Saturday, 14 March 2015

i had "that dream" again.

Last night (March 13/14) I had a dream with the theme that has been a frequent part of my dream world.

The consistent theme is that I am one course, one class, or one exam away from a Bachelor's degree, but that sundry events conspire to prevent my taking that last class, course, or exam.

I frequently have that dream, although the details are never the same.

In last night's dream I was within inches of obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree (with a specialty in Engineering).  I was looking forward to telling my Mum that I now had two degrees, one in Theology, the other in Science.

But I could not get to the place where I had to take that final class, course or exam.

First I was in Pill, Somerset, U.K.  (a real place on the banks of the Bristol Avon river), and was trying to take a ferry across the River Avon to a suburb of Bristol, U.K. called Sea Mills. 

There was at one time a ferry from Pill to Sea Mills, though I do not know if that ferry still operates.

In my dream I saw a sign which said that the Ferry had been suspended until 2017.

Next I was in Cheddar, Somerset ( another real place) and was trying to buy  a  ticket for 'bus route #14 which would take me back to Bristol.  I managed to buy a ticket from a vending machine, but the signs which pointed me towards the 'bus stop were misleading. They took me down a side road towards an industrial park where a huge gate suddenly closed, blocking my way.

Finally I was on Church Road, Redfield, Bristol, UK  (a real place, about a mile from where I grew up) and I was trying to get a 'bus from there to 47, Devon Rd, Whitehall, Bristol BS5 9AY - where I and my siblings grew up.

In real life it would have been 'bus #83 which in fact traveled from Church Road, via Gerrish Ave., to Devon Road.

But in my dream all the 'busses were going the wrong way, so I never could get "home"  to complete my Bachelor of Science degree, or to boast of my success to Mum.


Those were the details from last night's dream.  But the theme is consistent: - "I am always within inches of  success/completion, but I never get there".

The "Freudian" interpretations of this dream are manifold!

Friday, 13 March 2015

A geat week: The excitement continues on 13th March (lmao)

Flushed with the joy of a good week I decided to treat myself to a good lunch by defrosting a treasured Rib-Eye steak which I had hoarded in the freezer.

Trouble was that what I defrosted was not a Rib-Eye steak, but it was a Pork chop.

Not to be daunted,  I grilled the chop,  and enjoyed it for lunch alongside corn, lima beans, and sweet potato.

Rib-eye steak would have been exciting.  But since I have  had such a great week the "Fates" decided that a Pork chop would bring me down to earth!

The "Fates"were correct. 

Pork chops are humble and fine.  I enjoyed one today.

The Rib-Eye steak can wait for the next dull and boring day.

(Of course my story is true,  so that I had to LMAO  when  I mistook a Pork Chop for a Rib-Eye steak).

Thursday, 12 March 2015

My "magic" week continues: a gathering of friends.

Nine of us, (priests and spouses),  who have deep connections with St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key, FL  met today for lunch  at "Kacey's Seafood and More"  on Fruitville Rd.  here in SRQ

Kacey's is the place to be for delicious sea-food at reasonable prices.  It was "hopping" today, so we had to wait about half an hour for a table.

 (The restaurant does not take reservations -  they do not need to do so as their business is booming). That was no hardship,  because we enjoyed each others' company outside in  the warm sun, and because we especially wanted a table for nine.

We especially valued the gracious service of the "wait-staff" for whom it was no hardship to push two tables together, and to deal with a party of nine who needed four separate checks (bills).

The staff, in turn, appreciated our patience, and told me so.

THAT BEING SAID  -  it was such a joyful blessing for these nine friends to be together: to eat well,  to rejoice in our mutually caring friendships, and to be united in our deep love for St. Boniface Church.

I COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED  when I retired (back in 2006) that I would discover new friends, and that my life would be enriched by them.   But it has happened, and for that I am deeply grateful.


(The photo's are "candids" not posed)

l-r Wes Wasdyke, Ted Copland, Judy Copland, Jack Chrisman, Donna Chrisman

Cindy Wasdyke, Wes Wasdyke

Ralph McGimpsey, Andi Taylor.

l-r Jack and Donna Chrisman, Andi Taylor

Our dearest Jack and Donna Chrisman

Andi Taylor, jmp, and Cindy Wasdyke

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

..... and today was "magic" too.

Today saw me up at "Dayspring", the Camp and Conference Centre for the Episcopal Church Diocese of South West Florida.

I was there for the annual Diocesan event for retired clerics and their spouses, a gift to us from our local Bishop, Dabney Smith.

These events usually fill me with the expectation that I will be utterly bored.

This one was an exception.

In the morning the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.), the Most Revd. Frank Griswold, talked about his experience of life in retirement.

His talk was "over the top".  He drew from the wisdom of Holy Scripture, and from the wisdom of various church leaders through the centuries, to help us understand that retirement is not a cessation from work, but that it is indeed  a grand adventure in which we can grow and learn to grow closer to God in preparation for the gift of eternal life when we die.

I represent his words so poorly, but I got a renewed sense that retirement need not be a time of "shutting down", but that it can be a time of "opening up" to the grace we experience in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In short, Bishop Griswold "fed our souls", for which I am entirely grateful.


After a not-so-good lunch we gathered again to hear from staff members from the Church Pension Fund.

The CPF was created in 1917 with assets of $8.7  million.  Now it has assets of $11.6 billion.

This means that "Boy, oh Boy" : we retired Episcopal Church Clerics have some of the best benefits for retirees in the entire U.S.A.

We have generous pensions with annual COLA increases.

We have excellent  insurances (at a very low cost) to supplement the benefits under the U.S. Govt's programme for retirees (Medicare).

( For instance, I rarely have to pay any more than $15 for the various treatments I receive from my Primary Care Physician: from my Dermatologist; from my Dermatological surgeon, and  from my 
Gastroenterologist ).

We also have excellent Dentist/Orthodontist  benefits at a minimal  cost.


All of this means that though I am far from being one of the wealthy 1%, I am fairly high on the list of the 99% so far as pension and retirement benefits are concerned.

It leads me to wonder why U.S.A. Corporations have not been as prudent as the Church Pension Fund.


 I am so grateful for today's Diocese of South West Florida "Retired Clergy Day".  I thank our Bishop, the Rt. Revd. Dabney T Smith.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Another "magic" day.

In colloquial "English" English the word  "magic" is used to describe something which was good, or great, or enjoyable.

With that in mind, I tell you  my day has been "magic".

I was down at St. B's for the regular Tuesday morning service of Holy Communion.

I knew that the two salaried staff Clerics at St. B's would not be there:  summonsed as they had been to a Diocese of  South West Florida "Clergy Day" at the Diocesan Camp and Conference Centre called "Dayspring",  up in Ellenton, MA.

I was a bit surprised that none of the many St. B's "retired Clerics" were present today, as is their usual practice.

It was my duty to be the "Priest du jour" at today's service.

Thus it was my pleasure to lead a service with the three  "lay" Christians who showed up.  I "preached" a bit about the exciting  Christian Doctrine of the Trinity.

(Church rats will know that Monday 9th was a Feast Day for St. Gregory of Nyssa (an Early Church Bishop and Theologian) who died in about A.D. 198), and who was an ardent advocate for what we modern Episcopalians call "The Doctrine of the Trinity".)

The three lay worshippers told me that they were grateful for my theme:  viz- the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity has to do with an  eternal dance of love.


After lunch I was down at the Sarasota Opera for a matinee offering of Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro".  I cannot say that I enjoyed every minute for, "truth to tell",  I dozed off  a bit during  the first two acts!

Despite my somnolence  I enjoyed much of Mozart's music:  was in awe of some of the solo voices; and rejoiced in the corny/comedic aspects of the libretto.

The Opera is sung in Italian.  This means that I did not understand all the "words",  

Who cares about this?   Not I. 

For you see, at the times when up to six soloists were singing together, (each with a different text), what was most important was not the words of  their song but the beauty of the sound,

I had purchased a ticket "beyond my means" which meant that I was in a "box" seat.

Thus it was that I was seated with two very prosperous "Newfies" (a very down to earth couple)  -  (the husband having  made his fortune in the Newfoundland fish processing industry).  It was nice to chat with them during the two intermissions.


I had to be out of my home for  five hours for the Opera, so my dog "Madame Penne'  spent that time with my "two doors away" neighbours Ed G and Eddie P.

Both "Eds" are very fond of Penne.  She, in turn is "nuts" about Ed. G.  She gets utterly excited whenever she sees him.

So I was able to cease from fretting about my dear Penne whilst I was at the Opera, knowing that she was in good hands with Eddie P and Ed G.

Thank goodness for my dog (Penne), and for two splendid neighbours,


Monday, 9 March 2015

Two old pals have a chin-wag in SRQ

See yesterday's blog and Facebook posting

My Tienhaara Connection.

It was probably in 1978 or 1979  that I first got to know the Tienhaara family of Fitchburg, MA.  At that time I was the Rector at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fitchburg, MA.

It's a long and complicated story, save to say that I have stayed in  touch with the T's, (thanks chiefly to Facebook) even 'though they were never Episcopalians.   Our lives touched in a tender and gracious way.

The oldest Tienhaara son is Richard.    He is a dear man of God.

Last Thanksgiving  he sent me this e-mail:

Michael:  thank you for your thoughtful words ..I do feel very blessed . I'm thankful that you took the time during my teenage years to introduce me to the love of Christ . I'm not sure where I would be if you hadn't !! My life is richer knowing you.

Those words made me want to cry.


Back in 1984  I participated in the solemnization of Richard's marriage to Elisabeth at a Roman Catholic Church on Long Island.

Richard, Elisabeth  and I have stayed in touch: as I have with R's siblings (Sean, Brian, Kevin and Jessica) via Facebook.


Richard is 6'6" tall.  (Yes, he played Basketball at College level).

When my late and blessed Mother met Richard  on one of her visits from the U.K. to the U.S.A.  she met  said to him:  "come to my home at 47 Devon  Rd, in Bristol, U.K and you  will be able to paint my kitchen ceiling  without needing a ladder".  He has never forgotten that she said that.

Richard and I saw each other last in 2010  when I was in New England for the consecration of my friend Ian Douglas to be the Bishop of Connecticut.  At that time R and I connected for what was a mediocre breakfast at the "Friendly's" which is/was just off the Massachusetts Turnpike in Ware.

Richard was in town yesterday.  He and Elizabeth are visiting her mother who lives near St. Petersburg, FL  He had taken time out to visit his father down in Naples, FL, so he stopped by my home yesterday afternoon as her travelled from Naples to St. Pete.

We had a grand time as we got caught up with news of our respective families, talked about our lives in Christ, and prayed together.

It was such a blessed way to bring a good Sunday to a close.

My pal Richard