Today I enjoyed a lunch with LaMoine MacLaughlin, Amery’s first poet laureate, a friend of mine and one of the first people to read and hear each of my short stories. I always appreciate his insight, comments and encouragement. He, his wife Mary Ellen, and my wife, Marina, and I had a rigorous discussion ranging from the gift of faith to the Hemingway broadcast this week. It was good to have some demanding discourse after being isolated for so long by the pandemic. We had a brief interruption–but a good one– by Jane Smith, whose husband Kirby just died and whose celebration of life will be held next week. My kids thought Kirby, who taught Literature at Unity High School, was their best teacher. And so it was a literary lunch in some ways.
Yesterday, I read my short story, “The Great Experiment” to the Osceola Senior Citizens Club. It was well received and I was asked if there might be a sequel. I think not. Getting to hear one of my short stories is what happens when that group has no program planned. (Small voice: “Serves them right!”) The night before I listened to my reading of “Green Card” on WPCA-FM. I still cringe at my poor diction; it’s a long way from when I did radio years ago. “Green Card” is a good story, made better on the broadcast by my tagging the story with a recording of “Pajaro Campana”, done by the Trio Los Paraguayos back in, probably, 1953. The Paraguayan Indian harp is superbly played on that album and I wish it could somehow be included in the print version of the story so people could catch its enchantment, rather than the best I can do in print and by voice: “ping, pong, ping, pong” as I try to imitate the plucking of the harp.
Wolf Creek United Methodist Church is back in the church building, masked and socially distanced, beginning with our Easter service. A good number of the people who attended have had both injections of the vaccine (I’ve had my first shot and have the second Moderna scheduled for next week) so we may not be all that many weeks away from being able to sit closer and perhaps even forego masks in a few months. We continue recording services to be broadcast on YouTube and Facebook but we can’t do simultaneous Zoom because the building has no phone nor Broadband connections. That’s a subject sure to come up in our next Administrative Council meetings. Taylors Falls United Methodist Church has asked me to be their interim pastor for the month of May and since they have a 10 a.m. service I can do that. They are a fine group of people and always have been very good to me. I’m looking forward to our time together and they tell me they are excited about it. I can tell you that being liked feels better than being disliked and I’m sure you would agree.
Meanwhile, I continue to work on the Luck house, where staining and varnishing are finished, so now it’s on to fresh paint, some electrical upgrades, and a re-do of the bathroom medicine cabinet, electric plugs, lighting and flooring. There has been much to do to help this old house recuperate but I can see light at the end of the tunnel and maybe even renters in the house by July. That’s on top of the usual work here, where I am way behind on cutting and splitting firewood from the trees downed by the tornado and the usual Spring tasks of raking, dock installation, and general cleanup, especially windows that somehow get very dirty, even with rain falling on them. Daffodils and crocuses are up and are making nice colorful displays in their arched and circular planting beds.