Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

05 February 2006

"Moon Over Miami"

Why wasn't this smack dab against the other moon songs? It turns out, as well, that 'Miami' was a relatively random pick of places, picked more for the sound of the word rather than the composer's attachment thereof. And also because Florida was having a bit of a boom at the time, apparently, though this is hard for my mind to see. What were Florida and Miami like in the thirties?

Today I met with the Martha Coven, and it was lovely, as usual. Two good friends and I started our little group about six years ago, meeting at Michael's house to admire the work he had accomplished. He has an older home, unimpressive from the outside, and inside it had been very badly re-done. Diagonal wood panelling: I don't think I need to say any more. Michael served us a meal on his sun porch that first meeting, and we set aside time afterwards to work on our crafts. Michael can take a thrift store bench and transform it into a magazine-quality home decorating dream. I usually do some sort of sewing, sometimes utilitarian mending, other times more elaborate projects. Diana crochets, fabulous afghans and blankets for all and sundry.

The 'Martha' part is very much inspired by Martha Stewart, of course, who we all have a love-hate relationship with. We admire her dedication to detail, and we lit candles when she was in prison, but we still probably would never invite her to dinner. She will always inspire us, and we speak her name with reverence (real or with overblown satire, or both, your pick) at every gathering.

The group works like this: every other month we gather at someone's home, the location rotates throughout the group. Right now we have six or seven interested members, today we had seven attendees including an out-of-town guest and my daughter (who made a shawl for her American Girl doll). The hostess is responsible for providing a suitably Martha-esque meal--Michael does this best--I tend to be thrilled to pull together anything at all, and sometimes the 'staff' has helped via my husband. A couple of years ago we started drinking alcohol as part of the festivities, never in huge amounts, but as someone said today 'to soften us up' and 'to knead the blankets as a cat does', to get comfy. My daughter asked towards the end of the meal 'When do people stop talking and laughing and do the craft part?' She doesn't quite understand that the talking and laughing part is key to the whole experience. We gossip, complain, brag, relate, tell dozens of stories. It's extremely cathartic. And then, every time, we actually do get to work for the second half. The talking slows down a little then, and breaks into smaller groups or pairs. Sometimes there is even silence. But things get done, and I cherish the knowledge that at least every other month I will have a couple hours to sew, one of the things I crave in my life, even a couple hours of mending. Usually I'm also more inspired leading up to the meeting, and following it, also.

And I love these people. I am warm and cozy after a Martha day. I have been seen and heard, and have heard and seen beloved friends, and we have made tea cozies. Well, maybe. Or mended pants, knitted sweaters, made curtains, studied Middle English, something. Today, as a bonus, and totally uncalled for, we figured out the theme for my upcoming fortieth birthday party. All is indeed good.


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