Tuesday, March 9, 2010

sacred and profane, art and life, ecumenicalism

This video is specifically about a particular man's death. He was active in the NYC arts scene and affiliated with Judson Memorial Church which sits on the South side of Washington Square, just a few blocks from my apartment in the city and the library. Dad enjoyed the work of Al Carmines, a 1960s preacher there, as I did. Carmines did a musical based on the work of Gertrude Stein that Dorothy and I went to with our friend Richard. It was playing further West in the Village, what is today called the West Village. This isn't a short video by YouTube standards but about half way through, the preacher starts giving the sermon that he'd intended to do until Kontoukos died. It's that part especially that makes me think of Dad, particularly of the ritual we had that he said of "this is the most ecumenical service I've ever been to." And if I remember right, it was all because Ian said that we should do a ritual.

P.S. Sorry about so many uses of "specific" and "particular" and derivatives therefrom.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

the carillon rings for spring ... and for mom

Wednesday was Dad's birthday. Doug and I had lunch at Texas Hot in Wellsville and cracked our coffee cups together in Dad's honor. Clinking cocktail glasses wouldn't have been nearly as appropriate. And today was Mom's day.

I had a late lunch or early supper and, after doing the dishes and feeling rather stuffed, I decided to go out for a walk around the Pine Hill subdivision. As I walked, I became aware that the carillon was playing -- the first time this year, I think. The warm temperature must have made it warm enough to be at the keyboard. I was only going to go for half of my normal path, just around the Pine Hill subdivision, but continued around Fraternity Row. The bench below the carillon was in the sun so I slipped and slided up to it and sat as the sun set. No clouds so it was just a golden glow, not a dynamic crash of color. The carillon was so evocative of Mom and her love of the carillon. I know Dad and Gram, and probably other relatives, really loved the carillon but I associate it mostly with Mom.

After the sun set, it got chillier pretty quickly. I stayed for another work or two or three or four but then continued my walk home. I can hear it from the house but not so compellingly as right under it. It was really wonderful.

Being in Alfred is mostly a quiet remembrance for me. Most of the memories of places and people are general but then there's a moment like this one. I think Doug is getting so that it's easier to be in the house as my presence begins to make itself known.

Oops, the seven o'clock chime just rang in Gram/Aunt Dora's clock. Time for the Barbara Walters pre-Oscar special. I don't watch much TV but I think I'll do the Oscars.