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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scotch Flyer

For the last couple weeks, I've been spending my Wednesday evenings doing what I love: sailing.

One of my parishioners, Bob McGregor (pictured at the helm), knew of my addiction to boats and invited me to join his racing crew, so I've been going out with him and a collection of his friends each week and we've been racing his 34-foot C&C yacht, Scotch Flyer, out of Norwalk's Shore and Country Club.

I'm having a lot of fun sailing with Bob and am enjoying being out with his friends, as well, even though they're really power-boaters who are just helping out a friend instead of being true sailors.

I find that sailing on Bob's boat is an interesting learning experience for me, particularly given my other sailing experiences. While the principles of sailing are the same regardless of the size of boat, I've only really sailed on Amistad (129') and my own micro-yacht, Boojum (12'), who takes her name from Lewis Carroll's poem The Hunting of the Snark.

I'm finding that the hardware involved is a bit different from either of the boats I know, as one is too small to need things like winches and travelers and the other is an historical recreation, so doesn't have any such modern frippery.

Scotch Flyer is a somewhat venerable vessel and has the added charm of having well-loved (read "kind of old and bagged-out") sails, which puts her at something of a disadvantage against some of the other boats in her class, which are outfitted in brand-new, really expensive kevlar sails. Bob still does remarkably well and, while we haven't come in first, we've always finished in the first half of our division. Tomorrow night (July 29), though, we've got an added challenge: with the exception of Bob and me, the rest of the crew are unavailable, so we'll be racing with novice sailors. At the moment, we've only got my Deacon Chair, Joseph DeRuvo lined up, and we still need another hand or two, so let me know if you'd like to sail with us. Really. Call me at church at 203-847-9551. We'll be leaving the dock at about 5:45pm.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Time flies like the wind.
Fruit flies like a banana."

At least, that's what they say.

Looking back, it is hard to believe that I've actually slacked off on writing a blog post for two entire months. In my defense, though, it has been an incredibly busy two months, especially the part where my laptop computer was stolen and I had to replace it

We've been settling into our new home, getting things arranged the way we like them. Kimberly has been planning on gardening for the fall and is looking forward to bringing a bunch of day lilies up from her parents' home in Virginia, where she had moved them before we left New Jersey. Ian finished up the school year here in Norwalk and was able to be in both the school band and the school orchestra. Kimberly and I attended the orchestra's spring concert and were also tickled that Ian marched in the Memorial Day parade.

On June 7, I was installed as Senior Pastor at the First Congregational Church, UCC, on the green in Norwalk, CT. The service was fantastic, with my friends, David Bocock and Eric Anderson preaching. The Chancel Choir and the Gospel Choir from FCC both sang and there were two pieces of music written especially for the occasion. Several members of the Norwalk Clergy Association, as well as a good contingent of the Interdenominational Ministers' Fellowship turned out to celebrate with our congregation's members and representatives from the Fairfield West Association of the UCC. (More of Joseph DeRuvo's photos here.)

Kimberly and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on June 11, we celebrated by going to the Mystic Sea Music Festival from June 11-13, with our son, Ian, in tow, of course. Since we took Ian out of school for a day to attend the festival, we decided that we needed to provide some educational value, so we all attended the symposium at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that preceded the concerts. Of particular interest (at least to me) was a paper on the evolution of Inuit music, from the age of European and American whalers who introduced their musical forms and instruments, through the present, where these "traditional" Inuit music has incorporated country/western musical influences, with the exception of the Inuit who are reclaiming their pre-1800s vocal and drumming. On Friday and Saturday, we had breakfast at one of my favorite little restaurants, Kitchen Little, at 135 Greenmanville Ave. in Mystic. I strongly recommend the Portuguese Fisherman's Breakfast. Yum! At the seaport, the music was fantastic, as always. One of the nonmusical highlights was seeing the Charles W. Morgan ashore, where she is undergoing a major restoration that is scheduled to last through 2011 and will likely return her to full sailing condition.

Over the 4th of July week, my family went to the Adirondacks to spend time with our friends Evelyn and John. It was unusually rainy, but Kimberly, Ian and I did manage to get out on Sunday, when we paddled out to Valcour Island in Lake Champlain and did some hiking. As luck would have it, we just happened to arrive at Valcour Lighthouse during the two-hour period that it was open for tours. The views from the top were spectacular. Another day, we took the ferry to Burlington, Vermont, where we spent a pleasant, though soggy afternoon poking around several shops and dodging thunderstorms. Leaving the Adirondacks, we went to Ithaca, where we visited with Evelyn's parents, Don and Edie. Don guided us around the town and gave us a windshield tour of Cornell, where he used to be an English Professor and the director of the library's rare books department.

After leaving Ithaca, we returned home on Saturday and I led worship on Sunday morning before loading everyone back in the car for a trip to Richmond for my Aunt Pam's funeral. While there, we visited with all of the various members of my extended family and, upon departure, left Ian with the Bryants, where he is spending this week. In Ian's absence, Kimberly and I took a day-trip to Fire Island, where we enjoyed the beach and toured the Fire Island Light, where we were able to climb the 167 feet to the top, but the weather was too foggy to see much more than the poison-ivy-covered dunes and a small herd of deer.

So, those are the high points of the last two months.