Tuesday, May 29, 2012

meanwhile, fishing!

While I was gone John went fishing with his friend Steve up at Moraine Lake.  Looks like he caught one ...

re-crossing the Ohio River on the way back

This is coming back into Cincinnati from the KY side, getting ready to re-cross that Ohio River (for the 1st time) on the way back to Pittsburgh.  I finally finished the 30-hour audio book - 11-22-63 by Stephen King - that I had been listening to since the trip from Florida in late April.  I have never considered myself a Stephen King fan, but I really did enjoy listening to this book and would highly recommend it, especially if you have a long road trip.  It made the driving easy!

Hagan Reunion 2012

This must be the place!

My father, the 3rd child of Henry Hart and Florence Hagan, had 10 siblings, and I have 38 first cousins.  Most of those cousins had children and many of those children now have children!  So, even though it was horribly hot in Kentucky on this day - 96 degrees - it was a joyous gathering of folks who share a lot of memories and love.

These are the 2 Lucies and Dan.  Lucy on the right was a nun for many years and also was my babysitter when I was an infant.  Dan in the middle used to be a priest and officiated at the marriage of John and me 39 years ago.  Lucy on the left is very cool and funny.
 Aunt Dot and Gracie.  Aunt Dot was married to Uncle Billy and showers everyone with lots of love.
 The food was good, but it was so hot that we didn't eat much of it.  I didn't even see anyone drinking bourbon - only water and iced tea.  It was too hot to eat or drink.
 But we had fun!  The Boa Girls made an appearance with the 10 reasons it's so great to be a Hagan!
 I forget the official name for the Leo Hagan ensemble but they were good, dancing to Marvin Gay.
 More cousins - Tommy and Sidney ...
 Plenty of old photos around.  This is the day that FA crowned the Blessed Mother in May, 1957 --- Left to right: Harry Bill, Julia, Dan (in back row); FA, Mary Lou, me and Felicia (in front row).  Taken in the living room of our 2nd Street house.  FA says that she gave the painting of the Blessed Mother (behind us) to ICS School in Wellsville.
 More photos ...
 ... and more ...
 Minnie ...
 Aunt Dot after she won the best behind contest ...
 Aunt Louise as we celebrate her 98th birthday!
 Me and FA (above).  The egg toss (below).
 The menu ...
 Cousins: Tammy, Julia, Joyce and me ...
 After all this, we went over to Aunt Louise's house and gathered around her very large round kitchen table for more being together ...
 Everyone a part of each other and all ...
 ... and exhausted.

Pentacostal Pilgrimage

Sunday morning in Bardstown, and I didn't have anything to do.  I usually do not visit the cemetery while I am in Bardstown but for some reason this time I wanted to somehow make a connection with my parents who have been dead for many years.  It brought back memories, one of which was how my father would take me here when I was a teenager to practice driving.  It's not like you can run over and kill anyone.

This is the grave of my parents' first child, Mary Linda, born on August 30, 1947 and died on October 27th, 1947. 
 It sits off to the side of their own grave marker.
I remember my father telling me about when that first child died and he had to buy a cemetery plot he bought a big one.  Perhaps he was envisioning many children who didn't make it?  I think that there is room for about 8 more people there, surrounded by the graves of KY pioneers from the 1700 and 1800s.

The cemetery visit took about 10 minutes.  It was only 9:30 in the morning and the reunion wouldn't start until noon.  Considering my options (not many), I headed over to Gethsemani where I knew that the monks would be chanting Terce at around 10, followed by Mass.  That was a good decision.

As a child I often came to Gethsemani with my father.  It is a quiet place.  Palpably quiet, making everything feel sweetly mysterious and peaceful.  The entrance way and Church look a little different now but it is still simple and stark.  There is a new retreat house on the left.
When I was a child the lay people had to go upstairs and watch the goings on from up there.  But now there is a little place downstairs in the back of the Church.
The Church was redesigned in the late 60s by artist, William Schickel.  I love the simplicity of it, and the way the light plays throughout the space.  Harry Bill tells me that the colors of the stained glass are supposed to reflect the colors of the Trappist habit.

I watched the monks slowly file into the choir stalls for the chanting of Terce.  There were more young monks and monks-in-training than the last time I was here about 5 years ago.  After Terce, I was surprised when the monk came back to the place where the lay people were sitting and opened the gate.  We all (all 15 or 20 of us) then went up to the main alter to join the monks at Mass.
I felt so honored to be up there that I didn't take any more photos.  Being Pentecost, it seemed impressive to me.  The celebrants - all the monks who were priests, I guess - processed in with red stoles, followed by the main celebrant who was dressed all in red.  This priest didn't look a day over 25 years old.

And yet the liturgy was very slow, deliberate, simple and above all, humble.  The radical Pentecostal insight was one of forgiveness.  During one of the prayers the monk said: during this weekend (Memorial Day weekend) we remember those who die in war, those who are fighting for us and those who are fighting against us.

The Mass lasted 1 1/2 hours.  I loved all of it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cookout at Jimmy's House

 FA finally arrived and we heard that cousins were invited to a cookout at cousin Jimmy's house.  We were pretty hungry so we found our way to his lovely home and were just in time for hamburgers around the pool.  Mary Lou, Minnie and Merci had driven 16 hours straight from NY so I couldn't complain about my 7 1/2 hours from Pittsburgh.

I saw lightning bugs for the first time in a long time, which left me wondering if they only have lightning bugs in KY.  I don't remember seeing them other places.  Minnie and Merci caught some and put them in a jar (with holes in the top, of course, so that the bugs can breathe) just like we used to do when we were children.

The Freddy Hagan Show

I arrived in Bardstown about an hour ahead of my sister, FA, who was driving in from Asheville NC.  We were sharing a motel room.  I noticed through the window of the motel a greenhouse/landscaping place next door, so while I waited for FA to arrive I decided to walk over and have a look around.  But what caught my eye was this little trailer, advertizing the local Bardstown radio station.

Closer inspection ...
... and this requires a little story.

When I was growing up, like about 1957 (when I was 7 years old) and on, I woke up most every morning to the sounds of the Freddy Hagan show on the radio.  My mother, down in the kitchen making breakfast, got caught up on the local news and weather with the Freddy Hagan show!  To boot, Freddy was my cousin.  He had started his radio job at the age of 17 and was a natural.  I can still hear the jingles and sound of his young voice.

Well, the years went by and there was some family sadness and Freddy moved away.  I probably haven't seen Freddy for 45 years.  Yet there he was on the side of that trailer!

It turns out that after Fred's wife died he did come back to Bardstown.  And now, at the age of 72, Fred has his old job back - the one that he started with at the age of 17!  Sometimes things have a strange way of coming back to the starting place but in a new way.

Crossing the Ohio River 3 times

This past weekend I ventured to KY for a Hagan family reunion, leaving John and Jubilee back in Cranberry TWP.  It was a very hot weekend - hazy and glare-y everywhere.  Just west of Pittsburgh I crossed the Ohio River and headed west toward West Virginia ...
Coming through Wheeling, West Virginia, I cross the Ohio River once again and enter Ohio ...
 Followed this little orange and white trailer for awhile, and wondered how livable it could be for long road adventures ...
 Noted the billboards ....
 Came into Cincinnati ...
 And crossed the Ohio River yet one more time ...
 ... into KENTUCKY.