
With that in mind I asked our Rector if I might preside at the 11:15 a.m. Eucharist today at St. B's so that I could "strut my stuff" for Liz and her Mum.
He readily assented. This was so damn cool, for the preacher was our Assistant Rector, Andi (Andrea) Taylor who I adore. We love ministering together. (Andi and I knew and liked each other in the Diocese of Massachusetts).
Andi's sermon was outstanding.
2. The Sunday 11:15 a.m. service at St. B's often features church music from the classical era.
Today was no exception. The anthem was "The Heavens are telling the Glory of God" from the Oratorio "Creation" by Haydn.
That took me back to some fifty-six years ago when I sang it with the superb choir of Fairfield Grammar School (Bristol, U.K.) at our annual concert in Bristol's Colston Hall. I thank God for Fairfield's Music Teacher W.J. (Dickie) Richards who introduced me to great music.
3. One of the regulars at St. B's 11:15 service is a fabulous (octogenarian?)woman whose name is Adelaide F. I love to watch her as we recite the Nicene Creed.
For you see, Adelaide does not merely say the Creed. Her entire affect and body language indicates that in fact she is praying the Creed.
I watched her this morning at Creed tine, and got all misty eyed. Her prayerful recitation of the Creed is inspiring,