For most of this year I’ve dealt with extreme pain from–we think and can’t prove it–shoveling the extra snow that fell last winter. So thus far this winter we’ve had a couple of light dustings of snow. It has been just enough to shove aside. I think that’s fine but if I were in the ski business most likely I’d think differently. Little snow makes it easier for me to see the logs and scraps that need cutting and splitting from a large elm tree I had the professionals at New Richmond Tree take down for me. Some of the trunk slices are very large and I’ll see how the splitter handles pieces that size.
For several years now WPCA-FM has broadcast my stories the first Tuesday evening of each month. Once in awhile the station forgets to drop in my story and the computerized programming grinds along without it. Tonight was one of those rare times. I’d love it if listeners called the station to complain but if they ever have, I’m not aware of it. Again, I affirm my gratitude to WPCA for sharing my stories. It’s a privilege few writers ever enjoy.
Son Aaron did hit town from Portugal and was with us for three weeks. He was the instigator–and excuse–for a rare family get-together last weekend. Our son-in-law, Steve, did his usual job of producing gourmet and abundant fare, helped out by contributions from some of the family, so there was more than enough food to make the groaning board really groan. Stuffed? For sure! Time goes by so quickly that it was startling to find great-grandson Carter now is a fifth grader. Aaron is an excellent musician and he and I enjoyed jamming with our guitars. He showed me some new flamenco progressions that I’ll practice–if I can remember them. He was here for Thanksgiving, which was small for us: just Marina, me, Aaron, and Britta and her husband Mark. Our gathering was small but loud and turkey got subbed by pork tenderloin and some vegan fare.
Alice’s husband, Hugh, sent along a video of his seven week trek by canoe into the Arctic. The six man group, all in their 60’s and former Kooch-i-ching campers as kids, produced a gorgeous video and their adventure made the Minneapolis Star & Tribune. Not to be outdone, just returned from a brief West Coast tour daughter Alice forwarded me a link to an interview done by Fox News in Cincinnati at the soccer championships that featured herself and Samantha, our effervescent granddaughter. Sam’s and her brother Jack’s soccer club were special guests of the Cincinnati team and, in addition to accompanying team members onto the field, were given extra special attention, even by Fox News that broadcast the game. For our family, it was a month for media attention.
We are into the Advent season. I remember Advent primarily as preparation for the birth of Jesus, but this year’s cycle of lectionary readings focuses a great deal on Jesus’ second coming. The circumstances prompting that are dark, as dark as our world seems to be in these moments. Yet, there is hope for better. Each year, celebrating that birth so long ago brings the opportunity to renew hope for the future. For Christians, that future includes the eternal, as well as hoping and looking for peace on earth and goodwill toward each other in the present. As an old Bishop told me once, “Always give God the last word.” So we don’t give up hope. This will be my last Christmas with the Wolf Creek congregation and if I can, I want to convey to them my gift that they can enter the future with optimism, building on their successes and by living out what we say we believe, make the world in which Wolf Creek exists a better place. May it be so!