Looking back

by the Night Writer

Here’s my favorite photo (so far) from the wedding, posted by KingDavid over at The Far Wright. I kind of like the sentiment as well.

There were a lot of great memories to savor as we watched Faith and Ben dance their first dance. I must say, however, that the wedding weekend created many more memories to treasure thanks to the way friends and family responded to the event. Instead of being overwhelmed by all the details that go into planning a wedding (and hosting it in your own yard) we were overwhelmed by the number of enthusiastic volunteers who showed up as early as last September to help clear out the back gardens to prepare them for this spring; the people who guided the food plans and organized the cooking and serving; the seemingly countless young servers rushing food and drink out to the tables; the drivers who shuttled people from the parking area to the wedding site; those who helped set up and tear-down the chairs and tables (I think the yard was completely cleared of tables chairs and trash within 30 minutes of the bride and groom’s getaway); the people who put on the bachelor party and bridal showers; the women and girls who got up early several mornings to rehearse the “Thriller” dance; the videographers; the limo; the DJ; not to mention the personal and professional devotion of the photographers…as we watched the bride and groom dance it was deeply moving to realize just how much they had to have touched the lives of others to stimulate such an outpouring of affectionate effort (even among people who we couldn’t fit into the invitation list and who still called and offered to pick up folks from the airport or help cook or do anything they could).

Some other memories:

We had everything set up by Friday afternoon for the rehearsal and left it up overnight. We called our friends at the SSP Police Dept. and asked for a couple of extra patrols overnight to keep an eye on things. To help with security I turned on all the front outside lights. About 12:30 I was having trouble getting to sleep so I got up to take an antihistamine to make me drowsy and in walking past our bedroom window I noticed that the lights were off…and there was some kind of activity going on at the end of the driveway. I pulled on a shirt and went downstairs to investigate. I slipped out of the door by the garage and saw heads bobbing behind my daughter’s car that we were using to block one of the driveway entrances. Almost immediately three people went dashing up the street while a fourth person in black ninja-like garb came running toward me. That could have been scary except the “ninja” was whispering “It’s me! It’s me!” (or perhaps it was “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”) in Tiger Lilly’s voice. It seems TL had snuck out to decorate her sister’s car along with the other bridesmaids. Unfortunately for her, the bride had walked through the kitchen after I’d gone to bed and noticed that the door was unlocked and the outside lights were on. She couldn’t believe I’d been so careless (perimeter security is my responsibility at night), so she turned off the lights and LOCKED the door, leaving Tiger Lilly on the wrong side of it. If I hadn’t have come out to investigate TL would have had to spend the night on the couch of one of the b-maids. No doubt my tingling Dad-senses were what were keeping me awake, sensing that one of the chicks was out of the nest.

When I got back upstairs the Diva was on her bed, going over yet another to-do list. Not wanting to give anything away I told her that I ran some vandals off.

“Are my b-maids decorating my car?” she asked.

“Hey, would I stand around outside in the middle of the night in my underwear talking to young women?”

“I wouldn’t put it past you.”

Another Friday night memory is the Groom’s Dinner put on by the groom’s parents for the wedding party, closing The Black Sheep for a private function and hiring a great band, Deluge, to play while we enjoyed the fresh-from-the farmer’s market cuisine put on by Peter, The Black Sheep’s proprietor. We had Shepherd’s Pie baked in a fluffy filo dough, a fantastic salad and our choice of chocolate lava cake or chocolate cheesecake (some chose both, I think) plus all the exotic coffee, tea and juice drinks that are the Sheep’s specialty. It was a truly congenial and entertaining evening and atmosphere and we learned where Ben gets his poetry skills(?). Peter and his staff were totally into the evening and provided great service and the band, who Faith and Casii had met on the open-mike coffee-house circuit, was perfect!

Memories from the “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” category:

The Groom and Groomsmen warm up before the ceremony with the traditional bocce ball game (I’m sure it’s traditional somewhere):

There was no stress in the kitchen (well, almost no stress):

The Best Man was a very good one, indeed, with his heartfelt toast to the new couple:

I’m not sure how Tiger Lilly ended up with the groom’s top-hat, but rest assured that she didn’t decapitate him.

Welcome to the Wedding of Ben and Faith

Guest blogger Mr. Dilettante

It’s a beautiful day in South St. Paul, Minnesota and you have found the live blog for the wedding of Faith and Ben. The assembled characters are beginning to arrive and your humble reporter and guest blogger is Mr. Dilettante.


First of all, let’s give a shout-out to our worldwide viewership, including Gillian and Cesar, who are enjoying the festivities from Amersham, which is approximately 30 miles northwest of the Tower of London. We have the groom and the groom’s father in the immediate vicinity. Ben is resplendent in his topper and tails, with his hat cocked at a jaunty angle.


Let’s set the scene: at this point we have a tangle of groomsmen over to the side. The witnesses have begun taking their seats, in front of stately Night Writer Manor. The flower girls have just walked by; they are wearing beautiful bronze and cream-colored dresses — and wrist sweaters. Here at blogging central we’ve had visits from David Strom and his wife Margaret Martin, dapper grooomsman Dan Stover and most recently Brad Carlson. The creme de la creme of the Twin Cities blogging community is here, of course — really, where else would you be? We’re about 15 minutes away from the start of the festivities. Another report shortly.


Our visitors today have come from a variety of locations, including as far away as Cuba. Cuba, Missouri, that is — we have had no sightings of Fidel or Raul and do not expect any at this time. Gino is also here from Southern California. The groom is astonishingly relaxed, considering that he is now less than 15 minutes away from a life-changing event. If he’s sweating at all, he’s managed to contain it in the headband of his topper, which remains at a jaunty angle and has not drooped in any way. We are also fortunate that the Heathen Brother is nearby to provide clarification on a few issues and likely knows where the bodies are buried.

We’re now less than five minutes away. Hard-hitting play-by-play to begin shortly.



We’re just about to begin. The processional is “Joyful Joyful,” always an appropriate choice for a joyful event. We will have the following scripture readings:

Romans 5:1-2, 6-8
1 John 4:10-11
Isaiah 25:1, Jeremiah 29:11

We expect the arrival of the bridal party in a moment.


For those of you keeping score at home, here are the featured participants.

The bridesmaids are:

Patience “Tiger Lilly” Stewart, Maid of Honor
Lindsay Irish, Bridesmaid
Casii “Princess Flicker Feather” Stephan, Bridesmaid

We’ll get back to the groomsmen. We are beginning.

Ben has just seated his mother and awaits his bride. The wedding party is emerging. We are singing “Amazing Grace” as they arrive. The maid of honor and best man have just arrived. The bride is imminent.

Tiger Lilly and KingDavid (Patience & Dave Cesarek) clear the way.
Photo by Katherine Cesarek.)

Now arrives the bride. Faith is here, beautiful.

Night Writer here, logging in after the fact with extra details. Let it be known that I was right there next to Faith, in a very snazzy tux, a picture of composure. And I don’t even get a mention on my own blog? “Joyful, Joyful” by the way was sung by one of the bridesmaids and two of the bride’s friends. Lovely.



Faith’s mother, the Reverend Mother, is presiding. She is now reading from Ephesians, reminding Ben and Faith of what the Lord expects of married people.

Ben and Faith have professed their faith in Jesus. Now through their faith, they are ready to wed.

The Reverend Mother is reminding Ben and Faith that Jesus is part of any marriage. They will become one. The power of God will join Ben and Faith together.

We are now talking about witnesses. Everyone here is agreement with this union.

Ben and Faith look great.

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)

So does the Reverend Mother!

Now the vows.

Ben says “I do.”

Ben Worley now tells Faith that he joins himself to Faith. From this moment forward we shall be one.

Faith says “I do.”

Faith now tells Ben that she submits herself to Ben, to be his wife and that from this moment forward, they shall be one.

Now, the ring. The ring is the reminder of their faith and of the promise they have made today.

Now Ben places the ring on Faith’s finger.

Now Faith places the ring on Ben’s finger.

Now Ben and Faith join hands. They are now husband and wife.

The Rev. Mother says, “You may now finally… and without further ado … or fear of bodily harm, kiss your bride.”

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)

Ben and Faith kiss. The deed is done!

Kind of a long kiss, actually, but then they’ve been waiting a long time. Tiger Lilly flinches at first, probably from reflex, but the katana stays out of sight.



Now the recessional begins. It was a beautiful ceremony, but also one that underscores the seriousness of what has happened today. A marriage is a highly consequential event. But there’s also a party to have. And that is next. We’re going to have the receiving line now. Further updates are coming soon!

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)


We’re back. We don’t want to give short shrift to the groomsmen, especially since they are fairly large dudes and while gentle could conceivably cause some sort of stampede. They also make the bridesmaids look especially good in comparison. They are:

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)

Best Man: David “King David” Cesarek
Groomsman: Dave “Surly Dave” Christison
Groomsman: Dan “Stover!” Stover

They’re all bloggers, too.

And we should also give the flower girls and ring bearer a shout-out, too, don’t you think?

They are:

Arabella Jestus
Moriah Jestus
Deborah Harrison
Catherine Harrison
Christopher Slocum

Let’s set the scene: the caterers are busily preparing the tables for dinner. I am hearing random shout-outs from inside Stately Night Writer Manor, which appear to be cheering of some sort. It’s a happy event.

No caterers! The groomsmen were in charge of converting the seating to a table and chairs layout in the driveway with decorating done by the bridesmaids. An all volunteer group of friends organized the food preparation with a fleet of teen-agers rushing to tables with fruit plates and baked brie and later the entree and wedding cake. Speaking of volunteers, I notice that Mr. D has a prime seat with a good view of the action, but he also happens to be facing into the late afternoon sun.

Mr. D at work, with the Heathen Brother standing by.
(Photo by Brad Carlson.)

I am also now in possession of John’s wide brimmed hat. It’s a good look for Mr. D, who ordinarily favors Bugs Bunny baseball caps. I’m sitting in John’s chair, writing on his blog and even using his laptop. This is almost the dictionary definition of living large. Mrs. D helpfully points out that it’s a very good thing indeed that John has not also handed me the bill for this event.


We’re back and it’s time for the father/daughter dance. After some of the earlier suggestions were rejected, such as “Butterfly Kisses” and “Funkytown,” John and Faith are dancing to “My Little Girl,” by Tim McGraw.

It’s a beautiful moment.

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)

And now Ben and Faith dance together for the first time as husband and wife. It is also a lovely moment. The song is “Book of Love,” by Peter Gabriel.

We’re going to turn things loose a little bit now, since the party part of the wedding is about to begin. We had a lovely dinner and a lot of fun, including a trivia contest, a la Keegan’s Irish Pub, a local watering hole that played a major role in this couple eventually finding each other. Two local bloggers who shall remain nameless were your winners.

Hey, my team won the trivia contest only to be disqualified for being family of the bride and groom (a number of questions had to do with their courtship). These people are making up rules after the fact, kind of like Minnesota election judges. Dang, I could use that $5 Caribou gift card. Btw, Tiger Lilly came up with the trivia questions and acted as emcee. Marty better watch his back!

The entire wedding party is dancing, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. As a general rule, it’s never advisable for large, middle-aged bloggers to dance publicly; I am not aware of any statutory limitations on such things, but it looks like they are having a lot of fun. More party reportage anon!

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)


We’re back! The groomsmen just danced with bags over their heads to the Black Eyed Peas. That is probably the best way to do it. It’s early, but thus far the music provider has managed to eschew the “Chicken Dance” and the staple of all Wisconsin weddings, Nick Lowe’s “I Knew The Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll.” This is a classy ceremony, we’ll have you know.

(Photo by Brad Carlson.)


This you should see. We have the bride, bridesmaids, mother of the bride/officiant and various other women doing a frighteningly well-choreographed version of “Thriller.”

The bride shed one of her ivory wrist-sweaters for the dance. Unfortunately, no photos at this time!!



We’re going to let some of the other assembled blogging talent have an opportunity to address the vast North American Night Writer audience. First, let’s bring on Brad Carlson, sage of Anoka County!

Hi, it’s Brad here. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am for Ben and Faith (and it’s not just because the limo is coming in five minutes to whisk them away). Seriously though, to see a young couple take their first step in a Christ-centered journey is truly an honor.

And I also have to say this is the first wedding I’ve attended where:

a)One person served as both mother of the bride and Officiant (Marjorie Stewart a/k/a The Reverend Mother).

b)Each groomsman was old enough to be the father of each bridesmaid whom they escorted down the aisle.

Whoa, the Electric Slide is playing. I’m outta here!!!!

Yep, I think that was Brad that hit the dancefloor like Adrian Peterson breaking through the Green Bay defensive backfield.


Brad wasn’t kidding, folks. It is the Electric Slide! Cha cha, y’all! It’s just about dusk and the limousine is here, just about ready to whisk Ben and Faith away. But we’ve got lots of talent here. For example, we have Gino, all the way from Southern California, here to add his unique sensibility to this post. Take it away, Gino!

Hello,all who are still reading this.
Gino here,
First off, i want t thank Ben and Faith for planning their wedding to coincide with my escape from the wretched land on the left coast.
Seems the young lovers have wasted no time putting the joy in marriage: dancing,laughing,smiling non-stop.

They’re on their way…

Oh, now they left. Off to the honeymoon, wedding night, and whatever else they got planned.

I’m sure they’ll be busy…

It should be noted that Gino, who’s full name is Gino Ruffalo, received a special serenade from the Mall Diva and Tiger Lilly during the toasting: a rendition of the Veggie Tales’ “Everybody’s Got a Water Buffalo Song” with “Gino Ruffalo” inserted in the key places. We’d never met Gino of the Shreds blog in person before today but he has been a frequent commenter. When I admonished the girls that everyone doesn’t have a Gino Ruffalo they inserted, “but they wish they did!”



Now that the happy young couple (or is that the dearly departed?) have decamped for their new life together, we’re going to bring this live blog to a close. We hope that you have enjoyed this blessed event and I would like to wish Ben and Faith a blessed life together.

Your faithful correspondent,

Mr. Dilettante

Thanks, Mr. D! Great job! As Larry the Cucumber might say, “I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob.” Photos will be downloaded and inserted into the appropriate spots here as soon as we can get to them! There’s a sneak peak here.

The official wedding photographer informs us she has more than 2400 photos of the event to go through, proof and categorize. Expect these about the time the newlyweds return from their honeymoon in three weeks.


Listen to a podcast of the ceremony here.

In the wink of an eye

by the Night Writer

Sometimes God speaks like a mighty wind, and often as a still, quiet voice…and sometimes He just gives you a wink.

We have been blessed by so many people in preparing for today’s wedding. It even goes back to last fall when a large group descended on our back yard to help clean out the gardens and prepare them for today’s event; to the flights of volunteers who are helping with decorating, set up, food prep, serving, singing, DJ-ing and more; to the friends and family coming from near and far to be here. This morning I opened my Dietrich Bonhoeffer daily reader and here is the entry for May 23:

The Gift of Community (from Life Together)
Because God already has laid the only foundation of our community, because God has united us in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that life together with other Christians, not as those who make demands, but as those who thankfully receive. We thank God for what God has done for us. We thank God for giving us other Christians who live by God’s call, forgiveness and promise. We do not complain about what God does not give us; rather we are thankful for what God does give us daily. And is not what has been given enough: other believers who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of God’s grace? Is the gift of God any less immeasurably great than this on any given day, even on the most difficult and distressing days of a Christian community?

Where is everyone?

The new roof is on.
The yard is mowed and edged.
Flower boxes filled.
Portico painted.
Arch in place.
150 chairs in place with 19 tables tucked in the garage (three trips in the pick-up), ready for deployment.
Fresh wood-chips and mulch worked into the landscaping (four trips in the pick-up).
Less than 22 hours to go.

Forecast for the wedding day: 75 degrees and partly cloudy, light breeze. Thank you, God, for RSVPing.

Let’s do it.

Your invitation to the Blog Wedding of the Century!

by the Night Writer

We didn’t have room or budget for all of our blogging friends and readers to attend the Mall Diva’s wedding in person this weekend, but since Ben and Faith met as a result of blogging we knew we had to do something to reach out to what the Mall Diva calls “our peeps” in the ‘sphere near and far.

Therefore I’m pleased to announce that our friend, the inestimable Mr. Dilettante (or “Mr. D” for short) has agreed to live-blog the event here at The Night Writer blog for anyone who wants to check in on the proceedings electronically. The wedding and reception are taking place in our front yard this Saturday afternoon beginning at 4:30. Mr. D will set up shop around mid-afternoon to bring you behind-the-scenes commentary and on-the-spot reporting as the ceremony and reception unfold (though you may have to excuse him while he cuts a rug or two himself).

So how, exactly, did we end up with a wedding to marry a future Lutheran pastor into a family of wild-eyed Evangelicals…while having the whole thing live-blogged by a devout Catholic apologist?

Can you say God has a sense of humor?

The whole story has played out here in bits and pieces over the last three and a half years, but the short version is that I met fellow blogger Ben back in the summer of 2005 at one of the trivia nights at Keegan’s Pub that are so popular with the Twin City blogging community. Young Ben was a shaggy-haired, underemployed carpenter with too much education but we hit it off and teamed up that first night to win first prize. I thought he seemed like a nice guy, perhaps a bit un-focused, but not necessarily someone to whom I’d say, “You know, I’ve got this daughter…”

He didn’t meet the Diva for the first time until that December when he came to my church for a service ordaining my wife (The Reverend Mother), followed by a graduation ceremony in honor of the Diva’s home school and beauty school graduations. He may have thought he heard angels singing when he first laid eyes on her, but it was really just the Diva practicing with the church band. He may have even thought he was seeing a Vision when he looked upon her, which was immediately replaced with a vision of doom when she hopped off the stage to give me a hug. (Some of his thoughts were recorded on his own blog at the time). It’s been a long, strange trip since that long-ago, strange beginning (you can get a lot more details here) but it is coming to a beautiful and welcome arrival in a very few days. If you’re not among those with us in person feel free to drop in here on Saturday afternoon. You won’t get any cake, but you also don’t need to bring a gift!



Also be sure to check out the photos and the account of Ben’s Bachelor Party, put on by his best man, “KingDavid” from The Far Wright.

A novel date

by the Night Writer

I went through my archives looking for the post below in order to re-run it as we count down the last few days before Ben and the Mall Diva’s wedding this Saturday, May 23. Once I found it I copied it and then checked the date when it originally ran. It was strangely familiar.

May 23….2007.


“Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the yard and shot it.”— Truman Capote

I don’t have the experience, yet, of being an author finishing a book so I don’t know if Capote’s words are apt. It seems to me the writing-publishing experience is more like being a parent and having a child leave the nest. As the parent of a soon to be 19-year-old still in the nest but beginning to make her own way I marvel at how what I’ve “created” has taken on a life of her own; how the countless hours spent shaping and imagining and agonizing over just the right word has inspired dialogue with subtleties, nuances and complexities I never realized were possible, and how a true character has emerged fully-formed and bursting to go forth.

For years this book was mainly blank pages; pages that consumed my life and were never far from my thoughts no matter what else I happened to be doing. Day by day those pages were filled, and while there are things I’d like to go back and rewrite there’s no guarantee that the story would be even better than it is now; even so I wrestle with the temptation/obsession to continue to tweak and polish.

Will anyone else understand the humor of page 112, or appreciate how difficult it was to write Chapter 19? Certainly not at the level I do, but that knowledge is for my own book, the one written on my heart. Now, though, it is time to see this through; to be proud to see all the time, work and love realized in a tangible package; to admire not just the cover but the spine; to breathe deep the aroma of the fresh pages and the glue that holds them together.

It is good.

Kissing the butterflies in my stomach

by the Night Writer

This song very nearly could have been the song for the Father/Daughter Dance at the Mall Diva’s wedding. It’s got the heart right and a lot that could have been lifted from our lives, and a lot of the things that I feel…but I’ve found something just a little bit better. I’ll keep that secret for now, though.

Delving back through the memories and posts about my daughter brings me to a seminal essay very much in keeping with the “Butterfly Kisses” song, entitled Dad to the Bone. That post reveals a bit of my thinking, but if you want to know more about the Mall Diva’s thinking you should read her account of our travels in Italy, On Holiday, or her enlightening responses to a meme, entitled If I Ain’t Hip, Ain’t Nobody Hip or perhaps her first meme ever.

Similarly, I’ve gleaned a couple of snippets of Diva talk, such as her response to a question in another meme:

Q: Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?

Well, since there are so many, I’ll pick one that doesn’t depress me too much:

So many people don’t know how to dress themselves.
…okay *sniff*, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry…

Then there’s this little bit of dialog:

My teenage daughter, Faith, loves the Expedia jingle and singing the nasal-sounding phrase at the end of their commercials. A while back we were watching something on television when an Expedia ad came on and she belted out “DOT-COMMMM” in unison with the tv. I looked over at her and said, “Your life is just filled with simple, inexpensive pleasures, isn’t it?”

To which she replied, “You wish.”

Boy, don’t I ever.

What’s going on

by the Night Writer

Wednesday night the Mall Diva and Princess Flicker-Feather achieved a milestone in their performing career — their first “booked” gig where they were actually requested to perform. Not only that, but they had to have enough material to do two sets; since they only have two “cover” songs in their pop repertoire they had to practice extensively on their original compositions to put a show together.

And it was a very good show, bolstered by a friendly audience, and they even worked a little patter into the act as they introduced each song. It looked easy and natural for them, no doubt because they’ve been lifelong friends and singing partners almost since they could talk. The show was hampered by some poor sound-mixing in the first set but things were worked out in time for a powerful and varied second set. They even got tipped by a woman in the audience! When it was over and we got back home and unloaded the equipment the two of them hugged in the kitchen in celebration of their achievement and … perhaps … in the unspoken acknowledgement of what may yet come.

As I said, it was a significant evening: their first real show and the coffeeshop even printed flyers with their names and faces to promote the gig. They worked very hard to prepare. Certainly the hope and the expectation is that there will be more performances, bigger audiences, even some money. Life changes, though, sometimes very dramatically. Faith, aka “Mall Diva”, gets married in two weeks and marriage is very time-consuming (and worth it). One makes time for the things that are important, but working, family, starting a new life in a new church as not only the husband and young-pastor-in-training but the wife get to “intern” in their new roles and responsibilities …well, it can be hectic. Perhaps even more hectic than trying to simultaneously plan a wedding and rehearse for a show, but I guess we’ll find out. Wednesday’s performance could be the first in a series of many that will take Faith and Casii to new adventures and exposure, or it could be the culmination of a creative and loving partnership. I don’t pretend to be able to predict what will happen or even to know what’s going on in their heads; all I know is I just wanted to freeze the moment in my mind as they hugged.

Then again, that happens to me often lately as we count down the days to the wedding. I think about the wedding a lot, sometimes deliberately and sometimes because it can’t be helped. It usually makes me a bit misty to think of it, so my deliberate thoughts are in the hopes that I can get myself all dried up by the time the actual event rolls around. There are so many memories and so much to think about. It so happens that in the four-plus years I’ve had this blog my eldest daughter has appeared here dozens and dozens of times, sometimes as the subject, sometimes in passing, sometimes as the author (a partial listing of her posts here).

I don’t know if my strategy for remaining dry-eyed will work out, but you’re welcome to share in the process with me. Over the next couple of weeks leading up to the big day I plan to group various collections of old posts about Faith here; feel free to laugh and cry along.

To begin with, we might as well look at a reminisce of her birth and a subsequent Father’s Day essay. Next, let’s introduce the cast of characters that have become a big part of this blog — some of whom have become a very big part of the wedding — with a couple of short posts that generated tremendous amounts of comments, all set off by a rather benign affront to the Diva’s honor (as if I would suffer any other kind): Opening a Can and Order in the Court.

More to come in future days if I can bear up.

Homeward Bound

by the Night Writer

My grandmother, Elizabeth “Lizey” Burleson Stewart Ray, passed away Wednesday morning in her sleep at 101 years of age, just a couple of months shy of making it to 102. I visited her when I was down in Missouri a few weeks ago and was able to hold hands with her for a few minutes but she wasn’t aware of too much that was going on.

She’d been that way for quite some time but had been livelier of late and more interactive, probably due to a change in her medication. This was a good thing but also raised a tough question for the family about what to say if she asked where my father — who died more than a year ago — was. It was decided we’d just say “Oh, he’s home, Lizey” and let it go at that. She’d been devastated when her oldest son died several years ago and no one thought it would do any good to tell her about her youngest boy.

We seldom lived near each other for most of my childhood. We’d see her a couple of times a year, usually, and a couple of summers we stayed with her at her lake place where my great-uncle Harvey would take us fishing out in his boat and tell us stories about the mischief my father and his brothers used to get into — almost all of which would end with Grandma’s stern intervention. When I got older we talked more, especially after I got married and had kids of my own. Her faith was very important to her, and when we’d visit we could talk about her life and what it was like raising those four boys and two girls. I remember one time she told about the oldest boy getting very ill and having to go to the hospital; about how worried she was and how much she prayed; and how, when she walked out into the corridor outside his room she saw an angel and knew everything was going to be fine.

This morning I thought about that and of the time the family put on a big bash for her 85th birthday. There was a quite a crowd, even with accounting for her children, the 17 grandchildren and I don’t know how many great-grandchildren. She had a lot to be proud of, and she was pretty pleased. I still remember her telling me, though, “So many of my friends have already gone home to be with the Lord. And they’re probably wondering what happened to me!”

I’m sure they’ve been having a grand time getting caught up.

If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find home,” why should we not look forward to the arrival?
— C.S. Lewis

Counting down

by the Night Writer

If you see any references to a count-down here on this blog or on certain others it is all in relation to this:


Dictionary: shiv·a·ree

n. Midwestern & Western U.S.

A noisy mock serenade for newlyweds. Also called regionally charivari, belling; Also called horning, serenade.

[Alteration of CHARIVARI.]

REGIONAL NOTE Shivaree is the most common American regional form of charivari, a French word meaning “a noisy mock serenade for newlyweds” and probably deriving in turn from a Late Latin word meaning “headache.” The term, most likely borrowed from French traders and settlers along the Mississippi River, was well established in the United States by 1805; an account dating from that year describes a shivaree in New Orleans: “The house is mobbed by thousands of the people of the town, vociferating and shouting with loud acclaim…. [M]any [are] in disguises and masks; and all have some kind of discordant and noisy music, such as old kettles, and shovels, and tongs…. All civil authority and rule seems laid aside” (John F. Watson). The word shivaree is especially common along and west of the Mississippi River. Its use thus forms a dialect boundary running north-south, dividing western usage from eastern. This is unusual in that most dialect boundaries run east-west, dividing the country into northern and southern dialect regions. Some regional equivalents are belling, used in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan; horning, from upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania, and western New England; and serenade, a term used chiefly in the South Atlantic states.

Oh, and the count-down is at 26.