Saturday, 23 June 2018

... and don't make fun of me

He sat almost stiff backed in his wheelchair, at the end of a long and well lit corridor.

As we drew nearer he smiled.  I asked him if he would like to meet Zion.  He did.

Then he said  "I met Jesus Christ".  I thought it to be an unusual statement in a Jewish assisted living facility.

"Tell me about it" I said.

He told me.  "I got out of Trump's helicopter and I was in Jerusalem. Jesus Christ was there.

And there were lots and lots of children, very young.

And then an army came in.  The soldiers were very short, so I knew that they were Chinese, and very dangerous."

I knew that this was not the time and place for deep conversation, so I made polite comments.

I reached out my hand to bid him farewell.  He gripped my right hand between his two hands and said  "I am ninety four years old, and I am very strong".

He was.  I could not pull my hand away from his tight, very tight grip.  Yes, I was a wee bit afraid.

An aide intervened and pulled his very strong hands apart.  My right hand was free!

As I walked back from him and back down the corridor he called out:

"And don't make fun of me".

Of course I would never do so.


OH DEMENTIA  I think that  it is MOST LIKELY that 

This dear man knew about Trump's heliocopter rides to and from the White House.

He knew about Trump's decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He knew about the little immigrant children who have been separated from their parents.

He knew about the growing power and influence of China.

BUT  DEMENTIA often takes in information and then synthesizes it to create a new "reality".  I think that's what is happening with the man who would not loosen his grip on my right hand, and knew that he had met Jesus in Jerusalem.

His mind had taken certain facts, scrambled them and then iterated them in a way which made sense to him.


Friday, 22 June 2018

Our brother Steve, two years on

My brother Stephen died suddenly and unexpectedly two years ago today  (June 22nd), aged 63.

The shock of his untimely death has been a wee bit mitigated by the passing of these twenty four months, but our grief and sadness persists, and will always persist.

"Our Steve" as we always called him was the least complicated and most direct of the five Povey men.  What we saw and knew was a dear brother who was utterly without guile or pretense, (and he had a wicked sense of humour).

His rai·son d'ĂȘ·tre was pure and unalloyed.  He worked,  lived and loved for the very best interests of Angela his wife, of Lee and Nicola their children, and of their grandchildren. 

Their grief two years on has not been smoothed by the sands of time.  Why should it be?

Steve had a particular close friendship with our brother Martyn.  

For a while he did not know quite what to make of me, a somewhat snobby brother who was nine years older than he,  and a  Priest to boot. 

But as the years passed by he and I grew to love, trust and respect each other --  thank goodness.

I have tender memories of the time when Steve, Martyn and I spent a short time together in New York City.

Au revoir dear brother Steve.


When I got back home after Steve's funeral I found refuge (rather than comfort) in a video  of "Somewhere along the Road" as recorded by Steeleye Span.

I still watch it often.  I commend it to you.

Here are the Lyrics:  ( I cannot read them without getting teary).

Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me
Beyond the present storms that blow
Waiting patiently

No secrets held in an open heart
A spirit that soars over mountains
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Somehow a guiding light
Always shows the way
To those who lose their way by night
Searching for the day

A day away from happiness
Tomorrow will bring a new sunrise
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Sometimes when winds are still
Perhaps beyond this silent hill
A voice will come to me

Raise your eyes and see my world
Raise your voice and sing out
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me
Beyond the present storms that blow
Waiting patiently

No secrets held in an open heart
A spirit that soars over mountains
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Better get ready

All those years ago when I was a minister in Fitchburg, MA there was a small threat one year that a Hurricane would come up the east coast, cross Long Island sound, and move up through central Connecticut and Massachusetts.

My friend and mentor DeWolf Perry advised me to fill my bath tub with cold water.  I thought that it was some kind of mystical and cultish ceremony to ward off bad weather until he explained that if the worst came to the worst and power was cut, the water would be more than useful to flush toilets.

Well that hurricane fizzled out and I never did have to live through a hurricane in New England.

 I endured my fair share of blizzards.

I moved to SRQ in 2006 and after a year or so I know that I had to get ready for a possible hurricane.

So I put together my emergency supplies in an air tight and water-proof container.

I've never had to use it, but each year I inspect it.   I did so today.

Coleman camping stove, working well, with two full gas canisters.

Large flashlight/torch.  Dead battery.

Lantern, in good shape.

Battery operated weather (and other channels) radio  A OK

Miner's/ spelunkers head light -  good to go.  (you can use two hands when wearing one of these)

Matches/candles  (remember them?)  Good to go.


No one likes hurricanes.  They can do awful (and sometimes deadly) damage to people places and things.

But they do not arrive out of the blue. We are given days to get ready for their possible path.  Should one be on the way this year I'll have good enough advance warning to supplement my emergency supplies with bottled drinking water, canned goods, milk and cereals, and most importantly food for my dog. 

I'll also (way in advance) fill my car with gas/petrol and most importantly get some real hard cash to prepare for the possibility that ATM's (Cash Points), and supermarket debit card readers will be out of service for the duration.

I  want to be a wise virgin, not a foolish virgin (see the New Testament Gospel of Matthew Chapter 25)  but ignore the virgin bit. 😁


When Irma was heading our way last year I decided that I was fearful, and did not want to ride out the storm alone.

My good friends Bill and Pat offered me shelter and good company for which I was utterly grateful.

In the end Irma skirted Sarasota and our area did not lose power or suffer damage (other parts of SRQ were not so lucky).

I had taken my well stocked emergency box to their home and  I was a wee bit disappointed that we never needed it, thus robbing me of possible heroic status 😞

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

I am weary - so I am opting for "cute"

I am weary..

partly because of the enervating temperatures.  My dog and I are getting our walks, but they leave us to be exhausted.

partly because of the U.S. President's "apparent" turn about on the policy of separating minor immigrant children from their parents is not so simple and straightforward as it seems: -  see this:

I am so weary  that I could not focus on a follow up posting about the Bristol district called Easton, and what happens when an Interstate or Motorway is extended into the heart of a City.  Hint:  It's always the poor what suffers.

So here is the cute

I settle down to work on my computer.  Zion had other things in mind.  He slides down my left leg, then flops belly up.  It is my job to tickle his tummy with my left hand as I try to type with just my right hand.  If I ease up on the tummy tickles he paws my leg to remind me that he is far more important than my computer work.

You can see my dark blue tee shirt on the left in this photo' as it covers my not inconsiderable belly!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

What did you do? Where do you live?

Back in 1980 when I was being interviewed for a new job one member of the interview panel asked me "just who exactly is Michael Povey?"

The question threw me off guard.  Then I realised that I was not being asked about my skills, knowledge, accomplishments and experience.   I was being asked about my soul.

'Twas a rare question.  When being interviewed for a job, or when in retirement meeting a new person one is much more likely to be asked "what did you do?", or "where are you from?"

"What did you do?"   That's easy for me.  My confession that I was a parish Priest in the Episcopal Church speaks highly of my respectability.  (If only they knew).

"Where do you live?"  That's a subtle and class based question in Sarasota.

Should I reply with Bird Key, or St. Armands, or Lido Shores, or Siesta Key, or even "west of the trail" ( homes west of the Tamiami Trail and close to Sarasota Bay)  my interlocutor is immediate reassured as to my class and prosperity. He/she knows that I am of the right sort.

But when I say  "I live in Glen Oaks Ridge"  the response is a blank stare. My questioner is baffled.  She/he has never heard of Glen Oaks Ridge.  That lack of knowledge handicaps his/her assessment of my worth.


It's all about tribalism.

I understand this phenomenon well from my up-bringing in east Bristol, UK.

East of the city centre was an area called St. Paul's, replete with elegant Georgian and Victorian houses, the homes of  19th Century mercantile class (but a bit run down in my time).

St. Paul's morphed into Easton, an area with "two up-two down" late Victorian era row houses.  There the factory workers and shop workers lived in homes with no hot running water, and no indoor plumbing,  but with a "dog in the manger"  working class sensibility.  Easton was, in the minds of the respectable classes, a bit sub-par.  

Easton had and has no fixed boundaries, but generally speaking it is an area to the north and south of Stapleton Rd., emerging from St. Paul's in the west and morphing into Eastville and Greenbank in the east.

The Stapleton Rd of my youth.

Modern Stapleton Rd, multi-cultural and lively for some, disdained by others.

Kensington Baptist in Church in Easton.  My sister Maureen and her husband attend this Church. "Ken" as it is familiarly known chose not to flee to the burbs, but to bloom where it was planted,  These days it has members from more than twenty different Countries. WAY TO GO!!

My Mum grew up in Easton. 

My Dad grew up in Eastville (back then a slightly more respectable area than Easton)  (we are talking about the 1930's).

Mum and Dad  bought a house in east Bristol, south of the old London, Midland and Scottish  Railway Line. There we were raised.  Three up and three down, but with no hot running water, and with an outdoor "lav".  Just like Easton

There I was raised.    But my parents were clear.  We did not live in Easton.  We lived in Whitehall, boundaried to the west by Easton, to the north by Greenbank, and to the south by Redfield.

Who would want to live in Easton when they could live in Whitehall!    Same people, same classes, same hopes and expectations of course  -  but above all we were not in Easton!

Easton, Eastville, Greenbank, Whitehall etc are united by a common Postal (Zip) Code  -  BS5.

 BS5 has a certain cachet these days, lauded by many and despised by others,  because of its multi-cultural delights.

One BS5-er commissioned a mural on the gable of his BS5 home, a mural designed to affirm and celebrate the blessings of multi-cultural life.

Oh boy, I know that house.  It is #45 Devon Rd, right next door to # 47 where I grew up.  I love it.

But the local rag "The Bristol Post"  said that it was in Easton.

"Not so" says my Mum from her grave "it's in Whitehall".

Tribalism lives!    Whitehall, Greenbank, Eastville and Easton residents are peas in a pod. But local tribalism reigns.

God bless my Mum.  She was in general a heroic and tolerant woman.

But we all have our limits.

Let it be known:  "I was raised in Whitehall, not in Easton". 😔

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Lunch today June 17th 2018

I cheated a bit, but it was delicious.

Frozen corn, frozen meat balls, frozen pasta with broccoli -  heated up/cooked in mango salsa.

Not gourmet.

Not entirely healthy.

But it hit the spot.

It hit the spot so well that I do not need  dinner/supper.