Saturday, February 28, 2009

in which the Rambler observes Lent by falling short of perfection...

Our friend Diane at Faith in Community has a beautiful post about "imperfection."

With that as encouragement, I have a story to share.

A week ago I came drifting into the office about midday to check messages and make ready for the rest of the day -- an all afternoon session with some fans of Jane Austen, here in Prairie Metropolis, discussing the clergy in Austen's novels ("Henry Tilney ROCKS!" you heard it here first), and then joining the Rector's Warden, her husband and another couple for dinner.

Sunday also needed a bit of preparation: not only was it "Thinking Day," with rampant Baden-Powell-ish-ness everywhere, but The Lady in the Purple Shirt and Pointy Hat was making her first official visit to MH & U, preaching and presiding, bless her heart, at both services.

With all this in mind, I picked up the service leaflet.

And THERE, in the second line of the Psalm, was the typographical error of all time.

The gremlins had found an extra "t" and inserted it so that "Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty" had become ... "Out of Zion, perfect in tits beauty."

(pause for effect)

And when the screaming (mine) had died away..."action was taken." Should you ever find yourself in a parallel predicament, here is The Method:

I gathered all the leaflets AND three pristine new bottles of Liquid Paper into a nice clean cardboard "Banker's Box" and into Harriet's trunk, and when I arrived at my dinner engagement the hostess found me on the doorstep toting box, beaming brightly and saying, "Hi! We have a Little Project this evening!"

Picture us around the dining room table, replete with a wonderful dinner, giggling uncontrollably and dab-dab-dabbing over the offending letter in every single one of the bulletins EXCEPT the one I saved out for the Bishop's delectation. AFTER the services.

Blessings on all the good helpful folks; and on their butter-wouldn't-melt expressions next morning during the singing of the Psalm; and on these moments that convert disaster and chagrin into comfort and joy.

We do contrive to have a good time, one way and another...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

in which the Rambler launches into Lent (parenthetically)... 7:30 this morning, temperature dangling somewhere down below zero Fahrenheit, inches of new snow, treacherous slippery streets -- but it wasn't entirely dark!!!!!

And MH & U was warm (faintly miasmic of syrup and sausage, still), and the hangings were changed last night after pancakes and Christian Education (let us not ask by whom)(Alter-cation Guild seems to have suffered a brain cramp)(ah well, bless their hearts), and the ashes were sufficient...

And there were FIVE LIVING BREATHING CHRISTIAN SOULS at the service, two parishioners (although not for the entire ritual), two total strangers ("We found you on the Internet"), and the Rambler...

And we assured one another on the authority of Isaiah that the Lord would make our bones strong, thinking fondly of fractured friends at hand and elsewhere.

The lower level is "full of contractors" contemplating the remediation of the heating system. We have (hushed voices) "cavitation" in the pumps. Fine word, that.

We enjoyed a delightful morning with our Bishop last Sunday, and SHE, bless her heart, got to preach the Transfiguration...nicely too! This was her first visit to us since she, so to speak, assumed the purple...and the Scouts and Guides were in attendance and marched to and fro (using the term loosely)and put their flags in position and took them out again, and repeated their promises, and then provided us with all sorts of goodies for the post-service coffee time.

It was all extremely festive, and there was good feeling on all sides, thereby equipping the saints to deal more faithfully and joyfully in the ensuing week with things like cavitating pumps.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

just a glimpse...

...of the Rambler doing one of the things that make her happiest!

A thrill a minute... Tether's End, these days...

Yesterday was designated as "FAMILY DAY" here in Prairie Province: i.e., "any excuse for a statutory-holiday Monday in February" in the total absence of Presidents to commemorate...

Number Two Son Unit came over in the morning with tools and Mysterious Box of electrical supplies and re-illumined the laundry room with two new twisty bulbs in separate fixtures in lieu of the half-failed fluorescent fixture that was there..."A light to lighten the Gentiles" and much appreciated.

Then a meeting with church-wardens late afternoon, and when I got home, after dawdling about in the office for some time...I couldn't get the front door open. Hysterics from Nefertiti on the other side.

Evening, statutory holiday, the Locksmith's Delight all a "non-functioning key" became a "broken lock" became a "broken lock incapable of being half-replaced" became "hole in door not large enough for new lockset" became "new lockset not engaging strike plate in door jamb..."

Tether's End heaves about, you see, like a dory on the waves, and the doors interior and exterior prove it...

Ninety minutes and three hundred dollars later, all is functional and secure...the lock locks, the key unlocks, the latch latches, and life goes on.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More kitten stuff...

So last night it seemed like a good idea to see how Nefertiti would respond if I left my bedroom door open.

HA! silly question.

She hopped up on the bed and played a brisk round of "Cobras under the Duvet" while I read* for a bit, but the minute I turned out the reading light, "Right! bedtime it is! Sleeping now! Preferably on your face, Rambler! Hold still, now."

She doesn't purr while she's falling asleep -- or didn't last night, anyhow...but I fell asleep to small breathings and small heartbeats...and by morning she was coiled up, as above, against the back of my neck.

When I stirred, she rose up likewise and sat on top of my head for a while and then decided, while she was there, to chase her did NOTHING for the coiffure, believe me.

*I'm reading a Christmas-present biography of Moses ben Maimon ("Maimonides") and can report I feel much less perplexed already, and I'm only up to about page 100.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

good news

and about time.

A phone call this morning from our long-service, volunteer, VERY well qualified Organist of the Early Service...the embodiment of Eeyore in his outlook on the world. Gloomy to a marked degree; in part because of increasingly frail health, lots of pain and weariness.

Despite these impediments to joy, he is a very good musician, an excellent chooser of hymns (the selection at the early service is left entirely up to him)...and he does those little things that nobody else notices, like providing gentle "noodling" on the organ to cover the post-communion ablutions, and so forth.

On Tuesday, while I was "retreating," he had the first of two cataract surgeries. On Wednesday morning early, the bandage came off. And this morning he called, on the verge of tears with sheer delight, to tell me that he had read the whole eye chart, down to the twentieth line, that the notes on his music on the organ-rack were "sharp and black", that the sign over the restaurant where he and his family had a post-bandage breakfast celebration was almost too bright, and that..."there's just...SO...MUCH...LIGHT..." TBTG.

Monday, February 9, 2009

in which the Rambler goes on retreat...

My colleagues and I are IMMURED, more or less, in an Oblate retreat and conference centre about 45 minutes' drive from Tether's End. Our numbers are swelled by clergy colleagues from the diocese just to the north of us...

I've brought a sack of work to do, and reading, and plan to take part in just exactly as much of the retreat as I find nourishing...

And I brought the laptop, so as to maintain contact with the Outer Reality.

After all, there might be a need out there to communicate with me about the latest antics of the newest denizen of Tether's End...since Saturday...with her long legs and ridiculous long tail and great big ears and hefty semi-Siamese squall. Called "Nefertiti" in honour of her elegant profile.

Kitteh pics shall ensue.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

in which the Rambler overhears the ontological question...

Earlier this week the cleaning firm was at work here at MH & U, represented by a daughter of the founding partners in the firm, and her pre-school-aged children.

While Mama vacuumed, the toddlers...toddled. In, out, up, down, and around, and eventually to the open door of the Rambler-Den (the chancel-door, that is; there are three doors to this office altogether. "When I say SCAT, I mean SCAT!"). Dialogue ensued, over the sound of the vacuum cleaner.

"Yes dear..."
"Who DAT, Mama?"
[pause] "Oh that, that's...the Reverend."
[long, long, long pause]

and answer came there none.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In which the Rambler is ambushed...

Attached to our parish ("Most Holy & Undivided"), we have a family of First Nations folks. The Rambler's grandparents would have called them "Indians." The Rambler has some trouble with the term "native," which to her thinking has the smell of moldy pith helmets about it, and also with the term "aboriginal," which will always evoke Australia, sorry about that.

The Rambler has a fairly lengthy acquaintance with these folks, and was asked to celebrate the Eucharist in their midst last week, to mark the first anniversary of the very sad and premature death of a son of the family. He succumbed to the cumulative effects of taxing his physical self with food, drink, and recreational chemicals.

This invitation is a huge honour...especially as the brother of the young man who died is now also an Anglican priest, and fully qualified to preside for his family. So the Rambler goes into this event quite conscious of being the senior "European Settler Person" on site, and an "elder" by courtesy.

There were 85 members of the extended family present. (Parishes who seek growth might like to ramp up their welcome to First Nations families, by the way -- a growing demographic.) The Order of Service was Book of Common Prayerall the way (i.e., "old school"). The hymns were all in Cree, with the assistance and leadership of musician friends. (By the end of the service the Rambler was feeling pretty cocky about her ability to sing from the Cree hymn sheet).

And among the 85 were THE GRANDMOTHERS. Actually they were several-times-great grandmothers (the grandmothers all seem to be about 35). And these "eldresses" line themselves up at the communion rail, behind their quiet faces, and hold out their hands... and they walk right into my heart and break it all up into little tiny pieces, and rearrange them into a better and sweeter order.

Now what is this? I suspect, a lot of it the dreaded "projection" or "transference" (maybe even "counter transference"), or "naive romanticism" or some other version of Not Knowing Any More Than I Think I Do about these people. But I want to get down on the floor and wash their feet. With tears.

Then there was the feast, great jocularity about letting the White Elder (!) serve herself first from the (tongue-in-cheek) "native fare" on offer, featuring cabbage rolls and lasagne.

But my dear brothers and sisters, there was also PIE. Made by the grandmothers. Blueberry pie. From wild blueberries picked on the reservation.

I'm not quite back to normal and I'm not sure I want to be.