Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Neat Gift

Jim Johnson is a parishoner at St. Thomas in Canyon City and he is a Flint Napper. For those who may not know what a Flint Napper is, Jim makes knives and arrow heads out of stone, usually Obsidian, a form of volcanic glass. He chips the edges of the stone until it is in the shape he desires and then attaches a handle for a knife or an arrow for an arrow head. He is a true artist and an avid outdoorsman. He told me that he has skinned many of the deer he has taken with his obsidian knives. He said that when the knife gets dull he just flakes off a few new chips and the knife is as good as ever. Sunday after church Jim gave me a knife he made for me, it is a wonderful gift. Here are some pictures of Jim's gracious gift.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wallowa Lake Chapel

Jean and I went to Enterprise this past weekend where I did a Eucharist for the people of St. Patrick's and then went on up to the Chapel at Wallowa Lake for a somewhat non-denominational Morning Prayer. We go up there each summer for services and it's a great place to re-create. The Wallowa Valley lies at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains which are called the Little Switzerland of Oregon. It is truly one of God's "thin places" even though there are lots of tourists and tourist traps at the Lake. The Chapel, maintained by St. Pat's, celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer. It is open from June through August and offers a place to worship for all the campers who throng to the Lake each summer. The Chapel is a rustic structure designed to keep the sun (and occasionally rain) off the worshippers who sit on half logs facing a swift running stream just feet from the cross and altar. Deer sometimes walk by with hardly a glance at the strange humans sitting on logs. The celebrant has to stand under the cover to be heard over the sound of the stream. Many different denominations are represented and many return year after year. This year was one of the best I've seen, we had 27 worship with us at the Chapel and 9 take communion at St. Pat's earlier in the morning. Although the building is considerably different, the Lake Chapel has a remarkably similar feeling to the Glass Chapel at Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

The picture is Joseph, Oregon an artists center at the end of Wallowa Lake. The town is filled with bronze statuary, there are a number of foundries in the village.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I just got on Facebook this past week and it is somewhat interesting. The learning curve isn't very steep, but I'm not sure I get what makes Facebook such a big deal. Apparently the idea is to see how many friends you can get to write on your wall.

A few years ago I signed on to My Space as a way to be able to blog but that didn't work very well. I got a email from some girl? wanting to be my friend. As a senior on Medicare I was a little perplexed as to why an apparently young girl would want to be friends with an old fart like me. I figured it was some cop trying to catch pedophiles on the net. I refused her offer and got off My Space as fast as I could. So far the only friend requests on Facebook come from people I know. That's fine, but I'm not sure what to say to my friends who are 3000 miles away. I'll give it a shot, but I may lose interest fairly soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

We buried Paul's ashes yesterday next to the ashes of his wife of 60 years, Juanita. Both Paul and Juanita wanted to be cremated and the ashes scattered in the mountains of Northeastern Oregon, The children wanted to have a burial site that they could visit, so before Juanita died, she and Paul agreed to have their ashes buried in a little graveyard dating back to the earliest settlement of the area. Their oldest son, Gerry, bought a plot for his parents and him and his wife. The cemetery had been long neglected but folks in the area revitalized the grounds and fenced it to keep the deer and elk out of the hallowed ground.

I built a box to hold Paul's ashes and yesterday Jean and I and the family and friends made the 2 hour drive to the cemetery and held the burial service. It was a melancholy service, but also very spirit filled. When we arrived Paul's two sons dug the hole while the daughter held the box of ashes. I read the committal service from the Book of Common Prayer and at the close of the service each of us present sprinkled dirt on the box and recited "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" or a brief comment to Paul and Juanita. Then the sons filled in the grave. It was the best funeral service I have ever conducted.