The dateline for this entry is the sanctuary of the Olmsted Unitarian Universalist Congregation in North Olmsted, Ohio. Susie is here for the fall Ohio-Meadville District Junior High Youth Conference (“con,” in the in-house terminology), ArtistiCon, and I’m a sponsor for several kids from Columbus. Wi-Fi service has been very erratic in this building, so, while the kids meet in the Morning Circle, I’m going to take advantage of not having to share the service, and type this entry.
We’re in quite a beautiful building. This was a last-minute location for the conference, since the larger church where it was supposed to be was unable to accommodate it I will post exterior pictures in a later entry this weekend, but I am quite proud of the one I took last night. I was in the sanctuary (where the adults sleep–sanctuary takes on an additional meaning this weekend) staking out a place to sleep, and took this picture of the stained glass window above the church’s front door.
celebrating its 175th year this year.
This conference was a welcome retreat for me as well. Work was hell yesterday. My co-worker has permanently moved to another section, so my workload has doubled, and it seemed I could get very little done without constant telephonic interruption–both my cell phone, and the one on my desk. I’m wondering if, on some level, I consciously decided to “forget” to bring the charger for my cell phone when I packed for this con. The cell reception here (at least for Revol customers) is spotty, and I didn’t want to drain what battery power I do have hanging onto a signal. So the cell phone is shut off and buried in the bags of stuff I brought.
The kids are as full of energy, as always. This conference is about half the size it usually is, and Susie is a little disappointed that her friends from Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church (“where the ‘Universalist’ comes first,” their pastor, Rev. Bill Gupton, is fond of pointing out) in Cincinnati weren’t able to come, but she seems to have made friends with some girls whom I’ve not seen before.
Scenes from the Opening Circle.
And the adults congregate in the sanctuary. (Since the
service will be here tomorrow morning, we have to be
even more on the ball about “clean[ing] up [our] own
damn shit” than our charges do.
I had “night angel” duty last night. I walked around the church, making sure the rooms where the kids were staying had doors that were at least cracked open, making sure nobody was two to a sleeping bag, etc. My shift was 3-5 a.m., so I grabbed some shuteye in a pew a little after midnight. This is the first time I’ve slept in a pew (horizontally, anyway), and it was a little uncomfortable, but I’m rested. One of the benefits of narcolepsy is the ability to sleep anywhere, where you want to or not.
Between breakfast and the Morning Circle, I heard some of the kids on the piano and the guitar. As I came down to eat breakfast, three or four were in the hallway with their guitars, doing a decent cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” (although why the narrator, who “shot a man in Reno,” would be in a California penitentiary is something I’ve never understood), and when I began typing, I heard some of the kids in the other room singing “Imagine” with a good piano accompaniment, and then the pianist (not sure if it was the same one) did a damn near perfect rendition of “Maple Leaf Rag.”
I have the sanctuary to myself, except for a woman who is fast asleep on a big, queen-sized air mattress that just barely fits in the aisle. If you just glanced at the inside of this sanctuary and didn’t know the context of this week’s events, you’d swear you were looking at news footage of the evacuation centers churches and schools set up in their common areas after floods or brush fires. All we need is the Red Cross to be here serving us tepid coffee and stale donuts.