Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A wonderful weekend in Raleigh and Cary. North Carolina.

Twenty five years ago I officiated at the wedding of Keith and Annette at a Lutheran Church in Providence, R.I.

We have "more or less" stayed in touch in the intervening years.

A month or so ago they urged me to visit them at their home in Cary, N.C. (I was last there about seven or eight years ago).

I accepted their gracious invitation, even as I remembered  that I had other friends in that part of North Carolina.

So it was that I flew from TPA to RDU  last Friday.


On Friday evening I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with George Blaisdell Jr and his fiancée Deborah at the Nantucket Grill in Raleigh.

The Blaisdell family have been my friends since 1984.  George Junior's Dad (also George) died quite a few years ago.

George's  Mom (Beverly)  passed from this life about three weeks ago,

Some six months before her death,  Beverly took it into her mind to sort her extensive collection of photo's.  She placed many of them in envelopes marked with first names, including some for me. George gave me "my envelope" which contained a dozen or so photo's of various events at the Blaisdell home in Pittsfield, including the visit of my youngest sister Ruth and her daughter Leah, and of my Mom and Step-father on their "second honeymoon".

What a treasure!  Thank you Beverly.  (I'll be posting some of these photo's soon).

As well as enjoying good food, I had a splendid and rich conversation with George and Deb  He returned to Church a few years ago, and attend the Church of the Holy Comforter in Burlington, N.C  Guess what?   I knew the Rector, Adam Shoemaker, when he was a seminarian in Cambridge, MA>


Saturday saw me in Cary at Annette and Keith's home.

Keith's parents, Doris and Al Williams grew up in Bristol, U.K (my home City). I got to know them when I was the Rector at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fitchburg MA>

As it happened Doris, Al and Keith were visiting family in Bristol in June 1976.  I had just been ordained Deacon, and was getting ready to move to Fitchburg.

The Williams's stopped by my home to have a cup of tea with my Mum and me.  Keith was then fifteen years old, and I took pleasure in reminding him that he had met me before I became his Rector.

Soon after my arrival at Keith and Annette's home in Cary I went with them to watch their son Garrett  (aged 15 - exactly the same age as Keith was when we met in Bristol), in a recreational league basketball game.  Annika, their daughter, is a freshman at the University of Georgia, so I did not get to see her.

We three adults went to a Saturday 4:00 p.m. service at their family Church, Hope Community Church.

Hope is a mega-Church, with services on four campuses.  Mega-Church is not my style, but I suspended judgment, relaxed, prayed and worshiped.

It's a good spiritual home for the Williams family, and I was glad to be there with them.

Back at their home we of course enjoyed rich conversations, laughter, memory sharing, and faith sharing.

Annette is a splendid cook too!

I made a new friend - their pointer "Hampton".

Hampton won my heart (but please do not tell Penne!).


On Sunday morning I drove from Cary to Raleigh to meet with another dear and old friend Kadi Kool.  We got to know each other when I was the Rector at St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, MA.

It was such a joy to be together again and to get to know Kadi's sons Mikhael and Kristofer.   They are now late teenagers.  I had not seen them since they were toddlers.

Sunday morning Church for me was at Kadi's parish Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Raleigh (across the street from Peace University)

The Liturgy was seamless and dignified.  The sermon was first class  -  it certainly fed my soul.

Kristofer was with us in Church.  Mikhael joined us for lunch afterwards at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.

There you can eat Sushi, you can eat Burgers, or you can eat Sushi.Burger Fusion plates.

I opted for Seared Sesame Tuna Nicoise Salad:  

Sesame encrusted (Seared yellowfin tuna, baby greens, green beans, asparagus, hard-boiled egg, snow peas, 
kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes with herb viniagrette)

The great thing about Mikhael, Kristofer (and Garrett( is that they are so well able to enter into adult conversations.  
That made their company a pleasure.
And Kadi, oh Kadi.   I love her dearly and couldn't have been happier as we shared again in Christian fellowship
Then it was back to Cary for a cuppa with Matt and Liz Thompson.  (Matt is the son of my very dear 
Sarasota friends Ron and Charlotte Thompson).
I'd met Matt and their son Joshua in SRQ, but this was a first time visit with Liz and their daughter Hannah. 
 (Middle child Julia could not be with us). My terrific visit with the Cary Thompsons rang down the curtain 
on an utterly fabulous weekend,

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