“As a countenance is made beautiful by the soul’s shining through it, so the world is beautiful by the shining through it of God.” - Friedrich H. Jacobi
ELOQUENCE: “The hands of those I meet are dumbly eloquent to me. I have met people so empty of joy that when I clasped their frosty fingertips it seemed as if I were shaking hands with a northeast storm. Others there are whose hands have sunbeams in them, so that their grasp warms my heart. It may be only the clinging touch of a child’s hand but there is as much potential sunshine in it for me as there is in a loving glance for others.” - Helen Keller
PRAYER: “ Keep me, O Lord, from all pettiness – Let me be large in thought and word and deed – Let me leave off self-seeking and have done with fault-finding – Help me put away all pretense, that I may meet my neighbor face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice – May I never be hasty in my judgments but generous to all and all things – Make me grow calm, serene, and gentle – Teach me to put into action my better impulses and make me straightforward and unafraid – Grant that I may realize that in the trifling things of life that create differences; that in the higher things we are all one – And, O Lord, let me not forget to be kind.” - Mary Stuart
“Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines.” - David Letterman
“In kindergarten I flunked sandpile.” - Joey Bishop (Former Lower Moreland dentist, Dr. Milton Sandler, attended South Philadelphia High School with Bishop.)
“When a socialist harangued Andrew Carnegie about redistribution of wealth, Carnegie asked his secretary for two numbers – the world’s population and the value of all of his assets. He divided the latter by the former, then said to his secretary, “Give this man 16 cents. That is his share of my net worth.” - George Will
One day in 1981 as I sat in my office at the Cathedral, I began to talk with a member of the congregation. At one point he appeared to get angry with me and he leaned close to my face and mumbled some totally incoherent words. I guess that he was feeding back to me what he heard me say. He laughed as he walked away apparently feeling that he really told Mr. Linquist what a poor speaker he was. Well, back then my speech was garbled sometimes due to stained vocal cords caused by talking with hundreds of visitors, every week. And since I have been taking Advair for asthma, that same problem occurs occasionally.
Anyway I have wondered if this man when seeing his wife crying would lean close to her face and say, “Waa, Waa, Waa.” Or if he heard his mother speak would say to her, “Whine, Whine, Whine.” But no, most likely he would have said gently to his wife, “What is the problem, honey?” And to his mother he would have said, “Mom, I had a little trouble hearing you. I guess that I should clean my ears. Exactly what are you worried about?” Maybe this man speaks words full of kindness only to family and close friends. Not a good idea to exclude others.
I suspect that he would have had lots of fun mocking Swedenborg if he had been one of his contemporaries. For Swedenborg had an impediment in his speech so that he even chose to communicate in written form and not orally with the Swedish Parliament of which he was a member. Maybe this very-proud-of-himself critic has grown spiritually since those days. I do hope so. For I know that heaven is not for those who pretend to be Christians but enjoy mocking people.
(NOTE FROM ALFIE: While living in England with the family in the mid 1950’s there was a man from the Colchester society who was a master story teller. I can’t recall his name, but I do recall some of his tales. In a nutshell, a shaggy dog story is a drawn-out tale full of irrelevant details, and ending in a groan.)
Upon a time there was an army garrison located atop a rather high hill next to a small town. A number of soldiers had been granted liberty to the town with strict orders to be back on base before midnight.
Several blokes arrived just past curfew however and the Leftenant in charge was tasked to interview the miscreants and to administer punishment as appropriate.
“Smithers” shouted the Leftenant to the first soldier. “You were late for curfew last night, explain yourself!”
“Well sor” said the poor lad, “oi wus doon at the Pigeon an Whistle hafin me a pint o their stout when oi realized ‘twas nigh unto time. So I pays me tab ‘n runs outside to hail me a hansom cab, but halfway op the hill, the bloody horse keels over and drops dead!”
“Very well Smithers,” the Leftenant remarks. “Dismissed! – Caruthers!” He calls the next tardy soldier. Same question.
“Well suh!” he said. “I wuz at the snail and slug enjiing me a pint or three ‘o their best brew when I realized me must be hurri’in to get me back op t’hill. I paid me bill un rushed out to hail me a cab, but halfway up the sorry horse trips and dies!”
“NEXT!” shouts the Leftenant. Jenkins arrives and is accused the same as the others.
“Well sah,” he begins. “Ah wuz ‘avin me a few brews at the ‘ornet ‘n ‘athcet when the clock shows time to git. I leaps uut ‘t pub ‘n hails me a cab, ‘n we starts uup the ‘ill…” The Leftenant, red in the face, waves his hands and shouts. “I know, I know! The bloody horse drops dead!”
“Why no suh! We couldn’t get hup the ‘ill for dead ‘orses!”
About once a week Dorothy and I eat lunch at a local restaurant. This really is not a financial luxury since we always bring half of the lunch home to eat the next day. Usually we go to the restaurant after the lunch hours and the waitresses often have time to talk with us.
Let me tell you about one waitress who is in her twenties. She lives near Girard Avenue which is quite far into Philadelphia and she takes two busses to get out to Bucks County. She has four children, two boys with her husband who also had a child when she married him. And one of the waitress’s girl friends was unable to take care of her ten-year-old daughter, so she was to go into foster care or be adopted by strangers. But the waitress would have none of that. I can still recall seeing her straitening her back and tossing back her head as she told Dorothy and me that the girl would be part of her own family. And so she is.
Occasionally this waitress talks about one of her boys, who is two years old. He is quite a handful and being hyper-active, he often keeps her awake at night. Sometimes she refers to him as “my little monster.” She said that one Sunday recently she went to church with her family and her father, who asked the priest, “Did the holy water boil when my grandson came to mass?” The priest bent over in laughter and I quipped to the waitress, “Did the votive candles lose their flames?”
Of course she loves her son and I admire her greatly for how hard she works at being a good mom and partial breadwinner for her family. In fact I am in awe with admiration for women who work at attracting a man, marry, birth and raise children, be wise and loving moms and wives, and sometimes breadwinners for the family. Also I am aware, if any man can be, of a wife’s steady endeavors and successes in maintaining a happy family during the strains and struggles which we all endure. They have my total respect. God give them strength during the day and, on occasion, during the long, long hours of the night.
Below are excerpts from Havamal, a poem believed to be a collection of ancient sayings of the Vikings. It is believed to have been written sometime in the period of 700-900 AD.
When I was young and walked alone, alone l lost my way. I felt rich when I found company. Man delights in man.
One may know your secret – never a second. If three [know], a thousand will know.
Go you must. No guest shall stay in one place for ever. Love will be lost if you sit too long at a friend’s fire.
Load no man with lavish gifts. Small presents often win great praise. With a loaf cut and a cup shared I found fellowship.
A log’s flame leaps to another, fire kindles fire. A man listens thus he learns. The shy [man] stays shallow.
Rise early, attend to work if there’s no helping hand. The morning sleeper has much undone. The quick will catch the prize.
A prudent man wields his power in modest measure.
A lone fir in an open field withers away. A lone man loved by none – how can he live long?
A man needs warmth, the warmth of fire and of the shining sun. A healthy man is a happy man who’s neither ill nor injured.
Of small sand of small seas, small minds are made. Not all men are matched in wisdom – the imperfect are easy to find.
Though Heaven be high, the gate is low – And he that comes in there must bow – The lofty looks shall ne’er – Have entrance there.
O God! Since Thou delight’st to rest – In the humble contrite heart – First make me so to be – Then dwell with me. - Thomas Washbourne (1606-1687)
I need Thy presence every passing hour – What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? – Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be? – Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me. - Fourth verse of poem by Henry Lyte (1793-1847)
Death stands above me, whispering low – I know not what into my ear – Of his strange language all I know – Is, there is not a word of fear. - Walter Landor (1775-1864)
Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.
Quarrels would not last so long if there was fault only on one side.
Kindness is the sunshine of social life.
A chip on the shoulder is an indication of wood higher up.
Don’t worry about what other people are thinking of you.
HUMOR: Husband: “I am the boss.” Wife: “I am nothing and therefore you are the boss of nothing.”
1. One afternoon when I was in junior high school, we boys were playing a game of baseball. I was pitching and Scott Glenn (The future distinguished actor) was at bat. I knew that if I threw the ball on the inside of the plate he would hit it a “country mile” for a home run. And I knew that if I threw the ball just off the outside of the plate he would swing at it and miss. So three such pitches by me and he was called out. He has been successful in life, but that day he went down.
2. After my family came to Bryn Athyn, I worked at several minor jobs such as child-sitting, lawn-mowing, working at Soneson’s Store. The money I saved helped to pay for my college in Bryn Athyn. Each month after college, for several years, I paid cash at Leonard Gyllenhaal’s office until my tuition was paid, in full.
The meager income I made while working at the Cathedral paid for my modest home in Pine Run Park. But one day the pastor decided to remove me from my job. As a direct consequence of his decision my mother’s health deteriorated and life became very painful. Under stress she developed almost uncontrollable asthma. There were several hospitalizations. Most nights I was up, attending to her breathing difficulties. My health failed. I had not had health or home owner’s insurance for 15 years. Just before her death, in desperation, I wrote a letter to the pastor, asking for financial aid – the only time in my life that I have asked for such help.
At a regular meeting of the Bryn Athyn ministers, the pastor tossed my letter onto the table and asked coldly, “Does anyone want to take this?” All refused except one younger minister – no good came of his efforts. I know these facts regarding the meeting because someone at the meeting later told me the details.
Where were the Good Samaritans? Where was Christian love? The pastor should not have turned his back to those who were suffering, whose suffering he caused.
Today June 4th I just finished listening on the Internet to Rev. Jeremy Simons’ memorial service for Mason “Mace” Adams which Jeremy had delivered at the Cathedral on June 1st. His cheerful recounting of Mace’s life encourages me to write a few thoughts about Mace and his wife, Peb.
Mace really loved the humor in Sunshine magazine. In the past few years he called me several times at home with appreciation for some of the jokes he had just read in Sunshine. He was overjoyed with them as they really hit his funny bone. Also several times I met him at the Cathedral and he continued with his enthusiasm for Sunshine’s humor. We shared lots of smiles at those times.
Each month I took a copy of Sunshine to Peb, at the Pastor’s office, who usually put it to one side as she told me that she would give it to Mace as soon as she got home. And there were times when Peb actually stopped her typing and read the humor in the magazine. Yes, at those times she was a giggler, perhaps at some of the real groaners which sometimes find homes in Sunshine.
I might add that I write Sunshine to bring humor and the wisdom of life, as it relates to life’s good and sometimes bad parts, to residents of Cairnwood Village. And after Alfie offered to put it on the Internet, Peb thought it was a good idea to advertise it in each issue monthly in the Bryn Athyn Post. I was hesitant to toot my own horn, as it were, but Peb said, “People forget and should be reminded.”
At first, for a year or two, I simply sent a notice to Peb for the Post and then I began to add a brief quotation. And I can’t tell you how many times she encouraged me to ask a girl out on a date, during the years that I was the Cathedral Curator. She knew that I needed a wife. And guess who called me to say that she would miss me when I left the Cathedral? Peb, of course. Bishop Pendleton also was a friend at that time and I felt that Bob Junge cared about me then also. I had one very cold meeting with the Pastor then while most other ministers seemed to turn away from me. This is true. God bless Peb and Mace. They are still part of the good side of Bryn Athyn, I believe, in the memories many, most or all members of the Bryn Athyn Church.
May 29, 1929 Dutchman to his office boy: “Dots it. You got it all mixed up again yet. You know notting about it. You never did and you always will. The next time I send a fool on an errand, I go myself.”
Sept. 25, 1929 On October the 13th it is planned to have a special afternoon service in the Cathedral addressed to Youth. At this time a sermon will be preached on “The Vision of the New Church.” The Whittington Chorus will sing the 24th Psalm as an interlude.
November 27, 1929 Wanamaker’s Store had a display of Mr. Thorsten Sigstedt’s work during the past week. Another display of Mr. Sigstedt’s [wood] carving may be seen at Gimbels during the two weeks prior to Christmas.
November 27, 1929 Lawyer – “I must have the whole truth if you want me to defend you. Now have you told me everything?” Prisoner – “Everything except where I hid the money. I want that for myself.”
April 19, 1930 At an interesting bowling match last Saturday afternoon the team, composed of workers at the Cathedral, won from the expert Bryn Athyn Borough rollers by 86 pins.
June 4, 1930 Friend – “Say, Bill, why do you always hit your horses on one side?” Teamster – “I figure if I get one side going, the other is pretty sure to follow.”
October 29 1930 There were 52 visitors in Church Sunday morning and 81 the Sunday before.
November 19 1930 Sign in a business office read: Any of the workmen desiring to get off to attend the funeral of a relative must notify the foreman before 10 A.M. of the day of the game.
July 8, 1931 “The Pond” has been drained and will be closed for two weeks or a period of time sufficient to take out some of the logs which have been seasoning at the upper end.