Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Day of All Souls...

inspires a post in me this morning, as I think about the people in my life who have been teachers, inspirations, thorns-in-the-flesh, and are now gone on before me:

My parents, Mona and Merritt Ketcham, who brought me up a good Christian girl but let me choose my own path without trying too hard to mold me into their own design.

Henry Barrett, the old patriarch in Athena who lent me Dan, an elderly Thoroughbred gelding, Prince, a huge bay gelding, Coaly, a small black mare, and Melody, an ornery white mare who defied efforts to make her predictable.

Ethelyn Whitney, the Camp Fire Girl leader who mentored me into wanting something beyond high school graduation and marriage.

Dr. Gordon Frazee, my Linfield College religion teacher who took Sunday School lessons as a starting place and quantum-leaped me into a new understanding of faith.

Dr. Robert Zimmerman, my Linfield a cappella choir director who let me sing with that wonderful choral group during my entire college career, despite a miserable audition.

Alice Frost, the wife of Dick Frost, my first school principal, who coined the term (about our household's furnishings) "Early Buffalo", as in "how nice that you've decorated in Early Buffalo" to describe our first home together in Denver.

My inlaws, Beth and Everett Gilmore, who kept me in the family and wouldn't let me feel lonely and without family at important holidays, after our divorce.

Ev Gilmore Jr., whose performance on the tuba (Dallas Symphony for 40 years) was melodic and spectacular, especially when he and a banjo player played the theme from Deliverance antiphonally one year at a family Christmas party. We should have recorded it for AFV. We'd be rich!

Vera Mulhauser, the elderly lady in Colorado who helped me learn pastoral care and gave me a way to do for someone else what I couldn't do for my own mother, who lived too far away for me to visit every week.

Nestor and Myra Perala, whose support in tough times in Portland during my first ministry gave me strength and courage to stick it out and survive, a better person for having been tested so severely.

The Rev. Dr. Peter Raible, whose informal mentorship helped me find a place in the Pacific Northwest ministers' chapter and nudged me into active membership there.

Jean Houston, the elderly Whidbey woman who gave me another little old lady to care for and eventually memorialize.

John Adams, whose presence in my life was so appreciative and supportive and giving, right up until his sudden death a few years ago. I had the honor of celebrating his life and his many gifts to UUCWI.

Marilyn Saunders, an often-prickly teacher who nevertheless knew what she was talking about and to whom I learned to listen and to consider her recommendations.

Hildred Cyr, whose unusual life and presence have been a part of my pastoral life in recent years and who died just a week ago of numerous ailments. We will celebrate her life formally in a few weeks but will light a candle for her life today.

I'm sure there are others I've left out, but these are the saints and sinners who are coming to my mind today, All Souls Day 2009.


Robin Edgar said...

Are you perchance confusing All Souls` Day (November 2nd) with All Saints` Day (November 1st) Rev. Ketchum?

All Saints` Day has a special place in my religious calendar if only because it is the day that was finally chosen as the first actual trial date when I defended myself against the bogus criminal charges of disrupting a religious service (176.3) that the Unitarian Church of Montreal had me falsely arrested on in December 2000 in a deeply misguided effort to over-ride my constitutional right to engage in peaceful public protest in front of said "church". I well remember remarking that All Saints` Day seemed like quite a quite propitious date to start the trial when the judge asked me if delaying the first trial date to November 1st (because an ailing Montreal Unitarian prosecution witness had requested a delay) would be OK with me. :-)

Maybe The Emerson Avenger should draw up his own list of U*U saints and sinners or aka U*U Souls ;-) today or tommorrow.

ms. kitty said...

Yes, you're right, Robin, I mixed them up. Thanks for the reminder.

Joel said...

I wonderd about the dates, too, but I figured I knew what you meant anyway.

I certainly don't have any objection to counting my grandparents on All Saints' Day. I don't remember Grandpa, but I can tell you if there are saints at all, Gran was one of them.

Joel said...

Maybe The Emerson Avenger should draw up his own list of U*U saints...

Doesn't the Universalism part of that mean that everybody is a saint? (In the more general sense, anyway.)

Here's a question to amuse yourself with: What form would a UU canonization process take if there were such a thing?

LinguistFriend said...

UU canonization is a charming idea, Joel. It suggests a topic for a sermon, although working it out would take some thought.

The Favorite Son said...


Probably with a food drive and an interpretive dance. Besides, we have less "Saints" and more "They are UUs but just don't know it"

Joel said...

I was kind of thinking that it would be hard, say, to have a Devil's advocate if you don't have a Devil. Maybe you could substitute the Dogmatic Trinitarian With Right-Wing Politics. Or DTWeRP for short. :)

ms. kitty said...

Well, we traffic more in metaphor than literal meaning, so we don't really need a "devil", just a yen to present the other side.

Joel said...

...just a yen to present the other side.

Just a yen? Why not a shekel or a shilling? C'mon, think inclusive! :)

ms. kitty said...

I'm not sure why I missed publishing your latest comment, LF. I just found it today and it had apparently been languishing for awhile. Sorry.