June 7, 2012
First posted February 24, 2012; revised June 6, 2012.
Metro life has its benefits. I am closer to friends from my working years, more active in my favorite associations – Minnesota Association for Continuing Adult Education (MACAE) and Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum (MISF). I also became far more active in the life of our church membership – Pilgrim Lutheran congregation. Pilgrim heralds itself as a home for hungry minds and souls. Accordingly, Pilgrim chose to be an open, welcoming and affirming participant in the Reconciling in Christ program associated with Lutherans Concerned, North America. When you join Pilgrim, the working ethos of the congregation expect you to be a fully participating member. You fill out an interest and talent inventory and find yourself automatically assigned to a worship team that supplies assistance in Sunday services at six months intervals. We have become far more active than 35 years in our previous congregation.
Almost right away upon becoming members, the Properties Committee asked me to coordinate the volunteers that take care of Pilgrim’s gardens. Because I searched for a book club to join, I learned of a member who wanted a book club devoted to the classics but did not want to organize it. Therefore, I took on Classics for Pilgrim with the encouragement of the Vestry. We meet monthly during the school year to discuss a fiction title published somewhere between 1800 and fifty years ago.
In the fall, the Vestry asked me to convene a task force in order to address how the congregation and its members should respond to the proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only valid between a man and a woman. This project was soon well under way.
June 7, 2012
First posted September 22, 2011; revised June 6, 2012.
Months have gone by since we found and bought a townhouse in Maplewood MN. After batting around the idea of downsizing and moving, we began the search in earnest. I, as is my style, developed a long list of criteria. We did consider Northfield because we are often involved in St. Olaf events. However, one motivation took over: moving closer to our children – Katharine and Kristofer, who have lived in the Twin Cities for twenty-plus years – and our grandchildren who then ranged from the twins at 5 years to Benjamin at 17 and a half. An energetic real estate agent proved of great help, and she was not satisfied until we had seen 14 places. However, we kept coming back to the one we chose, a detached townhouse in a six-member association.
Moving, always a chore, became complicated mostly because the townhouse family room would become my library and by estimate would hold about 6,000 volumes of the approximate 12,000 I still held in Red Wing. I discarded some and gave away a few thousand to Better World Books, public libraries, grandchildren, and other charities. Further, I am still at it, having at the end to move about 100 boxes of approximately 3,000 surplus books plus other files when we had to empty our house for sale. It remains for sale as of this writing.
This transition has been difficult for me because of the losses of beloved books and foregoing 36 years of relationships in Red Wing – half my life. We still have our ties to Red Wing because of our friends, our need to maintain the house and landscape until it sells, and participation in the Red Wing Area Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). However, we have worked to fit into Maplewood as well. We started moving in at the townhouse as soon as we closed in December and soon had our beds here in order to stay overnight when the round of school and other grandchild events kept us in the evening.