Tag Archives: Ash Wednesday

Lenten Observations

1 Mar

We have a supply priest at our parish, and after looking at the attendance from the last two year’s Ash Wednesday services, it was agreed that it really wasn’t worth her coming all the way from Hagerstown, especially in view of the fact that there are several other churches in the area that were “doing” ashes.

I went up to St. Alban’s, a small 1928 parish not too far from home. It was wond-erful! I have absolutely no problem with female clergy, same sex marriage, and most other things that come along, but when it comes to liturgy, I am, to quote an old friend,  a flaming conservative. Sort of “Give me ’28, or give me death”. Well, maybe not that bad, since I’ve been managing for decades now, but you get the idea.

We had been told the service was at 10:30, but it was at 10, so I managed to be late in spite of my best efforts, and walked during the sermon, which was quite good. The celebrant was fairly young (although I am of an age where most professionals resemble Doogie Howser.) It was the assistant who caught my eye.

The church apparently has two assistants. One is a man who recently retired from a parish where he had been since the days of the Ark – and the Dove. (Marylander inside joke; look it up.) The second is the elderly priest who was “on” today. The dear man has Parkinson so badly that he looked as if he was disagreeing strenuously with every point in the sermon. He was also in charge of ringing the Sanctus bells (the only thing I didn’t enjoy) and they tinkled almost constantly.

Everything else was very High-Church. The celebrant had a maniple, and wore a black zucchetto for most of the service. When the two men processed out, they both wore birettas. (Biretti?) The assistant’s surplice was lace, and the priest’s vestments were beetle backed. Good Heavens!

Biretta and Zucchetto. Sounds as if it might be a law firm – or a pair of gangsters? (Is there a difference? Oh, be nice!)

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Here We Go Again

10 Feb

We haven’t really recovered from remodeling the kitchen, and now we have to redo the guest room and TV room.

About sixteen years ago, Hurricane Floyd dropped a tree on our house, and we had to have a lot of work done in those two rooms. All of the work was done by a professional contractor, hired by the insurance company. Unfortunately, when we moved a bookcase several months ago we discovered that the work had not been done correctly, and water had been leaking into the walls and ceiling forever. Black mold and saggy sheetrock everywhere. We called the insurance agent and he sent down a crew who had a look-see, agreed with us, and gave us a sizable check, with the understanding that we would hire our own contractor.

The Squire removed the sheetrock and insulation from under the windows, and replaced that himself.  The ceiling is another matter entirely, thank you very much. We found a contractor – recommended by Local Son-in-Law – who came out, took a look, and gave us an estimate we could live with. He said he was very busy, but he would get to us as soon as possible.

He called last night to say he would be here tomorrow, which means that The Squire and I spent the major portion of the day shuffling things around upstairs. We had moved the major portion of the furniture right after Steve came by the first time, but things have just sort of crept back in there. Poltergeists.

Steve said he would need a four foot wide space to lift the sheet rock straight up the stairs, which meant removing the banisters. No problem. I’ve wanted to replace them  with something a bit less, um, substantial, for years. And thereby hangs a tale.

When we bought this house, what is now the dining room was part kitchen and part, well, breakfast room, for lack of a better term. One of the first things we did was close in the back porch and move the kitchen out there, so we had space for a table large enough that we didn’t have to eat in shifts. When the Squire moved what we call the Mixing Center into the new kitchen, we decided to remove the wall where it had been standing to make the room seem airier, and put in 2 x 3s as banisters. Rustic, but sturdy, by gum. The Squire put them up with nails and carriage bolts that I think go into the bathroom wall. Well, maybe I exaggerate – a bit.

We need to remove at least three of them so Steve can get the 4 by 8 sheetrock up the steps, but we have discovered the second floor, the banisters, and the stairs have a symbiotic relationship.

When The Squire cut the first banister, the steps dropped a quarter inch. He is not doing anything else until he has a chance to talk to Steve tomorrow.

So, we missed the Ash Wednesday service at noon, and going this late in the day just doesn’t have the same impact. The Squire is exhausted, and I don’t like to drive alone any more, so I’ll just read the Daily Office and call it done.

A grand start to my Lenten Discipline, indeed.