A Solemn Observance

Today was Maundy Thursday. Our church held a modified Tenebrae service. Our choir performed “Song of the Shadows” – particularly fitting since Tenebrae means shadows in Latin.

We all wore black to mark the solemnity of the occasion. No one spoke after the service until we were in our cars.

Earlier, in rehearsal:

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The program cover:

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Tim, this one’s for you

I’m thrilled that I remembered my blog password. It has been too long since I posted…. my goal is to do a little more posting this last part of the year. Life got a little (read: lot) crazy at work back sometime in March … and I let the stress take over. During the family reunion the first week of September my cousin Tim told me he missed my postings. Thanks, Tim, for the gentle nudge. So, I’m back. More later on why it took me three weeks to post after the reunion.

For now – here’s a blog I want you all to visit. Nina Camic’s pictures of Wisconsin in the fall are beautiful. She came to this country as an 18-year-old au pair from Poland, and made her life here. Her blog “The Other Side of the Ocean” is tranquil and serene – a perfect way to end a Sunday evening.

Home from the family reunion

Last week we (Mom, Dad and I) spent five days with folks I hardly ever see – my Dad’s three sisters and three brothers. It was time for the Rust Family Reunion.

Dad, his brothers and sisters
All seven of Freda and Herman Rust's kids, gathered at the official reunion dinner at the Royal Fork Buffet in Sioux Falls. Dad's at back left, looking off camera.

We traveled 1,361 miles to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to meet up with everyone. Home base was the Best Western – actually a very lovely place to stay. They let us make our own waffles at the continental breakfast bar.

Sioux Falls
The city of Sioux Falls was named for its charming landmark.
Sioux Falls
Early morning light at Sioux Falls

One morning Aunt Ann and Uncle Bob, two enthusiastic amateur photographers, got up early to catch the morning light – the “golden hour,” as photographers call it.  I decided, why not? and trekked to Sioux Falls with them. I’m glad I went.

Why Sioux Falls? Since the majority of Dad’s brothers and sisters still live within a day’s drive of Sioux Falls, that’s where they meet. And since it’s been 25 years since I’ve seen most of these people, I decided to come too.

I got reacquainted with all my aunts and uncles, and several of my cousins, too, including my cousins John and Laura. We drove out to the Rust family farmhouse outside Adrian, Minnesota, about 45-50 minutes from Sioux Falls. John now lives there with his family, on the farmstead the Rusts bought in 1889.

The family farmhouse
The Rust family farmhouse, where Dad was born during a January snowstorm.

There was more sightseeing … here’s the gravestone for the first Rust to come over from Germany, Harm Rust:

Gravestone for Harm Rust
The old gravesite where Harm Rust is buried.

It’s late, so I’ll stop now and break this into multiple posts. But one thing I know: I won’t let another 25 years go by before I see my kith and kin again.

He is Risen!

Easter Sunday 2011, the flowering cross outside Riverland Hills Baptist Church after the 9 a.m. service.

Flowering Cross

After church I cooked Easter lunch for Mom and Dad. The menu featured veggies from my first spring weekly share from my coop – Pinckney’s Produce. We had:

Spring Onion Soup
Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges

Baked Ham Slices

Cabbage-Celery-Cucumber Salad
Broccoli-Grape-Bacon Salad
Crispy Turnip “Fries”

Rolls with Butter

Angel Food Cake * Fresh Strawberries * Whipped Cream

Happy Easter, everyone.

Trip to Savannah in words and pictures

This update is long overdue, but I’ve been busy.

Twenty years ago I lived in a garden.

Forsyth Park, Savannah
The main pathway into Forsyth Park, downtown Savannah

I lived in a garden with a city tucked inside it.

Azaleas in Savannah
The azaleas of Savannah in full bloom - late March, 2011

I lived in Savannah, Georgia, the place Margaret Mitchell described as “that gently mannered city by the sea.”

Gordon Street townhome, Savannah
The building where I used to live on Gordon Street. The Mercer House (made famous in "the book") is right across the street.

My stay there lasted four years. The last two I spent in the middle of the historic district, a space of centuries-old churches and homes, all surrounded by private gardens enclosed with fanciful wrought-iron gates, flowering azaleas and sturdy, gnarled live oaks draped with Spanish moss.

Wrought iron gate of leaves
Look for the bird perched among the iron leaves of this gate.

All too infrequently I leave the modern world of work, mortgage and 401(k) and return to the garden. The last time was at the end of March, when my Mom and I decided to visit.

Mom outside the Six Pence Pub's telephone booth
The Six Pence Pub on Bull Street imported its own red British telephone booth for even more character. Mom is happy to be on the trip.
View from the Crab Shack outdoor deck, Tybee Island
The view from the Crab Shacks outdoor deck, Tybee Island
Kitty waiting patiently for seafood, the Crab Shack
Quite a few of the Crab Shack patrons have fed this big kitty on the outdoor deck. Hes waiting patiently for more.

When I was in Savannah I attended Wesley Monumental Church. This beautiful church was built as a monument to John and Charles Wesley. Construction started after the Civil War and the sanctuary was finished in 1890.

Wesley Monumental Church, Savannah, Georgia
I used to attend Wesley Monumental Church when I lived in Savannah. This beautiful United Methodist church is on Calhoun Square downtown.
The interior of Wesley Monumental Church with the beautiful Noack organ.
The interior of Wesley Monumental Church showcases the 60-rank Noack organ.
Forsyth Park Fountain
Forsyth Park Fountain. The city fathers dye it green for St. Patricks.
Closeup, the Forsyth Park Fountain
The putti or water nymphs or satyrs - whatever! of the Forsyth Park Fountain.

It was a short trip – only 36 hours – and ended with an adventure. The car wouldn’t start. We got a jump from a gentleman who’d been a neighbor of mine 20 years ago. Once we got going, we took one last turn around the squares and then pointed the car toward Talmadge Bridge and the low county of South Carolina. As we reached the peak of the bridge we looked back for one last glimpse of Oglethorpe’s city on the riverbluff, of tall spires and steeples reaching heavenward through the green leaves, of live oaks in the town squares.