Saturday, 7 February 2015

Thank you Ena

As I backed out of a parking spot at Target this morning I braked, and heard a clunk.  I thought it was because a bag of tools in the trunk had shifted and moved around.

I began to drive away slowly, and a super excited person ran alongside me and yelled "you hit that other car".  So I stopped, walked back, and chatted to the woman whose car I had "bumped". 

I asked her to wait so that I could re-park my car, and then exchange insurance information.

I did not want to drive forward and find a spot in another lane, lest she should think that I was doing a moonlight flit.  So I had to reverse to regain my previous spot -  not easy because  there was yet another car trying to enter the spot I had vacated. The driver of that car was gracious enough to give way to me once the situation had been explained to him.

That being done I fished out my insurance information, and walked towards the woman whose car I had hit.  The damage I had caused was minimal.

She said "let's not get into this insurance thing, my car is not badly damaged".  I checked "are you sure?".  "Yes" she said.    I thanked her and added "my name is Michael".  She responded "I am Ena".  Then she hugged me!

Truth is that we were most likely equally at fault, for she too had been backing out of her spot. And truth to tell,  I did not want to involve my car insurance, and perhaps lose my deducible and face an increase in premiums.

My cynical/realistic side wonders if Ena was un-insured.

My truthful side remembers that I failed to heed my brother Martyn's words" Use your mirrors, use your mirrors".

Whatever the case I am happy to report a gracious encounter: one with no anger, no recrimination, no cross words  -   simply a lovely hug from Ena -  and good feelings all around.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Is Christianity the "religion of love"?

 Muslims often say that "Islam is a religion  of peace", whereupon some Christians roll their eyes in apparent disbelief.
 
How should  Muslims react when  Christians assert that their faith  is a "religion of love"?
======================================================
Here is  a dreadful story about violence in the name of Jesus Christ.
 
 
 
============================================================
 
Jesus said (John 8:7):
 
 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

English stiif upper lip (or an old fart).

I was in a store today, and when I got to the check-out the clerk (cashier) said "thank you sweetheart".

I bristled.

She was a pleasant young woman in her mid-twenties.

I am a seventy, going on seventy-one year old man.

Truly, whether I am an Englishman with a stiff upper lip (doubtful),  or an old fart  (probable) I do not wish to be called "sweetheart" by an utter stranger.

I responded to her words with a soft and gentle:  "please not sweetheart".

She immediately apologized.

I do not fault her.  I blame her employers who have been dilatory in their staff training.

In my opinion "thank you sir", or "thank you ma'am"  are perfectly adequate greetings.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Am I an Englishman with a stiff upper lip (doubtful),  or am I an old fart  (probable)?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A wise Priest

A wise priest once said:

"There is no letter I in the word team"

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

My missing blazer, and Neil Page

Last Sunday (1st February 2015) I wrote this on my blog (and posted it to Facebook).

It's been a wee bit chilly (by our standards) today, so I thought it wise to wear a blazer, alongside my slacks and short sleeved shirt (for Church in the morning, and for the Symphony Concert in the afternoon)

Trouble was, I could not find my one and only blazer, which I purchased from our "Goodwill" charity shop five or six years ago,   Lord knows what happened to it.

Did I leave it somewhere? Did I jettison it? Is it at the cleaners? (Doubtful 'cause I always keep the dry cleaner's receipt in my car  - poking out of the never used ash tray, and because the cleaner would have 'phoned me by now had I failed to retrieve it).  


I thought that a blazer would be appropriately smart  and necessary clothing for the Concert, so after Church, I went up to "Goodwill", a fine place for pre-owned clothing, and got a nice blue blazer - just the right sleeve length - for the princely sum of $6.49.
 
Neil Page, the Director of Music at St. Boniface Church in Sarasota FL,  (where I hang my hat) saw my Facebook entry, and noted that he had seen a blazer, on a hanger in the vesting room at St. B's.
 
It was indeed my blazer, (which I had last  worn on Jan 11th when I was the Presider and Preacher at St. B's 7:45 Eucharist, and the Preacher at 9:00) , and subsequently  left it in the Cleric's vesting room
 
I retrieved it this morning,, (thanks Neil).

 So now I  own two "fairly decent" blazers, each purchased at Goodwill.

-----------------------------------------------------

                                                            
"If you have two coats, give one away," he (Jesus)  said in St. Luke's Gospel Chapter 3.

 
 
 
 


Monday, 2 February 2015

What a great day (2) 1st February 2015

The next part of my great day was being at Sarasota's "Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall" for a magnificent matinee concert given by the Sarasota Orchestra, under its Musical Director Anu Tali.
 
It was a truly magnificent concert which began with a work which was probably unknown to just about all the concert goers - in a full house no less -: "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten" by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b 1935). Pärt stopped composing when Soviet censors banned some of his music.  He emerged from his silence in 1976 ... using a style he called "tintinnabuli" ... including his Cantus in memory of Britten - characterized by harmonic and rhythmic simplicity  and steady tempos. (Italicised words extracted from yesterday's programme notes).
 
The piece indeed had rich harmonies  which supported the regular tolling of a bell.  It was good to hear something new.
 
After something new, we moved to something old,  a stellar performance of Beethoven' s Piano Concerto No. 4. with guest pianist the world renowned Stephen Hough.
 
This concerto, unlike most, begins not with the orchestra, but with a few bars of solo piano.  As Hough began my eyes grew misty.  Of course I know the piece well, but to hear it in a live performance was "magical".  It was like being with a dear friend with whom you have chatted by 'phone for many years, but now you are face to face.  Same friend - deeper encounter!
 
And such a great pianist and orchestra.
 
After Intermission I met another old friend, Elgar's Enigma Variations.  I first met this friend when I was in High School.  I must have heard the work in recordings or on the wireless scores of times, but to see and hear it in performance has an entirely affect on one's soul.  It is to hear notes that had been previously missed; it was to watch the disciplined skill of the musicians; it was to be undistracted by other sights and sounds.
 
Much of the magnificence of the concert grew out of the superb leadership of Anu Tali, in her first full season as Music Director of the Sarasota Orchestra..  Her conducting style was  for the most part spare and restrained;  but there were moments when she was calling  the cellos and basses to even greater things by her energetic urgings in their direction.  I also liked the moments when she "conducted" by facial expressions. 
 
Anu Tali (born June 18, 1972) is an Estonian conductor. She and her twin sister Kadri Tali founded the Estonian-Finnish Symphony Orchestra in 1997, with Anu Tali as the orchestra's conductor and Kadri Tali the manager.  (from Wikipedia).
 
We are most fortunate to have her in Sarasota.
 
(There was not a spare seat in the 1736 seats Van Wezel Performing Arts Centre).
 
 
Van Wezel Performing Arts Centre, designed by William Wesley Peters, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.
 
Stephen Hough
 
Anu Tali

 
Photographs from Google Images.
 
 
 
REGARDING 1st FEBRUARY 2015.  GRATITUDE IS A GOOD ATTITUDE 
 
 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

What a great day (1) 1st February 2015

It's been a wee bit chilly (by our standards) today so I thought it wise to wear a blazer, with my slacks and short sleeved shirt.

Trouble was, I could not find my one and only blazer. Lord knows what happened to it.

Did I leave it somewhere? Did I jettison it? Is it at the cleaners? (Doubtful 'cause I always keep the dry cleaner's receipt in my car  - poking out of the never used ash tray, and because the cleaner would have 'phoned me by now had I failed to retrieve it). 

Not to worry - I went up to "Goodwill", a fine place for pre-owned clothing, and got a nice blue blazer - just the right sleeve length - for the princely sum of $6.49.

Back to the great day. 

It was a goof off day - one on which I did not attend my "home" at St. Boniface Church, but instead joined in worship at the Presbyterian Church of the Palms here in SRQ.

I was there to hang out with my friends Gary and Colleen Buchmeier, and their daughters Anna and Sophie, and my friends Sarah and Steven Soboleski, with their young children Sawyer (m) and Sidney (f).

The Buchmeiers and Soboleskis left St. Boniface last year, in sorrow not in anger.  I miss them, so today, (as in last September) I became a Presbyterian for the day so that I could enjoy their fellowship.

You may remember that Gary, Colleen, Anna and Sophie were present for the dinner we had the other week with Carl Hye-Knudsen in the Assisting Living Facility where he lives, and with his wife Melba. At that dinner I got to be silly about "BoGo" - (the Buy one, Get one (free) offers at our local Supermarkets.

Anna was tickled pink about the "BoGo" thing, so today I made a name tag which identified me as "Michael Bogo".  That made her laugh.

The Church of the Palms is thriving, so much so that it has four services each Sunday. We were at the 9:00 a.m. "Traditional" service, and the place was packed.  In this case "traditional" means a typically somber Presbyterian service, using, for instance,  the old-fashioned "Thee and Thou" language for God.

The Church has a very large choir (which is good, but not great).  The Minister preaches well, with sermons rooted in the bible.  He is as much an orator as he is a preacher (in the historic Scots Presbyterian tradition).

Church of the Palms has great programmes for children and youth.  And it is engaged deeply in missions of healing, justice and education throughout the world.

I enjoy being there from time to time, but I miss my own preferred tradition where the service is focused on the Holy Eucharist  (Communion) each Sunday.


The next part of my great day was being at Sarasota's "Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall" for a magnificent matinee concert given by the Sarasota Orchestra.  More about that tomorrow.