June Is Bustin’ Out

June has several things that turn my crank. First, daughter Alice and granddaughter Samantha blow into town enroute to Kooch, the camp up on Rainy Lake. While here, Alice will be doing some recording with her friend John Gorka over in Minneapolis. The camp dates from 1924 and is on Grass Island on Rainy Lake. There is a girls’ camp there now, too and Alice finds she really enjoys serving as staff there and shepherding groups of eight twelve-year old girls out for two weeks of wilderness canoe camping. They also do music together. One year each girl left camp with a CD with music the girls had composed and performed.

Second, I’m returning this coming Sunday, June 9th, as guest preacher at St.Luke’s United Methodist Church in Frederic, Wisconsin. Service time there is 10:30 a.m. It’s a very beautiful building with exceptional stained ¬†glass windows. I’ve preached there a number of times over the past 30 years.

Third is my coming reading at the Chisago Lakes Area Library. I’ll do two stories, one of which will be a “mangled” fairy tale. Cross the river? I don’t mind it a bit! I’m hoping to return soon to the White Bear Lake Library. It has been a few years since I read stories there. The Chisago Library date is Thursday, June 13th at 6:30 p.m.

Fourth, I’m doing a book signing and a bit of discussing storytelling on Saturday, June 15th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bowman Collective in downtown Amery, Wisconsin. ¬†And fifth, as I noted on this site previously, I’ve been invited to read a story at the Old Settlers Picnic on Sunday, June 23rd in Cushing, Wisconsin. The program begins at 1:30 following a potluck lunch for the large group that usually attends. I’ll read one of my “mangled” fairy tales.

And sixth, I’ve been asked to return to the Polk County Information Center to autograph copies of my four books that they carry now. Years ago I was secretary of the Polk County Tourism Council when we built the building housing the Information Center and the offices of St.Croix Falls and its police department. The Information Center works to direct people to the locations in Polk County that carry my books, but it’s nice that they have some for people in search of cabin-time reading. (The St.Paul Pioneer Press’ Mary Ann Grossman said my Six Short Stories are good summer reading. She has not seen the other three books.)

And, finally, June 30th marks my third retirement. That means I’m finished as pastor of the Wolf Creek United Methodist congregation. I will miss the people; they are some of our world’s very good people. I will not miss things like statistical reports, charge conferences, finding musicians, selecting hymns, the Christian year, and the weekly grind of working to have something to say on the coming Sunday that might be worth a listen. I don’t have a file of old sermons that I can dig into to find a old message I can update and I don’t work from a written sermon or even, sometimes, notes to myself. That makes each week a challenge. I use the Lectionary, which forces me to grapple with things other than my favorite topics, but that also saves the congregation I serve from hearing the same-old, same-old thing week after week. (The late Charlie Zeigler suggested once that I could use the sermon I preached the week before because “We don’t remember what you said anyway.” I thought that was pretty funny.)

A final note: Marina’s book, Gretel and Andy, God’s Gift, is about ready for purchase. I have a proof coming. The next thing will be to insert photos of the dogs and of Marina working with them. The story about what it’s like to be a Seeing Eye Dog is told in Gretel and Andy’s voices. It’s very cute!