I suppose, for the sake of coherence, I probably ought to start on Friday and the trip over to Illinois. It was, thankfully, uneventful and we did not arrive late, even though we got out a little later than we intended. One of the first things I noticed was that Providence Church did not have the usual castle wall facade up...things seemed to be a little more loosely organized in general this year, but it really didn't detract from the lectures and fellowship, so I am not complaining. :)
Unfortunately, we did not get very many pictures, so I haven't any pictures to show you of our dear S's. They were already in Illinois visiting family and came to RefDay for Friday and half of Saturday. They came on over here Saturday afternoon and just left this morning, taking my elder sister with them...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I was standing in a doorway talking with my 'brother' Andrew H. when I spotted the S's. I rather unceremoniously blurted, "Oh!" or something like that and left off in the middle of a sentence to dash the fifteen feet to where they were sitting. I'm afraid I was really quite rude and I must apologize for it.
However, minutes later, I grabbed Andrew by the elbow and propelled him over to meet the S's...and then R and L...I think, were roped into the group to meet them. There was so much talk and laughter and joy that I cannot remember everything that happened...or what order it happened in.
Friday there were three lectures. Two by Phil Kyser and one by Douglas Bond. The topic of this years Reformation Day was the Huguenots--of whom I knew practically nothing. Dr. Kyser first spoke in a general overview sort of way about the theology and orthopraxy of the Huguenots. One could say that they were the "Christian Reconstructionists" of their day; with the same kinds of total-life view of the application of Scripture. (By the way, I do classify myself among the 'Reconstructionists'...there is of course, some variation within that categorization because of human nature.)
Dr. Kyser's second talk (after Mr. Bond's) landed right down my alley--the Huguenot just war theory. He referenced a book "Vindiciae Contra Tyrannus" (or something like that) by a Frenchman named Mornet (I believe; and it's probably not spelled correctly) that I put on my "must-read" list. I agreed...and I nodded...and I took notes...and I grinned...suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed that talk.
Douglas Bond's three talks (one on Friday, two on Saturday) were really rather like one, just split into three parts, in which he told stories about different persons and event that took place during the Reformation in France: he spoke of Calvin, Verit, the queen of Navarre, Renee of France, Gaspard Coliny, and others. (There is a bit of story that goes with that, but I'll get there in the chronology.) Anyway, Mr. Bond is an engaging speaking, though, rather like Bill Potter (also a story-teller) not someone I am able to take notes from--so I didn't; I just listened.
Friday evening, the Josties did the concert. I enjoyed it more than I expected too. For some reason, I assumed that they did gospel music--and a lot of gospel is rather well...not my cup of tea (partly because of the theology of the words and partly because of the way people sing.) I was pleased to hear that they actually know how to sing. (Sound like a snob, don't I?)
Saturday is always the most particularly exciting day...we girls got up and got decked out in our outfits:
Well, we got back, pulled into the parking lot, and parked next to a silver car with an NRA and AOPA sticker on it. We made a few remarks about it...(NRA's a good thing!) without knowing who it belonged too--turns out as we found out that afternoon, it belonged to none other than our adopted brothers R!! It was hilarious that we unintentionally parked right next to them!
So, we go into the building, not knowing the R's were there yet, trot up the steps and who do I see across the foyer but Caleb! In a matter of minutes, three sisters and three brothers were greeting each other and talking 90 miles an hour, across this little circle. The S's arrived and were dragged into the circle by yours truly. I don't know exactly whose idea it was to sit together, but we ended up in a single row like this: Andy, Caleb, Katherine, Racheal, Savannah, and Dan. The S's were in the row ahead of us since we all wouldn't fit in one row.
My fingers went nearly ceaselessly during the three talks that took place that morning (Rev. McDonald's impression this year was of Gaspard Coliny's elder brother--the name I forget) and I got the entire cuff of Andy's second kilt sock finished! Yay! (I finished the first sock Friday on the way over.) Toward evening, I had Andy try on the completed sock and it fit perfectly! He seemed to really like it...and it appeared to me that he didn't want to take it off! I am going to make him and Dan both a set of kilt flashes to go with their kilts/socks. (Dan got himself a kilt...I forgot to ask what tartan it was, but it looked rather like Graham to me and Graham is my primary tartan claim.) I have also been commissioned to knit Dan a pair of kilt hose. :) However, you're not here to read of the Socketeer's business prospects...
Let's see...we were to have a jam session between lunch and the Highland games (about an hour); so we gathered out in the cold wind and the slight sprinkle and waited....and waited...and waited while the poor over-taxed food vendors worked as fast as they could to feed the line of people. Both Dan and Caleb had already eaten by the time Savannah, Katherine, Andy, and I had gotten our food. (The H's would have already eaten, I guess, because their last name falls in the first half of the alphabet and we were assigned to eat according to last names.) Once we ate, we went in and jammed. As promised, Andy helped me on 'General Taylor' both during the jam session and later as we headed toward the Highland Games. (As of this afternoon, I'm doing terrible on it; but I do know what it is that I need to work on.) I still can't keep up with Andy's flying fingers, but I did a little better this year because I am in practice better than last year. I don't know exactly what it is, but my guitar's tone doesn't seem to blend overly well with his...even though I was in tune.
We actually did a few of songs that we girls are proficient at--including "Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah"--which our brothers informed us was much too fast. Ha! ;) It's not a dirge, you guys! ;D (It was actually rather humorous, the banter about that...)
But we did 'Salley Gardens', one of my favorites (me finger-picking to boot!)...'Be Thou My Vision'...oh boy...I can't remember the rest, but it sure was fun. Strumming, bowing, percussion, whistles, voices...I look forward to the next jam session. :) (Maybe I ought to practice a little harder too!)
We moved on to the Highland Games with little ol' me trying to match my voice to Andy's and conquer General Taylor; by the time we got there, Andy told me he thought I had it...well, sorta, Andy...sorta. :)
Caleb did not win the cabor toss this year; I think he came in second (or third at the least)...and someplace along in there in the rock toss. I went and bugged Andrew about getting in on the 'funn' but he didn't because he had a shoulder bugging him. I agree, it's not a good idea to stress already bothersome joints/muscles. I stayed over there instead of wandering back to where Savannah and Katherine were because I could see better (the announcer) had stepped in front of us three and I got busy hollering for all my "brothers" (the H's, the R's, and the B's). I figured I might as well get into it and have fun.
Christopher, Thomas, William, and Joshua B. were being noisy in a different fashion and I vainly tried to get them to slacken their "war chant". Andy told me to ignore them and they'd quit--but they wouldn't have. I know those guys...they are so much themselves (which sounds weird). I heaved Christopher up at one point and he was squawking, "Put me down!" with a huge grin in his voice...and so I kept ahold of him until he asked sweetly if I would, "Put me down...please." What? PLEASE? From the Lion-hearted?? Yes, dear...
I grabbed William around the shoulders at one point too...I forget what it was about...but he really doesn't mind the affection. (Those boys know that I love 'em--because I've told them so.) Thomas doesn't stick around as long for hugs. :D I'm doing good with Joshua just to ruffle his hair--he's never been as receptive to it anyway (he likes Katherine best of us three girls).
Daniel B. did the cabor toss for the second time this year. He's such a scrawny looking young man, though tall enough, that the he doesn't look like he could handle it well, but he did pretty decently. Give him a couple more years and he may be giving the standing camps (Caleb and a feller named Matt [who plays a pretty mean piano, too!]) a run for their money. (Daniel doesn't talk to me much these days [he's 16 and too into football after church to want to stand around and exchange pleasantries with me], but we're still family, as his coming up Saturday evening to let us know his 'battle wounds' were not hurting anymore, showed. I'm pretty fond of that tall, skinny, blue-eyed kid.)
Let's see...there were all kinds of humorous little situations, from one guy taking a head-first dive into the dirt right after his rock went flying, to joking about the Canadian running around in shorts and shortsleeves while everyone else was dressed a little heavier; even the guys in kilts had on more clothing with long sleeves and all.
I did it...I really did. Whether or not I should be embarrassed about it is another question. I gave my last year's critique of Andy's sword play to him--and like a gentleman he listened to me...and even took it. I could see that he was defending himself a little tighter. In other words, he stayed in the fight a little longer! I mean, literally, there were a couple of times that I wanted to snatch a fallen boffer and chase some dude off from Andy last year. :D I do so enjoy a good bout of sword-play that it can be hard to "just watch" the boffer wars. The three R's fought shoulder to shoulder...and at one point, some guys in front of me encouraged themselves, "Let's get the Canadians!" and promptly descended upon the three of them. I was thinking: "But they're not Canadian!" Oh, well...odd.
Let's see...I don't want to bore my readership with flash-tidbits of moments that either amused me or had significance to me...but would be "blah" to you all...so I'll just sum up the Games in this way: I had much fun watching them, talking to Andrew and Andy, teasing the B kiddos, yelling in support of my friends, laughing, and looking "goofy" (according to KT) with my shawl tucked on top of my head. After a while, I got cold and along with that, both my 'Lymie' wrist and hip started to ache a little, so when Savannah, Caleb, Katherine, and Andrew headed in, I went with them.
Shortly after that, the other two R brothers came back from the wars. Andy with beat up hands (not good for a professional musician); he held his hands up to show me his swollen knuckles and his hands were still quivering. Dan had a goose-egg on his right wrist, though I didn't know that until we were dancing the Virginia Reel and he had to quit clapping because it was bothering him. (I stamped my foot so hard I make my knee hurt during that dance. :D)
The discussion of "where are we going to go eat supper" started in earnest. No one wanted to see me out of sorts from food (me most especially!) and so we settled on a Bob Evans some 10-15 minutes away. The R's led the way in their car and I moved to the backseat to allow Andrew the use of the front seat (afterall, his legs are twice as long as mine!) and thusly we went, "Won't Caleb drive a little faster? I'm hungry!!" :D Turns out, he was driving so slowly because he thought Savannah was an overly cautious driver. (I.e. a duffer--like me.) Anyway, so we got to Bob Evans and I laughed something about only Caleb and Andy be the normal looking people amongst the seven of us, for Dan was kilted and Andrew was decked out in early 1800's styled finery, not to mention the medieval/Reformation style outfits of the ladies of the party! I really didn't feel as awkward as I thought I was going to. Some lady in the restroom asked me if we were with 'the show' (apparently there was some sort of Broadway-esque show playing in Peoria)...
After we were seated, I cornered Dan to get some information concerning the voice over he is supposed to be doing for me and as soon as I said "Voice Over" he got this look on his face that really cracked me up. I swallowed his excuses (I have less excuse than he does for not being any further along than I am!) and proceeded to order my salmon. There was lively conversation and plenty of laughs over our supper. I'm afraid I looked askance at the blueberry pancakes that ended up in front of Dan...I could just imagine eating that and being so sick I couldn't walk straight. :D It was even more fun though to tell Andy "Eat!" every two minutes...he really only glared good-naturedly at me once. (We had a time limit because the ball started at 7:30.)
Well, we made it (and many thanks to Dan for picking up the tab for the entire table!) and were there and ready when the dancing started. Mrs. B called this year and I think did a pretty good job for her second full ball. I was pleased as punch when Christopher strolled up and proffered his hand to me. I don't recall the little stinker ever asking me to dance before...that was the Waves of Tory...so we had short me and even shorter Christopher--but we managed the arches without over much trouble. :)
As previously mentioned, I did the Virginia Reel with Dan, whose arm was hurting him. He kept clapping, then stopping, and then starting again. It's odd how somethings just "happen" even though you know it would be better if you quit doing whatever it is. (I've done that while playing spoons before; the blisters start coming and I just keep playing.) It's practically impossible not to clap during the Virginia Reel!!
The Virginia Reel and the Gay Gordon (or Carolina Promenade, depending on who you are talking to) are my favorite dances and both were done. I started that one (it's a mixer) with Andy...likewise the Pattycake Polka (and of course, I had to mention how 7 lb.s of Bacon does it...and he quipped something about 7 lb.s of bacon sound good. Goofy! ;P)
I think nearly all the dances were ones I had done before...since I am learning the ECD terms and steps, I'm getting to a point where I can just pick up and go with a dance after a real quick walk through. Remembering the names and which is which is the hard part! I love to dance!
It was roundly agreed amongst ourselves that we could have kept dancing much past 10...but since we had to be out of the building by a certain time, we had to quit. I was sooo wound up that night that I didn't conk out very fast and then I woke up early.
We wiled away the time before it was time to go to church by packing and loading the car. Oh, and 'peep ob-ing'. ;) Looking out our window, we could see the parking lot of the neighboring hotel--even from that distance, I recognized members of the J family (whom I don't actually know, but I know who they are). Minutes before we left, I spotted two heads bobbing along...as soon as they appeared from behind a tree, I knew who they were. Of course, the guitar case really helped, but I knew it was Andy and Dan without it. :D
The sermon was edifying and interesting as Rev. McDonald spoke on verses 9-22 of II Timothy 4 (the end of the book). He was noting how this was, in a way, rather like Paul's last will and testament and how he was thinking about people, not possessions or position, as he neared the end of his life.
I find that communion is a bit on the awkward side at Providence, but I appreciate being able to take it all the same. And that church sings. Not just robustly, but in parts. You can hear the sopranos, the basses, the tenors, and probably the altos if you're really listening (we tend to get lost, I think, between the sopranos and tenors). It is just a joy to sing at Providence because it is so beautiful.
The church kindly provided people lunch on Sunday afternoon. I went downstairs with my sisters and Andy, but, because I offered to take Bibles and jackets upstairs, I ended up going through the line with Caleb and Dan (rather than cutting back in, I just joined the end of the line). Dan filled up a tray again this year, but not as much as last year...and once again, he ate practically all of it. :D I was full after a single plateful.
During lunch (like last year) Savannah and Andy talked non-stop. Caleb interjected into whichever conversation he wanted to, and Dan and I probably spent more time talking about guns than anything else. :D Katherine was quiet for the most part and just ate while listening intently to Savannah and Andy; until R came over and slipped in between KT and I...there was some joking about me having enough room...which I assured her I had enough room and we'd know that I didn't when I fell off the end of the bench and hit my head on the brick wall beside me. ;)
Before we left, we spent roughly another hour doing a hymn-sing in the sanctuary. Seth, someone I know who they are because of filmmaking, accompanied us on the piano. We concluded with "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" (which I did not know)...and it was so beautiful, I was beginning to choke up!
Then, seriously right before we left, we had a little photoshoot where Katherine got to use the timer on her camera. Here's the results:
And just one final picture...Andy, waiting for his brothers to return so they could start home:
God Bless Y'all! It's a joy knowing you!