Monthly Archives: March 2012

Four hours later

After four hours in the yard today, I am resting from my labours.

One of my fine voice students stopped by to help me turn a bunch of dirt so I could plant flowers and sow seeds.  I feed him and sent him on his way, happy from his time with a shovel and a rake, and filled with salad and pasta.

Now at 3 p.m., I am finished too.  The garage is swept and tidied.  The lawn is mowed and trimmed, at least most of it trimmed, since the battery gave out.  I’ll finish that up tomorrow.


I have sown seeds of wildflowers and zinnias and mix of seeds for cut flowers.

And I’ve planted my own starts of foxglove and dahlias, both perennials.  I purchased and planted some impatiens for the front porch hanging baskets.  I also planted cylcamen and verbena, the latter as a border.


We moved a hosta today as well, and pulled up two monkey grass clumps that just weren’t growing.

And I’m delighted to report that the raspberry bush is indeed sprouting leaves that will turn into limbs.  I may have berries next year, and most certainly should in two.

The lilac bush is hanging on.  It has sprouted this year a number of shoots from the base, so I’m hoping for even more flowers next year.

The hydrangeas I planted last year may not bloom this year, but they are doing well and will eventually show color.

Now for a nap before dinner and a concert tonight.


So the doorbell rings.  I answer it.

A tall, thin, kindly-looking older man is standing there. He has his Missouri non-driver ID in his hand.

“I’m about to get panhandled,” I think.

I step outside onto the porch.  Samson joins me.  The guys leans down and scratches the pup’s ears.

“Hello.  My name is John,” he starts as he shows me his license.  “I think I did some work for you three or four years ago, right?”

“No, and I remember you told me that last you stood here, around Halloween.”

Then the song and dance starts in full.  The lady around the corner just had me mow her yard.  I worked for your neighbor cleaning the garage.  Is there anything I can do to tide me over for a few days?  He pulls out a credit card to verify his identity.

I assure him there isn’t, that I’m self-sufficient.  Sam and I make for the front door.

He pulls out his toiletries, in a plastic bag, to show me he’s homeless.  He did the same thing six months ago.

I thank him kindly for his offer, and firmly close the door.

Living in the city, especially in the central city, one expects to asked for help on occasion.  I struggle with how to respond, though.  I don’t want to be an easy mark.  I also want to believe that people really need the help.

I’m comfortable and blessed, so I focus some of my ‘share the gift’ giving on local organization that I think can be helpful, especially a local food bank.  I give unwanted items and clothing to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Do I do enough?  Should I have done more in this case?

“‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ”
~ Matthew 25.35-40.

How hard it is at times to be the reflection of Christ in daily life.

As seen at home

Pictures from Thursday evening:

Johannes Pieter Stolp

My great-great-great-great-grandfather Johannes Pieter Stolp was born 26 March 1747 in Nassau-Dietz, in what is now Germany.

He died in New York state in 1826.  At age 20 he had fought in the French & Indian War, meaning he had emigrated by then; he later fought as an infantry man in the Revolutionary War, serving in a New York regiment.

His son, Peter, moved to Illinois sometime after 1830. And his son, my great-great-grandfather Edwin Augustus Stolp, moved to Bates County, Missouri, where he is buried, along with many descendants, in Crescent Hill Cemetery outside of Adrian.

I would bet that he, like most of maternal ancestors, was a farmer.  He owned a great deal of land at his death.  He was a Lutheran.

The name ‘Stolp,’ by the way, derives from location names – from places called Stolp or Stolpe in Pomerania, Mecklenburg, and Brandenburg in the east of Germany.

Parking vultures

One of my office windows looks out on a parking lot.  Webster is not blessed with close-in lots, and so places in these lots are highly desirable.

Every MWF, around :45 on the clock (classes empty at :50 and begin at :00), the vultures start to circle, hoping that a spot might come open.

I decided years ago that I would just park further away and walk, whether at the mall or at church or at school, as the extra few steps are better for me.  And, truth be told, idling time, while waiting for a spot, wastes the time I could be walking and not getting frustrated, and creates more emissions that blight our atmosphere.

So I am often amused at those people who pull in at 8:55 a.m. for a 9 a.m. class, hoping to get a spot on the lot by Thompson House.

And I notice that those who idle and wait are often the folks who could use the extra few steps (says the choirmaster to his own choir of one).

By the way – I have determined that I am not doing fast food for the next few months, and I’m already walking more and for longer periods of time.

But . . . I parked my car ten steps from my office door today, since I arrived before 8!



I am so glad to be singing tons of music again.  Rehearsal tonight at the Church of Saint Michael and Saint George (the dragonslayers, of course) was a delight.  We covered a dozen or more anthems.

Sunday’s services are 9.15 and 11.15 a.m., with Passion Vespers at 5 p.m.  That latter service will be a stunner, I think.

Holy Week is filled with services – three on Sunday, one each night on Monday thru Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, noon on Good Friday, the Easter Vigil on Saturday, and two services Easter Sunday itself.

The lilacs on the mantle are especially pretty right now, and are making the house have a heavenly scent.