Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Home Again

Well, we got home the day before yesterday. None of us were too happy to come home. Don't get me wrong, I love my home, the town where I live, the church I serve, the people in the church, but... Well after two weeks of no schedule, no real chores, no work, just sitting by the pool or around the campfire, not having to be up at any certain time, not having to be anywhere except where I was... I'm telling you that's the life.

Now we're home, I'm back at the office, we're doing laundry and cleaning the trailer (well my wife's doing most of that), it's back to a daily grind that can't compare to the freedom of holidays.

I did some reading on my vacation. I read a novel by Pete Hautman called Mrs. Million. Then I read some books that some might consider taking my work with me. First was a little book by Kelly Fryer called No Experience Necessary: Everybody's Welcome. Then I read a book on homiletics by Paul Scott Wilson called The Four Pages of the Sermon: A Guide to Biblical Preaching, not as dry as you might think. Then I started but still have to finish Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew.

I went to church while I was on vacation too. I worshiped at Centenary United Methodist Church. There aren't any Lutheran churches in Bath, NY or anywhere very close. A few years ago I worshiped at the Episcopal church there so I thought I'd give the Methodist church a try. They have 3 services each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11. The first was too early for me on vacation and the last cut too much into my day so I went at 9:30. It turns out this was their "contemporary" service. It wasn't too bad although I'd do things somewhat differently. There was no kind of liturgy. The music was contemporary praise songs to piano and drum accompaniment with words projected on a screen behind the altar. Not all bad but I would have liked a contemporary hymn or two rather than all praise songs. There were no prayers of the people. There was only one scripture reading, the epistle reading which was the focus text of the sermon. There was Holy Communion but there was no Eucharistic Prayer, only the words of institution. One interesting thing was near the beginning, after starting with some singing, the pastor invited anyone who wanted to come up to the altar if they wanted to pray or have him pray for them personally. A few people went forward and he went to each one or each group and talked and prayed with them. It didn't take too long and there was quiet piano music playing during that time. I so rarely get to just sit in the pew as a worshiper rather than being up front leading worship and it was a different kind of service than I'm ever involved in so it was a good experience.

I found out later that the early and late services are more traditional, probably more to my liking and more what I'm used to but different isn't all bad. And if I go back two generations I'm 3/4 Methodist (my paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother were Methodist) so I was getting back to my roots in a way.

Let's see, what else did we do? We went to Watkins Glen for a day, hiked through the glen, strolled down the main street, had pizza for lunch. We went to Corning for a day, visited the Corning Museum of Glass and walked through the old shopping district. We went to the The Windmill Farm & Craft Market, a really big place where thousands of people come every Saturday. We went to a mall one day when it was so hot we thought we'd get into some air conditioning and while we were there we watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I know we saw it before but that was such poor quality at a drive-in, it was a lot better in the theatre.

At the campground we played Bingo, we attended a Pig Roast/pot luck (they provided the pork, rolls and drinks and people brought "a dish to pass"), we played mini golf, we went on some wagon rides around the campground, we went to the Saturday morning pancake breakfasts, to the weekly ice cream socials, the kids did crafts most mornings when we weren't making day trips, and we sat by the pool a lot.

I've said before, and I'll freely admit it, I was never a boy scout and I'm terrible at making campfires. So I cheated. We bought a couple of boxes of those fire logs, the ones wrapped in paper that burn for up to 3 hours, and I laid one in the bottom of the fire pit each night, lit that and then laid the firewood over top. It worked like a charm and we were never disappointed. I didn't even feel guilty about taking a sucky cheaters way out. The important part was our family time around the fire playing 20 questions, singing songs, telling jokes (no ghost stories, they give daughter #2 nightmares) making s'mores and hotdogs over the glowing embers and staying up late every night. I don't think the method of starting the fire was all that important.

Anyway, now I'm back and I have to get back to work. We already booked our 2 weeks at Hickory Hill for next year and I'm looking forward to going back.

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