summer memories 4

Back to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens for this Summer of 2022 post. The Unisphere is as spectacular as I remember it when I was at the New York World’s Fair in 1965. However, I don’t remember it being so large: 140 feet high and 120 feet in diameter. When I was there this past summer, the pool that the sphere rests in seemed to be under some kind of renovation, so you could walk right up to the base of the sphere. It was wonderful to see families and so many enjoying this gem of a park and iconic structure in Queens.

summer memories 3

The last time I was at this location was in 1965. I was 4 years old. The location is Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which served as the site for the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. These images are the remains of the New York State Pavilion. The structures have been ignored and deteriorating for years, but recently the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has embarked on a restoration project. The next summer memories post will be of another famous structure from the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Thanks for stopping by.

summer memories

Fall is making it’s entrance here in the Midwest. Trees are beginning to show off, Costco has had Christmas trees on display for a few weeks now, and the end of the day knocks on our door a lot sooner than it did just a few weeks ago. It has been a busy time for me as well, so this is the first of a few posts from this past summer. We were in New York in August, so, first up, my favorite place: Jones Beach. Thanks for stopping by.

scenes

Scene 1 fades in from black: I’m standing in the doorway of what used to be the bedroom for my two daughters. Eleven months before I said, “Her mother and I do,” at my oldest daughter’s wedding, and like the refrain of a song, I just said the same words at my youngest daughter’s wedding! My oldest son is already married. Three down, one to go. I pull out my phone and capture… this… empty room. I guess I was hoping to capture the conversations, dance parties, tears, Christmas mornings, laughter, prayers… capture all that happened in that room. The phone displays an empty room. But I am filled with gratitude as I remember that grace brought me here and will continue to lead me…home. I am crossing the vast Canyon of Parenthood, which is followed by the great Canyon of Fatherhood and the Canyon of Where Did the Time Go… and I realize that I am at the beginning of that time in my life where I will be remembered a bit less, and less. And that is what will be. And it’s ok. Scene 1 fades to black.

Scene 2 fades in from black. I’m standing in the doorway of what used to be the bedroom for my youngest son. I pull out my phone… you know the rest. Now, the emptiness of the room is a bit more final in my heart. All four of our children (can I still call them children?) are gone. Now I watch our children and their families, and I see them and the 6 little ones that are the new generation in their “rooms” praying, crying, laughing, enjoying dance parties, creating moments to remember and one day say good-bye to… one day let go… one day to try and capture on a phone. And I know that the new generation will forget more than they remember of their papa and nana. And I know that is what must be. And it’s okay. Scene 2 fades to black. One more scene.

Scene 3 fades in from black. I am being held by my mom in an impossibly strong, firm embrace. Impossible because my mom’s 96 year old body appears to be so frail, brittle and fragile. I see her connecting to my dear wife in a hushed conversation filled with memories and love. She can’t really stand up straight anymore. It seems like she is always folding in on herself, like she is ever seeking the fetal position. I tell her, as often as I can, that I love her, and her frail, thin voice tells me the same. My mom is a stranger in this world. She has lived long enough to bury he mom and dad and all of her siblings. The neighborhood is filled with strangers, for all of her friends from the old days have passed as well. She is, in so many ways, alone. Few remember who she is. And as I have had the opportunity to watch her in these late years, I am grateful for all that she has taught me. She has embraced her reality, and it is okay. She has taught me to welcome your emotions and the reality that you are in, but to not let it steal the grace and love that you can, at any moment, give to someone. She is frustrated, but not angry. She is sorrowful, but not bitter. She feels forgotten, but is not resentful. I want so badly to take away all the pain, heartache and struggle that makes up her days and nights. But I can’t. It must be this way. And that is okay. If I could take it away, it would diminish her and also diminish me. It is okay. This scene will fade to black. I am not sure I will be able to navigate that blackness. But, it will be. And that’s okay.

what i saw in chelsea

In my previous post I shared images from the General General Theological Seminary campus in Chelsea NY, the location of a spiritual retreat that Ruth, my wife, and I attended last week. In this post, just a few pics from a walk we took to the Chelsea Piers before having dinner at the Empire Diner.

general theological seminary

My wife, Ruth, and I had the opportunity to attend a spiritual retreat last week at General Theological Seminary, located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Situated on the west side of Manhattan, the seminary’s first building was build in 1827. The retreat and location provided the perfect setting for solitude, reflection and excellent talks from our retreat guides. We can’t wait to return.

a valentine’s life

My mom and dad have been married for 62 years. They both have their physical struggles and they take care of each other. My dad takes care of my mom’s arthritic feet every morning. I felt privileged to watch him carefully wash, dry and apply topical aids on her feet. They have lived a Valentine‘s life together, and not just a Valentine’s Day. I was also reminded of what Jesus taught us. Take a moment and read the gospel of John chapter 13 today. Thanks for stopping by.