Prof. Patrick Kimball

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eighty-seven

I am eighty-seven
which by any measure
is an advanced age, 
reached only by a select number.

Despite the debilities of age, 
I can stand upright,
walk and talk too much,
and make sense sometimes.

Two doctors in recent exams
said that I was good for ten more years, 
which begs the question:
When do I stop driving?

When I retired after forty-four years 
of employment in five careers, 
I still had not decided what I was
going to do when I grew up.

So in twenty years of retirement, 
I mastered the computer,
learned how to invest wisely,
hiked and biked all over Cape Cod.

My legacy is the website: "cctrails.org,"
including my book: "Long Walks on Cape Cod."
Now I enjoy the woods just as much
in hour-long strolls on pleasant days.

I changed my academic field to the
study of Christianity and its doctrine,
participating in small study groups, 
leading discussion and guiding leaders.

My children are my pride; not exactly my joy.
Independent of mind, they followed
the advice of their parents, who encouraged
them to make their own way in the world.

The apple truly does not fall far from the tree.
They have met all the statutory requirements: 
Get an education, get a job, get married,
stay married, and live an upright life.

They have raised their children to be upright 
also, attending to their needs and problems
(maybe with a little too much attention), and
encouraging them to follow their stars.

Grandchildren have not figured much in my life.
They are fun when young, going to the beach and such.
But they ignore you in their teens, and you
become simply a silent observer thereafter.

Seven years ago, God presented someone
athwart my path who made my life a joy
by choosing to spend her life with me.
We do indeed live happily ever after.

Still, I do not forget those who left me.
Their pictures greet me every morning.
When I join them someday, 
I will hear:  "What took you so long?"

Friday, January 30, 2015

St. David's Update

Average Sunday Attendance at St. David's Church 
in South Yarmouth, MA, is 110 worshippers, 
including choir, clergy, ushers, children.  That 
compares to 150 in 2013, 

The stewardship drive topped out at 208K in pledges.
The goal of 220K is planned to be reached by public
fundraisers, such as a silent auction and a summer 
barbecue.  Plate offerings in the past averaged 15K.
The thrift shop and rental of Nelson Hall could 
bring in another 15K.

Thus an optimistic income of 250K would be 65K
short of a lean budget of 315K.  And the diocesan
assessment of 25K must be paid in full.  The 
amount needed to compensate a full-time rector, 
according to diocesan requirements, cannot be met
without substantial gifts, and/or significant 
withdrawal from the funds invested in the diocesan
trust.

St, David's suffers from a continuing decline in 
members, with no plan to attract new people.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Church Downsized

"No, our church didn't go bust,"
said the churchwarden of St. XXXXXX.
"We were slaves to our buildings,
we couldn't afford the upkeep anymore.

"So we decided to sell the property,
and move to rented quarters.
The move worked out pretty well,
but we're having problems with the sale."

"The Episcopal diocese claims the proceeds,
under a church law called the Dennis canon.
They say the diocese has an 'implied trust'
over the property of its member parishes."

"We don't know how that will work out, 
neither does the lawyer we hired.
She does believe our liquid assets are safe,
although the diocese is trying to seize them."

"St. XXXXX is a functioning corporation, 
which has moved to another location.
Whether we own or rent is irrelevant;
we have not missed a Sunday of services."

"Our focus is on our main objectives:
bringing the saving grace to all who worship
with us, and engaging in charitable outreach
to the community around us."

"We employ a full-time pastor, paying her
the prescribed salary and allowances.
We pay the diocesan assessment on time,
which will have to be reduced."

"Our church has had to give up sponsoring
activities that used our former property/
AA groups and the thrift shop are gone.
The daycare operation moved elsewhere."

"We have an active network of 
church groups meeting in homes,
for education, moral support, and
simple fellowship and hospitality."

"All in all, our church regulars
are pleased with the new arrangement,
finding it much easier to invite
new people to meet with us."

"Our expenses are modest, operating
on sort of a pay-as-you-go system.
We don't worry anymore about 
what we can afford doing."

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Church For Sale

Church for Sale

"Both the land and the buildings 
are for sale," said the agent.
"The property just came on the market,
so they're all in pretty good shape."

"The old building in front has some
kind of historical protection, so it
can't be torn down.  If you use it,
it may need some upgrading."

"The church complex is from the
seventies.  They took real good 
care of it.  Put in two ACs to 
protect the organ and cool the crowd!"

"The big building in back is what
they called a parish hall.  It has
a commercial kitchen and storage.
Would be fine for parties and receptions."

"No, the day care outfit has no 
lease on the space they use.
The church didn't charge them
anything; it was all on charity."

"I don't know why the church went bust.
I work for the seller, what they 
call a diocese.  The woman who hired
us is a lawyer for the seller."

"This is not a great location for business,
so we told them to set a realistic price.
You would have to advertise a lot 
to build a clientele here."

"On the other hand, this is a great
place for something that blends
into a historic neighborhood.
Just don't plan on much signage."

"Yes, that is a landscaper next door.
They are grandfathered into the site.
You may have to initiate some legal 
action to get them to remove the pile of dirt."

"The parking lot needs regrading,
better yet, paved with asphalt.
It is plenty big enough to host
capacity crowds for local events."

"Yes, that is a memorial garden.
No one is buried there, in a casket, that is.  
What you see are places where the 
ashes of people are stuck in the ground."

"The seller hasn't said what should
happen to the memorial garden.
Maybe they will just ask people to
remove the ashes, if they want."

"So let me know it you're interested.
I may be able to get someone who
used to go to this church to tell you
a little more about its history."


Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Quiet Christmas

This has been the quietest Christmas
that I have ever spent.
Memories of past celebrations
flood the memory banks.

In an unheated stone church in Germany,
built during Charlemagne's reign,
a children's choir in dirndls and lederhosen
sang a touching, "Stille Nacht!"

Eleven o'clock evening services
or thereabouts in eight Episcopal churches;
one in which I began a tradition
of ushers in black tie and dinner jacket.

Then the return to the house for
a midnight repast, mostly alcoholic,
with guests, usually oddball characters
whom we barely knew and promptly forgot.

Early on, Mr. and Mrs Santa Claus
labored into the wee hours.
In later years, a designated slave
assembled the do-it-yourself items.

Ma and Pa staggered down 
the stairs as late as possible
to see the stockings being emptied,
get some stollen in their stomachs.

After the Santa Claus days were over
a strict order of opening presents was imposed.
One by one, each person in turn
selected a gift, and opened it for all to see.

I forget when the standing rib roast tradition began
but it was a welcome change from turkeys.
The only problem was that it took all day to cook
while Pa again failed to master Yorkshire pudding.

Dessert was often a flaming pudding
which was both hazardous and hard to eat.
By late afternoon, chaos had faded to stupor.
The progeny then scattered to various venues.

This year, Barbara and I were alone,
attending a Christmas Eve service at seven.
In bed by ten as usual, we had
a leisurely pancake breakfast next morning.

Our major presents were already in use,
so we took pictures holding the boxes
of a Canon Power Shoot camera for her
and a 40 inch Panasonic Smart TV for me.

God bless you all, have a Happy New Year,
and forgive my lengthy lucubration!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 photos

Christmas 2014


Cape Cod's famous hydrangeas, view from the deck of our house


USMA Class of 1949 65th reunion at West Point, alumni in dark blue blazers



North rim of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park (it really blew!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas 2014

F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong.  
There are second acts in American lives.
Barbara and I are privileged to enjoy
a second act in very long lives.

I will be 87 in March, God willing;
she just turned 85 in November.
We experience as much good health
as people our age can reasonably expect.

Looking at the picture attached,
you see part of the enormous garden
Barbara has created, in a bank of
Cape Cod's famous hydrangeas.

Every morning and throughout the day
we see a view of marsh and tidal waters,
an ever-changing sea sky to the east,
and the antics of native wildlife.

The reunion at West Point was a
bittersweet occasion for the forty some
classmates who attended, showing the
mental and physical ravages of age.

From Phoenix to Rapid City, SD
we toured eight of the national parks, 
took hundreds of pictures of the sights 
survived long and hectic days.

Barbara made two arduous hops to
attend family reunions, so we were glad
to have two of her daughters here
to celebrate a real family thanksgiving.

Christmas and New Year holidays 
will find us alone again, but with 
numerous cultural events beforehand
to get in the spirit of the season.

Our attention is focussed on saving
the two institutions we follow closely,
the art museum Barbara helped to found,
and our troubled local church.

May you have good health, good times,
and good friends this holiday season, and
the peace which passeth understanding
all throughout the new year