Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Outings

Happy Father's Day and Hello Summer!

Helpful dads hold your kite.

A Father's Day tradition is forming for us. It seems to have taken a while since the kids are 16 and 11, but since we've come to MA, we head out to gorgeous, nearby nature spots each year. Last year we visited World's End, and this year, Crane Beach. Both are properties of the Trustees of Reservations, a wonderful group that preserves historical and natural places around the state.

Doug, looking very cool with those glasses

They certainly look like Dad and son.

I bet great brothers become great dads.

The afternoon celebration began at Woodman's, a famous clam shack (In fact, their founder invented fried clams!). The line for their steamed lobsters, fried clams and fish, corn and chowder spreads down the road even though there are many other nearby restaurants featuring fish that have no lines. Is it that everyone likes the outdoor dining on those great red and white checked picnic tables by the marsh? Is it the ice cream shack selling Gifford's terrific ice cream on the property? Is it the relatively low prices for great food in a relaxed atmosphere? I like all those things, but I can't compare it to them to the other local restaurants because I haven't been in them. Rather we join the line, lasting about an hour, for Woodman's. Does the line create the demand... or the demand create the line?

Filled with our delicious lobster, fish, corn, and the greatest onion rings... we head for the beach. We arrive as most people are leaving or have gone to dinner. The sand is cooling, the sun's strength is waning, and warmed water fills the tide pools. For me, late afternoon is the best time to hit the beach. When is your favorite time to go to the beach? What is your favorite beach?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Endings, Beginnings

Firstly, a big thank you to all who read this blog. It passed 10,000 views between the last post and this one. If you enjoy the blog please comment. It's nice to know people are out there.

Our church had a retirement ceremony and party yesterday for the minister who is retiring after 38 years. I am so glad to have gotten to hear his sermons for about 2 1/2 of those years. His preaching and this church community have opened my eyes to what religious practice can be. It took over 40 years to find a congregation and message from a church or temple that didn't sound like hypocrisy to me. (One might say I had been wandering in a religious desert.) The message here is that everyone is valuable, that our Earth is a gift we need to protect for the future, and that hope and love are here now in this life.

Ken speaking at his retirement celebration

The message at church over the last few weeks is that the congregation is this church. While this minister (and our wonderful ministerial intern) are leaving, the community will continue. Over the next two years a very experienced interim minister will guide us in finding a new minister to fit our community. New staff will bring new ideas and fresh talent into our midst, while keeping some lovely traditions like flower Sunday. For that last service of the year, everyone brings a flower and takes another flower home to share the beauty and friendship of our community. Also, everyone writes their favorite church memory of the year on a post-it flower petal, and they are read by the staff to the congregation drawing cheers and applause.

Ken, Kevin and Lisa Maria read and post this year's petals.

Sermons are thoughtful and fun with such engaged ministers

Many of us are hoping that Kevin, our musical, ministerial intern, will finish school and return to us. He has been such a gentle, thoughtful presence. One of the highlights of this church year was a musical celebration he organized in May. I have been amazed by all the great musical talent in this church since I started attending, but this evening brought out the best in everyone: Will and Beth on guitar, Jennie on the violin, Kevin, Lisa Maria and Polly on piano, Becky on flute, the amazing vocal talents of Samantha and Maddie. Kevin also joined us in the bell choir that evening and included us in a piece with violin, piano, bells and the voices of the audience performing Blue Boat Home. The whole evening was magical. That evening and many Sunday church services truly fill my heart.

Polly the music director introduces the choir at Ken's celebration

Bells in sinc at our final performance of the year

The postlude to the service right before the party was our bell choir performance of Ashokan Farewell, The Civil War anthem. It had a tenderness that we'd been trying to get in practice for weeks. But it took the moment of farewell and the tender hearts of the full sanctuary to bring it out.