The Reverend Mother goes to Fatherland

by the Reverend Mother

Friday morning John and I left Prague by train and traveled to Osnabruck, Germany, which is the home of our erstwhile exchange student, Nicole, and her family. They made us a lovely dinner and we spent the evening talking and laughing and communicating as best we could. They invited us to spend the night at their house and in the morning served us a fairly traditional, and delicious, German breakfast of bread, meat and cheese. It was great to meet them and see how typical Germans live.

Nicole took us on an abbreviated tour of her town and showed us the sights, one of which is the Witches Walk. If you were accused of being a witch you invariably ended up in this narrow alley and were led to the river where weights were applied to your legs and in you went. If you died you were vindicated and not guilty of being a witch. How one could survive this treatment is beyond my limited capacity for understanding, but if you did survive you were clearly a witch and summarily dispatched by some other method.

The Witches Walk, Osnabruck, Germany

The Witches Walk, Osnabruck, Germany. (We don’t think that’s a witch, though.)

What was very fortunate about this trip is that Osnabruck is only 87 miles from, Petkum, the town where my great-grandparents lived. The family name was Weerts, and I had contact info for a woman, Julia Weerts, with whom I am third cousins – our great grandfathers were brothers. We made plans to meet for lunch in Emden which is the larger area of which Petkum is a part.

Driving in a foreign country is a great way to have fun and improve your marriage at the same time. We were only 12 minutes late and I only drove on the sidewalk for one block. A successful trip! Julia was waiting for us outside the restaurant and was able to assure me that, yes, what I thought was a sidewalk, was indeed a sidewalk. We lunched and chatted about family things, and about the area which was originally part of the kingdom of East Frisia and, according to Wikipedia, has been inhabited since Paleolithic times.

Cousins: Julia and Marjorie

Cousins: Julia and Marjorie

After lunch we drove over to Petkum for a tour. We walked around the church yard to check out the gravestones and found one with my mother’s maiden name, Weerts, as someone’s middle name. That was quite exciting as in Germany and other European countries, due of the shortage of land, graves usually only exist 30 years and then the stones are removed and someone else is buried in that spot. For this purpose folks are buried in biodegradable coffins.

The Catholic church in Petkum, about one block from where my great-grandparents lived.

The Catholic church in Petkum, about one block from where my great-grandparents lived.

The church was built in 1750. My great-grandparents moved to the U.S. in the 1890s, but my grandfather was born in Petkum, and was no doubt baptized in this church.

The church was built in 1750. My great-grandparents moved to the U.S. in the 1890s, but my grandfather was born in Petkum, and was no doubt baptized in this church (It was the only game in town).

Given her birth date, Taka Weerts was likely a cousin of my grandfather.

Given the birth date, Take Weerts was likely a cousin of my grandfather. (My sister, Carol, would know for sure.)

Julia’s father had given her the name of a street, Fischerschörn, on which my great grandparents had lived. We found it, and although there were some very old houses on it, her dad was certain that the one we wanted had been demolished. Still, the feeling of being on the same streets trodden by your forebears is a seductive phantom nostalgia. If my great grandparents hadn’t decided to come to America in the late 1800s this could have been my home town.

The street where I might have lived.

The street where I could have lived.

Julia and I explore the short street where the ancestral home was.

Julia and I explore the short street where the ancestral home was.

From there we walked less than a quarter mile to the top of a dike from which we could see the North Sea in the distance. I spoke greetings from America to the local sheep who were grazing on the nearby hill and they ignored me. They are unmoved by foreigners.

The sheep alongside the dike were more interested in staying out of the wind than chatting with foreigners.

The sheep alongside the dike were more interested in staying out of the wind than chatting with Weertses.


Julia and I climbed to the top of the dike; a horizon that would have been know to my grandfather.

Julia and I climbed to the top of the dike; a horizon that would have been known to my grandfather.

From there we looked to the North Sea, and toward America. How many times did my great-grandparents do the same before departing?

From there we looked to the North Sea, and toward America. How many times did my great-grandparents do the same before departing?

We made our way back to Emden and sat in a coffee shop for a while and spoke of many things. Julia gave us lovely gifts including a pair of tiny steins with the Emden symbol of “The Angel on the Wall”.

The official emblem of Endem, "The Angel on the Wall."

The official emblem of Endem, “The Angel on the Wall.”


Night Hens Daycare Center

[at home]

TL: Did I NEED to steal an attack walrus in order to win my freedom from that government research facility?
But at some point we all must choose between what is right… and what is awesome. (This quote belongs to Rock Paper Cynic,

RM: Hm.

MD: Why didn’t you just steal one of the attack gorillas, if you were in a gorilla facility?

TL: …what? I said government research facility!

MD: Well, it sounded like gorilla!

TL: You know, that saying, “Renewed youth like the eagles” doesn’t make any sense. Eagles don’t magically turn back into chicks when it’s time for them to die.

RM: They go through a molting process that, when it finishes, makes them like new birds.

TL: I think phoenixes are better.

RM: Yeah. Except they’re mythical.

TL: They might not have been at one point! Sort of like dragons!

RM: Slug dragons?

MD: What?

TL: What?! I said ‘sort of like dragons’!

RM: Well, it sounded like you said slug dragons! You talk so fast, it’s hard to understand what you say sometimes.

TL: >:|

MD: I think we need a speech therapist.

TL: I dosh not need a shpeech therapisht!

RM: Well, it’s not that she talks incorrectly, it’s that she talks to fast for the rest of us to understand!

MD: She talks like a drunk person.

TL: D:

[in the car, with NW joining us for breakfast]

TL: Awwww, look at NightLight! He’s so cute!

MD: Don’t look at him! He’s mine!

You know, I think morning time is when he’s the most smiley and talkative.

NW: Like me.

RM: [laughs]

MD: Right.

TL: I’m not going to say anything right now… I want to live.

TL: Hey look, Mom, Portland Avenue! It’s a sign.

RM: [laughs]

MD: That wasn’t funny! Where did you get that?!

TL: Why did I have to get it from somewhere other than my head? It’s a double entendre. Go away.

RM: Isn’t it only a double entendre if it has sexual implications?

TL and MD: No!

MD: You’re thinking innuendo.

RM: I’m down with that… hip with that?

MD: Yo, diggy-dog!

TL: So, Faith, do you want to send Mom to Oregon for her birthday?

MD: … Do I look like I’m making money right now?

TL: Yes.

NW: In the basement.

MD: Are you still taking stuff down? We’re still being funny now.

[in the restaurant]

MD: We want a sleeping baby.

RM: [to NightLight] Your mother wants a sleeping baby.

NightLight: Ehhh!!!

TL: He adds an element to the conversation that we could not have possibly achieved ourselves.

MD: Yes, that fine edge of sophistication…

[now talking about the state fair]

NW: Let’s discuss flip flops in the swine barns.

MD: And constipated cows.

RM: I touched a cow.

And a sheep.

NW: And she terrorized the bunnies.

RM: Yes, I also touched a bunny.

We also saw the 1450 pound pig.

After this, the food came, and conversation resorted to, “OM NOM NOM NOM nom nom nom nom nom.”

A Response to Rose

by the Reverend Mother
This is an answer to the comment left by Rose on my blogpost: Convention News, dated 2/27/10.

Dearest Rose,
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate that you took the time to respond. You seem to be coming from a presupposition that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it appears to be one that simply precludes accepting anything that is Christian in nature and makes your comments sound a bit random. Nonetheless, I will try to answer them in the order you made them.

–This country was not founded on Christianity – it is nice that you looked to historical information, which by the way is not factual, to prove your point. But please remember that there were indigenous peoples as well as other migrations long before the “Christians” as you would frame them “discovered” and “founded” this country.–

1. There absolutely were ‘indigenous’ people here – what was their country founded on? By the time America was founded Europeans had been here for 150 years. Not exactly a Johnny-come-lately group.

–In addition, those who founded this country were not necessarily Christian (for example, read a bit more about Thomas Jefferson and his deist beliefs)–

1. True, not all of the founders were confessing Christians. But they lived in a culture that governed itself by Christian principles. And so they were also constrained by those principles. Please see the Thomas Jefferson quote below.

— or further….recognize that Patrick Henry is not even proven (or even likely) to have said the two pieces of “evidence” you quoted.–

1. I only used one, not two, quotes and you’re absolutely correct, I did not track down the provenance of that quote until today and it looks like no one ever said it. There are so-called Christians who make-up, or do not investigte the veracity of the quotes they use. I apologize for doing the same, because I do not want to be counted among that number.

2. To make up for my blunder I humbly offer the following quotes:

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” John Adams

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” John Jay

“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” Benjamin Franklin

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State.”  Woodrow Wilson quoting Harry S. Truman.

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Thomas Jefferson

“We recognize no Sovereign but God, and NO King but Jesus!” John Hancock

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?” “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior?   “That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity”? John Quincy Adams

–Despite the quotes you recognized as your great evidence to support your prayers that may have excluded other beliefs you also fail to recognize the context-and potentially accurate language-in which they were actually discussed, and also failed to acknowledge that it would be very ironic that the the same Mr. Henry had actually spoken of a “nation” that afforded “peoples of other faiths” the “freedom of worship.” actually said these quotes in the first place. Please open your mind, love, and your world to others and their beliefs rather than judging… would be as Jesus would have wanted it.-

1. Again, I only used one quote, so I am unsure what you are saying here by ‘quotes’.

2. How did I exclude other beliefs? Did I not make it clear with my ersatz quote that I wanted to be inclusive?

3. I think you are saying that I took a quote that doesn’t exist out of context. I am unsure how to answer that, but if you want to discuss the above quotes and their contexts, I would be willing.

4. A nation that actually was Christian would be a safe place for people of other faiths to practice their beliefs. Because you know what Jesus would have wanted, by your own admission, I am persuaded that you understand that Christianity requires us to let our neighbors dwell peaceably beside us.

Convention News

By the Reverend Mother
Today I had the honor of performing a pastoral function by offering the invocation at the 39A convention in West St. Paul. I enjoy invoking things. Here’s what I said:

I read an article yesterday written by someone who believed that it was time to work to see that prayers would not be made before civic meetings such as the one here today, because someone who has a different belief system might be offended.

Then I located this quote by Patrick Henry given in May 1765 to the House of Burgesses.

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

By being here today you have said that you are willing to serve your community. You are acting on the commandment that God has given us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Your work here is to make sure that your neighbor is kept free to do those things that God requires of him unhindered by oppressive government intervention. I commend you for your willingness to fulfill this civic duty.

Dear Father in Heaven,
You are great and your name is full of power. We understand that the government is on your shoulders, so we humble ourselves and submit ourselves to you. Today Lord, these ones have gathered themselves to serve their neighbors in the area of civil government. I ask Lord that you would grant unto them a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened, that they might know the hope of your calling. Lord we desire to take every prudent measure to ward off impending judgment, but we do not place our confidence in the measures we take, but in you Lord, who are the ruler of the armies of heaven. Father, we know from your word that the wisest human counsel is but foolishness, so we ask for your whole blessing on us and these proceedings.
In Jesus name.

What was really pleasing was to look out at the conventioneers and see people nodding their heads. It’s always nice to have affirmations.

Holy Night…at the Chicken Coop

by Night Writer

THe resident landscape artist on the blogroll, Sharell at Zumbro Falls Impressionist (see “Night Lights” list at right), shares a Christmas oil painting in a post that also references the Reverend Mother. Holy Night at the Chicken Coop demonstrates Sharell’s wonderful talent for working with light and warmth. The warmth — even on a painting of a cold, snowy winter night — comes from the obvious love and vision Sharell has for the Minnesota landscape of her home. I’m sure you’ll enjoy a visit to the coop and to the other wonderful scenes featured on her blog. The images are suitable for printing or for downloading as screen-savers, as some of Sharell’s readers/followers already do.

Mrs. Worley, et al. Goes to Washington

By Reverend Mother

Last night at approximately 10:30 Mall Diva, Tiger Lilly, Princess Flickerfeather and a good friend of the family, whom we will call Mrs. Lotti, left So. St. Paul headed for Washington. Monday evening Faith heard a radio interview in which Michele Bachmann urged citizens to gather a group and be at the National Mall Thursday noon for a rally to protest health care “reform” and then visit their congressmen to make their wishes known concerning the upcoming vote. Faith rose to the challenge by gathering her usual suspects, plus one, and driving off into the night. They will arrive in Waynesboro, PA tonight, crash at the house of a cousin and head for DC in the morning. Nightwriter has urged them to speak truth to indifference. They left their guns at home.

Just received a text message from the (National) Mall Diva: “We’re going into the Capitol!” (Thursday, 1 p.m. CST).

I wonder if she got the pitchfork through the metal detector?


I texted the Mall Diva to see how things went at the Capitol and whether I needed to send “lawyers, guns and money.” Her text reply:

Send lawyers, guns, money and men in white coats! These politicians are crazy! But I got my pic taken with Michele Bachmann!

Story here.

My Ninja-Tough Daughter

by the Reverend Mother

The following is an actual conversation. It was not changed to protect anyone.

RM: Some of the young mothers from church want to know if you’d like to earn some money babysitting. They’re going to start getting together to educate their older kids and need someone to watch the tiny ones a couple of hours  a week. Are you interested?

TL: Would I have to change Cyrus’ diapers?

RM: Yes, you would.

TL: Ewwwwwe.

RM: Well, you know, . . . shit happens.


I’m sorry, I know I’m a minister and everything but how could I resist? It was just too easy.

Hello from Cathorla (Cazorla)

Z is the th sound here, so when you say the name of the town it sounds like you´re lisping.

We arrived without incident yesterday and we have been very busy ever since. We are talking to Spaniards all day long to help them improve their English. Now is the end of our first full day and we are exhausted. It´s only ten o´clock and they like us to stay up until one and visit with our Spanish friends but I am going to disobey and go to bed.

The surroundings are beautiful and the food is great. We will put up some photos soon.

¡Vaya con Dios!

A Good Walk

by the Reverend Mother

Almost every morning I walk for exercise. It’s enjoyable to walk when it’s still early. The air smells wonderful, there’s not a great deal of traffic (when is there a lot of traffic in SSP?), and it makes a peaceful start to my day. Some days I see interesting things. My route occasionally takes me through two cemeteries which are located across the street from each other. This morning I saw two noteworthy tombstones:

What happened here?
Did he disappear? Did he marry someone else and is now buried beside that person? Is he still alive?

How about this?

What does it say? What language is this? This guy didn’t live long, but he had an interesting name. Small consolation.

Then I found a folding knife, the kind that TL favors, down by Vets field. I picked it up and took it with me but I got to thinking how I didn’t really care to have it and TL has enough knives, in my opinion. The person it belongs to might come looking for it and the only chance they have of getting it back is if it stays where they dropped it. I turned aound and put it back where it had been. Hopefully, everyone else will leave it there as well and the owner will find it again.

That’s the report from today’s walk. Tune in again for an occasional, exciting walk report.