Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

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Living outdoors


The ministerial intern's wife at the church we've been attending gave a little talk about an upcoming Ash Wednesday service at the church. She's a Scotswoman named Fiona, and I find in my part of the world that anyone Scottish named Fiona starts with a big advantage.

Her lilting, mildly theatrical voice made folks visibly smile and beam and look at each other, as she created a mixed but wonderfully colorful metaphor about skipping to the end of the Easter story as being equivalent to skipping to the end of a novel.

I'm not really sure about the idea she was expressing, though, because, sheep-like, I mostly just liked to hear it lilt out through the ether. It's intriguing how an English, Scottish, Irish, Australian, New Zealander or Canadian accent can draw such an instantly favorable response from people here, including myself. It's kinda Pavlovian.

The sermon, by contrast, was given by a theologian at the local seminary, who apparently had had operatic and theatric training. I'll bet he'd do a great job with "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", but in fact, he was holding forth on the jacob/esau story with more of a "curious and ironic story, isn't it?" tone.

I'm softening in my old age, because some of the contemporary songs they sing where the hymns are supposed to be that sound like something from the Brill Building circa 1963 no longer irritate me. Of course, the fact that they again had handbells did help compensate. I like the syncopation when they use those mallets to get a muted sound. It was all something like an Eno-esque effect.

I liked that when they introduced the guest speaker (the regular minister enjoying her last Sunday of maternity leave), his bio included the bit that his now-wife imposed upon him the condition that he enter the ministry.
This was such a novel idea to me that I liked it immensely.
I liked most of all about him that he said something that has long been my own theory--that the governing trend of this society is "acquisitiveness"--of money, possessions, power, gratification, what have you.

We went to the Allen Cafe for lunch. This simple establishment in a converted former Dairy Queen serves up good breakfast and lunch food without waiting or hassle.
I am a big fan of good old fashioned simple grub, from time to time.

We headed to Renner Road to catch the DART train to downtown Dallas. We headed to the Dallas Flower and Outdoor Living Show, at the Dallas Convention Center. The train really makes downtown Dallas accessible. It's just much more relaxing to ride than to drive and park. I love seeing the backs of houses and buildings, seeing the industrial areas, seeing the abandoned trucks in fields of wholesale trees.

On the way to the flower and outdoor show, we noticed that the ads were all sponsored by home renovation and landscaping firms. We became concerned that the entire thing would be all sales, no show. But in fact, the landscaping firms all made nice little "outdoor displays" indoors. Far too few flowers festooned the place. In a state which the wildflower is king (what with grasslands being pretty ubiquitous, upon which gorgeous flowers grow), I'd imagine that a Flower and Outdoor Living Show would focus on flowers.
Maybe if they have it again next year, I'll daydream about renting a booth and stock it with bundles of cut native flowers, priced at the least amount possible, to maximize sales (and barely pay off the booth).

Here in north Texas, we have an immense variety of wildflowers and possible domestic flowers. Our climactic extremes render only a relatively few trees and shrubs workable, unlike my childhood in Arkansas or our sojourn in southern California. I got amused, seeing the same yaupon holly, live oak and cedar elm trees in every display. No matter where you go or how much your garden decorator cost, you're still stuck in the north Texas clay.

They had a faux croquet pitch, a horseshoe pitch, and a badminton court all set up. I played none of the above, as all seemed to be either for kids or for experts in the involved craft. But they did look like fun.

I did try out the thing they advertise on cable television, which looks like a dental instrument with tongs, which lets one pick up and flip grilled steaks or chops without fear of getting singed. I checked out the huge playhouses they auction for charity at the end of the event. I sampled salsas and fudge and whatever else was available on toothpicks. We passed up the small mop which miraculously lifts pet hair, but got snared by the plastic electric cord holder.

We took the train back up to Collin County, after which I headed to the natatorim for a swim on the Lazy River. I can feel a bit of soreness from weight training on Saturday, but I hope that I can be forgiven for not waxing rhapsodic about "good pain" as opposed to the regular kind.

We watched the final episode of "Sex and the City", which was fine, but not so important to us, as we did without HBO for years, and have only watched scattered episodes of the series during its run.

This was a good weekend. I need to start reading a new novel. A nice fellow wrote me, as folks sometimes do, to suggest I review his short story collection on Amazon, but, unlike some, did not send me a copy. I suppose I might break down and buy it, though, even without having a chance to inspect the back cover (I'm a big believer in cover inspection), because his e mails were so darn polite. Meanwhile, my wife appropriated the book on Baja that great guy sent ot me, so I have been delayed in finishing it.

I hope I find a European shortwave station with cool jazz and stimulating talk about, say, Flemish education issues.
I feel a desire for the blandly exotic that the automobile association monthly magazine may not sate.
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