Month: June 2011

Passages 2

Two weeks ago I wrote that life has a way of reminding us of the passages that await.  Over the past four days – in the midst of Claire’s beach week to celebrate graduation, travel, and planning for summer fun – life reminded us again of how fragile it really is. Reach out and tell a family member you love them.  Connect with a friend today. On Wednesday, Claire called as I was preparing to head to Tucson, to let me know that three friends in her class had been hit by an automobile while crossing the street at the beach.  Two were banged up with cuts and bruises, while the third had multiple fractures and was airlifted to a larger regional hospital, where she underwent surgery.  Everyone will be okay, but the impact one second can have on life was clear. The worse news came yesterday:  a call at dinner saying that a colleague and friend, who once worked as my executive assistant, had passed away unexpectedly after  complications from surgery.  Susan was 38 …

San Xavier Del Bac – A World Treasure

My trip this week to Tucson was filled with meetings, tours of work-related projects, and presentations.  But one part of the tour allowed me to slip into full-tourist mode:  the visit to San Xavier Del Bac. A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692.  Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. This is – simply stated – a spectacular building of international importance, with masonry vaults and beautiful  interior artwork, the latter restored after $2 million was raised by the local community.  Little is known about the artists – most likely from Queretero in current-day Mexico – but their work mixes New Spain and Native American motifs.  The architect, Ignacio Gaona, designed what many consider to be the finest example of Spanish mission architecture in the United States. We had a great tour from Bob, one of the leaders of the Patronanto San Xavier, who recommended A Gift of Angels …

What’s Wrong With Sports

Sports Illustrated had an online article this Friday that in one sentence encapsulates what’s wrong with the modern sports-entertainment complex. In writing that “It’s time to get rid of Wrigley,” Richard Rothschild quotes a Chicago Sun-Times columnist who says the following: “There’s still rust, the concourses still resemble dark alleys and people still have to elbow their way to their seats. … It’s a great park when you look at the field from your seat. It’s not so great on the way to and from your seat.” Isn’t the purpose of the ballpark to look at the field from your seat!?  Can I tell you how many BAD ballparks I’ve sat in where the view of the field was lousy; but hey, we have an arcade to distract the kids (they shouldn’t have to suffer and watch an entire game!), we offer a wide variety of sushi, and we have television screens in the bathrooms and team stores so you don’t really have to go sit in your seat. Jeez! Wrigley Field doesn’t need to …

Landmark Alert: World’s Best Custard

Travel has its benefits. I was in Milwaukee yesterday for the announcement of the 2011 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  We had a terrific event with our local partners, pointing out the threat to a real national treasure:  the National Soldiers Home Historic District.  One of three homes built for Civil War veterans after Abraham Lincoln authorized them as one of the last acts of his presidency, the Milwaukee Soldiers Home is the only one to maintain the context of the historic buildings and landscape.  One of the veterans who spoke at our event said that this place was critical to his recovery from PTSD, noting that the two words most associated with the site by veterans were “peace” and “serenity.”  To lose such a place of healing would  be a travesty. On this trip my colleague Genell introduced me to another national treasure (though not endangered):  Leon’s World Famous Frozen Custard.  My, my!  What a wonderful frozen custard.  It was great to watch the employees pour a large bucket of milk …

Graduation Day

When I graduated from high school, the year was 1973 and the future – even with war, inflation, and changing social values – looked bright.  For many of us it was. Fast-forward almost 40 years.  The world is a very different place.  But to Andrew and Claire, who graduated from high school this weekend, this is their rite of passage to a new world full of equal parts promise and challenges.  I can’t imagine even 1% of what their world will be.  Seriously, as recently as 10 years ago did you figure you’d be sending kids pictures to your family via Facebook or watching movies on smart phones?  Could we have conceived of the rise – and possible fall – of suburbia, at the same time that some cities are booming and others are losing population at an alarming rate?  How many of my generation – in 1973 – would have seen China as the biggest economic superpower in parts of the world?  Would we have imagined that the Boston Red Sox would ever win …

Celebrating Andrew

If Thursday was all about Claire, then yesterday was Andrew’s turn. (Editor’s Warning:  I treat my blog like the 21st century version of letter writing, in that I can write one item and it can go out to family and friends everywhere.  This weekend’s blog posts are all about family.  If you don’t want to read about how wonderful my children are – then stop reading.  Note…you’ve been warned!) We’re lucky with twins in different high schools that the schedule has worked so that the multiple events around graduation are held on different days.  Andrew’s day started early yesterday morning with the service of Holy Communion in The Little Sanctuary for members of the graduating class and their parents.  The service began with the beautiful Kyrie Eleison from Missa Secunda by Hans Leo Hassler.  The acoustics of The Little Sanctuary were perfect for the Madrigal singers to blend the voices as well as I’ve heard them over the past three years.  A little later in the service Andrew sang a wonderful solo in the Brazeal …

Passages

Life has a way of reminding us about the passages that await. In the midst of activities surrounding the twins’ high school graduation, a passage we’ve been anticipating and celebrating for more than a year, we have also been called to attend two funeral services this week.  Both friends were accomplished.   Both touched many  lives.  Both died too young. At today’s service celebrating a life of love and service of our friend Sue Edwards, her husband Mark reminded us of a blessing that another friend, the Rev. Tim Boggs, used to end each service at our Parish.  Like Sue and Mark, I have always loved these words, which were adapted from a saying by 19th century Swiss philosopher Henri-Frederick Amiel.  In these times of passages, it is worth remembering. Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us.  So be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.  And may the blessings of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be …