Thursday, July 18, 2013

Christmas Place and WOSA

Wednesday July 3rd Lib and I headed for Sevierville, TN hoping for some shopping in Pigeon Forge and a run up to Newfound Gap in the Smokies. Since we didn't leave Charlotte until noon it was about 6:00 or 7:00 before we arrived at our Hampton Inn at Kodak and traffic looked heavy.
Thursday morning we spent doing necessary laundry from our Annual Conference jaunt. Then after lunch we bravely set out for Pigeon Forge and the Christmas place. When we emerged on the main highway it was a parking lot, taking us the better part of two harried hours to reach the Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge.. It was a relief to get out of traffic (the bane of the American motorist) and enjoy the myriad displays of this eternal Christmas world at its gaudiest. We shopped a few other places at this merchandising mecca and then decided the run up to the Gap wouldn't be worth the long crawl up.
Friday morning we made an uneventful  drive to Maryville College and began our Woodstock Old Students Association (WOSA) activities.After stowing our gear and enjoying a quick cup of chai my first obligation was a rehearsal with Judie Landry and our trio. We spent the greater part of the allotted time on a new composition.
That evening after a delicious buffet supper we squeezed in conversations with classmates and others we had known at Woodstock with performances by a local string band and a very funny local story teller.Our suite mates were Betty and Dick Conard from Florida. Betty and I crossed  paths; she arriving at Woodstock as I was leaving. We have since become good friends through a class writing group. It was a delight to be with them all through the event.
Saturday and Sunday were rehearsals and attendance at the business meeting and hearing optimistic reports of  Woodstock's future and place on the India educational scene. The new principal has very ambitious plans!
Saturday night was the traditional Indian khanna. Many chose to wear native costumes. At the end Charlene Chitamber led group singing of the favorite Woodstock songs.
Sunday morning we had a combination worship and memorial service. The piece for choir Reflections, for strings, choir and piano specially composed for the event was well received. Sunday night was Woodstock "stories" night and several interesting ones were revealed. Our trio finished up the evening by playing "Ashokan Farewell" .
Monday morning we ate breakfast together one more time, took our final photos and prepared for the long trip home.All in all it was a very enjoyable get together, something I would never have imagined when I walked down The Ramp for what I knew was my last time in 1951. The last three pics were taken by friend and classmate Dr. Fred Holloszy.

By 5:30 we were glad to see our familiar street and home once again.

The Christmas Place

One of a zillion displayed items

artificial tree...good way to check camera
Judie Landry glad to see her and get information!

Lib  and I at breakfast

class of '55 table and spouses
trio Sunday night?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Church of the Brethren Annual Conference 2013.

Our Church of the Brethren Annual Conference was the impelling force for our journey to Charlotte, NC the 28th of June. Lib and I were in better health than we had been in a number of years and we are adventurous souls! We left our home in Midlothian around 10:30 and using reliable GPS arrived in Charlotte around 3:30. Our GPS took us to the Hilton downtown where we had registered, but to new comers it can be a daunting task to discover the entrance to the registration area. Eventually we were able to park our car, register, and ascend to the 8th floor and our very nice room.

Next we walked over to the Charlotte Convention Center just a block across from the hotel. We noted with some interest that the light rail system had a station  at the hotel's back entrance and that it went right through the convention center. When we entered the center we soon met friends who helped us register and orient ourselves to the huge building. All the eating places in the food court were closed and we were steered to a pizza place across from the center. Both of us had done a lot more walking just that afternoon than we had for some time.  Returning from supper we found the huge auditorium where the conference would meet.

Saturday after lunch there was our initial rehearsal and later a first convening worship service. I was part of a small instrumental ensemble consisting of a violin, an Eb saxophone, two trombones, guitar, and percussion.
Our pianist was Terry Murray a cousin by marriage. Our fine organist was also had connections to the Roanoke area churches. Our function was to accompany the congregational singing led by Carol Elmore.
She was our music director and helped unite us through music when sometimes dialogue failed. There were several early morning rehearsals at 7:00 AM. Lib had a woozy faint occurrence at the second  early rehearsal requiring some on the spot ER evaluation. After a little more to eat and drinking a lot of water she felt better.

Between meetings we visited with friends, perused the items in the large Brethren display and attended a Bridgewater College Alummni lunch. Had a nice chat with a professor Ulrich who had taught physics while I was a student there in the late 50's. No, I didn't take physics! He remembered colleagues for whom Lib had been a typing secretary. Tyler Goss from our small West Richmond Chuch of the Brethren received one of two top awards for leadership  to youth, the church, and the college.
Several times we enjoyed breakfast in the Hilton's buffet. The food was tasty and there was ample from which to select. One supper we had with Oak Grove friends at the other nearby hotel and a last supper they
shared with us at the Hilton.

Our denomination, though somewhat battered by controversy the past years appeared to be bandaging up its wounds and working toward conciliation. After all we are "The Church of the Brethren" and brethren should
work toward conciliation as that is at the heart of what we are about.

Around noon on Wednesday we left Charlotte and headed for Sevierville, TN where we hoped to see the Smokeys and do some shopping.
Our room in the Hilton

Downtown Hilton

Lib at breakfast

Inside light rail car.

Entrance to Charlotte Convention Center

Children learning a "share" lesson