Saturday, April 28, 2007

First Gate of Heaven -- An Interlude

This is Yi Tian Men, the First Gate of Heaven, at the beginning of the long climb up Mount Tai (Tai Shan) in Taian, Shandong Province, China. Tai Shan is the first (Di Yi Shan) of the Five Sacred Mountains of China -- that is, the five original sacred mountains, often called Taoist -- when Buddhism came to China, the Buddhists selected another five mountains, so there are two sets of five sacred mountains. But Tai Shan is the only one that counts for me, because (a) the first time I was there, I climbed halfway up (to the Midway Gate of Heaven -- Zhong Tian Men) and took the cable car to the top, and (b) my father-in-law, his two brothers, and three of his four sisters were born in Tai An at the foot of the mountain.

Laura Mellen 1916-2007

My mother died from double pneumonia on Thursday, April 26. The picture above was taken at her 90th birthday party this past December. Here is a link to her obituary. I wrote a good deal of the obit, but it owes its good features to Liz. She found the picture and she composed the last few sentences, including the apt quotation from mother's tribute to her aunt Esther. We were working towards a deadline (which we missed.)

It is fortunate that we were in Binghamton when she was hospitalized -- in fact, we arrived at her room in the nursing home on Wednesday just as she was being taken to the ambulance. We spoke to her and then we got to the emergency room just behind the ambulance.

Liz just wrote this to a group of church friends: "Unlike many who are not quite so blessed, she had her wits about her all the way to the end, and was able to say to a beloved confidant just a couple of days before she went from nursing home--where she'd gone 3 weeks before for 24 hour supervised care--to hospital, that she was not as young as she was, was not herself, did not enjoy being in this weak state unable to function as she liked! and was ready to go. She was trying to say that to us, also, in the Emergency Room at the hospital Wednesday evening. Up until that time, she'd continued in good spirit albeit in a diminished way, to take on whatever was happening, to enjoy people and whatever life was offering. Pretty amazing."

After we spent a couple of hours with her in the emergency room, we went home to let down. (I was still in the third day of recovering from my dental ordeal.) According to what the doctor had told us before we left for the evening, I expected that mother would be admitted for a few days' stay and then return to the nursing home. She was admitted late Wednesday evening and died shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday. The nurse called us just about 7:30 and told us we should get there as fast as we could. By the time I got there, she was gone. Liz and I immediately went into high gear (actually it started with some calls I made on the cell phone on the way to the hospital.) Father Mark Giroux from St. Mark's got there shortly after we did and after we had some prayers, we went on in high gear until we were able to leave for home at about 11 on Friday morning.

To quote Liz again, "We are relieved for her now, and for ourselves as well. It has been a long watch."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 24

Well, although I am not in any notable pain or discomfort (except when I eat) I am still in recovery mode from my eight extractions yesterday. This morning my dentist told me that the denture I have is expected to replace about 30% of the natural function of teeth. Can that be? Does he mean all but thirty per cent? Oh well, it’s only until December – and in about a month or six weeks I’ll get the implants and have to go without the denture at all for a while.

I have a fairly full plate (of responsibilities – not, alas, of food.)
This evening is my last board meeting at Morningside Gardens. I’m lookingforward to being off the board, but, wonder of wonders, some of the very board members who worked hard to oust me as president are now saying they wished I had run for reelection and they will miss me on the board. Our Annual Meeting is next week, and again it looks like people are lining up to vote on ideological grounds – that is, based on positions that have very little to do with the candidates’ potential to be good board members. But perhaps I’ll be surprised.

Now that my mother has been in the nursing home for three weeks, it is time for a meeting to evaluate her progress and presumably reach the foregone conclusion that it is not safe for her to go home and live alone. At the same time, I have to provide information to determine her eligibility for Chronic Care medicaid. Much of the information requested I have already provided, so I have asked the examiner if she can find it in the computer system. In any case, it is possible that this coming weekend I will be involved in getting a lot of information together.

I'm still working on my comments on Rowan Williams Stuart Larkin Lecture in Toronto last week. meanwhile, I recommend Deirdre Good's comments.

Last evening I was channel flipping – something I rarely do – and came to National Velvet on TCM. Liz and I watched it - we missed the very beginning - and realized we had never actually watched it, even though our daughter Jane’s cousin Butch Jenkins was in it

Monday, April 23, 2007

April 23 -- Part II

Well, having all those teeth pulled took two hours, but it was not as hard to endure as I thought it might be. Now I have a denture which I have to get used to. Now that the anesthesia has worn off, I am surprised that the discomfort is not more. So I am able to pick up where I left off.

Yesterday Liz and I played a brief visit to the Antiquarian Book Fair held in the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue. It was the first time I had been on the drill floor since I left the regiment in 1966. (It was actually called the 1st Battalion 107th Infantry then.) Our time at the show was limited – we got there later than we had planned because, (a) after church was a follow up meeting to plan on implementing some of the ideas developed at last Sunday’s all day session and, (b) traffic was snarled because the Greek Independence Day parade was occupying Fifth Avenue. We left after being there only a short time because we were going to a concert by soprano Elizabeth Baber and our friend Ishmael Wallace at the Nicholas Roerich Museum. One of the pieces was a new song cycle of four Pre-Raphaelite poems set by Ishmael. The whole concert was a wonderful experience.

Father Christopher Hofer linked to my draft of an answer to the questions put forth in Executive Council’s study guide on the draft proposed Anglican Covenant. (That’s a complicated sentence – all those prepositonal phrases and links.) Christopher promised to post his own thoughts at a later date. I look forward to them. I know a lot of people want to “just say no” to the covenant and I sympathize, but I also believe it is important for as many of us as possible to participate in the process set out by Executive Council.

My next post will be on Rowan Williams’ recent talk on reading scripture.

April 23

Today is a big day for me. This morning I am going to have eight teeth pulled in preparation for implants. I have no idea how I will feel after the work is done -- whether I will be wiped out or not. As hard as I try, I cannot help feeling somewhat apprehensive.

I had hoped to write something more substantial, but it'll have to wait until I get home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

To your holy Church peace and concord -- from the Good Friday liturgy

I don’t pretend to be a trained theologian, a biblical scholar, or a church historian. I don’t pretend to be an original thinker. However, for the past 50 years I have been a member of St. Mary’s, an Episcopal Church that has stood since 1823 on a site in the historic village of Manhattanville on a street that predates Alexander Hamilton’s rectangular grid plan for the streets and avenues of Manhattan. This past Sunday, Low Sunday, we at St. Mary’s spent a full day in reflecting together on the state and future of our parish. What I have to say in the rest of this post is informed by that experience.

There were three interesting developments on Monday that I want to respond to. One was a talk given by Archbishop Rowan Williams in Toronto on reading the bible. The second was a press conference in which the said archbishop announced he would be meeting with the US House of Bishops in September. The third was a study guide released by Executive Council on the draft Anglican Covenant. The study guide includes 14 questions. I am going to make a stab at answering them here.

N.B.: What follows is admittedly sketchy. For one thing, I am referring to but not quoting the Draft Covenant itself, nor have I provided any links. I expect to flesh this out in coming days.

“The Report of the Covenant Design Group”

(1) Do you think an Anglican Covenant is necessary and/or will help to strengthen the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion? Why or why not?

My immediate answer is that I do not think an Anglican Covenant is necessary nor would it help to strengthen the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion. The closing paragraph of the Report of the Covenant Design Group contains the giveaway statement, “What is to be offered in the Covenant is not the invention of a new way of being Anglican, but a fresh restatement of the faith which we as Anglicans have received.” Of course it’s an invention of a new way of being Anglican. For specifics, see the answers to questions 8, 9, and 10.

“An Introduction to a Draft Text for an Anglican Covenant”

How closely does this view of communion accord with your understanding of the development and vocation of the Anglican Communion?

Except for the reference to a “need for mutual discipline,” this section, although it does not reflect historical realities, presents a pretty good statement of where we are now, or at least where we ought to be. If there is to be a covenant at all, this statement should suffice.

“An Anglican Covenant Draft”
1. Preamble

(3) Is this a sufficient rationale for entering into a Covenant? Why or why not?

Perhaps it would be, except that we don't need a covenant of this kind.

2. The Life we Share

(4) Do these six affirmations adequately describe The Episcopal Church’s understanding of “common catholicity, apostolicity, and confession of faith”? Why or why not?

There are several tendentious words and phrases in these six points that should be omitted. For example in the first affirmation, the word “true” is unnecessary.

The second affirmation omits the role of tradition and traditional interpretation. The catholic creeds, for example, do not merely repeat what is set forth in scripture, but are the result of a long process of discernment. The word “uniquely” is tendentious and problematic. The expression “rule and ultimate standard of faith” is susceptible of an interpretation that I thought Richard Hooker had laid to rest for Anglicans long age.

The reference to the elements in the third affirmation is needlessly tendentious.

The references to the Thirty-nine Articles and the 1662 Prayer Book in the fifth affirmation are tendentious and unhistorical.

For these and perhaps other reasons, these six affirmations do not adequately describe the Episcopal Church’s understanding of “common catholicity, apostolicity and confession of faith.”

(5) The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (of the Church of England) are not currently authoritative documents for The Episcopal Church. Do you think they should be? Why or why not?

They should not be authoritative because they never have been. Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. reports in The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary the judgement of Bishop William White who “reported the sentiments of the various members of the House of Bishops at the 1792 convention.” Bishop Seabury “considered that ‘all necessary doctrine should be comprehended in the Liturgy,’” and Bishop White “considered that ‘the doctrines of the Gospel may be expressed more satisfactorily' than they are in the Articles, and that there is no reason to ‘arrogate to them perpetuity.’” White concluded that the church needed to be “more stable and unified in its beliefs and in its reputation” before taking on the Articles or an attmpte to revise them.
But perhaps we could have a new version of Article XIX which explicitly acknowledges that Lambeth and Primates Meetings (and, of course, even General Convention) are as susceptible to error as the “Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch.”

3. Our Commitment to Confession of Faith

(6) Is each of these commitments clear and understandable with respect to what is being asked of the member churches and are they consistent with statements and actions made by the Episcopal Church in the General Convention? Why or why not?

As long as the expression “bishops and synods” is taken to include our General Convention, these commitments are consistent with statements and actions of the Episcopal Church.

4. The Life we Share with Others

(7) Is the mission vision offered here helpful in advancing a common life of the Anglican Communion and does this need to be a part of the Draft Covenant? Why or why not?

I have a feeling that the word “interdependent” is tendentious. The five commitments are on target.

5. Our Unity and Common Life

(8) Does this section adequately describe your understanding of the history and respective roles of the “Four Instruments of Communion”? Why or why not?

In paragraph one, the “central role of bishops as custodians of faith” seems tendentious.
In paragraph two, “described as automonous” should be simply “autonomous.”

The Lambeth Conference does not historically have the function of guarding the faith and unity of the communion. The whole notion of guarding begs the question of guarding against what threat and from whom.

The description of the Primates’ Meeting as working in “doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” is innovative at best.

The restriction of the Anglican Consultative Council to “ecumenical and mission work” is a blatant power grab by the Primates.

6. Unity of the Communion

(9) Do you think there needs to be an executive or judicial body for resolving disagreements or disputes in the Anglican Communion? If so, do you think it should be the Primates Meeting as recommended by the Draft Covenant? Explain.

Reading the five commitments together, it is clear that the contemplated resolution of disagreements excludes the best possibility which is “agreeing to disagree.” There is no need for a judicial body to help reach that agreement.

(10) What does the phrase “a common mind about matters of essential concern. . .” mean to you?

It appears to me that there are four (or five and possibly six) major areas of concern in the Communion – and that to reach a common mind on all of them will take years.
First, the place of women in the ministry of the church, including Holy Orders.
Second, the matter of human sexuality, including but not limited to the place of LBGT persons in the ministry of the church, including Holy Orders and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Third, the authority and interpretation of scripture, especially in areas of disputed interpretations.
Fourth, the question of overlapping jurisdictions and boundary crossing.
Fifth, which of the four preceding areas of concern are “essential.”
Sixth, how to proceed when there is not agreement on these matters.

Uniformity of opinion is not historically a characteristic of Anglicanism,

7. Our Declaration

(11) Can you affirm the “fundamental shape” of the Draft Covenant? Why or why not?

No. The shape of the Draft Covenant is inextricably bound up with parts of it the are innovative and, to me at least, unAnglican.

(12) What do you think are the consequences of signing such a Covenant as proposed in the Draft?

We would be taking a step in the direction of setting up a world wide church with centralized authority along the lines of the Roman Catholic Church. It would be the end of Anglicanism as we know it.

Concluding Questions:
(13) Having read the Draft Covenant as a whole do you agree with the CDG’s assertion that “nothing which is commended in the draft text of the Covenant can be said to be ‘new’”? Why or why not?

No. I have pointed out many new things above. The two most important are the notion that a uniformity of interpretation should replace diversity and that there should be a centralized authority with disciplinary powers.

(14) In general, what is your response to the Draft Covenant taken as a whole? What is helpful in the draft? What is not-helpful? What is missing? Additional comments?

It is unAnglican, at least as I perceive Anglicanism. It is a step backwards from a diversity that is as old as 1690 when the Scottish Episcopal Church was differentiated from the Church of Scotland.
Some of the generalities might be helpful

2nd N.B. In the next part, I will deal with the Archbishop of Canterbury's talk on scripture and with his announced visit to TEC's House of Bishops.

Right now, I have to go to Binghamton again to see my mother. Well, I don't actually have to, but I would feel terrible if I didn't.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Rex and I developed an interest in paintings and we had two favorite painters, Michelangelo Merisi who died in 1610 and Jan Vermeer who was born in 1632. When I say they were favorite, I mean that we made an effort to see as many of their paintings as possible. Today, Mimi posted a version of the Supper At Emmaus by Merisi, showing a male waiter (possibly a butler?) In the picture at the right, the server is a woman. Too bad it's a forgery and not by Vermeer. I have seen almost all of the genuine Vermeers, and although I have absolutely no formal training in art, I still have a good eye and I cannot understand how Bredius was able to authenticate this painting as a Vermeer. Of course I have not seen the original, so I mustn't be too judgemental.

At MadPriest's (I won't even dignify his rabbity defacement of the Emmaus by more than mentioning it) there was a rabbity Venus which counterlight spotted as based on a Lotto in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I stopped haunting the Met in1975, so I didn't recognize this 1986 purchase. I note it is a gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, who also gave (with her husband,) this Vermeer,

which was on loan to the Met when Rex was alive) so he saw it. (Liz and I have seen at least two Vermeers that Rex never saw (although he saw some that Liz has not seen, but I digress.)

Several years ago I heard a sermon, I forget who was the preacher but I think I may have heard it at Riverside Church on an Easter afternoon, -- a sermon in which it pointed out that we do not know the genders of the two who were walking to Emmaus so possibly they were a man and wife. In paintings they are always portrayed as two men. Since one has a presumably male name, Cleopas, it is unlikely that they were two women.

I didn't mention in my earlier posts this weekend that during the past week (Holy Week, ) I have been reading Is the Bible True? by David Robert Ord and Robert B. Coote. One of the points the authors make is that the gospels are written largely in what now seems to be trendily called "tensive language," rather than "steno language." Simply put, what this means is that the truth of the stories in the Bible does not depend on whether they are factual but rather on their meaning. Thus, it doesn't really make sense to inquire into "what really happened" as if the story was a description of an event that could have been caught on camera.

I close with the suggestion that the forged Vermeer, because it is a forgery, offers a particular insight into the meaning of the Emmaus story and the knowledge of the Resurrection for us today. We can only tell the story as we have received it and filtered it through our own experience and interpretive biases.


I am writing this at the desk in my mother's apartment and I just looked up and saw a print of another Dutch painting, Rembrandt's 1640 Company of Frans Banning Cocq. The story of this painting and its name (to which I merely allude) goes to illustrate the poiunt I am trying to make.

Still Easter Monday

Today I drove up to Binghamton from New York to see my mother and take care of a few things at her apartment. I came back to the apartment after sitting with her for an hour after her supper. After I did the wash from her final two days here last week, I decided that I just had to let down and I began checking blogs and looking around her apartment.

I picked up a notebook I didn’t recognize and it fell open to this poem.


On Easter Day, dear Jesus Christ
Arose from out the grave.
He died upon the cross for us
Our sinful souls to save.

And so at Easter Time we go
To Sunday School to learn
About our loving Savior;
To be like Him we yearn.

And e’en when Easter’s over
We try to be like Him,
Because we know he’d have us
Be good and avoid sin.

Laura .... Written at age 12 - March 27, 1929

Easter Monday

Well, I did get to St. Mary’s at 6 AM for a dawn Easter Vigil. There were six of us. We had the new fire in the garden, lit the Paschal Candle, and processed into the church. After the Exsultet, I read the lesson from Exodus and we had two other lessons, read by Jim and Lysander. I found this second vigil more satisfying than the first, and I have decided to say no more here about either of them except that I was inspired and impressed by Miguel's homily.

In my last post, I didn’t mention that I was spiritually sustained in Holy Week by some fine posts by some of my favorite bloggers. The picture at Tobias’ Meditationes Viam Crucis was helpful throughout the week, but especially on Good Friday morning (I was fortunate enough to have listened to the music before I went to Binghamton last Monday.) I also liked Tobias’ poem Anamnesis. Also on Good Friday morning, there was Jonathan’s wonderful FRIDAY. And by the time we got back to New York Friday afternoon, Jonathan had posted It is finished. Jonathan’s series of disturbing contemporay images concluded with Tomb on Saturday morning and the transitional The Harrowing Of Hell on Saturday evening. On Easter Day, Jonathan brought us Resurrection which I saw in the interval between the early morning vigil and our main 10 AM service. I was especially glad for the Edmund Spenser sonnet, “Most glorious Lord of life.” Finally on Easter there is the joyous Dimanche Gras, which I saw after I got home from church the second time (or the third time if I count Saturday night.)

There were other posts from other people that I also found inspiring, helpful, or simply enjoyable, but I am running out of time today so I'll have to leave it here. This morning I am driving back up to Binghamton to see my mother and once again I'll have limited internet access until I get back.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter Vigil

Liz and I went to the Easter Vigil at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. Years ago, Liz’s brother taught at Saint Thomas Choir School, and three of Liz’s nephews went to the school. But that’s not why we went. We went because for us Holy Week was completely wacko and the vigil at St. Thomas started at 5:30 so we would have a relatively early evening.

Last week I wrote “I have no idea how my Holy Week will play out. I don’t want to miss Tenebrae, the Thursday night vigil, or the Good Friday service at St. Mary’s, but what will be will be.” As it happened I missed them all. Liz did get to Tenebrae on Wednesday, but for us the rest was a wash out.

The first half of Holy Week was spent getting my mother into the nursing home. Because she was not coming from the hospital, the procedures were unfamiliar to everyone. When I got to Binghamton late Monday afternoon, I found out that the nursing home had a place for my mother – some papers had to picked up for the doctor to fill out, and then she could be admitted.

Tuesday morning I asked my uncle to pick up the papers and then I delivered them to the doctor’s office. Around noon that day I was told they would not be ready until the next morning. That afternoon I took my mother for a drive. We went to Heart Lake, about thirty miles from her home, where our family has been going since the 1920's. When we got to Binghamton I drove her past the house where she was a teenager and where her grandparents also lived. Then we went past the house where her father grew up and where her grandmother and aunts lived when she was young. She really enjoyed it and said so even the next day.
On Wednesday, I arranged for a medivan to take mother to the nursing home and I went to get the papers at the doctor’s office. After a slight delay caused by a flat tire, I got the papers to the nursing home, only to discover that they were not correctly filled out and that the doctor would have to see her. So we went home for lunch, and then to the doctor’s office, and finally back to the nursing home. That was three more medivan rides for my mother. But finally she was admitted mid-afternoon on Wednesday. It was too late for me to drive home safely Wednesday. I went back to the nursing home after her supper and then returned to her apartment and that was when the magnitude of the step we ware taking hit me. Although she is there ostensibly for short term rehab, it seems very unlikely that anyone will consider that it is safe for her to return home.
Tenebrae for me was experiencing the shadows of my mother’s decline.

Thursday morning I left early and returned to New York, getting here shortly after ten in the morning. Liz had an important telephone call at 2 PM and as soon as that was over we got in the car and drove back to Binghamton and went direct to the nursing home. My mother was in good spirits and we did an assessment of what we needed to bring to increase her comfort. We got back to her apartment and made a supper of some leftovers.
That was our Maundy Thursday.

Friday morning Liz put together some things to brighten mother’s room – a picture of her and my father, a couple of plants, some dresser scarves, and a large numeral digital clock.among other things. When we got to the nursing home, we were pleased that she was having lunch in the main dining room rather than on her floor. Liz had the idea of interchanging the bed and a bedside dresser in her room and we set up the things we had brought, and then joined mother for the end of her lunch. When we got her back to the room, she was pleased with the changes. We left her just before two and drove back to New York, getting here about 5 PM. I bought the makings of a very un-Good Friday supper, not a crawfish boil but spaghetti with a meat sauce including sausages. We enjoyed the supper and tumbled into bed fairly early.
That was our Good Friday.

Today we caught up at home. I thought a little about going to the noon service at St. Mary’s today, but I didn’t manage to make that happen. So we went to the Vigil at Saint Thomas which was something of a disappointment. Perhaps it’s just us, but both Liz and I found it strangely unsatisfying. It seemed to be form without substance. If I get a chance, I may say more about that at another time.

I’m going to rush and post this, so I can go to bed (it’s 11 PM) and get up in time to go to the 6 AM service at St. Maty’s.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday

This morning at St. Mary’s, we had our annual procession around the block. I can’t recall when we first did it, but it was sometime in the 1960's and Dick Gary was Priest in Charge. St. Mary’s used to have its annual episcopal visitation at evensong on Palm Sunday. Sometime between his election as coadjutor in 1969 and his enthronement in 1972, Paul Moore made a visitation on Sunday morning, and took part in the procession. We continued to have visitations on Palm Sunday for awhile after that – probably through the 1970s at least – and most of those were in the morning. A number of those visits were by what Cathy Roskam calls rent-a-bishops – that’s easy in Manhattan. These days, the episcopal visitation is at another time. This year, we had Bishop Roskam, as I thought I had noted in another post, but I can't find it now.

In any case, we have processed around the block annually on Palm Sunday for decades now. This time I thought I might sit it out since my legs are bothering me, but Marie Runyon walked it at age 92, so I decided to do it too. For the past few years we have been led by a bagpiper, Tommy Chang. This year Tommy had invited some friends from Bethlehem, PA so our ranks were swelled by about eight Bethlehemites.

Bonnie decided to go to Chicago this week to visit her son Eddie and before she left, she recruited Liz and me as readers in the Passion and Liz to read the Epistle. On Thursday, Liz went to Binghamton for our regular visit with my mother – I had a meeting Thursday evening, and we decided that it was important not to wait because my mother has fallen several times in the past two weeks. After Liz got there, several of the folks involved in my mother’s care, including Liz and me, decided that it was important for my mother to go to rehab and get some physical therapy. The wheels are in motion for that – meanwhile, Liz and I decided that it is not wise to leave my mother alone, so Liz stayed in Binghamton. That meant I had to find a substitute reader. I sent an email to one person Saturday night, but she didn’t check her email when she got home tired from a retreat so of course there was no reply. I got to church 15 minutes early so that I could find someone and when I got there the folks from Bethlehem were in our usual pew, so I sat in front of them. (Digression: Apparently, St. Mary’s was one of the first Episcopal churches to abolish pew rents, sometime in the century before last.) I did find a highly competent substitute, although I was prepared if necessary to read the great Christological hymn in Philippians 2: 5-11 (for the purists, I know the hymn starts at verse 6. And, not by the way, there is not a hint there of the view of the atonement as the propitiation of a psycopathic god.) My part in the Passion narrative was to deny Jesus three times.

It’s been two weeks since I posted anything about the what’s going on in the Episcopal Church.
Two things struck me as informative – Father Jake, among others, points us to an illuminating report by Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe. The rest of Father Jake’s post is also very much worth reading. Second, Jonathan the Mad Priest gives us a good pointer to a BBC interview with Bishop Chane of Washington.

Last week I posted about a memorial dinner for Jane’s father Bronson Dudley and mentioned that Jane’s second cousin Carol was there. Carol is interested in Dudley genealogy and since I am the genealogist in the family she sent me copies of material she had. In the past few months I have been engaged in a discernment process about how I want to spend my time and the material from Carol gave me a push in the genealogy direction. Bronson’s mother was Taney Keplinger from New Orleans. I’ve managed to find Taney’s paternal grandparents. Her mother’s family is another matter since her surname was Jones. I see that there are Keplingers in Thibodaux, a city I learned about while blogging, but I don’t think they are closely related to Taney because she had no brothers as far as I can tell, so that in branch of the family the Keplinger surname has died out.

I don’t know how deep into genealogy I’m going to get – there’s also my work on Pope’s 1728 Dunciad to consider, not to mention the question of whether I want to return to active beta testing.

Monday Liz comes home to go to the dentist and I will immediately drive back up to Binghamton to take care of my mother until a bed opens up so she can go to rehab. So I have no idea how my Holy Week will play out. I don’t want to miss Tenebrae, the Thursday night vigil, or the Good Friday service at St. Mary’s, but what will be will be.

My internet participation will be limited because I am on dialup when I’m there.