Prof. Patrick Kimball

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Survival Strategy for St. David's

Below is an outline of a survival strategy for St. David's that I wrote in
December, after five years of attendance.  With my management
consultant hat on, I found St. David's to be a marginal operation with
no worthwhile plan for growth.  The parish directory for 2003 listed
354 units, single and families.  The 2013 directory listed 207.  That
is raw data, of course, but the numbers are telling.

I have belonged to eight Episcopal churches over 58 years and have
lived through upheavals and periods of transition.  They always
result in loss of a few parishioners, who depart looking for stable
situations in their religious life.  We hear talk about the success of
St. Mary's in West Barnstable, and have seen their dynamic rector
in action.

I forwarded this piece to the co-chairperson of the search committee
with strong words about the need for a realistic financial assessment.
She assured me that the parish leadership was working on same with
advice from a diocesan consultant.  At present, I don't see the
possibility of St. David's meeting the compensation requirements for
a full-time rector that the diocese imposes.  I believe that St. David's
could survive if it were free to plan its future unhindered.

Strategy for St. David's

1.  Have the Yarmouth health department and/or the building inspector
     declare the mission house uninhabitable.

2.  Move the offices and the the thrift shop to the common building,
     replacing the March Room and the classrooms.

3.  Discontinue use of premises at St. David's by the day care operation.

4.  Install movable partitions in Nelson Hall for use by the church
     school and small meetings.

5.  Use Nelson Hall regularly for coffee hour and other social activities.

6.  Change the name of the church to St. David's Church, dropping the
     specific Episcopal identification.

7.  Post "We have answers" and similar evangelistic messages on
     the signboard.

8.  Begin the work of a search committee immediately to:

Forecast the financial condition of the parish

Determine what the parish can afford in paid leadership

            Shortcut the self-study process to avoid an interim rector

Use supply priests in the short term

Advertise, examine, and call a new rector or part-time minister

9.  Scrap the organization chart in the Shoreline, and replace it with a
     simple listing of primary functions, volunteer activities, and their

10.  Take decisive action, resisting pressure from diocesan officials
       to burden the parish with unnecessary requirements.

11.  Keep the congregants informed of progress and decisions made,
       but do not permit them to derail the process.

12.  Begin an active marketing campaign to attract new members.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Block Island

Block Island is a speck between Rhode Island and Long Island, NY,
about half the size of Nantucket, with cliffs, beaches. harbors, an 
airport, numerous lodgings, and a little more than a thousand inhabitants
year round, swelling to ten to fifteen thousand in the summer.

We spent a few days there as guests of B's brother and wife to celebrate
F's birthday.  He is 83, nearly two years younger than B.  We stayed 
at a so-called luxury hotel with the two other old folks, while F sailed
from Newport in a large rented boat.  His son skippered, accompanied
by six or seven others in the family.  We stayed on land, even though
the weather was perfect.

S. and I had been to Block Island about fifteen years ago, on a day trip
with one of Cape Cod's tour groups.  I remembered it as quaint and 
charming. A local guide had bussed us around the sights for an hour or so. 
We had lunch at a delighful sit-down restaurant just steps from the 
ferry.  There was one lone cab waiting across the street then.

That memory was erased immediately, when I saw the fast food 
joint and picnic tables in the picket fence enclosure that had surrounded
the former establishment.  Clearly the replacement was shoveling food
to the great unwashed as they came off the ferry.  Block Island, and 
its row of shlocky shops, had slid down the scale to the lowest
common denominator.

This trip led us to take a cab, among many, up the hill to the hotel,
where an adventure began that would take too long to document, 
Suffice to say that we rated the experience, "poor," on the survey
card and detailed everything wrong . . . which was a lot.  We left a
a day early, and had to roll the luggage down the hill to the ferry.

The family reunion was fine, in itself, but sort of helter-skelter, with
people getting on and off the boat.  We only saw it from a distance.
Block Island sees lots of beachgoers, bicyclists, and rented mopeds.
They seemed to enjoy themselves on the island.  But it doesn't 
compare to Cape Cod and the Islands. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

National Parks

National Parks

Let the photos tell the story of our trip, rather than a boring day by day recital.  The first photo is a composite view of Bryce Canyon, formed automatically from several panoramic shots.  Next, a pass by the fabled Camelback Mountain in Phoenix.  We had visited the Phoenix Museum the day before, but those photos are in a separate album.

Through the desert of Arizona to the upscale village of Sedona, with its fabled red rocks.
On to Lake Powell  created by the Glen Canyon Dam, and a morning boat ride.  Then a stop to see the eastern beginning of the Grand Canyon.   Overnight at the north rim of same, with many, many pictures.  Travel  to and through Zion National Park, where you are at the bottom looking up to the most  awe-inspiring sight of our trip.

Over to Bryce Canyon with its standing dead men, according to the local tribe.  A long drive to Salt Lake City and sights of the lake and the metropolis.  Various stops and sights on the way to Jackson Hole.  A scenic ride on an inflatable raft down the Snake River, with the Grand Tetons in the background.  Bald eagles and pelicans along the way.  Not shown are the chuck wagon dinner and the rodeo, where I got my cowboy hat.

To Yellowstone with its fabled sights of bison, Yellowstone Lake, boiling mud flats and Old Faithful geyser.  A stop at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming, with five separate museums under one roof.  The art collection features such well-know artists as Charlie Russell, N.C. Wyeth, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederic Remington.  Our final stop at Mount Rushmore.

That is a fast summary of a 12 day excursion, wherein the tour guide kept us completely occupied from morning till night, stopping for photos frequently, and inspecting each sight thoroughly. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Christians do not believe in reincarnation
whereby the Hindus keep coming back
in new bodies with the same soul
or some sort of life essence therein.

The backbone of Christian belief,
is that the person of Jesus Christ is an
incarnation of the Almighty God who dies
and is resurrected, i.e. comes to life again.

N.T. Wright would have us believe that
our notions of a heaven or celestial sphere
are completely erroneous, that in fact
we will all come to bodily life again.

Leaving that theological conundrum aside,
our life experiences sometimes bring up
the feeling that we have received events
of another's life in our subconscious.

For reasons entirely unknown, the demise
of a confederate general at Gettysburg has
affixed my memory as something I can
visualize and describe in detail.

I have recited my ballad of Lewis Armistead
to many who were willing to listen and
perhaps to some who wish they hadn't,
but his saga still lives on with me.

My earthly companion believes rather more
strongly than I in reincarnation, whereas I
always say that I hope it's not true because I
certainly don't want to repeat high school.

We do share the certainty that two young
college students on an art tour to Rome many
years hence will feel that they have fulfilled
a return of their forebears to Trevi fountain.

Then there was a dream of mine last night
wherein a group of teachers piled into cars
to visit a ramshackle building in a rundown
section of some unknown city.

On the way, I was immediately attracted to
an adjacent young woman I did not know.
She spoke very little but seemed to sense
something between the two of us.

On the way back, we were put in separate cars,
but she smiled as if to say, "We'll meet again!"
When I woke up the next morning, I realized
that her beautiful face was right next to me!

Where is Freud when you need him?
What put us in adjacent seats at the
Cape Cod Symphony six years ago?
Was it all part of God's eternal plan?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Children's Names

As a follow-up to my screed on "My First Name," I thought I should broadcast what I
remember about how we chose names for our four children.  It is certainly true that
parents can damage their offspring for life by poor choices.  I learned later how to
deflect the stage-Irish image of my name by saying that I was an English Patrick.
Whether anyone believed me or not, it stopped conversation dead on March 17th.

In effect, your mother named the first two, with practically no input from me.  I don't
remember how she came up with David, but it does reflect the Welsh origin of the
Kimball name.  The Stuart middle name comes directly from Grandmom's mother, who
was from that clan in Scotland.  We were told they were the royal Stuarts, of course.
The tie that I gave Devin is a Stuart plaid from the Wee Scot's House at Rockefeller

Now the next in line was expected to be a girl, for no other reason than that's what Mom
wanted.  When I saw her after she came out of the anesthetic, she wailed, "It's another
boy!"  "That's wonderful, I said."  And it was, and it is.  She decided on Steven as a
first name.  She didn't like Stephen, for some reason.  The Scott reflects both her
Scottish heritage, and the maiden name of Ursula Scott, the wife of Richard Kimball
who brought us to the New World.  We expected to call him Scott, but somehow that
never materialized, so he has always been "Steven, with a V".

You have already heard the genesis of Jean Darcy, which was supposed to be my name
if I had been born a girl.  My mother was greatly assuaged for that loss by our girl.
My mother had been christened Eugenie Marie, for the empress of France, and for Eugene
and Mary, her parents.  As soon as she could walk and talk, she became Jean.  Darcy
was her grandmother's last name.  Ellen Darcy married Patrick Costello.  She was
called "Nellie" and had six children, only one of whom married.  I know absolutely
nothing about the Irish families, except that they came from County Mayo.

You also know that Amy was no accident.  Mom and other women in Winnetka wanted
another child at age 34, before they had to fly up to the Senior Women's Club.  No
kidding, that's a fact.  The baby boom was still in full swing, and a whole lot of fourth,
fifth, and sixth children were added to families.  I was for calling our baby, Caroline
Howe, after my indomitable grandmother from Maine, who was the first principal of
the high school in Oshkosh.  Unfortunately, Caroline Kennedy was in the White House,
so we didn't want people to think our child would be named for her.  That's the kind of
tortured reasoning parents face in naming a child.  We liked the name, Amy, meaning
beloved, but for no good reason, kept the Howe as her middle name.  Amy liked the
name, except she couldn't stand the song, "Once in Love With Amy."

Now I have four grandchildren:  Hilary Ann, Devin Stuart, Emily Suzanne, Timothy
John, Jr., Lydia Dean, Charles Morton, and Nancy Howe.  If, as, and when I ever see
great-grandchildren, I wonder what their names will be!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Hub Visit

We needed a little break from winter gloom,
so we hied up to The Hub for a weekend.
Unfortunately, it was mostly bitter cold
and windy, but we persevered in our outings.

About half the aim of the trip was to
eat our way through the fine restaurants,
and that succeeded inestimably, for most
were within walking distance of the hotel.

Which was the Boston Park Place Plaza,
a great old barn just a short block south
of the Public Gardens and the soul
of the city at the Boston Common.

The establishments were Legal Sea Food,
well-known throughout the commonwealth,
Maggiano's Little Italy, thus saving us from
having to make an expedition to the North End.

Fleming's Steakhouse features fifty dollar
steaks, but they are so big that it is wise
to share; one father we saw meted out
slices to members of his family.

Smith and Wollensky now occupies a
stone triangular former armory
completely refurbished on the inside,
also requiring sharing pricey items.

Being members of the Museum of Fine Arts,
we had to visit again, this time concentrating
on small exhibitions of jewelry and costumes.
Lunch in the vast new atrium in the wing.

Walked over to the Gardner Museum
at the edge of The Fens to see their addition
and tour again Isabella's collection and
admire the Italian courtyard in bloom.

Attended Morning Prayer at Trinity Church,
a throwback to the glorious days of clergy
and choir in full kit, psalms and canticles,
processional led up the aisle by the verger.

At the Huntington Theater, a play entitled
"Venus in Fur," two people in the
Battle of the Sexes for an hour and a half.
James Thurber did that much better.

Beware of a small room on the air shaft,
facing a circular fan vent that howled.
We complained, were moved to a
better room, and received a free breakfast.

We wanted to make a pilgrimage to the
finish line of the Boston Marathon, but
the icy wind was too much to resist,
so we will come back in better weather.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Not Being a Veteran

My son, the lawyer sent me a salute for Veterans' Day, enclosing
Kipling's famous poem about Tommy Atkins, the British regular.
Herewith, my reply:

"For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;"

That is a refrain that I memorized a long time ago.  Funny, I don't consider
myself a real veteran.  I was never in combat, serving on border duty in
Germany during the Korean War.  Twenty-nine of my classmates died in
Korea.  And one who was a BG had a mortar round fall on him in Viet Nam.
Four others died in the air in that war.

Otherwise, the rest of us had our harrowing experiences in training.  Quite
a few hot pilots were lost in training accidents, including our top scholar.  I
survived a jeep rollover, which I never told your mother about.  Once
a rolling artillery barrage fell short.  I shouted, "Hit the deck!" only to see
that I was the only one still standing.

An incident that I will never forget is when I had to pull a tank out of a
stream with my tank retriever. I had everyone button up while we slowly
winched the tank up the bank.  I stood outside guiding the operation.  If
the cable had snapped, which sometimes happens, I wouldn't be here.
Thereafter, I was afraid of nothing, and scaled mountains hand over hand
with reckless abandon!  If your number is up; it's up.  If not, carry on.

Every now and then, I find myself treated with respect, which I don't
deserve.  "Thank you for your service," I have heard.  Still, I salute when
Taps is played, indoors or out.  And at ball games, I leave my cap on and
salute during the national anthem.  No one says a word.