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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saturday Nights in the Minister's House

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Before my time, my father was an itinerant preacher, driving his old car through the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia to four parishes, preaching sermons and ministering to the rural poor. They needed saving, and he had a heart for them. Maybe this is why he kept walking even long after he left Virginia for Michigan, where I was born. He was a walker, a bicycle rider, a car driver, a grocery store cart pusher. Get out the way of the good reverend.

Saturday nights, alone in the upstairs hall he paced in shirt and tie through a tunnel of ancient books with his shoes on, never in stocking feet or barefoot, on the velvet leaves of the Persian runner, rehearsing his Sunday sermon. Striding rhythmically by the books aligned at the edge of every shelf, his feet rang the steps from one end of the hall where his oak desk filled the bay window to the other end at the screen-doored balcony, the toes of his pendulum feet dotting each “i” and jotting every tittle of his Biblical speech.

Beneath him, I sat in the living room with the TV, hearing through the ceiling the creaking cadence of his feet. I prayed the walking would carry on, that he wouldn’t come down and see me watching and listening to a program he didn’t approve with a worldly man on the screen: Dean Martin, born forty years before me, the same year as my dad, but destined for a different vocation. In a black tuxedo, white shirt, and bow tie coming undone with one finger, he crooned. He stood on a different kind of platform, with another kind of mic than my father's. He sang me a rock glass lullaby, loving me with eyes half open from within a nimbus of cigarette smoke.

I had a thing for older men who looked different than my red-haired father. I went for men with dark hair and graying temples. If they were olive-skinned and brown-eyed, I was smitten. Even as a teenaged girl riding on airplanes to visit my sister in Chicago, I kept my eye on the middle-aged gentlemen in suits. I was too innocent, and outwardly aloof, to fall prey to the wrong kind of man, but I had fantasies of their attentions. Dean Martin was the model older man of my daydreams — beautiful, charming and funny.

If my dad paused in place in the hallway above me, suddenly silent, my heart would stop. I’d watch with anxiety for him to appear at the French doors. Then the old oak floorboards above me would chirp again and chide: a phrase in the sermon had been wrong. He’d stopped his hallway itinerary, corrected the line or word, and his steps were off again, pacing steadily, my heart commencing its beat.

I wondered what he had rewritten in the pause, and hallowed in cradling breath, what halo of dust was stirred up around his hesitating feet. What would I hear Sunday morning from the pulpit microphone that he had altered, out of some fault that needed forgiving, so that this time his voice would sound something like crooning?




 


Photo credits:
Top: Rolfe Horn
Bottom: "Candy Cigarette" by Sally Mann
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71 comments:

Shari Sunday said...

Fascinating photographs. The cigarette candy one looks so evil until you read the title. Then you have to look again with new eyes. Strange the many influences that shape us -- especially what attracts us to a mate. I still find Dean Martin, voice, attitude, Rat Pack, all of that, very attractive. "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

Pauline said...

Reading this was like reading a bit of a novel. I was sorry when it ended. And the photos - the heavenly wisps at the top, the deliberate bad-girl image at the end - this is a remarkably effective post.

I remember Dean Martin and that boozy, sexy voice. My father didn't approve of him either.

Louise Gallagher said...

My father loved Dean Martin. And Frank Sinatra and Harry Como. He loved tuba's and violins too.

My father had a 2,000+ record collection, alphabetized, pages slid between sheets of plastic, carefully catalogued in binders. Jazz. Big Band. Folk. Rock.

He loved all music.

And he hated television.

As children, we were allowed a half a hour week -- other than Ed Sullivan of course -- his show we watched as a family, every Sunday evening, except for the years we lived overseas.

Thanks for this story Ruth. You've opened pathways to memories I'd forgotten, or not thought of for sometime.

My father quit going to church on Sundays when I was in my teens. Church is for sinners.

I learned later, his absence from the pew had more to do with his feelings of being a sinner than of being absent of sin.

Hugs.

Louise

PS -- the photos are very powerful and add incredible depth and beauty to your story.

Babs-beetle said...

That was a lovely little snippet of you again.

Though our parents kept close watch on who we made friends with, they had no problem with who we watched on TV. Thankfully the standards on TV were very high in those early TV days.

Expat From Hell said...

This was riveting. Like something out of Gilead, if you've read that. I, too, lived in that era - with all the similar fears of a father who would interrupt The Smothers Brothers or Laugh In while the young rebellious son was sneaking a look. You need to continue this thread...! EFH

Brendan said...

Well, as you know, we both have minister fathers, so I found my way easily into the habitation of this fine essay. First, what a great piece of memoir, observing so carefully the life-details of another and then finding so many exempla of self in the analysis -- what difference is there between the father correcting his sermon so it sings, and the poet revising a line here or there so it properly soars? Where does a parent end and a child begin? For different times over his career my father would do visiting-pastor duties, and he would work up his sermons in his book-, pipesmoke-, Scotch-supplied-study, scribbling notes on paper, scratching this out, re-writing in something else. He wasn't a writer -- he's capable but can be rather stereotypical in his wording -- but boy can he talk. I loved going along with him on his visiting sermon jaunts -- rare time we got to spend alone together when I was young -- and sat doodling on programs listenting to his bariitone rise and fall. My mother's voice by the sea, his voice in a pulpit: both ring in my inner inner ear. Oddly, my dad looked like Elvis when he was young, close to a dead ringer, and more like Sean Connery as he aged. (Or was that just a son's worship?) The pictures you include, by the way, are wonderful, the spiritous mists off the mountains upstairs in the pacing of the father, the girl down below smoking those mists, her writing a strange exegesis of the father's work. Loved to tale, Ruth, wonderful background to The Work ... - Brendan

erin said...

i was sorry it ended too and sorry (oddly enough) that i hadn't lived it to know it as you do.

you prayed while you watched tv that your father wouldn't notice. you prayed. and the image - my god, i didn't see the title. i didn't for a moment consider that it was candy and now i can't still. my mind is already trained. and you so young looking at older men. and my mind still on last night's read, The Law of Dreams by Peter Hehrens, an Ireland where children were forced into prostitution and who starved to bones, who witnessed death, who took part in it more regularly than breakfast. i don't know quite how to function right now. my son showed me a picture in the Guiness Book of World Records of twins, Johnny and Luther Htoo, the youngest guerrilla leaders in the world, in charge of a renegade ethnic group in Myanmar. at the time they were twelve. one of them smokes a cigar. one looks like a boy. one strikes fear in me. what are children? what were we as children? what are our parents, any parents? how do we manage at all in this life?

this is a surprisingly difficult post for me. however, i love it. your imagery is absolute. your questions, although unformed specifically, palpable.

xo
erin

The Bug said...

I wasn't ready for this to end either. I know it's not fiction, but it really brings to mind Kaye Gibbons. I think you should write a novel. I really do.

Friko said...

To me this sounds as much a stifling upbringing as my own, in the house of a fervent anti-religionist, did.

A feverishly pious school day followed by an equally obsessed anti-church evening. Weekends were drenched in passionate politics. No wonder I'm such a mess.

From a very early age onwards I was definitely on the side of the "don't knows", an uncertain questioner of any status quo.

I still am. Except that I know that, when I come here, I always find something worthy of reading and thinking about.

rosaria said...

A gorgeous memoir piece, Ruth. I loved the tension in the scene of you watching television, and your father pacing upstairs. He with his holy books, you with your unholy dreams. Captivating, riveting.

The pictures added so much to the story!

elizabeth said...

What a splendid evocation of your father!
Beautifully written. Like the suspense of waiting for his pacing to continue.....

Thoughts on the seductive nature of cigarettes:
How sadly knowing that little girl in the Sally Mann photo looks......
How 'cool' it appeared to look through half closed eyes --
yes, a la Dean Martin.

We weren't allowed to watch TV --apparently it
'rotted your brain' .
Then, after Dad eventually gave in, when I was about 16, and we rented one for the school vacation, it never went back to the rental place: Dad had become addicted to Perry Mason.......
Such memries

nothingprofound said...

A beautifully expressed fragment of a memoir to whet the appetite.

Char said...

wonderful write - i love sally mann

Andrew said...

Thank you Ruth.

This fits well with my own memories of late, and offers me another perspective.

Tess Kincaid said...

Beautiful piece. My ancestry is peppered, or perhaps a more suitable term would be salted, with preachers. One of my great-great grandfathers was an itinerant Methodist minister in rural Pennsylvania.

George said...

This was is such a lovely remembrance, Ruth — you, Dean Martin, and Saturday nights with your father, the minister. There is some wonderful material here, and I expect that your mining of it has only just begun. But please tell me — who are the young ladies in the photo? Would you be the sullen beauty posing with the cigarette, or would you be the onlooker?

Maureen said...

Your remembrance has such immediacy and wonderful visual imagery. Beautifully written, Ruth.

Pat said...

You described the situation so well, I could just imagine your heart beating fast as you watched your illicit TV program!

As an aside, my father LOOKED like Dean Martin and loved to sing Italian songs on the back porch swing.

deb colarossi said...

Ruth,
Your writing does something to me..
It's as if I have to be ready.
For the beauty , the illumination, the raw.

I could never come here without my full heart and soul and mind.

Do you realize you have that kind of talent?

I'm going to reread this piece, this exquisite incredible piece when I can be more selfish , can paint it into my being.

I think of you .. think of how much you have meant to me through all of my "stuff".

I do love you Ruth.

Jane Lancaster said...

this is so evocative Ruth... I can see it all so clearly you paint a perfect picture and oh how different your experience was from mine. Me with my Frank Sinatra Mad Men dad... thanks

Arti said...

A heart-felt piece that illustrates the conflicts we have between faith and current culture. I'm more and more inclined to view the two not as antagonistic bet integrative. It's tricky though. But Ruth, may I digress.

I couldn't sleep last night and came down to watch TV at 2 am. A movie just started and it was such a gem, a delightful comedy about a rural English vicar who's very serious in his work, and sermon preparations, not unlike how you've described here. Rowan Atkinson stars in this role, can you imagine? And his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas, yes!) getting no attention, and is attracted to her golf trainer (Patrick Swayze) and their two teenaged children having problems of their own. And a newly hired housekeeper (Maggie Smith) who just came out of the criminally insane institution. But she has some sense too, she suggests the vicar to use humor in his messages. The movie is "Keeping Mum" (2005) You must see it. And yes, I went to bed at 4 am.

Vagabonde said...

I loved reading this post. It was like reading something from a far off country and for me I guess it was. Nothing like what I knew in Paris when I was a teenager. You said Dean Martin was born 40 years before you – I checked, he was born in 1917. So you would have been a teenager during the Beatles? When I was a teenager in Paris there was no music from the US to listen to on the radio, not like now (I am older than you too.) All the songs were in French, some in Italian. I had never heard of Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra. I did not know much about religion either – would only see the priest walking in the street sometimes and did not know there were other kinds of religious types in the religion business, like preachers who wrote their own sermons – we never talked about religion with my friends (or at home.) I only knew one girl (in elementary school), all through my school years, who went to church and she never talked about it (none in high school.) My father did not let me watch TV either though, and French TV at the time was only one channel like the BBC, it was the RTF la Radio Télévision Française – mostly educational with no commercials as it was owned by the French Government. My father only let me watch symphonies, operas or documentaries to educate my mind, everything else was taboo (well maybe watch Le Tour de France once in a while but not for long in case someone might swear.)

I really enjoy reading your recollections. You have chosen beautiful pictures to go along with your story.

Soul Dipper said...

Thoroughly captivating, Ruth. The visuals your create are superb. I could smell the dust.

In small town Alberta, three of us had a debate over who had it toughest: the kid of a teacher, preacher or RCMP. We were one of each. Secretly, I was very relieved to be a teacher's kid.

Oliag said...

What a wonderful, wonderful piece Ruth! Dean Martin huh?! I can see the allure...These photos you have chosen to illustrate your words are perfect...I love Sally Mann.

The Solitary Walker said...

A fine cameo of your father and your earlier self, Ruth. I recognise echoes of my own father in this. The anxiety you felt for a few moments when he stopped pacing above you - a beautiful touch, and very telling.

Ruth said...

Shari, the Sally Mann photo is wonderful, and disturbing, as many of hers are, I find. Her children (some literally her own in her photos) are so frankly knowing, yet can they be? Are they really? It's the suggestion of that that I find makes me squirm a little.

I have very fond images of Dean Martin with Sammy Davis Jr cracking up. I heard a few years ago that the rock glass in his hand, and the nearly-drunk persona, was just a stage prop, that he was not drunk and would nurse a glass of Scotch all night. Whatever mellowed his voice to croon "that's amore" like he did, it works for me.

Thanks, Shari.

Ruth said...

Pauline, thank you for your positive response to this piece. I was thrilled to find these images too, and the photographers, with whom I was not familiar. I'm happy to see that others already know Sally Mann. I will look into her more. Rolfe Horn has pretty wonderful nature shots at that link below, all in black and white. This one just stuns me every time I look at it.

I suppose it is small wonder our fathers didn't approve of DM and all his seductive looks. But it's funny, I found him — still do — so sweetly innocent. It must have been my censored mind and innocent mind. I should read more about him, I don't think he was a womanizer, though I have heard that he was madly in love with Petula Clark. Who can blame him?

Ruth said...

Louise, the worlds of our fathers! If they only knew how much power they have/had in our lives.

Your father's albums were like my father's books, carefully catalogued. It's funny, isn't it, that I now sit here and long for your memories. Yet, who knows what I would have longed for if I had been given them? I had such a rich life growing up, but I wanted something else. How many children experience this, and how many experience complete and utter contentment?

The strokes of your father you paint here make me want more. The first time I went to your blog, I remember feeling the same about your story growing up.

Ruth said...

Babs, thank you. The funny thing about my dad is that I think he snuck in watching stuff he didn't think we thought he would approve, because he would suddenly turn the channel over when we walked in. :-)

Ruth said...

Kent, thanks so much for reading and for your nice response. My nephew said I must read Gilead too, and it's obvious why. (He happens to be an ordained minister too.) So thanks for another recommendation. Yes, so many variety shows! No doubt they were not as bad as our fathers thought, and they made us want them more. Laugh In was probably the most "out there" what with Goldie Hawn gyrating in a string bikini.

Ruth said...

Brendan, thanks for your appreciation of this piece. I really like how you pay attention to what lies behind, beyond and under our voices, the heritages that are archetypal as well as genetic. Before you, I had not thought a bit about my father's sermons as a source for my writing. I had thought about my parents' love of words, word play, and the English language, but not the simple and of course stunning fact that almost the only words I heard come out of my father's mouth were from the pulpit. I had been thinking far more about what it had done to, and in, me that he did not speak to me, and the chasm that created. So thank you.

What you are doing as you excavate your own voice, your father's, and all of your personal mythology, is inspiring and very important. I really applaud you.

Ruth said...

Erin, thank you.

After finding this photograph by Sally Mann I looked at others of hers, some of her own children. She spoke of them as looking at her own children through the eyes of a mother. I wonder how she felt about this one, with her cigarette, candy or not. Your response here reflects the power of the facts of parenting for me these days too. As I anticipate grandkids one day (soon, I hope), my whole being seems to be a field for planting seed. And what do we grow, and how do we grow them? In this country (and maybe in Canada) we protect them beyond what we should sometimes, at least what I observe around me now. We gave our kids a lot of choices, starting young. I look back and wonder how we entrusted them with so much, without much worry. Maybe it was because we were young parents. Of course another part is how much we learn from our kids, and to me, this is what we must teach and show them most of all, that we learn from one another every minute. Nothing is fixed and finite. To remain open when things are so ugly in some parts is harder and harder to do, the more information we learn about the horrors of the world. I think it's so important to model to our kids that we know we are capable of anything. My dad wanted us kids to be "perfect" — the perfection he envisioned, as godly. It is taking me a lifetime to understand that "perfect" means whole, and real and what the soul wants.

I just love the conversations we have at Rilke, white space, and all around together. You and I are really just little girls like this one, don't you think? So grown up, and so young and wanting everything to be right.

Ruth said...

Dana, thank you so very much for your encouragement!

Ruth said...

Friko, isn't it wonderful? You and I come from polar opposite directions, and end up in such similar places with something like agnosticism? I think it's good for kids to have something to bump up against that their parents believe, but maybe you and I grew up with too many absolutes, when absolutes are few and far between.

Still, I rejoice, celebrate and embrace all that has brought us here!

Susan said...

Ha! You preacher's kids are all alike...sneakin' around, watchin' smut on that evil idiot-box, smokin' candy cigarettes, dancin' to old reprobates like Dino! You just can't trust a PK, I tell ya! LOL

For all my mom's Baptist churchiness, she loved her TV and we watched them all. I'm not sure the TV was ever turned off, except when it was time to go to bed. How do you think I acquired my vast reservoir of pop-culture knowledge? :)

Seriously, it's a beautiful piece, Ruthie, and ranks right up there with the best. I loved that your dad's cadenced steps lent percussion to Dean's crooning. Lovely.

Evelyn said...

Lady.
I am always BLOWN AWAY by your talent.
phenomenal piece.
I am in awe.

Richard Gilbert said...

Wow, this is so beautiful—pure poetry. I love it all, and especially the summation that your father "had a heart for" the poor people he served.

I haven't done a word count of your post, but it seems well under the 750 words that Brevity allows as the maximum for its concise wonders. Brevity missed out when you didn't submit it to them . . .

Miss Jane said...

He sang me a rock glass lullaby.

That's such a lovely line in this lovely, evocative remembrance. I'm so glad you wrote this out--what a poetic (of course) piece. The attached photos resonated and I enjoyed reading everyone's comments as well.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

This remembrance calls me back to a very moving earlier post you did on your father, his library with the oak bookshelves, the rituals of preparing his sermons. And here he is evoked so richly in parallel and counterpoint to Dean Martin: the minister and the crooner, the disciplinarian and unconfessed mild heart throb. The braiding of these two strands in the young Ruth's psyche is magnificently described here. Like George, I look forward to seeing you mine this further to take us on more trips back inside that young girl's inner world.

George said...

Having returned to this interesting post, I now see that the photo was taken by Sally Mann. For a moment, I thought I could see the minister's daughter in the first stages of rebellion.

Montag said...

An impressive depiction of mens' natures and the flowing nature of the soul... crooning and preaching are a flow of words.

The young girl reminds me of a very cute Talullah Bankhead... and that would say a lot if anyone remembered her!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Rosaria. I owe a lot to these photographs here. I don't get tired of looking at them, and they conjure much more than I ever dreamed at the time of adolescence when I experienced these Saturday nights. So looking back, with their added representations, I can feel something grow inside, something more that wants to speak.

Ruth said...

Elizabeth, yes those seductive cigarettes. Amazing how cinema could make a gorgeous woman, look even more gorgeous with a cigarette in her mouth or between her delicate fingers. Even better if she wore vivid red lipstick and some got on the cigarette. Her face softened with blur. Yikes.

The story of your dad going from 'rot your brain' to being addicted to Perry Mason is priceless!

Thank you for your kind visit, Elizabeth.

Ruth said...

Hi, nothingprofound, thank you very much!

Ruth said...

Char, she is quite new to me, and I'm glad to find her.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Andrew. It's good when our memories overlap and inform us about each other and ourselves.

Ruth said...

Tess, how fitting it is, that you have a heritage of preachers, bearers of the word, like you. Thank you.

Ruth said...

George, thank you for reading this reminiscence. I find that writing memories brings much more than I could have imagined to the surface, more than was there when it happened. The photo of the girl by Sally Mann, which you returned to comment on again later, is full of so much energy for me, I am not even sure how to explore it. Some of it is disturbing, I find. That you asked which of the young ladies was me, I think is a poetic question, and I assumed was asked with you knowing it was Mann's. It still made sense, because of course I have linked it with this story, and so one of them is me. Which one? I think there is something of me in both those girls, the one with the cigarette (mostly her) and the one looking at the figure up the road with her hands on her hips. What is extraordinary to me is that finding these photographs has deepened the excavation of these memories for me (and for others, it seems, including you), and I can feel more welling up that wants to be found and spoken. Thank you, always, for your interest in my story, no matter what I share.

By the way, I have followed the insights into the question of suffering and Buddhism at your "Beauty and the Springtime of Possibility" post with interest. I think I am finally getting it, though it isn't so much an "aha" as it is a quiet understanding that combines suffering and nonresistance somewhere in my whole-brain-heart consciousness. I don't think I'd be able to repeat anything in words. :-)

Ruth said...

Maureen, thank you very much!

Ruth said...

Pat, ahh, your crooning father, how lovely!

Thank you.

Ruth said...

Deb. I close my eyes, and thank you. Speechless. And loving you.

Ruth said...

Jane, oh you worldly singers, you crooners, you wonders of the world I didn't know. Thank you.

Your glorious, haunting song to "Mona Lisa" lingers in my ears and being. You have a gift of song, and heart.

Ruth said...

Arti, yes, things have changed for some, about the separation of "the world and things of the world" from ourselves as spiritual (read "religious" in this past I write of) beings.

"Keeping Mum" sounds wonderful! I'm giggling almost out of control as I add it to my Netflix queue . . .

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, I love it when you tell me/us about your early days, in France.

Imagine, you only knew one girl who went to church. I believe a high percentage of my friends went to church, but I'm not sure.

Ruth said...

Amy, thank you for such kinds words.

Yes, I understand your secret relief. :-) In some way, I think a preacher is all three of those professions: teacher, preacher and policeman. And sometimes emergency rescue worker. At least once a week I recall my dad receiving a phone call during dinner and having to leave to attend to someone's need.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Oliag. Yes, Dino. I'm glad you like the photos too, and don't think I'm a total nerd for liking DM. :-)

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Robert. I always enjoy your own reminiscences about your similar upbringing.

And now I'm on my way over to The Solitary Walker to read about your new Zen book, after reading your excellent commentary and conversation with George.

Ruth said...

Ha, Susie! I love your comment. :D Hehehe.

I watched the best TV shows guilt-free at my Baptist friends' houses.

I thought of you often writing this piece about Dino.

Ruth said...

Evelyn, how kind you are! Thank you.

Ruth said...

Hello and welcome, Richard. I am so honored by your visit and very kind words. I have followed NARRATIVE for a good long while.

I have submitted to Brevity without publication a few times, and I've heard they are quite difficult to convince. I sort of gave up. But your belief in the piece for that journal really buoys my confidence! Thank you.

Ruth said...

Miss Jane, oh thank you for taking time with my write and with the comments, which I have also loved, including yours.

Marcie said...

What a wonderfully..evocative memory. Your description of the scene is as such that I can hear those pacing footsteps above me. The chosen images are wonderful!! I'm a big fan of Sally Mann's work!

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, my father emerges in these writings as I did not consciously know him before. What is very good about the process (as Rilke describes today at AYWR — Either this discovery will strike you as superficial and you will shed it, or it will reveal itself as intrinsic to you and grow into a strong and honest tool of your art . . ) is that what comes forward is nurturing and positive. I have for so long felt despairingly about some of my childhood memories, that now when these excavations reveal rich treasures that bring something of insight and even pleasure, it makes me want to dig for more. I am so grateful for your eager witness of the story as it unfolds.

Ruth said...

(George, see previous note to you.)

Ruth said...

Montag, thanks so much.

Talullah Bankhead, not only do I not remember her, I never heard of her. But how lovely she is in the images available. Wow, talk about sultry eyes.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Marcie! Another who knew Sally Mann already. I look forward to find out more.

Jeanie said...

What a thoughtful, evocative bit of memoir, Ruth -- I feel as though I am there with you, listening to your father's footsteps, Dino in the background with his tux, cigarette and highball glass.

When I was in fourth grade, my birthday party was to go to the Michigan Theatre with my friends and see the Dean Martin-Judy Holliday movie "Bells are Ringing." I wanted to be Judy Holliday, never Sandra Dee in our pretend games (and only the people who came to my birthday party even knew who she was!). I knew Dean would sing to me, we'd dance to "Just in Time" and live happily ever after.

So I read this, my friend, and I smile -- with your memories and mine.

Dan Gurney said...

I just loved this Ruth. I have to say that I felt somewhat alarmed as I wondered if I had had similar effects on my daughter as she grew up. I've learned that we often cut a larger figure in our children's lives than we realize, not always for the best. I can imagine that your father was so deeply absorbed in his work as to be almost completely unaware of his daughter downstairs.

Ginnie said...

Why do I want to start LOLing, Sister?! :) You really did live in a different world from mine, partly because we didn't even have our own TV until I was close to graduating from high school. Imagine that. I read these stories and marvel that we came from the same family...and that YOU are my real sister! :)

Stratoz said...

while I do enjoy walking as a way to delve deeper into a thought, I am not one for having a very clear plan of how my classes will go. The material is there and then it unfolds into my students.

Thanks for sharing a story of your past. One part that caught my eye was how his pacing was connected to your heart.

shoreacres said...

How strange that after reading your title I immediately saw the flowing cirrus as the flames of Hell. And the girl at end as all of a piece, whole, escaped?

Interesting, too, the use of the word "preacher"... Where I come from, it's cultural as much as religious, I suppose - "preaching" being only one function of pastoring. From that perspective, saying someone's "quite the preacher" is almost a perjorative, a suggestion that something's missing in the vocation. ;-)

As for the rest, words - however sacred - count for little without a heart beating inside. You had the beating heart even then, I suspect - perhaps it only needed purging of some fear.