My 9 year old Writing Mentor

Granddaughter Abigail asked me if I would come up for the before bed reading time when I visited them in Kentucky last weekend.  I didn’t fully understand her plan until after she read to me the first three chapters of Thea Stilton and the Ice Treasure.  She then explained to me that I could use the style of writing, telling my story using different characters (in this case, rodents).  She was very earnest as she explained how this could be done.

My other Mentor, the one who has published many books, teaches writing at a university and is an exceptional writer has told me to read, read, read, as I seek to write.  I will add to the list that he gave me (and move it to next on that list) the rest of Thea Stilton and the Ice Treasure.

During that weekend trip, there was also an interesting worship experience.  We attended the early Worship Service followed by an class discussing Science and Religion, a special interest of mine.  There were people there with very different positions but with a willingness to interact without rancor.  The most interesting experience that morning was sitting in on the first part of the later Worship Service which used the music of old Westerns (movies and television) re-worded where needed.  The very gifted Music Director there has a knack for producing extremely reverent improvisations and arrangements of both traditional and contemporary music.  The melodies and songs brought a bit of nostalgia for the “good old days” and were easy for all to sing.

The songs were: Gathering Hymn, a re-worded text to the tune of Back in the Saddle Again; the Kyrie, Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley; Hymn of Praise, new words to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky; Alleluia, new words to a tune from Magnificent Seven: Sermon Hymn, new words to the tune of Red River Valley; Offertory, new words to a tune from Gunsmoke; Holy Holy,to a tune from Cheyenne; Lamb of God, a tune from Rio Bravo; Communion Hymn, tune of Don’t Fence Me In; and the Sending Hymn, tune of Happy Trails to You.

While I might not have chosen to do such a service, it was very well done and I am sure appreciated by the congregation.  In earlier years, I remember hearing parts of the Missa Bossa Nova (a song titled “They’ll Know We are Christians by our love” came from that Mass).  There were many liturgies using Folk Music.  I sang with an ensemble that made a recording of a Jazz Mass composed by one of the students at the Seminary when I was preparing to become a Pastor.   While my personal preference is what might be called traditional liturgical music, there is no limit to the genres of music that can be used very effectively for different communities of folks.  I have been in very moving worship services that used all sorts of styles of music.   One of the most powerful worship services I have ever experienced was done on a gymnasium floor in the large Lutheran High School (900 students) in school year 1971-72 using then popular music.   It was a veritable happening.

A couple of days after returning home, an Ash Wednesday Service provided a combination of good music, an effective message and strong rituals.  The meal following the service was a fertile time for building community.  The next day brought news of her death and the funeral of a strong and gentle lady who among many other good things spent time as one of Mary Ann’s Volunteers.  Francis was a very special person held in high regard by all who knew her.  Again, the Pall given in memory of Mary Ann adorned the casket.  When we went to the cemetery for the interment, the gravesite was not far from Mary Ann’s site.  I had done the funeral of Francis’ husband not too long before I retired.  I want to describe the connection I felt to that event, but I am struggling to figure out how to describe it accurately.  Even though I was only a spectator I felt woven into the fabric of what was happening there.  It was a peaceful sadness of which I felt a part even though from a distance.

That day had begun with a valuable time of sharing with one another in the Spiritual Formation Group that now meets on Thursday mornings at my house.  The day ended with an hour of singing with the choir as we practiced music for an upcoming event.  Actually, after I got home there was one additional encounter.  A very large and stubborn opossum was eating at the platform feeder in back.  I tried to get him to leave before eating too much of the seed (meant for squirrels and birds).  I stood at the edge of the deck twenty or thirty feet away explaining to him that I thought it was time for him to leave.  I made noises to scare him off.  He just kept eating.  I got off the deck and walked toward him.  He still didn’t leave.  Finally when I got close enough and loud enough, he very slowly lumbered off.  He was long bodied and thin.  I suspect he was just very hungry.  Opossums don’t hibernate, but they do sometimes struggle to find food toward the end of the winter season.  I am sure he will be back.  I don’t mind as long as he leaves some for the other beasties.

Enough for now.

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