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Archive for September, 2008

A Weed by Another Name

All spring and summer I’ve had an unidentified plant growing in my garden. The plant looked a bit like a shasta daisy, I thought, I hoped. However, I took some to my garden club meeting in May and the ladies were adamant — it was not a daisy. So all summer, it grew and grew, finally reaching seven feet tall and very prolific all through my flower garden. I could see Bruce eyeing it — itching to cut it down and weed it out. Finally, as the weather turned cooler it set on buds, so again I took it to the September meeting of the garden club. “Kathy, it’s goldenrod. You can make tea from it.” I dutifully investigated it on the internet and sure enough, it’s good for several ailments. If I were so inclined, I could open a stand on the corner. “Goldenrod Tea — $1.00 a cup”. Not really wanting to take on another job, I’ve resisted so far. However — I’ve been putting it in my fall flower arrangements. Now that it’s not on the ickey-bad-weed hit list anymore, it looks rather nice.

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Since we’re in the process of converting/returning to the Church, I’ve been trying to get to Mass a couple of times during the week. We’re both very trained to go to church on Sunday, but during the week still feels a little strange.  I want it not to feel strange, which it will, with more familiarity.

Tuesday we got up late. Both of us had a restless night, which happens every once in a while. Ginger Dog really needed a bath, so after breakfast into the tub she went. She’s a small dog and pretty well-behaved so it doesn’t take long to get her shampooed and conditioned and towel-dried. However, the bathroom cleanup takes a bit to dump all the hair out of the strainer several times and bleach the tub again after it drains.

By the time I had showered and dressed I was running a bit late, but I drove down to the church as quickly as I dared. The parking lot behind the church was full and two cars had parked on the lines so they had lots of room but two more spots were gone. I finally found a place I could squeeze into. I hurried into the church passing four men in the narthex who seemed rather well -dressed for a weekday service. That’s nice, I thought. Since the service had all ready started I slid into a back pew, opened up my missal but realized the readings were not the ones appointed for that day. Hmmm, that was odd. Also odd, was the number of well-dressed people filling the front of the church; it was half full.  Gee, this service is catching on, I thought to myself. After stepping to the right to better see the priest, I finally saw the coffin in the aisle.

Well — I actually enjoyed the eulogy. Apparently, Cordelia was a good woman, a pillar of the church and fine wife and mother who believed in all the benefits of a college education. I hope someday a priest will say all those nice things about me. Perhaps some soul will wander in off the street and listen to my eulogy as well. One just can’t have too many people attend your funeral. May her dearly departed soul rest in peace.

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“Once a Catholic, always a Catholic” I used to say. How very true. After 50 years, I’ve returned to the Church. I was raised Catholic from the age of 6 to 12, baptized and made my First Communion. All the things I loved about the Church are still there. The aspects I didn’t understand as a child, now, as an adult, I do. It’s been a real “coming home.”

Believe me, on one level, it hasn’t been an easy decision; yet, on another, it was very easy. I joined the Episcopal Church 30 years ago in Norton, Kansas and it truly fulfilled a need since it was a blend of Protestantism and Catholicism. I’ve been an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Augusta for almost 25 years. Bruce has been active, too, since our marriage. However, we’ve been talking about this for 2 years. The Catholic Church is the “original” church — it has almost 2000 years of history and tradition. I loved the mystery of the Mass as a child. I still do. There is a reverence found in a Catholic church that I’ve never felt any other place. The Mass is both a simple supper and a majestic celebration of Christ’s teaching and his life and death. Looking at a crucifix we are repeatedly reminded that He died for our sins. What an incredible gift!

We are studying with a class of others at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. The class covers everything, slow and steady. What, why, when, where and how. It is fascinating to read and learn again with both the trust of a child and the sensibilities of an adult.

Ironically, my brother, Hugh, made the decision to return about the same time I did. Mother returned to the Church too when she was in her late 60s. I guess we all just needed to go back home, to our spiritual roots, our real home.

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More Bang for the Buck

If you haven’t watched “The Big Bang Theory” on Monday nights on CBS, please do. It’s on early — 8 PM EDT.  It starts its new season this coming Monday. For those of us who especially love and appreciate the beloved nerds in our lives, this program celebrates geekdom (or is it geekhood, or nerddom or nerdhood?) at its best. The characters are lovable even with all their idiosyncrasies. Actually their problems are ones we all have suffered at some point, and to some degree — just exaggerated because they are such geeks.  The truth is — we’re all nerdy about one thing, at least.  And that’s the point, of course.

We have a church class on Monday evenings, so the VCR is set to record it; we’ll watch it when we get home!  Join us!

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Read On

Occasionally I have spells where I want to curl up on the sofa with a huge cup of endless tea, a box of chocolate bonbons, and read, read, read. Forget the laundry, the housework, ignore the dust, pick up only the large pieces of dirt on the carpet, order in delivery food and forget the world except for what’s in between the pages. Woe is me. No can do.

I keep thinking that if I just hurry through my work, I can park my backside. That seldom happens, except on Sunday afternoons. After church we eat out, come home, get in our softies and veg out. Sunday night supper is what Bruce calls “a refrigerator dive.” Dig in and find something — anything — or a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. Leftovers are best but sometimes we had them on Saturday. Dive — dive!

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Good for the Soul

It started with the book shelves in the study, moved on to the book shelves in the back hallway, into the back bedroom and returned to the study in the file cabinets. It was a purge. Thin ’em out, toss ’em out, clean ’em out!

We whittled down the whole shelf of Holy Bibles we own. Bruce had many Bibles; so did I. We have purchased even more since our marriage. Multiple translations are necessary for good Bible study, however, we still had way too many. Some we had to keep. Ones belonging to our respective mothers, or with special significance. But the duplicates and extras had to go. What to do? Bruce recalled seeing a collection bin at the local Christian bookstore so he gave them a call. They donate them to the local rescue mission downtown they said, so Bruce phoned them. The mission director was delighted! Bruce even took them some religious books he had. He left the mission one big box lighter to the comment — “Bless you, brother!”

Three boxes went to the Salvation Army store, one to the church’s library, and even one box for my dear friend, Betty, another voracious reader. We found three copies of Alice in Wonderland. One is more than enough, don’t you think? We kept those books we couldn’t part with, for whatever reason, plus those we hadn’t yet read. When we lived in the Midwest, part of my “storm preparation package” was plenty to read, just in case we got snow bound for a week — or three. Though that is unlikely here, Augusta did have a three day ice storm in January 2004. I spent a lot of time on the sofa, which was pulled half way between the big window, for light, and the fireplace, for warmth. I even dug out the kerosene lamps so I could read at night. Without TV, the radio and the pets and my books were all the company I had then. I kept a kettle of hot water at the edge of the fire. Books and hot tea go together, especially when ice is hanging from tree branches. But I digress.

We even weeded out the shelves with videos. I found several ones from my teaching days. I had forgotten about the times I had to be videotaped in my classes. Heavens — I was so young and energetic. One was from my days at Laney, the other one from Davidson. It was fun to watch and see my students.

We dug through files and tossed old stuff. We decided the tax files belonged next to the copies of death certificates I have for Dad, Mom, Christine and Dale.

So the trash can is full. The shelves are cleaner. Perhaps it’s time for a trip to Barnes and Noble.

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