Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Celebrating Lughnasadh

August 4, 2010

As I’ve been slowly realizing that Wicca is my true spiritual path, I am paying more attention to the changing seasons and the Wheel of the Year.  This is the first time that I’ve honored the Sabbat, Lughnasadh or Lammas.  My understanding of this day, celebrated August 1st, is a time to celebrate the first harvests.  Grains and corn are representative of this, so bread and cornhusk dolls have a prominent role in the celebration.  My own observation of the days surrounding the Sabbat have brought up other significant issues connected harvest, storing up  and sustaining life through the harsh winter.

I’ve been spending time in the woods and at the river.  It only stands to reason that I would come face to face with wildlife. However, my encounters in nature seem to have more significance than the “ah, hey!  look at that!” when a woodland creature crosses my path.  I started noticing the tendency of animals to jump out in front of my bike on the trail about a week ago.  At first, it was a rabbit or two or three and a few birds swooping across our local nature trail.  Then it increased in quantity and variety. 

Today I hit the apex. Or so it would seem, perhaps I should wait until after tomorrow’s ride to say for sure.  So here is the list of animals I encountered on today’s 45 minute excursion through the woods.

  • woodchuck
  • rabbits
  • chipmunks
  • red squirrel
  • ducks
  • geese
  • turkey
  • dragonflies
  • butterflies

In addition to all of those, we can add the trout that I encountered while playing in the river at Ohiopyle State Park over the weekend. 

I don’t claim to have an endless store of knowledge about the symbolism behind these animals, but I know that their appearance is telling me something, and I have resources

The symbolism of the woodchuck was difficult to find. The lesson it brings appears to be that of being open to dreams and altered states of consciousness.  It is the totem animal of shamans and mystics. I feel the woodchuck telling me that it’s not only good for me to be open to the dreams and visions I see in meditation, but that it is necessary for me to do so. I am embarking on a path that will transform me into a psychic, or mystic if you like, and so this woodchuck tells me to keep moving in that direction.

We all associate the rabbit with reproduction, and luck.  For me, I take the celtic interpretation of the conception of new ideas and nurturing them in fertile minds and hearts.  In other words, that new business idea I’ve been working on is being confirmed by the appearance of the rabbits.  I need to nurture that plan so that it can grow in a secure manner.

Chipmunks:  these little rodents gather and store, planning ahead, always looking toward the time when resources may not be as plentiful.  Their appearance to me at Lammas is not lost on me.  It is time to harvest, save, and make a plan.  Yes, I’ve already increased the amount I divert into a savings account.

Red Squirrels, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ran across my path today as well.  Oh, they are fun to watch, so playful, like the slapstick comedians of the forest.  Like the chipmunks, they gather and store.  Could it be that the appearance of the red squirrel is to remind me to have fun while making the plan for the new venture?  Avia Venefica points out that the squirrel reminds us of the need for balance, not to overthink or invest too much in preparation as the squirrel only finds about 10% of the nuts it has hidden. 

A small stream runs along much of the trail that I ride.  I often see ducks and geese, and in these days surrounding Lughnasadh, I’ve seen both. Because they are migratory, these graceful birds call on us to consider our own transitory nature.  I can feel big changes coming for me.  I’ve already taken steps on that transformational pathway.  Geese also return to the same home every year, so this may be a gentle reminder to stay grounded and remember those who are my rock and foundation.

Wild Turkey, not the adult beverage that is usually served “on the rocks” but the symbol that they use for their logo.  They are shockingly large when one is used to seeing just the carcasses in the supermarket freezer around Thanksgiving.   Once again, the turkey reinforces the concept of a new beginning and a cycle of preparation.  The turkey is associated with pride and virility and abundance.  It is a reminder to be strong, prepared, and grateful for not only what I have, but what is coming my way.

 

 

Dragonflies and Butterflies have been flitting around me for weeks now.  Dragonflies are always found near water, so the connection is emotional and related to my work as a psychic. Water symbols represent what is deep in our subconscious, but the dragonfly brings that to the surface.  Butterflies, in true abundance have been surrounding me this week.  They have even landed on me.  There is no mistaking the message of transformation.  A caterpillar undergoes quite a dramatic change in the cocoon and emerges as the beautiful butterfly.  Their message to me seems to be that I too am emerging from a cocoon and that my life is beautiful.  Both speak to me of good luck. 

Finally, I have spent more time in water this summer than any I can recall in my recent past.  This is natural, running water, not some chemical-laiden pool.  It is not lost on me that the water of the Youghiogheny River is a symbol for subconscious thought and I am spending a lot of time in that river physically as well as emotionally.  My time there is a good indication of what is going on in my head. Seeing the trout reinforces those ideas of creativity, fertility, prosperity, and in the Celtic tradition, knowledge, inspiration, and prophecy.  For me, this is where my spiritual journey is taking me.  I’m moving on to sharpen my psychic skills so that I can gain insight not only for myself, but for those who would seek me out for insight to their own lives. 

It’s an awesome, sometimes confusing, incredible and rewarding journey.  I see now why I went through some difficult times.  I would not be the person I am without those dark days.  In turn, I can reach out and light a candle for those who are still in the dark.  May I do that for you?

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Playing with Wordle

October 15, 2009

Wordle: NEM

 

Just click on it.  The site is fun and you can make your own word map.

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Going to Church

January 23, 2009

I went to church last Sunday.  Big deal.  So did millions of other people.  It was a big deal, at least for me.  It has been over 3 weeks since I left my position as music director at a Disciples of Christ Church.  In the past 25 years, I’ve had very few Sundays in which I could experience church services that are outside of my own experience.  I’ve been employed continuously by churches since 1982, with the longest hiatus from music ministry being about 2 months.  One of the problems of being “in charge” of worship is that one rarely sees how others go about it.  This abrupt leave from my music job is the perfect opportunity to visit and make observations at other churches. 

 

The chosen destination for this past Sunday was my husband’s church, one which I’d never attended services at because I was always at the organ of my own church.  We loaded up the kids of our blended family that were with us for the weekend and headed out in the snow to the church in the country.  It’s part of a small, protestant denomination that tends to be traditional and evangelical.  They are awaiting the arrival of their newly hired minister, so it is understandable that this service may not have been a good example of what things are like there on a regular basis.  And that’s a good thing. 

 

The people were friendly and happy to see Scott.  They greeted me warmly and welcomed our children.  We took our bulletins and found a seat, taking a moment to arrange ourselves comfortably.  The organist began the prelude and I immediately got nervous.  I’m a musician, and a good one.  When I hear church musicians who are struggling, I become anxious.  This woman was having such a difficult time with her chosen prelude, that it took me quite some time to determine what she was playing.  It was an old evangelical hymn  Out of the Ivory Palaces. 

 

Which leads me to the next problem I had with the service: the lack of meaningful, timely hymns.  The hymnal, by my estimation, was at least 25% contemporary Christian music, or “praise choruses”  which I’d hardly call contemporary considering that they were at least 25 years old in most cases.  If a song has been around long enough to be included in a hymnal, printed, promoted, and sold to a congregation;  and the congregation uses the hymnal for a significant period of time, it’s difficult to consider the music “contemporary”.   The one “traditional” hymn planned for the morning worship service was an old Holiness Movement song “We’re Marching to Zion”.  It was sung at a slower pace than I’m used to performing it, and the musicians, both pianist and organist, lacked the skills to transpose it into a key in which most congregants could comfortably sing.  Imagine being out of breath and reaching for high notes.

 

When the ushers were called forward, I looked up to see 4 burly men walking forward.  I whispered to Scott  “is there a weight requirement?”  These guys were huge.   I said “what’s the minimum?  225?”  Seriously, I didn’t know if they were ushers or bouncers.  Of course, since this was an important job, handling the money, all of the ushers were required to be in possession of a penis. 

 

fat-preacher

 

The children’s message was delivered by a woman, which is generally thought of as acceptible in these patriarchal churches.  Caring for children is the woman’s domain afterall.  The woman talked about having friends but the point of her little message was lost on me, so I’m pretty sure the kids were as baffled as they looked.

 

We plodded through another pop-ballad hymn which was executed with technical accuracy by the instrumentalists, but with all the musicality of a horse counting to ten with its front hoof.  This song led us into a time of prayer.  I believe that the people who made their prayer requests known are genuinely concerned about those people named.  Some moved beyond the typical illness requests and made mention of current events and nationally known tragedies. In all of these honest, heart-felt concerns, there remained a sense of some unspoken desire, an appeal to magic.  That appeal to magic was reinforced by the prayer leader, who prayed extemporaneously, including all of the requests voiced moments earlier.  I noticed pretty early in her prayer that she had a favorite phrase, which was  “Dear Heavenly Father”.  She said it so much that I wrote it in my bulletin.  She kept saying it, punctuating each paragraph with 2 or 3 repetitions. So many Christians have this habit when praying publicly.  It is as if there is a mystical combination of “Blessed Jesus'” or “Loving Fathers” or even “Hail Marys”  that said in a specific quantity or order that will unlock heaven’s safe full of blessings.  When did prayer become the heavenly Powerball?  Jesus cautioned us of this in Matthew 6:7

 

And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

 

Sadly, the sermon, offered by a visiting minister, did little to hold my attention as a visitor.  I suspect that it was meant to encourage this congregation as they await the arrival of their recently hired Pastor.  The sermon began with the perfunctory joke and apologies for his shortcomings as a speaker.   Those who attend this church regularly may have heard some words of encouragement, but my mind wandered off.    After one more pop-song hymn, the benediction was pronounced and everyone bolted for the door. 

 

Now, I’ve certainly been critical and some would say downright mean with this post.  You might even tell me that the computer glitch that sent my first version of this post out into cyberspace, never to be found again, was a sign from above that I should turn from my wicked ways.  Let me reinforce this sentiment:  these people are good people, their intentions are noble and their desires are honorable.  Unfortunately, they found something that was successful at some point, decided that this is how they would do it from that point on, and mediocrity set in.  Their worship service has most likely morphed slowly to become the dry and irrelevant ritual that we experienced that morning.

 

Traditionally, people in this country have attended church for the spiritual encouragement they receive by participating in worship services.  There was a time when people attended church out of a sense of obligation, regardless of any spiritual or communal benefits that may or may not have been derived from attending.  I’ve heard complaints about the lack of commitment to the church and its programs.   My question, after visiting this church, is “what does this church offer that would encourage people to attend regularly and support their programs?”  In addition, for those who do attend, are their perceived or actual needs, physical and spiritual, being met?  And finally, are the people we meet in this or any other Christian church a reflection of the Christ they strive to emulate?

 

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Mohandas Gandhi

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Raising the Stakes

January 14, 2009

It’s happened again!  We’ve been the victims of a drive-by gifting.  I reported last month that Scott and I had been the target of what appears to be a gay-bashing, except there was no violence, no vandalism.  The would-be bashers simply threw gay porn magazines at one of our vehicles.  This time, our Furtive Fairy (is that the gay counterpart to a secret Santa?) left us a toy.   An adult toy.  Silicone anal beads.

Scott had left for work already, and I went out to warm up my car before work.  I saw something lying on the road where his van was parked and thought that maybe something had fallen off his vehicle.  I walked over to inspect it, and was surprised to discover that we had been “gifted” once again. 

I’m not sure what to make of these events.  In some ways, it feels like we’re being gay-bashed, targeted because of our orientation.  In another way, though, I can’t say that we’re being “bashed” because the actions of this person aren’t intimidating. They’re doing no damage to our property, nor to us.  We’re just left standing there scratching our heads. 

Here’s what a few of my friends and colleagues have offered in the way of understanding this puzzling person or persons:  Perhaps this is a deeply closeted gay man who resents the fact that Scott and I are living our lives in the open for all to see.  We don’t flaunt ourselves, but it’s clear that 2 men are sharing a house and they are a couple.  So this bitter man has all the gay porn magazines, and evidently some toys that he can taunt us with.  I can imagine that he buys these things and satisfies himself, then in a rush of guilt, purges his life of these things vowing never to do it again.  His own self-hatred is turned toward us, and we are the recipients of his gay exorcism.  Internalized Homophobia that occasionally is aimed at those who live the life he feels he can not live.

 tailpipe-small1

On the other hand, maybe those beads just fell out of someone’s tailpipe.

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When You Can’t Prove What is Obviously True

December 31, 2008

It all started with a phone call from the new interim pastor of Paradise Christian Church* (wink and tip of the hat to preacherlady). 

“This is Reggie Dominy.  I’m the new interim pastor here at Paradise Christian.”

“Yes. Good to talk to you.”

“I’ll be selecting the hymns for the worship service from now on.  I guess you’ve been doing that for a while?”

“I’m really uncomfortable with that.”

“Why?  That’s not typically the organist’s job.”

“Well, it’s part of my job description.  I do it well and I’m not comfortable giving it up.” 

And that’s how the battle began.  That phone call lasted more than thirty minutes, and during that time, I found myself making some strong and defensive statements to a stranger who’s face I’d never seen.  I felt attacked, especially when Reggie said that he had to pick the hymns because we needed to change the way we do things since attendance at worship had decreased.  I told him that he was making it sound as if that was my fault; as if my music were the cause of people not attending worship services.  Reggie said he wasn’t saying that, but how else could I read that implication in the context of this conversation?

In the first service over which Reggie presided, there were at least five statements that sent up red flags in my mind.  From our phone conversation, it sounded like Reggie desired to create a solemn, even somber service steeped in traditional worship and laced with long moments of silence and reflection.  Nothing could have been further from the reality of what happened that very first Sunday in November. 

The humor was abundant as well as inappropriate.  Reggie set the tone in the announcements which are made before the organ prelude and the official start of the worship service.  As Thanksgiving was approaching and the Outreach committee was planning on giving food to several needy families, a plea was being made for congregants to donate canned goods.  Reggie’s pitch went like this:

“You know that can of salsa you bought seven years ago and it’s been sitting there on your shelf and you don’t know why you bought it?  Go ahead and bring that in for the food drive.”

It was then followed up with some muttered statement about buying a new can of something to go with it.  The request for food donations was being played for laughs, while the sincere request was downplayed.   Throughout the service we learned a few things.  For instance, it became clear that Reggie loves to eat deviled eggs.  And just in case someone might not have gotten that message, Reggie repeated his declaration of love for deviled eggs in the next four consecutive worship services.  We also learned that he likes to hear jokes, and that we should feel free to tell him Polish jokes and “jew” jokes.  For some reason, as Reggie made that statement, he hesitated, as though there were more kinds of jokes he enjoys, but felt it best to edit himself as this was part of his introductory sermon.  We also learned that there is a proper way to introduce onesself, which, one would know how to do “if you’ve ever been to college.”  What an effective way to discourage the “wrong” kind of people from attending church!

Most telling was the one particular family that Rev. Dr. Dominy made sure to mention in his sermon.  It was the one family in which the husband has a great job, the wife is a SAHM, and the two daughters are involved in dance lessons, baton twirling corps, and kiddie pageants.  They also happen to be the family who left the church in a huff, refusing to return until the full-time minister was either fired or resigned.  Dr. Dominy made sure to say their names, or compliment the beauty of the daughters, or involve the family in most of the services during November. 

On my last Sunday as music director, December 21st, Reggie did something that was at best unethical, and at the worst, creepy in the sense of looking too much like a child molester.  As part of his sermon, he asked the two little girls, both under the age of 12, to come forward and model their new Christmas dresses.  Embarassed, they walked to the chancel, where Reggie had them put their forefingers on their heads and do a ballerina turn for all to see the new outfits.  Then, in spite of smaller children moving back and forth between the sanctuary and the nursery, Dr. Dominy gifted the two “models” with presents, to be opened there in front of everyone. 

The weeks between that initial phone call and my final service were stressful. Communication between Dr. Dominy and myself was archaic.  He would leave handwritten notes, in the most screeching hot pink ink, on the piano.  I asked our secretary why he didn’t use email.  She replied that he wasn’t very computer savvy.  That statement that was refuted in the coming weeks when, during a sermon, Reggie mentioned looking things up on the internet.  It was countered again in a meeting of the church committees in which one member spoke of the email exchange that he and Dr. Dominy had. 

The hymns that Dr. Dominy chose were ancient, plodding tunes with dated language.  Although one of his stated reasons for taking the hymn selections away from me was the need to match the hymn texts to the scriptures, I seldom saw how the two aligned themselves.  Several times within those few weeks that Reggie and I worked in the same building, he repeated hymn choices.  I was left wondering if he selected hymns the way he selected the Psalms for our worship services:  numerically.  On his first Sunday in worship at Paradise Christian Church, Dr. Dominy selected Psalm One for our call to worship.  In subsequent weeks, the Psalms were used, in numerical order, regardless of the sermon topic, and regardless of the scheduled readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

The final straw came on the morning of December 19th.  I received a text message from our secretary asking me to call her asap.  I replied with a request that she email me, as I had students all day (with my teaching position at a public school) and would not have a break to make a phone call until late in the day.  The email arrived quickly, and in it, was a message from Dr. Dominy that said:

Ok  here goes.    Reggie left me a note to ask you if you got a brass ensemble for Christmas Eve.  If you did, please get the name of the group and names of their songs to me on Monday.  If you did not, please contact the band director at local school district.  She has some names of students who might be available or some other musicians in the area.  She can be contacted at local middle school xxx-xxx-xxxx  Her name is middle school music teacher her e-mail address is someteacher@someschool.

I am sending you the bulletin stuff so that you can give me the song titles by Sunday (or Monday morning at the latest)  The ones in pink he would like the brass ensemble to do  and he would like the choir and the brass ensemble to join in on the other carols as well.

Reggie said to contact him if you had any questions or suggestions.  xxx-xxx-xxxx

Thanks Dana

Interesting thing about this email:  I do not recall having a conversation with Reggie in which firm plans were ever made about the Christmas Eve service, let alone such an important detail about hiring or assembling a Brass Ensemble for the service.  At my first opportunity to call, I phoned Dr. Dominy.  In that phone call, I was verbally pushed around.  During a break from ministry, Reggie had been a car salesman, and a good one according to some accounts.  I could tell that I was being manipulated by his words.  He objected to my statements about why it would be impossible to assemble a brass ensemble just five days before the performance.  He interrupted me.  He cut me off.  He dismissed my professional musical advice.  Then I figured out what was going on.  I was being placed in a “catch 22” situation:  fail to assemble the ensemble, and Reggie could claim I’m not doing my job;  get one together in short order with no time to rehearse, no many to pay them, no music to give them, and have a disastrous performance on Christmas Eve and he could say that I didn’t do my job as well as I should have.  For me, given all that I had witnessed in the previous weeks, my only option was to resign.  My plan was to do so immediately, leave them without a musician for Sunday morning as well as Christmas Eve, but friends talked me out that plan. 

I learned that the committee charged with finding this interim pastor had failed to check his references.  They hadn’t bothered to call his former churches and talk to them about his strengths and weaknesses.  After handing in my resignation letter, and feeling crappy for about 24 hours, I decided that I’d look to see what I could find on this guy.   I did a search for “Dr. Reggie Dominy”  on Google and discovered that the guy is pretty computer savvy, contrary to previous claims. 

I also found one particular piece of information that confirms what I suspected from that very first phone conversation.  Reggie seemed to have some contempt for me from the very beginning.  It didn’t make sense that an interim pastor would walk in and start changing things before ever experiencing a worship service in the way that the members were accustomed to worshipping.  Interim pastors usually keep things going, the status quo, until the permanent pastor is hired.  This bit of information explains why he and I could never work together.

In the eight weeks in which both of us, interim pastor and music director, tried to do our duties, there was rarely a moment of kindness, of friendship, even an attempt to understand each other.  Attempts by Reggie to put up a facade of respecting and valuing me, at least in front of the congregation, fell flat.  At one service, Dr. Dominy said that he appreciated the “beautiful competency” that I brought to the services.   Competency?  Well, I must have some adequate skills when it comes to music.  It’s like saying “I love you” to someone and hearing “and I’m fond of you as well.” 

What could make us resist each other like oil and water?  The search results contained a major clue:  a letter to the editor of an online denominational magazine, written by one Dr. Reggie Dominy.   Here are some relevant excerpts:

I have no problem deleting statements from the Barman Confession (ah, another confession) that are editorial additions and weren’t originally there. Make it pure! I do have problems with ignoring cogent statements in the New Testament regarding homosexuality (Romans chapter 1 seems rather clear.) The Scriptures have to be our final authority about the actions and directions of God. What makes an action a sin at the time written but not in the present? More people lie and cheat others than participate in homosexual activity, and we all seem born with that narcissistic trait (this makes it a natural act); maybe the Church should support, or at least condone, lying and cheating.

            I hurt for gays and lesbians who have in the past been wrongly excluded from the Church. I also hurt for those devout Christians who believe the Presbyterian Church has abandoned them in this decision. They feel NO peace, NO unity, NO purity in the General Assembly decisions. Our voted inclusivity feels like exclusivity for many devout Presbyterians. They feel the Scriptures have been ignored. Many will leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Whole churches will leave. We do not now exclude homosexuals from church membership; but our ushering in their ability to be church officers and ministers will usher out other true believers from the whole church.

          There were times in the past when portions of our Presbyterian Church supported slavery. There were times when we excluded folks from the Lord’s Table because they weren’t of our ilk. There were times when we Presbyterians haughtily looked down on those who were not like us in faith and practice. There were times when women could not be ordained. We overcame and grew through those parochial sins.

There’s so much there that I could write about, and perhaps I will examine more of this letter on this blog at some point.  The important thing to notice is that while attempting to sound compassionate, even loving toward the “homosexuals”  it is clear that Dr. Dominy does not like gay and lesbian people.  Nothing else explains his immediate dislike for me, nothing else explains why he felt the need to change my job description, nothing else explains why he created a situation with the purpose to tarnish my integrity with a congregation who felt I was doing a fine job for them. 

Dr. Dominy believes that my orientation is a choice, and as such, is a sin, much like lying and cheating.  For him, the scripture about such things is clear, although, he’s managed to find some grace in the Bible for himself, being a divorced man.  There are many more scriptures concerning divorce, than there are homosexuality.  Reggie hurts for gays and lesbians who feel excluded from the church, but then goes on to reinforce that exclusion.  Homosexuals are welcome to be members in the church, but if they are given positions of authority, church officers and ministers, then true believers will leave the church.  Did you catch that?  Whether Reggie admits it or not, whether he would claim his words as his own or deny them, it’s stated clearly in that letter, gays and lesbians are not true christians. 

My mind goes back to that phone call.  I recall Dr. Reggie’s claim that if he had known I was going to be so opposed to his removal of my job duties, that the phone conversation was going to go so poorly, he would have come to my house and visited with me and my…friend.  He choked on the word “friend.”  I didn’t correct him and say “husband” because I felt like I had said so much that was in direct confrontation that I didn’t need to add to the tension of that phone call.  I can never file charges of discrimination because I resigned voluntarily.  Even if I had been fired, the situation created by Reggie would have appeared to be a legitimate reason to do so.  Discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry is seldom blatant, but at church it is couched in the language of love and compassion, making it all the more painful. 

A final word to my friends at Paradise Christian Church:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said  “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

*all the names have been changed

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I Love My Town

May 28, 2008

Scottdale is a small town, just under 5,000 people, and covering an area of about 1.2 square miles.  That’s slightly smaller than Central Park in NYC.  So you understand, this is a small place, a tightly knit community, and one that has a particular amount of pride, a sense of what is honorable, and an understanding about respect for each other as well as respect for traditions that hold a community together. 

 

This past Monday, we celebrated Memorial Day, like so many other towns across the nation.  Our veterans lead the parade followed by the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, and our high school marching band.  This parade is not like the ones I marched in as a youth in a town just a few miles away.  Scottdale’s parade is not much of a celebration.  It’s a somber occasion, and one that the residents take very seriously.  The band does not play a selection, no rousing marches, no spirited patriotic tunes.  No, this is a solemn morning, a time for reflection.  The only sound is a funeral cadence. 

 

Many watch the procession, applauding the veterans, removing their caps for the flag, and wave to the firemen following the marchers.  As the firetrucks signal the end of the parade, most of the town follow them to the cemetary at the edge of town.  We gather quietly amidst the final resting place of our relatives and friends.  The Scouts stand at attention, the band forms in a clear area, and the local dignitaries take their places for the ceremony.  We are welcomed, and we begin the task of honoring our local heroes, thanking our veterans, and praying for those who serve in the military now.  This is the celebration, the band performs a few patriotic songs, an honored guest offers a speech, guns are fired in salute, and taps is played to honor those men and women who gave of themselves to preserve our freedom. 

 

I’m proud of the way our community celebrates this day.  These people show up for this solemn event.  They greet each other quietly, hold those who’ve recently lost a loved one, and honor not only those who have passed, but those veterans who served.  One can see on their faces the respect they have for each other, and as music plays, names and faces are brought to memory.  Single tears can be seen on the faces of the old and young. 

This was a beautiful Memorial Day, not only in the way the weather heralded the beginning of summer, but more so in the way this small town paused to commemorate this solemn holiday.  Before they fire up their grills, open their pools, or pack the picnic lunches and head for the lake or the state parks, these good people stop and remember, gather and build each other up, and honor those who make it possible to live the lives we have been granted.

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75 Days to Go

May 24, 2008

The wedding is approaching quickly and by the time most of you see this post, we will be at the 75 day point in the countdown.  There seems to be so much to do, and yet so much has been done already.  So let’s just review what has been done in the past few weeks.

  • Wine kits were purchased to make the favors.  We have 12 gallons of wine fermenting to give to our guests.
  • Labels have been printed for the wine bottles.
  • Vows have been selected, including a ring ceremony, invocation, benediction and a few other features unique to our wedding.
  • We have agreed on the wording of the invitation.
  • The invitations have been printed.
  • A deposit has been mailed to the DJ.
  • Unique, personal stamps for the invitations have been purchased.
  • Plans for the cake have been discussed with the baker, silk flowers for between the layers have been selected.
  • The guest list is being finalized and addresses for those people have been acquired.
  • Scott and I have had a discussion about our “first dance”.  Do we need lessons?  Can we watch a youtube instructional video and do this ourselves?  I don’t want to get out there and waddle back and forth like so many couples.  We’re gay!  We’ve got to do this right and do it big!
  • Discussion with the musicians is ongoing.  I knew this part would be tough.  Being a musician, I have so many ideas of what I like and making a decision has been difficult.  My friends who are singing and playing are no help as they assure me that they will do whatever I ask them to do. 

It’s exciting, and nerve-wracking, and wonderful to plan a wedding.  It’s amazing to be so in love that we feel compelled to get married.  It’s also disheartening that the marriage won’t be legal.  In many ways, it doesn’t matter that the government won’t recognize this marriage.  When we say our vows, make our commitment to each other in front of friends and family, we will be married.  That marriage will be as strong, as valid as any other marriage;  it just won’t be legally recognized here in Pennsylvania. 

I suppose that I should warn all of the straight married couples now, Guard Your Marriage!  As of August 9th, 2008  Steve and Scott will be married; your straight marriage is in danger.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself arguing more with your spouse.  Your husband may call to say he’s “working late” at the office; your wife may be especially vague about her weekend visit to her sister’s house.  Check your cell phone bill carefully and note any unfamiliar numbers and the time of the calls.  These are all signs that your marriage is crumbling and it’s most likely caused by the gay couple in your town who decided to get married.