Personal/Theological Notebook: Being Sick and Chrysogonus's Birthday Party
Reprinted from a letter from this time:
The steroids (prednizone) have really kicked in today and I've been eating like it was going out of style. That has proved to be the bulk of my day, except for movie-watching. This is the first time I've actually entertained myself while home sick. Turner Movie Classics is going through this huge review of Oscar winners and Oscar-nominated films. I've watched a ton over the past five days, most of which I've never seen before.
Harvey The Gorgeous Hussy The Valley of Decision Flight Command The Great Ziegfeld Unconquered Casanova Brown Mrs. Miniver Lassie Come Home Mystery Street Oliver! 2001: A Space Odyssey Sweethearts Madame Bovary The V.I.P.s The Great Escape The Magnificent Seven How the West Was Won West Side Story Annie Was a Wonder Julius Caesar The Mark of Zorro The Black Swan The Guns of Navarone The Pink Panther and What's New Pussycat?
The last I just finished at 10 and made myself a bowl of soup and here I am. In the midst of this quality entertainment, I also watched an episode of Voyager and The Maclaughlin Group this morning. But best of all, last night I left (missing the second half of Julius Caesar, which is great but I'd seen before) to go to Karen and Scott Kirner's place for dinner and some music afterwards. The chief delight of the night was the guest of honour: our own Chrysogonus Waddell, who was up for a conference in Chicago and stuck around to spend today with Steve confering about a project. Josh Warner was already there, Steve and Michelle showed up shortly having just flown in from a conference in Washington, D. C., and then later we were joined by Nathan Warner, who's home from the Manhattan School of Music on his two-week spring break. Erik stopped in later, having been out to eat already. The Warners left shortly after the food, alas, but the rest of us carried on.
Dinner was a wonderful Lasagna, with a successful use of Turkey Sausage by Scott. At the end of the dinner, though, we had a cake and ice cream (with Raspberry sauce) because somehow they'd discovered that Chrysogonus had just turned 70 on the 2nd of March. So we had a birthday party and Chrysogonus was terribly excited, as it was his first birthday party in over 50 years!
The conversation was great of course, and I got to hear of Chrysogonus' journeys this past summer in Kenya and Uganda, where he was speaking to a few gatherings and staying with Trappists in that area. He had lots of comments on the liturgies! Actually, he was surprised by how restrained they were, although they sounded like they let loose at the end! He and I then compared notes on Celtic sites and was asking me all sorts of questions about Skellig Michael, which he said would have terrified him since he was afraid of heights. We then got into these Celtic prayers that Karen and Scott have set to music and heard a fair sample of them. There was also a lot of talk about books, of course. Chrysogonus just recently discovered Madeleine L'Engle, actually, and wants to read all of her work. He said that he finds he's going back and re-reading lots of his favourite stories nowadays and that got me into The Lord of the Rings, which I myself just re-read, finishing that up in the midst of these movies. And we spoke of movies, too, including the great lengths he went to last spring, missing a Holy Saturday service in New York City to see Shakespeare in Love at the last place that it was being shown, with him rationalising to himself that he wouldn't get another chance to see it. He said he was then "punished" because it was the film on two of his next flights.
Wheeee! What fun! So we talked and played a little music until around eleven last night, at which point Chrysogonus had been up quite a while (and still needed to say his evening office.) He was also in a quandry because he was staying in the Bishop's Room in Corby Hall, which featured a well-stocked liquor cabinet, and which Chrysogonus was sure they'd be able to check and see how much he drank of what. This was to him no small quandry. And that was about the last I saw of him. He and Erik dropped me off and now I have to read Augustine for tomorrow.