Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Memorable Trip

To be a Christian is to be a traveler.
Spiritually we are always on the move.
We are on a journey through the inward space of the heart,
a journey not measured by the hours of our watch
or the days of the calendar,
for it is a journey out of time into eternity.
       - Met. Kallistos Ware

I recently traveled with my oldest son to Bloomington, Indiana for my Dad's one-year Memorial at All Saints Orthodox Church.  (You can read my post about Dad's final journey,  here.)  

An Orthodox Memorial service is not just a poignant reminder of our loved one's absence, but a beautiful and hopeful prayer of expectation for our resurrection in Christ.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into
the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears
much fruit."  John 12:24
At the end of the service, "Kolyva" - boiled wheat kernels mixed with powdered sugar, raisins, and almonds - is served to all present at the memorial.  The wheat symbolizes everlasting life.  In the same way that new life rises from the buried kernel of wheat, so the Church believes that the one buried will rise one day to a new life in God.  The sugar and raisins symbolize the sweetness of eternal life in Heaven.
After the service, we all made a little procession out to Dad's graveside. When the prayers were over a soft rain began falling - along with some tears.  It's a moment I'll never forget, and I'm so glad my son and I were able to be there with my Mom and my brother and his family.

But something else that made this trip to Indiana special was the memories it brought back of places I'd been with my Dad and Mom.  My Mom and I were looking forward to re-visiting some of them with my son. We even found some new things in and around Bloomington...

A beautiful State Park -
Indiana is full of lovely state parks, and McCormick's Creek State Park is not to be missed.  There are miles of hiking trails, a limestone canyon, caves, horseback riding, small waterfalls, and even a lodge.  This would be a perfect site for a family reunion.

Dad had lots of favorites. On my first visit to Bloomington after my parents moved here a few years ago, we discovered a wonderful little coffee house - the Runcible SpoonI love good coffee, and am always in search of freshly roasted coffee beans to take home and brew in my french press!
Remember "they dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they
ate with a runcible spoon" from Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat?
I love the bookshelves full of interesting books to peruse while you sip!

A Statue on the IU Campus...
Hoagy Carmichael was born in Bloomington in 1899 and earned both his bachelor's degree (1925) and his law degree (1926) from Indian University.  As a student at IU, he began to compose songs and perform regularly with Carmichael's Collegians, the first band he led at the university.
After law school, he worked briefly as a law clerk before pursuing a music career, writing many of the songs that have become American jazz standards, including "Stardust," "Heart and Soul" and "Georgia on My Mind." Carmichael won the 1952 Oscar for his song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," had his own television show and even acted in several movies.
Hoagy statue at IU
Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

An Antique Mall with Vintage Books...
One of my Dad's favorite places to be!

Going Home
Visiting all these places was wonderful, but just not quite the same without Dad.  And suddenly, it was time to go back home. Made me think of this Gospel song that Dad sang when I was young: "This World is Not My Home, I'm Just a Passin' Through". 

Can't wait to be with you again, Dad.  Heaven will be even better.


  1. what a poignant and special trip. The service sounds lovely, and how neat that you got to go to all those special places with your son!

  2. I agree with Heather. How special. The Runcible Spoon is the best name for a coffee shop (love the interior), I love Hoagy Carmichael, and I want to go to that antique store.