Sanctuaries of Lost Time

I am currently working on a patchwork of writing assignments.  Most of them are yeoman’s service in support of people, events, or projects I love.  The word “yeoman” has fallen out of favor, possibly because it contains the word “man.”  I like the word and a general definition of “yeoman’s service” means “faithful and useful support or service; loyal assistance in need.”

Spending a beautiful June day in a high school gymnasium as a clerk in a primary election is a type of civic yeoman’s service.  Although election clerks are paid the minimum wage for their time, it is a long day.  Yesterday’s service was 16 hours.  It’s discouraging to explain over and over that if you are an “unenrolled voter” in the state of Maine, you are not a member of the “Independent” party.  You may consider yourself to be “independent,” unshackled from both monolithic and established political parties, but you still cannot cast a ballot in a “party primary.”  The rules of the state of Maine’s election system do not work that way.  Even the biggest “Independent” in the state of Maine, Senator Angus King, caucuses with the Democratic party.  Why?  For committee assignment purposes.  You see, there are rules in Washington, too, and in order to get “assignments” the iconoclastic Senator King must observe some modicum of procedure.

Shoulder to the plow, prior to my Election Day duties, I spent an hour in the late Gina Mason’s home office.  The former member of the Maine House of Representatives was not “independent” or “unenrolled.”  Her bulletin board was anchored by pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, nestled next to a “Coffee by Design” sticker and a nursery school collage made by her daughter, Haley.

What a sad and strange opportunity it was to see her neat desk and organized professional space.  There were telephone numbers, photographs, and inspirational messages.  The bag she carried her Moxie meeting materials in was on a credenza, with her notebook and an orange onesie still inside.

Written in her distinctive handwriting on an isolated post-it above her fax machine was this Bible verse:

“”He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt though trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

Her office was a sanctuary of lost time and I wished to rest there much longer, reflecting on Psalm 91.

My good friend, the philosopher “At Your Service” reminds me that “everything you’ve ever thought, said, and done, will be eternally available to you. Hence, memorabilia is only useful in this life, i.e., records, transactions, to help you remember what others may have forgotten.  Nostalgia is an indulgence, like a fine, old, wine and, like wine, it can bring comfort and joy. Also like wine, it can only be drunk by one person at a time and people always throw out the empties after you die.  Love, however, never comes to an end.”

That’s encouraging.

Local blog readers have two opportunities to indulge themselves in nostalgia and rest in sanctuaries of lost time.

Tonight, at the Lisbon Historical Society, I’ll be speaking about my Basilica writing project.  My talk will be held in the society’s archives located at 18 School Street, in Lisbon Falls.  The Basilica series, which appeared as weekly stories in the Sun Journal over a year’s time, has now been released as a book and copies will be for sale following my talk.

On Friday, June 15, 2018 at 7:30 p.m., organist Dr. Thomas Fielding gives the opening concert of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul’s 2018 “Concerts at the Basilica” season.  Dr. Fielding, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo, MI, is an award-winning performer and composer.  He has performed on some of the world’s finest instruments, including the Grand Organ of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  His works have been performed by soloists, choirs, and orchestras internationally and broadcast on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Pipedreams.

Fielding will perform works by Bach, Widor, Franck, and Langlais.

The Basilica’s Casavant organ, the largest church organ in the state of Maine, is the centerpiece for the annual concert series that extends through October.  Local, national, and international performers visit the Basilica to perform, both on the historic organ and with other musical instruments.  Diverse selections range from Bach to contemporary compositions.

The Basilica, like most historical society archives, is a sanctuary of lost time.  Yes, it’s an active church with a regular Mass schedule, but it is also steeped in history and meaning.  The summer concert series is a wonderful opportunity for non-Catholics to visit the Basilica and experience the historic space.

I will continue on in my yeoman’s service.  I love these sanctuaries of lost time and I will continue researching them, talking about them, and sharing their stories.

Love never comes to an end.

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