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What We Learned on Summer Evenings

What We Learned on Summer Evenings

by Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler on March 23, 2020

The Journeys class met by ZOOM on Sunday. During their check-in time the leader invited them to share what they were doing now that they were living largely at home. Several mentioned long-postponed projects, others baking and cooking more, still others talked about table-top games in the quiet of the afternoon. Television news had all begun to run together and sound the same. They could catch up with it in an hour or two after the game and dinner were done.

            Several people have shared the time at home has returned them to patterns of an earlier time in their lives when staying at home meant finding ways to be together. My memories, emotional as well as in my imaginative memory, carried me to the screen porch in the late afternoon and evening. We played double and triple solitaire for hours. Reflecting on the way those words read together, I am aware that when I am now alone, in solitude, it is so easy for me to also feel another or three are with me as well.

            I am not sure if triple solitaire and Canasta are the same game. It was what grandmother told others we were playing if they came to visit and asked. 

            These days of staying home to flatten the curve have given Susan and me some time that used to be commuting time and transition time that left no room or time. The calendar was full. The days seemed to end, and another begin in such rapid succession. In our pandemic home the pace requires something else. We can only manage remotely for so long and there are few places to go. We have taken up the things we remember most fondly from our grandmothers. We cook together and have taken up cribbage, learning to count again; fifteen-two, fifteen-four and a pair is… 

            Most importantly, we both were encouraged to learn conversation when we were little. While cooking, while playing, there was a conversation about important things floating above it all. These days Susan and I are learning again what it is to talk about important things. Simple things that strike at the heart and open the soul. It is not clear what the economy will do, nor if and when the virus will arrive uninvited in us or those we love, nor the communities we care so much about. But, in the simple gift of cooking and playing we have recovered the abundant grace of touching what is important that floats above the stove and pantry. The Spirit embraces us in the things we learned from our grandmothers and continues to bless us to this day.

Stay well, 


Tags: simple gifts, solitaire, zoom, canasta, cribbage

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