Tag Archives: Cleveland

Christmas vacation 2011, the early days

Harry Potter 2011 Blu Ray Years 1-8 Box Set Cover

Image via Wikipedia

I arrived in Cleveland on December 15, bringing with me a major cold. Recovery has happened.

Eric’s graduation remains the highlight of the first week. The Steelers loss to the 49ers has been the low point, although sharing the misery with Laura and Abraham helped.

Lots of work has taken place. With Eric’s help, I have begun to walk again – walk for self-care. I have a goal of 10,000 steps. The last couple days, I have met that goal. Richmond Town Square has been amazingly empty both in terms of stores and in terms of people shopping.

We visited Phoenix Coffee and took some to Noble Road Presbyterian Church to drink with Carol.

We have started a Harry Potter marathon (not on Blu-Ray, despite the image). Each of the last three evenings, we have viewed one of the movies. The next one may not happen until early next week. Sean arrives home tonight, then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day follow.

While viewing, we have engaged in a Scrabble competition. We do not keep records, but each of us has won some and lost some.

All in all, a pretty good start.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Family, Friends, Movie

What I am doing in December

Yes. The commercialism of Christmas annoys me. On Tuesday, November 1, while on my way to have lunch with my friends Leo and Theresa Chavez Sauceda in Vallejo, I stopped by a drug store – one of the major chains, I forget which. Transition dominated the shelves that day. Of course by now, the transition is completed.

Halloween items: gone.

Shelves: stocked with Christmas items.

Yes. In many ways it is too early to begin thinking about Christmas. But, when one lives in multiple places, one has to plan time with care to do what one wants.

So my plans for December have begun:

  1. Travel to Cleveland
  2. Buy coffee for Carol at Noble Road Presbyterian Church (probably with Eric)
  3. Coffee (recurring theme) with Francis and Isaac about the Dougbe River Presbyterian School
  4. Go to movies
  5. Watch football
  6. Finalize the “usual events” – Christmas Day at my brother’s home; Trivial Pursuit; Steelers games at the Winking Lizard;

Today, I added another item to the list.

On my way to worship with the saints of the United Presbyterian Church of Ozone Park, I noticed a woman wearing a hat. Her hat reminded me of my hat-wearing friend Merdine T. Morris. And I knew.

December needs to include time to see Merdine T.

See you along the Trail.

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Under a grey blanket

A grey blanket
envelopes the airport,
the constant drizzle
enhances the atmosphere –
the dreariness exceeded
only by my mood.

2 October 2011

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Grazing the flora buffet

A movement caught my eye.

I sat at the kitchen table in Cleveland Heights, working on one of the presentations I will make in Wooster this weekend.

The blur of dusky brown drew my attention from the computer. Deer appear regularly at the Erie Shire; more regularly than I do.

On this late afternoon, three doe (yes, only two appear in this picture) grazed the buffet of flora that our back yard offers. Not wanting to frighten them, I took pictures through the window.

Did she hear the shutter? I find it hard to believe, but doe closest to the window turned when she I took the first picture. It appeared to me that she gazed through the window, staring at me, posing the question, “Just who belongs, and who is the visitor here?”

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Cleveland Heights, Family, Photo

Twist, turns, bends

It came to pass, when the weather was right
and the air traffic patterns were appropriately tight,
that the trail from ATL to LGA did make
a pass o’er CLE and the lake.

Where goes the trail, we may not know:
as it twists, it turns, it bends.
Along the trail we follow though
we see not where it wends.

19 July 2011
DL 485

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I think I said farewell

On July 27, the Sojourners blog carried the sad news that Art Gish, a long-time peace activist and peacemaker was killed in a farm accident. I had the privilege to meet Art and his wife Lillian through a mutual friend, Ray Foss. Ray arranged a several day visit for me to West Virginia presbytery a while back. He set up a number of ecumenical gatherings and it was there that I met Art.

Art’s life reminded me of the importance of resistance and working for justice and peace.

Art’s death reminded me of the fragility of life and the preciousness of the people with whom we share living.

It moved me to write about an experience I had on July 28 – an experience I now share. Note that “today” is July 28, 2010.

I think I said farewell to a friend today. Time may prove me wrong and that would be wonderful. But if it was farewell, it was good. Very good.

On my way out of Cleveland, headed to Elkhart, IN for the Peace Among the Peoples event, I stopped at the Fairmount Heath Care Center of Breckenridge Village Retirement Center. For forty-five minutes, I had the joy, some times bittersweet joy, of visiting with Merdine T. Morris.

Merdine T. and I have been friends for more than 20 years. Friend really does not do our relationship justice, she is my mentor, teacher, challenger, comforter, disturber of my peace, guide, anchor . . . the list goes on. She and her husband Luke play and have played and will play significant roles in my life. Luke passed away some 10 years ago.

Merdine T. and I have shared some amazing moments . . . conversations . . . experiences . . . times of learning and growth . . . times of disappointment . . . ordinations . . . presbytery meetings (incredible to say, I know) . . . graduations . . . transitions . . . acts of justice . . . moments of witness.

In a small way, I was privileged, with Tricia, Sean, and Eric, to accompany Merdine T. as Luke courageously and graciously made a long journey through illness and into the shadowed valley. It was a time of great prayer, deep conversation (and silly talk about football among other topics), and profound silence. The sacrament of communion sustained us . . . communion shared with bread and juice . . . communion shared at the Morris home . . . communion shared in the hospital . . . communion shared with ice cream.

Luke died shortly after I moved to Louisville. I believed then and will always believe (and I told this to Merdine T. again today) that one of Luke’s gifts to me was to hold on until I was not in a position to have to lead his memorial serve . . . so I could simply grieve deeply for my friend.

Merdine T. and I have remained in touch since I left Cleveland. We have attended some events together. We call periodically. When she called me on the night of President Obama’s election, I could touch the excitement and joy and pride and pain in her voice. I still get chills remembering that call. When I get back to Cleveland, I try to visit Merdine T. Most of the time I manage to do so.

Now illness has become her companion. Oh, she has been sick in the past. I remember meeting Luke once in an emergency room . . . within half an hour, there were enough Presbyterians in the waiting room to hold a presbytery meeting (Merdine T. served in many, many capacities – she was moderator of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve and she was Freda Gardner’s roommate at General Assembly until Freda was elected GA moderator).

But things are different now . . . Merdine T. has been hospitalized several times over the last month. Twice I had tried to visit her but found her too tired to interact.

By July 28, she had returned to the Fairmount Health Care Center. I decided to try one more visit . . . on my way out of town. And we visited . . . we talked . . . we laughed . . . we cried . . . we remembered . . . we failed to remember . . . we dreamed of the future.

But perhaps most importantly, I told her what her friendship and love means to me. I told her (again) what Luke’s friendship and love meant to me.

As I left, we hugged . . . as well as two can hug when one is in a hospital style bed. Through tears, Merdine T. said “Never forget me.” “Never,” was all I could say . . . nothing more than that simple one-word truth fit.

Leaving her room, walking back to my car with misty eyes, it occurred to me that, given Merdine T.’s health issues and her age (“If she won’t tell you, I sure won’t.” said Luke one day) and my schedule, this could well be the last time Merdine T. and I see each other in this life.

And that saddened me. I had to stop and process that for a few moments.

But I also realized that this visit had been a moment of grace abounding . . . an incredible experience of the unconquerable power of love. Merdine T. and I may get to see each other again . . . heck, we may see each other often. But if we don’t, we had the opportunity to say farewell . . . and to do so extremely well. We said what we should have said long ago. We said what we each knew the other one already knew. But we said it because we realized how important it was that we not only know, but that we hear it from each other.

And that is good. Very, very good.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Cleveland Heights, Family, Friends