Saturday, June 8, 2013

Grapes: don't gather all; Nel's jam; From =; Gingko leaf; But men; PicNICKery; That cows may drink

I have again lately seen the coons emerge from the grate 
at our corner, as has my wife; we know the desolation
Of having our grapes stolen from our vines;

Don't Gather All the Grapes

Kenneth L. Samuel

And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard,

neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard;

 thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger:  

I am the Lord your God.

- Leviticus 19:10 -

These days, there is a certain tyranny that accompanies utmost efficiency and accountability.  When every single seat on every single flight is booked, those on standby are always left stranded.  When every slice of bread is sold to those who can buy it, those who can't afford it are left wanting.  When every minute of the day is planned and prescribed, there is no time for unexpected interventions of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever decided to attend an event at the very last minute, but it was so well-planned and executed that when you arrived there was not an empty seat to be found?  Then, suddenly, you spot just one.  You rush over and timidly ask the person seated next to it, "Is anyone sitting here?"  The person smiles and says: "Yes, someone is sitting there.  You are."  And if the person is extra kind, she might add, "We reserved this seat just for you." 

In our concerns over balanced budgets and fiscal accountability, how well are we planning to accommodate those who just arrived in our midst; those, who for countless reasons didn't feel welcomed until very recently; or those whose names were for so long either omitted or deleted from the invitation list; or those who got lost and just made it in?

In the book of Leviticus, God's call for holiness among God's people was a call for compassion to strangers and generosity to the poor.  So important was this principle of holiness that God did not leave it up to individuals to come up with their own notions of what compassion and generosity in society meant.  God's instructions were clear: generosity and compassion were to be built into the system of reaping and harvesting.  Grapes and grain were to be intentionally left behind, and that which was left behind was not considered waste or entitlement.  It was really a divine reservation for the poor and the unexpected stranger.

How prepared are we today to accommodate the strangers, the poor, and those in desperate need whom God sends along our paths?  Someone is standing and looking for a seat.  Is there room near you?


Dear God we thank you for not leaving generosity and compassion up to chance.  Thank you for reserving a place for all of us who missed the first invitation by circumstance or neglect, for those of us who have just arrived.  Amen.


Nel's blackberry jam

(to raccoon news)

Here are the promised toothsome treats.

The blackberries were harvested down by our creek
And the resulting jams are my first stirrings
In such endeavors.

I was quite please with the results
Am itching to try huckleberries
I picked a quart earlier in the year
And made a pie that was quite tasty

Huckleberries are challenging
Because it takes so many
To make anything

I worked over an hour to pick
A single quart
Tiny little things but
They pack a lot of flavor…..

Nelderberry O’N.
Dallas OR

Packing up Nel's writing notebook 
for the move, 2010. 

in red cordial glass  - 6/13

Smitten by these prehistoric leaves before -
pacsirta-from-hungarian.html -
we gather one from this season
and celebrate again


(Shay's poster from her Facebook page)


Being But Men

Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.

If we were children we might climb,
Catch the rooks sleeping, and break no twig,
And, after the soft ascent,
Thrust out our heads above the branches
To wonder at the unfailing stars.

Out of confusion, as the way is,
And the wonder, that man knows,
Out of the chaos would come bliss.

That, then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim and the end.

Being but men, we walked into the trees.

"Being But Men" by Dylan Thomas, from Collected Poems. © Norton, 1971

Yields likenesses, scenes:

By the calendar the appointed day
but rue-inous weather.....the good folks of the
1st Congregational UCC gathered in leaden-lidded
Elysian fields in temps in the 50s at the Glasenapp
Ranch in Dousman WI.  Purpose:  TO PICNIC

Two hawks were seen hunting pr(a)ey overhead,

as Rev. Brittany  -with her son Julius - led the service.

The crowd clustered together in their traditional home-brought
folding chairs and warm jackets if they had been wise and dressed
for the chill.

As the picnic progressed shivering merriment obtained.  Some
heat-seeking missive types sought the remove of the wood fire
where the cooking of childens' hot dogs and s'mores went on.
These people willingly sacrificed their garments
to wood smoke in favor of the heat being radiated.

John T. adopts inscrutable gaze.  Part Japanese.

His wife tries to remember something just on the tip of her tongue.

As brownie eater consumes, Ron casts mirthless expression.  Allegedly has wry sense of humor.

The Brunster smiles through a fright-wig.
She is not scorned, but is acquainted with grief.
Her portfolio includes that.

William pets elderly dog taking refuge with the Glasenapps.  Adopted. At the time we did not have
the story on the shivering dog but he seemed wedded to a position under the fire-pit bench.

Later we learned that Cleo G., our hostess, heated a big towel in the micro-wave
and wrapped the dog, named Annie, to warm her after everybody went home.

Carol, a new member is learning the many personalities of the Congo.  Upbeat, she stands in front
of upswept pines.

Fire-pit symbolizes the United Church of Christ motto:  'That they all may be one'.

Rev. Brittany Barber
1st Cong. Church UCC
100 E Broadway, Waukesha, WI 53186

All are welcome!

This is an unofficial summary of this event
and very incomplete.  Many things occurred, 
including the preparations of Bill and Cleo,
the lawn mowing, the groaning but festive board
inside the house where attenders assembled
their pot lucky dishes and filed around at 
the appointed time, the gay chats happening
here there and E.where, ........lots more,
including the parked antique Buick roadster
of Marge and Mel Stark.


Let us pray:

Watering Trough

Let the end of all bathtubs
be this putting out to pasture
of four Victorian bowlegs
anchored in grasses.

Let all longnecked browsers
come drink from the shallows
while faucets grow rusty
and porcelain yellows.

Where once our nude forebears
soaped up in this vessel
come, cows, and come, horses.
Bring burdock and thistle,

come slaver the scum of
timothy and clover
on the cast-iron lip that
our grandsires climbed over

and let there be always
green water for sipping
that muzzles may enter thoughtful
and rise dripping.
"Watering Trough" by Maxine Kumin, from Selected Poems. © Norton, 1997. 

Les Paul and Mary Ford

From the 3rd floor of the Odd Fellows building
we bring you

We're Sitting On Top of The World

....and toward the end, he STILL had it: