Tuesday, June 3, 2008

before and after the jazz

I leap into the conversation..."Do you know the traditional place to plant hollyhocks?"

Left work on Friday and headed to our state capital where the Central PA Friends of Jazz were having their annual festival. They chose good folk and there were plenty of moments where I just sat back, closed my eyes and let the music flow through my brain. It was at those moments that I missed Mosaic Woman, who did not go with me.

Friday before the big show, I headed down to eat some tapas at Suba above Mangia Qui. It was early and I had the place to myself. Twice I left my quiet introverted self behind. Once to ask if the neighborhood was still threatened to be demolished for a new courthouse. It seems another is now threatened.

The two waitresses had a moment of free time and started talking about gardening. My ears perked up and then they began talking hollyhocks.

They don't know the answer to my question so I say, "Next to outhouses." So what are the odds the one waitress has an old outhouse on her property. She has just bought a hoop house and has dreams to start a community supported organic farm. I tell her my job, and in the quiet restaurant we all have a chat about our love of plants as I finish my wine.

Sunday morning, the jazz over, but too little sleep and more coffee and alcohol than normal has me wanting to linger in bed. I need to push myself out the door of my hotel room and walk towards the river. The Holy Eucharist is to be had a few blocks away. The early service at St. Stevens features no music, but I want to head towards home, so I walk in to where I will be greeted warmly. The sermon focuses on education Sunday and addresses the adults. "What have you done in the last year to strengthen your foundation?"

He loses me as I try to think thoughts requiring memory. OK, those who have been with me for this blog... I did eventually remember what I said I missed so much in my last post. The spiritual exercises of Ignatius have strengthened my foundation. I knew this, but it took a moment in a strange church to pause and be grateful. I look up and smile as the man who asked the question makes eye contact.

After the Eucharist I raise my hand to show the world that I am a visitor and announce that jazz has brought me to town. Next thing I know a bag is handed to me with info and cookies.

as for the jazz, I did buy one CD from a very tall German who played harmonica and vibes and is in love with the samba music from Brazil...


  1. Sounds like a wonderful day...I've visited St. Stephen's. As odd as it sounds, it was one of the things that led me to the Catholic Church, but regardless of that, it is a beautiful and welcoming church.

  2. I pass on to you a quote just picked up at another friend's site: "We are in the presence of God, and like human lovers who are content sometimes with being near or within sight of the person they love without speaking to her, and without even distinctly thinking of her, we simply rest in God's nearness."....

    Even so I find it in reading this post. It doesn't always take the sanctuary of the church to know God in our daily adventure...

  3. s.e.-- curious as to how it led you... have you blogged about it?

    Jim-- thanks for the quote

  4. Stratoz: Actually I did briefly blog about it on my About page on my blog, which can be found here: This author's conversion story. I realize I may need to go back and revise this to sound less condescending...really, I believe we all serve the same Christ, even though we may have different beliefs about the Eucharist. But it's the same Jesus, regardless (which is a word I must like since I used last comment too, I now see).

    Also sorry that it takes me so long to get back to you. I'm on WordPress and so don't always get your responses. I just need to add subscribe to the comment feed I guess. Anyway...


Thanks for visiting Stratoz. I dig comments. Feel free to leave one here.