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The Commute: The Pastor finds relief


Fri, Jul 11th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Ive just returned from another week at the original "Chautauqua" in New York, with a familiar dilemma: I have a real urge to talk about it, but find the whole place oddly indescribable.

Once again I spent the week with my dear friend, Marion, from Kalamazoo. Were the kind of friends who can spend a week together visiting and still have to email as soon as we get home because we forgot to say something. That kind of friendship is rare, at least in my life.

So, okay. Lets try to describe Chautauqua. It sits on the shore of Lake Chautauqua in the southwestern corner of the state of New York. It started about 130 years ago as a summer camp for Methodist Sunday school teachers, and has grown into a center for music, dance, art, literature, and is a national lecture platform for scholars. Chautauqua has nine weeks of programming each summer, and there are about 10,000 people staying there during any given week. Most of us stay in old-fashioned inns, huge old houses with do-it-yourself kitchen facilities. I like to call it "Summer Camp for Nerds", and I proudly accept my own nerdhood.

Chautauqua is steeped in tradition, which is comforting and seems somehow "American", although this same sense of tradition also leads to the sometimes humorous, rigid following of rules. I like the fact that nobody tries to be a fashion modelthe look is casual L.L. Bean. People carry "sit-upons" to lectures and concerts. If you forget your jacket or sweater someplace, it will still be right where you left it when you go back to look for it.

Maybe it would be easier to explain whats NOT found at Chautauqua: automobile traffic (except for the 45 minutes youre allowed for unloading your car), swearing in public, drinking in public, television (except for the occasional innkeepers 13-inch model), chain restaurants, people who mess up and clap between movements of a symphony, fashion trends.

I have several stories about events from this year, and I think Id like to tell the one about the Lutheran pastor from Ohio. I signed up for my usual writers workshop, but Marion decided to take a workshop in improvisational theater games, thinking shed get some ideas for teaching her Oral Interpretation of Literature class back in Michigan.

On the first day of class, the students in her class were asked, among other things, to crawl around on all fours like .....
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Ramblings: From taxes to corked bats to ardent citizenship

Thu, Jul 3rd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

All of those Pawlenty taxes went into effect on Tuesday, July 1. No Taxes Tim cut funding to local government, slashed human services, took money from the tobacco endowment, and borrowed money to build roads to balance the state budget. But he did ..... 
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Township Roads: The Train to Minot

Fri, Jun 27th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

My wife, Deb, and I took the train from Red Wing, Minnesota to Minot, North Dakota for a recent conference. Flying was expensive, as apparently only one airline wants to take an airplane out of service every day to fly it to Minot. Driving was practi ..... 
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Another One from Flaherty: The Dormant News

Fri, Jun 27th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

We have in Flabbergast County a very fine County newspaper in The Dormant News whos slogan is all the news thats fit to print and even some that aint. I thoroughly enjoy reading it and what I find especially interesting are the social items that a ..... 
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Are you Game?: Pitching wins championships

Fri, Jun 20th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

At last the NBA Finals are over. Now begins the NBA second season where trades are made, players are drafted and veterans a little too long in the tooth call it quits.

There are many questions to be answered: Where will Jason Ki ..... 
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At Home in the Woods:My favorite places

Fri, Jun 20th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

It's the third time I've been here this year, but the first time alone. The trail through the narrow valley of Shattuck Creek leads me deep into the woods. I look up at the big oak, maple, basswood and walnut trees and down at the green forest floor ..... 
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