a life well lived

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Come Again" Cabin 11/29/00

Today, I found myself thinking about Thanksgivings past.  May it was the grey, wet weather that had me gravitating toward warm thoughts of holiday pasts, or maybe reading an old posting about Star, but I found myself back in the Come Again Cabin, the little house behind Lewis and Mira's house.  

It was a small, but a cozy house.  It started out life as a chicken coop before being transformed by Don Rose (father of the Rev. Donald) into a guest house.  The Lockharts roosted there from 1956 to the late 1960s.   

Right up to the time we moved to Cherry Lane, the house was heated by coal - Pete got up every night to stoke the coals.  The living room fire place was roaring throughout most of the winter.  Life was an adventure.  It was small, but I always think of the house as filled with love.   

We did not have a lot of money but we did have a strong sense of family.  That can warm any house, no matter how antiquated its heating system. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter - we would all gather around the big dining room table set up in the living room.  I would prepare the traditional spread - turkey at Thanksgiving, perhaps a rib roast at Christmas, ham or lamb at Easter.  I was finicky about my turkey - it had to be fresh, not one of the frozen birds from the supermarket.  I would get the stuffing ready and get "John Henry" prepped and ready for the roasting.  Mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce, creamed onions - I can see the fine white linen table cloth, the food served up in serving tureens that had belonged to my Grandfather Davis, the feel of the heavy Lockhart sterling silver forks and the Reynolds sterling silver spoons with the ornate faces on the backs of the bowls.  

Those years in the Come Again Cabin will always be special to me because the family was all old enough to enjoy the holidays and we were all together.   I wish I could remember more holidays with Ian.  I did not know that I should be storing up the bounty memories against the lean years.  

One Thanksgiving that stands out in my mind took place when Star Pitcairn was just a little girl, probably no more than three years old.  The rest of the family had gone to the mountains for Thanksgiving, but Star and Mim had stayed home in Bryn Athyn.  Mim brought her to our house for Thanksgiving dinner.  Well, we had not had a little girl in the house for a very long time.  Elsa was a relatively grown up ten at this time.  Mim brought down Star's super duper rocking horse and I can see Star "rocking" happily away.  Of all our Bryn Athyn Thanksgiving, that is the one that stands out the most.  Another special blessing from Star.  

That house, more than any we lived in before or since, was like a friend, another member of the family.  The tent Pete built for Mim to use for summer camps was out at the end of the property.  The azalea bushes that were given to me when Ian died were planted out back.  I loved the living room, with banks of windows on the two sides.  Pete and I spent many a chilly night in our unheated bedroom, but we managed to keep things warm.  When it got really cold in the winter, I would go into the children's rooms and get their school clothes and hang them near the coal furnace to get toasty warm.  The children would dash from their bedrooms - where they could sometimes see their breath (brrrrr) - to the warmth of the "Utility Room."  

Amazing that such a cold place can still hold a cozy and warm place in my heart.

With thanksgiving for all that love that has and is in my life - Mama L.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blessings 11/23/00

The "cpu" is still up and running, so I am keeping my fingers crossed and writing a longer note that more fully expresses my feelings of this day.

My blessings over the past year have been many.  At this time in 1999, I was still in the early stages of recovering from my stroke in September.  The doctors and nurses and staff who helped me through it all were God sent.

I live with two young 'uns who seem to enjoy fussing over me, even when I drag John out of the studio or Elsa out of bed for the 4th time in the wee small hours of the morning.  They almost always - unless totally groggy - come into my room and leave with a smile.  They are fun and make my life lively.

The Bryn Athyn community has blessed my life for almost all of my life. There are so many ways I am blessed by it, from the wonderful recordings of the Contemporary Service which I love to listen to, to the rides that dear Ginny Tyler arranges to take me to appointments, to the friends who she sends to be my chauffeur du jour and whose generosity and friendship are so very special, to the wonderful people who embody the word community and kindness.

A big and unexpected blessing this year has been my involvement with an online group of men and women who are exploring the role of women in the ministry of the General Church.  The discussions I have heard and participated in online have kept my noggin stepping lively and the get-togethers I have attended have always left me with a sense of peace and trust in the Lord.

I was blessed by the circle of women who get together every other Wednesday for discussion about topics of interest.  They are older women - although all are younger than yours truly - and the discussion is always interesting.  I had not been to the get-togethers for over a year, but did go last month when they invited Sonia Soneson Werner to come talk to them about the current discussion on the role of women in our ministry.  I was so proud of them for asking her, I was so proud of her for going and I was so lucky to be there to hear my friends' willingness to listen to the unknown and to share their own experiences and their feelings about it.  It was an unexpected and profound blessing.

The "dist list" that started my online life - New Church Women on the Internet - continues to stimulate and recharge me every time I read a new posting.  Each and every one of you is dear to my heart.

The wonderful circle of women who gathered at Tonche and showed me such kindnesses throughout the women's retreat weekend was a delightful blessing.  What an unexpected bonus it was that both of my daughters were there with me. 

Among my greatest blessings this year has been my relationships with my children, each of which is more clearly defined than ever.   That has brought me a deep sense of peace.

My blessings include two new grandchildren - Kimberly and Chad.  May their marriages to Scott and Whitney be blessed with all the happiness true married love offers. 

This group - my Mindwalkers - continues to be a blessing.  When I was confined to the big chair in the living room, I could always get up and about through this list.  Just knowing each of you is out there makes a tremendous difference in my life and - this might sound strange but it is true - in my energy.  I truly do believe that this has done more than I can imagine in helping me recover more of my energies than I would have believed possible. 

My faith, my Creator and my constant love for my dearly missed Pete are my greatest blessings and the foundation of all others.  I am a lucky lady and I know it.

Love to you all and my thanks to the computer for not going walk-about before I sent this. 

The Lord upon you send His blessings - Grammie Kay

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grand night for singing 11/18/00

It has been a glorious evening for music.  Beginning with an "archive" Prairie Home Companion, recorded some year previous on the Saturday after Advent Sunday.  (Apologies for how convoluted that sounded.)  It was marvelous. 

Garrison led the audience in singing first a song that I did not recognize and apparently neither did a lot of the audience - Garrison said the words, then the audience sang them.  Then, he  lead them in a song by Gershwin or Porter or one of that ilk, a song that more people knew.  He swung from that into "There'sa Place for Us" from West Side Story.   

Elsa beat it downstairs to the living room when she heard the strains of it up in the "Budgies' Roost" because she knew I would be misty-eyed thinking of Pete.  Of course, almost everyone in the audience knew the words to that one.  He ended up leading them in "Somewhere Over theRainbow" - I think babies now-a-days are born knowing the words and music.  It was wonderful listening to audience  singing along so happily. 

Listening to Garrison leading the audience and to them happily following
reminded me of when the three of us - Mim, Elsa, myself - heard Garrison at the Academy of Music.  He lead the audience in a song that evening, too.  I cannot remember what the song was, I did not know it, but I remember being floored to hear Mim singing along.  She had learned it when she was fifteen, at camp out at the Ripley Ranch (Betty and Paul hosted a camp every summer for New Church kids in California).  I remember how Garrison drew all of us into the melody and just naturally instilled a confidence we could - and would - join in. 

It was a magical moment, although I did not really connect an image until Mim leaned over to tell me where she learned the song - I remember looking around me and watching everyone singing, happy, leaning forward, almost as if Garrison was a camp fire and we were gathered around his flame. 

I was still basking in the happiness of hearing the group singing when
Garrison introduced a guest vocalist and the two of them sang, "Just a Songat Twilight."  Elsa pounded downstairs again to be with me.  That is one of two songs I  have selected to be sung after my memorial celebration - that song and "Smile a While and Kiss Me Sad Adieu."  It sounded so special, just Garrison in his reedy tenor and his guest singing is simply and with such soft feeling.

I thought the evening was complete.  Not so, as it turns out.  The New Jersey Symphony had an all-Copland evening.  The three of us listened to "Appalachian Spring" as we ate dinner.  John lit out for the studio (he is under deadline for an illustration assignment) and Elsa went back upstairs too.  Then the orchestra started to play "A Lincoln Portrait."  When the narrator started introducing the section that included the Gettysburg Address, sure enough there was the sound of pounding footsteps and once more Elsa appeared at my side to hold my hand.  The Gettysburg Address always gets me right smack in the heart. 

It has been a wonderful evening of music and happiness.   I will waft off to sleep (after a slice of pumpkin pie) with melodies swirling around me and a smile on my lips.   

Nite nite and God bless - Nan

Monday, November 17, 2014

moseying back home 11/17/00

We took the coastal route down to DisneyWorld and ambled our way back home via the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge.  It was loverly.

What a surprise to find that central Florida has a good number of cattle and horse ranches.  I felt like we had blinked our eyes and wound up in Texas. It was an unexpected treat.

Elsa had looked forward to showing me Atlanta ever since she first visited there on a business trip when she worked for Prudential.  In fact, she made quite a few trips to Atlanta when she worked for Prudential.  (The fact that both John and I are bred-in-the-bone Northerners kept her from pursuing a job possibility down yondah.)  She made sure a stop-over in Atlanta was on our agenda. 

We swung past the Prudential HealthCare office - a dramatic all- glass building on a bluff overlooking Vinings (a northwestern suburb) - and I got to meet some of her business associates, two of whom had been to Squirrel Haven for dinner when they were up north for meetings. 

We had dinner at the Buckhead Diner, a diner in name only;  it is beautifully appointed with lush wood and Art Deco lighting - and the food was out of this world.


We spent our second night in North Carolina's Maggie Valley, at the eastern edge of the Smokies, at a way high up place called Smoky View.  We arrived after dark, so all we were aware of was the steep drive up and the rustic, comfy lodge.  I remember waking up in the morning and looking out into mists.  All through breakfast, the mountains were covered by mist (hence the name Smoky, because the mists look like smoke).  As the morning sun got stronger, we sat out on the long porch and watched in awe - it looked as if Mother Nature was gently lifting a beautiful sheer sheet up and off a quilt of autumn colors.  The mountains were as beautiful as I had imagined.   

We had lunch at a marvelous little restaurant and shop - Chelseas - in Asheville.  I liked Asheville but Elsa completely lost her heart to it and to the region.  I think she would move down to North Carolina in an instant if she had the chance.  Anyway, it was a marvelous little restaurant and we were silly and had champagne with our lunch.  Very festive.  

If we had enough time, we would have dropped into the Grove Park Inn.  Literature describing its wonders seemed to be everywhere we turned in Asheville.  Had Pete been with us, we would have been planning our next trip down.  Will I ever get there?  If I don't, I certainly hope that John & Elsa will - it looks just our sort of place!


Reluctantly, we stuck to our plan to take the Blue Ridge Parkway north to where it joins the Skyline Drive.  Elsa had dreamed of traveling it ever since Pete and I told tales of our adventures taking it many moons ago.  We headed north on the Parkway, driving up and up and up - with no guard rails!   As we turned a bend, Elsa quietly said, "I don't think so."  I could not see what the big deal way, I could not see anything in front of us.   

That, she pointed out, was the problem.  


All that there was in front of us was a thick wall of mist.  I remember driving the Blue Ridge in a similar pea soup with Pete - we stayed safe by inching along and following the stripe down the middle of the road - but Elsa was not up for such an adventure.  She turned the car around. 

The question before us was the question was whether to take the central route and take a regular highway to Greenville or head out west to Tennessee and head up from there.  We lit out for the west.  I am forever grateful we did - the autumn colors were more vivid, more beautiful in Tennessee than on any other part of the trip.  It was a long and unexpected jog out of our way, but it turned into a 

I am turning in with thoughts of friends, great food, fun times, gracious hospitality and beauty that is forever in my heart.  Love - Nan