Guys don’t do sleepovers. Or so I thought reading A Plan this morning . . . until I stopped to think.
Four (4) ‘Old Dogs’ (seminary classmates who have maintained friendship through the years) do five-night sleepovers every year. Once there were seven (7). Now there are four (4).
We arrive at the annual ‘Gatherings’ limping on replaced knees with hips and memories in need of repair, bearing matches to light the fire, a Book of Common Prayer, and a Fifth or two . . . to make four equal seven again.
There’s nothing like a sleepover celebration with old friends. Some are confident that the departed — Wayne, Steve, and Dale — are still with us around the fire. Others need the help of a Fifth or a few Seven-and-Sevens to get four to equal seven.
What I had come to know (by feeling only) was that the [GATHERING]’s true being, you might say, was a sort of current, like an underground flow of water, except that the flowing was in all directions and yet did not flow away. When it rose into your heart and throat, you felt joy and sorrow at the same time, and the joining of times and lives. To come into the presence of the [Gathering] was to know life and death, and to be near in all your thoughts to laughter and to tears.Wendell Berry, “A Gathering,” Jayber Crow, p. 205-206.
Thanks to Beth of ‘I didn’t get my glasses on‘ for turning Gatherings into sleepover celebrations.
Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, November 23, 2019.
While some very strong persons still gather, the three who have claimed there place in eternity were three of the strongest and gentlest men whom I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Jim, I couldn’t agree more. Dale served only ONE church after ordination — a small one in a small town where he had coffee as just another guy at the town coffee shop and returned to his Study to prepare the next sermon by res NT reading and exegeting them in Greek without calling attention to the discipline and depth of his scholarship. I have a collection of Dale’s poetry and treasure it, as I do the life work and memory of the more widely known Dogs, Steve (“Shoe”) and Wayne. As you say, all three were strong gentle men who honored some of us lesser lights with steadfast friendship.
Gordon, love “the plan” and our Gathering sleepovers. I’m looking forward to the next planned one in 2020, “On Golden Pond.”
Giving thanks for each day and for good and everlasting friends like you and the 7 Gathering Dogs!
Don, I knew you’d like this post. During our Gathering in Maine with Ted, Barrie Shepherd reminded us how fortunate we are to be part of a family like the Dogs. Here’s to Gathering 2020 in NH.
I love this. It swells my heart.
I love this –
Thank you, Beth.
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