Sunday 9 June

It seems that as soon as June arrives heralding the start of hurricane season the weather begins to deteriorate. During the first week of June it actually rained and during the night yesterday we had a terrific lightning storm and a lot of water. The temperatures remain in the 90sF with record highs during May.

Sunday 12 May was Mother’s Day (I was asked whether we celebrate this in UK!). The Pastor insisted in giving out red roses to all the mothers. I’m expecting hammers and beer tankards for the fathers.

On Wednesday 15 May we celebrated School Mass with the 8th Graders for the last time. Two days later we would celebrate a Graduation Mass. This the one occasion on which I pull out the Elgar Pomp & hand the bride rang to inform me that they had hired the Vietnamese choir and its pianist. Circumstance March and grapple with playing it on the organ. The 8th Graders choose the music but hardly sing. Much the same could be said of some of the parents.

I celebrated my birthday on 22 May. I’m 61 and apparently looking younger. This must be the result of the weight loss. I spent the morning playing the last Mass for the school year and visiting the optician for an eye test. I would have to return to meet with the retinologist. They discovered I have retinal folds in one eye. This doesn’t cause me much trouble at the moment but they are keen to monitor the condition. Choir practice was started with a ‘Happy Birthday to me’, don’t you know?

On Friday evening I had a convalidation wedding. It was wonderful … none of the silly processions that we normally get and a real sense of faith. They had been married years ago but could refrain from communion no longer.

The following day I had another wedding (or rather, I didn’t). A week beforehand the bride rang to inform me that they had hired the Vietnamese choir and its pianist and would no longer require my services. Over here there is a policy of a bench fee so even though someone else played they still had to pay me the full fee. All I had to do was set up the microphones and the sound.

Memorial Day on Monday 27 May meant a day off. In addition to this I was able to take Thursday and Friday off because the AC units in my office were being replaced. On each of these days I took to my kayak and to Caladesi Island which is one of my favourite spots. A few days later I decided to fit a pair of eyes to my kayak. This would be easy I thought until I realized that the screws in exactly the place I needed the fixtures held the mechanisms for the rudder! I managed to put it all back together but it was a fiddly job.

During the week I had the organ people (Rodgers) in to fit a new chime device and strip all the gold contacts from the keyboards. The result is that all the notes work now and that folk become quite titillated by the tintinnabulation of the chimes. Some folk are easily pleased. Now we just need to sort the cause of the sympathetic vibrations when ever bass notes are used.

On Saturday 1 June we started a Bilingual Liturgy Training Day for the parish. We began with a bilingual Mass, then coffee, then a talk by the Pastor before we broke into ministry groups for discussion. We ended the morning with lunch together. I remained at church to prepare for the vigil Mass.

One of our resident priests, Fr Keating celebrated his 92nd birthday. This Irishman has a great intelligence and can get away with calling us stupid when others could not. He’s a Franciscan and brings a great deal to the parish.

On Monday we had another convalidation wedding.

On Tuesday I took my car in for a service. This is also a worrying thing as the previous visit produced a long list of things that needed looking at. I managed to get two of these done and this service inexplicably found no problems at all! Later in the morning I met with one of our cantors to rehearse the piece she would sing at her sisters wedding on Friday. I’ve alwys enjoyed playing ‘I shall not want’ by Audrey Assad so this was a delight.

At noon all the staff came together to bid farewell to a member of the Youth Formation team. I had created a farewell liturgy which included scriptural blessings and the chance to remember funny moments. After this I had to disappear to the Jesuit High School to meet the new cohort of Organ Scholars and say farewell to the last.

The car dealer wanted to talk with me about an offer I could not refuse. Well, I did and stepped back into my 3 year old Nissan Rogue rather than a sparkly new one.

On Friday afternoon I had a funeral (first for about 2 months!) and later on the wedding I referred to earlier. Both Bride and Groom were young, known to me and very much part of the parish. The previous pastor came back to celebrate the event and it really was a wonderful affair.

Today is Pentecost and this year this is also the last official choir Sunday. So alleluia … no rehearsals until September! We’ll all meet up on Friday for the Choir Party at my place and every Sunday during the vacation but there will be no midweek rehearsals.

An ongoing scheme to replace the air conditioning units for the staff offices meant that not only were some areas unusable but also that the internet servers were down. It’s a bit like letting air out of a balloon. People can do nothing without internet these days.

During the afternoon I was visited by an appliance guy who convinced me that the repair to my winecooler would cost more than it was worth, that it would be cheaper and easier for me to order a new filter for the fridge and that the toe plate for the dishwasher (which came loose while men were relaying the floor after Irma) was relly needed. This advice cost me $60 but could easily have cost me more.

As I finish typing another blog entry clouds are gathering and the wind picking up and it’s time to return to church for the evening Mass!

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