Friday, August 31, 2007

Monday I heard a perfect Southern man's voice. Sitting in the pew at the regional grouping of churches discussing churches who wish to depart our fellowship, a speaker's voice caught my ear. I turned around to see a tall man in a seersucker suit speaking passionately about his congregation. I don't know him. Can't recall where he's from or what he said. His voice! That educated dulcet toned Southern male voice was enough.

Accents? I love listening to regional and national speech.

Listening to the Canadian news on the 'net last night, I tried to hear the difference in the newscaster's accent. It was the "ou" sound as in "about". Very different from mine.

We don't know what our voices sound like, do we? I hear my recorded voice played back to me and cringe. Every. Single. Time.

I called LLS this week and heard in her voice mail message our Mother's voice. Lovely to my ears!

I listened to the voices at the Mission yesterday and heard speech bereft of any public education or education in English at all. The woman is a native English speaker but her use of words showed that her speech was private, that is, not used for commerce or the larger public.

The volunteers who come to help us laugh at the use of "y'all" then begin to use it. "Y'all" is a useful word and somehow sweeter than "you guys".

LD changes her accent to fit her audience moving effortlessly from high school speech to talking with parents to navigating the larger world. Some of her tones have an NC quality from her months with LLS.

We'll have dinner Saturday night with one of my favorite voices: a native Mississippian with a cultured accent who commands a room with a beautiful sound.

Our Songbird says that her Southern accent comes out when she talks with me. She sounds familiar to me, so this must be true.

I come from the South and our voices are distinctive.


St. Casserole

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Q. What is joy?

A. Joy is being free to run and jump. Joy is waking up your humans with purrs and sniffs. Joy is using the Booda litter box for the first time, just like Whistle. Joy is being out of confinement with a healed leg.

St. Casserole

Fish injured his back leg 4 months and 13 days ago. 137 days...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Remembering Katrina 2007

Two years ago today, we were in Destin waiting for word about the Gulf Coast. News of the Coast was scarce because the news people couldn't get to Mississippi. We saw where Katrina's eye came ashore later in the morning. Cell phone and land line calls did not work as we tried to call our friends who stayed in their homes.

We didn't know that our hurricane preparations made no difference. Boarding up Mr. C's law firm building (an old Coast home restored and used for less than ten months) was destroyed. So many trees fell around our home that it could not be seen from the street. P. and C.'s home flooded. Our pediatrician's home flooded. Many of our neighbor's homes were flooded, broken by trees or blown away. Our sailboat ended up miles away. People died because they refused to evacuate or would not leave their pets.

Who knew anything? We didn't. Scenes of New Orleans on the news showed misery. Little did we know that the levees would break and ruin the City Care Forgot.

Little did we know that churches were demolished, roads torn up and our lives changed forever.

Regular people suffered extreme misery.

We kept close to the tv in the Destin condo.

Andy, Assumpta and Dibley ran around meowing. LD and LS tried to text message their friends. Mr. C. and I held on.


St. Casserole

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dear Aunt Bostick

Dear Aunt Bostick,

I've gotten stuck in my bloggage. Too much stuff is going on right now for me to have much to say in my blog. I'm not depressed. I'm overwhelmed.
What should I do?
Your Niece,

St. Casserole

My Dear Casserole,
How kind of you to write me with your troubles. You young things don't often ask those of us who've lived through World Wars, Skirmishes and the Bush Years our opinions. Your generation appears to be busy using credit unwisely, allowing your children to make family decisions and wearing your clothing too tight. I thank you my dear for asking my advice.
First, what kind of blogger are you? Do you have a theme other than whining? If you have a theme you may find topics everyday. Or, are you a blogger who blogs only when she has something to say? I doubt this as I have read a number of your posts and they appear to be of no consequence to anyone. Forgive me if this sounds harsh.
Second, how much of your life do you wish to share with the unwashed masses, I mean, your readers. Who are these people anyway? When was the last time you asked lurkers and others to comment? It might help if you knew your audience. If you find out who reads you you may wish to tailor your remarks to their varied sensibilities.
Third, as Ernest told me one day long ago as we lounged on the beach in Key West, write what you know. Avoid pontificating on those subjects which elude your experience and brain power.
Fourth, keep it short. Your posts are too long. And, dear one, what's all this stuff about cats? Not everyone loves cats as you do. Thank goodness you started a blog for Whistle. That cat chats about his birthday every day of the year!
Fifth, remember these rules of life: eat more bran, organize your eyebrows, stand up straight, vote for the Democrats no matter how much or little you have in your Bank, tend to your family, don't run to Walgreen's looking like the Wrath of God and use sterling flatware at every meal. Honor these rules and your days will be long and happy.


Aunt Bostick

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hey! I'd blog more but I'm busy driving three hours to 2 hour meetings!
Cleaning up after messy people! Writing a sermon! Watching the Weather Channel (this is high season for hurricanes)!

Praying for friends
Getting LS settled at the University
Driving LD to various activities but not school because she is in a car pool
Writing letters asking for rebuilding funds for my congregation
Doing laundry


St. Casserole

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've just had enough of about everything. As I told Mr. C last night, "I'm mad at the whole world!" Wisely, he turned over and went to sleep. So did I.

Therefore, I am dipping back into a pleasant memory vault for this picture of the downtown Bailey's Cafeteria in my hometown. We went there with my mother and grandparents as little kids. I believe LLS will remember Bailey's with me. I taught her how to take the ping pong ball off of the top of the water spray in the fountain before adults yelled at us.

I recall happy experiences at the cafeteria except for the time I realized that Mrs. Young, my sixth grade teacher, was behind me at the next table. Not only had I been caught off guard by a teacher straying from her post at the school so that I could be tortured at Bailey's by her nearness but I also had to go speak to her because of good manners. That woman had nerve.

If you think you can cheer me up, I'd do as Mr. C. did and ignore me until my mood lifts.

Here's to a good memory,

St. Casserole

Monday, August 20, 2007

News from the Neighborhood

Our colleague, Edward O'Connor, will leave the Gulf Coast to become Dean of the Cathedral in Jackson. Edward accomplished many things during his time here. I am sorry to see him go. He mentored a clergy pal of mine, calmed his congregation, preached well (so I heard) and moved his congregation forward after the hurricane. One of his great skills is his ability to listen. You know he hears you when you speak. I told Mr. C. that I was going to try to be a great listener like Edward so I cocked my head and stared at Mr. C. Finally, after being silent for several seconds, Mr. C. said, "Now you've gone creepy on me." Let me work on this...

We at Little Church heard from our denominational funders this week about our hurricane rebuilding grant. We received about 1/10th of our asking. I suppose that we didn't receive more because we haven't spent our cautiously saved funds down to zero (how can a tiny church of older people do this???) and have not cleaned our membership rolls since before the storm. We didn't think it wise to notify members that we were deleting them from our rolls after the storm. It would be another loss for them even it they aren't attending.
So, here we are, almost two years from the storm, without the funds to repair our church building. The building is secure and functional but has broken sheet rock, shows storm damage and looks bad. We put in new windows, replaced the roof, replaced the front columns and porch flooring, added ceiling fans and now we need to finish. We waited all this time, having been told that the millions donated by the faithful would complete our repairs. We applied for the money last Fall. We heard this week.
Very little of the needed work can be done by unskilled volunteers.
We are stuck. Pray for us.

The Southern Gulf is getting pounded by Dean the Hurricane. Lord, have mercy on your people there!

Fish the Cat's leg is healing well! Dr. Jen, our dear Vet before the storm, was back at Dr. D.'s Saturday! She watched Fish walk and trot then pronounced "He's doing great!" Fish returned home exhausted but happy that he may have only two more weeks in his Hermitage (confinement pen).

I feel rushed on Monday's to catch up with last week's leftovers, recover from Sunday and get started on this week's tasks. Do you feel the same?


St. Casserole

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hurricane Dean

Ewwwwww, not again!

Where are the double dipped in Chocolate Oreos at a time like this?,

St. Casserole

Monday, August 13, 2007

Laundry, tons of laundry to do today. Being gone for a week means the house is knee high in trash, dirty clothing and bottle caps on every floor. Whistle the Cat keeps bottle-cap soccer going all the time.

I felt rested today. I hit the wall Friday night, all day Saturday and after the hours on Sunday, felt that I should crawl to a corner and just snore. Not that I snore. If I did make any noise, it would be a gentle purr so comforting to the hearer that he wouldn't remember it the next morning.

The YCW Conference wore me out. I love all of it but kept later and earlier busy hours than I do usually. I was the one to tell all the party gals to "go to bed" Thursday night after the second shift of partiers began to laugh like monkeys.

I'm missing the conference women. I loved their voices, ideas and energy for ministry. I loved hearing different ways of approaching preaching with our leader and feel that the combo of Festival of Homies in May and this Testimony conference have upped my preaching mojo.

Here's a note for Zorra: thanks for letting me know that "fireball eucharist" is from Walker Percy and means "fibroids in the uterus". I woke up the other night, before I read your comment and thought, "Rats! I got that wrong!".


St. Casserole

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Words

An enclosed courtyard: a garth

Excellent excuse to leave anytime, anywhere: say you have "explosive diarrhea"

Lady-like name for, uh, personal areas: Princess Parts

Odd medical condition: fireball eucharist (told to a Doctor who translated this to mean "fibroid tumors". No. Kidding.

You may be tested on these words later this week.

St. Casserole

Tiding Up

Just a few notes about my delightful D.C. week:

*Everyone of the young preachers in my group did well. I wasn't surprised. It takes courage to preach to peers. They brought a sermon then wrote a sermon for the conference.

*The conference was organized very well. We worked hard but were comfortable. I hope the organizer feels good about all of her work over the past months. I do.

*I frustrated several of the conferees with my comments about dressing as a professional. I spoke without translating my humor and believe I hurt several feelings. I regret this massively.

*I have never returned home from a conference knowing massive quantities of personal information about the speaker. Early on, I hopped up to hug the speaker thinking she was overwhelmed by her life's situation. I didn't realize she does this with groups.

*The setting was glorious. I loved the music, the worship, the Bethlehem Chapel and the College where we lived. The food was great, too.

*I loved seeing a bloggie buddy I've missed for over a year now. She's doing great and really in the pink of things. Love her! I met great women last week. I hope to see them again.

*Glad to be home! Missed all of you!

St. Casserole

Friday, August 10, 2007

Slept well last night in air conditioning + fan! Good times.

This lovely, well-planned conference will be over in a few hours. I will miss Hogwarts. Sitting under the giant trees on the Cathedral grounds with coffee this morning, I looked around trying to memorize the grounds. No little black squirrels came out looking for the giant acorns. Perhaps they were listening to the 7:30 am. Eucharist inside the Cathedral. Troops of conferees passed me on their way to Chapel.

We need traveling mercies for all those leaving today for home. We've got women from as far away as Oregon.

I am so glad I came to the conference. I'm so glad I had a peaceful week at Hogwarts.

Y'all doing ok?,

St. Casserole

P.S. I'll be home this evenin'

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Standing in the G at the C of P

Dear World,
Where I come from, a third world country within the U.S., we have air conditioning. We have a/c everywhere. Otherwise, we couldn't survive days and nights of 99 degree temperatures. Our attitudes would not survive.

You may recall that I'm out of town right now. Here I am in ecclesiastical Heaven where there is no a/c in my room. I'm sure it's a fluke of mechanics but I cannot sleep in a hot room. Hogwarts is well nigh perfect. Beautiful buildings, landscaping done so well it makes my teeth hurt and a serene environment where prayer pours out like a waterfall.
Excuse me, I so hot I am having a crabby fit.

I've heard that your Northern persons don't have air conditioning but I haven't believed it. How do people sleep in this heat without cool air blowing on them. As one of the young conferees said to me a few minutes ago, "You have a fan. I read it on your blog." Well, yes, I have a fan but it blows tepid phlegm temp air on me and I cannot sleep.

How many ways can I say I am too hot to sleep? I can't sleep without some cool air. I am too hot to sleep. I can't sleep in this heat.

I could sleep in the bathtub of the communal bathroom but dignity would prevent my hall mates from using the potty if I slept in the tub. I could sleep on the refectory table where the air is cooler but then I'd be known as the woman who slept in the refectory. I could stay up all night to write poetry about my situation but I am tired. I want to sleep.

If anyone asks you how I am, tell them I'm hot and I can't get to sleep.


St. Casserole
Hello from the Big City!

Every last one of you needs to add coming to the College of Preachers to your list of "things to do". It's lovely here and as comfortable as can be. The meals are fabulous, the rooms comfortable and what-else-can-you-say about living on the grounds of a national cathedral?

This well planned conference is going smoothly. The organizer should be proud of herself. The funding agency did a good thing by underwriting the conference.

But, I am so very hot in this Big City heat that I am ready to fold up into a ball and jump into the ice maker. Hogwarts isn't hot necessarily but it is not as air conditioned as we are on the Gulf Coast. I sleep with a fan blasting towards me. The rest of my day I prowl around looking for a/c vents and cups of ice.

The conference is going on as I write this. I found this nook with cold air and cannot tear myself away to return to a beautiful room filled with people where I become so warm I feel ill.

Thank goodness there is a slight flaw to being here or I wouldn't return home.

Y'all doing OK where you are?,

St. Casserole

Monday, August 06, 2007

Oh! What a beautiful place this is!

Having a great time!

More later,

St. Casserole

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I leave before 6am. tomorrow to make my way up the East Coast to Washington. You can't get anywhere from I live. All trips are arduous.

I'm going to the Young Clergywoman's Project at the College of Preachers. I told my congregation about the Project and my participation in it. They applauded me!

I'm thrilled to be attending.

I am trying to be brave.

Leaving home in August, during Hurricane Season, isn't something I do. Last time I traveled in August (to go to the Presbyterian Heaven in Western North Carolina) was in about 1989. A hurricane threatened and I was too far away to get home, with a baby along, to secure our home. I get very testy about how Mr. C. turns off the lights and shuts the door for hurricane prep. I do all sorts of lengthy arrangements: prescriptions filled? food bought? cat/dogs all arranged? house inventory photographed? insurance papers handy? yard/pool furniture secured? etc etc etc etc. It saves my emotions to be at home getting ready.

However, my joy about being with friends at the YCP tipped the balance towards being brave and heading to Washington.

I hope to see you there.

Look for me. I'll be the dour short clergywoman wearing sensible shoes and the Tonette Perm hairdo. Sorta like Delores Umbridge but without so much pink.


St. Casserole

Friday, August 03, 2007

School starts today. Amazing, isn't it? August 3???
How can the end of summer vacation be this early? Our district plans for hurricane days to intefere with the mandated number of school days.

I fuss every year about having to end my time with the children so soon.
LS returns to university in two weeks. It's time for him to go back because he is the expert in everything without grace or patience unless it concerns him. He needs to be with his peers to allow his parents some quiet peace.

Ah! But has this been the sweetest summer with LD? Oh, yes!
Who knew that a 15 year old girl could be the happiest company I could wish for?

In a Praise Report, under Will Wonders Never Cease, I testify that she wanted: a pair of my shoes, two purses and two necklaces for her closet! Unbelievable that Miss 15 considered my stuff for her own.

Here's the funniest part:


Excuse me while I go howl with laughter and irony....


St. Casserole

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pickin' n Choosin'

Not surprisingly, we don't fit in everywhere we go. We don't belong in some groups, other groups don't suit us and finally, isn't this the age when we can pick and choose where we wish to place our time and energies?

Churches are like this. People come and go through the membership without much trouble. Don't like the Preacher? Move to another church. Gotta beef with the music, go find another place to worship.

While we may bemoan the light-handed move from church to church, or how we move from belief system to belief system, we are a marketplace kind of people. We follow our preferences. We find those who are like us and who like us.

When the Kingdom comes, we will all be at the Table together. Differences and preferences will not matter. All those who love Christ will be one.

Until that time, let's remember that while everyone should be people like us, people aren't just like us.

In the best possible world, we would learn the discipline of belonging regardless of how we feel about the preacher, the music or the congregation. We'd decide that the Body of Christ where we were was where we needed to be. We'd work out the differences by committing ourselves to loving anyway, being a person of peace anyway.

No one wants to hear this. Our desire for self-fulfillment and comfort overcomes us.

I am sure that you have valid reasons for why you choose a homogenus life.

Looking at the bottom of my flip-flop,

St. Casserole