Sigh, sob, gasp! Downton Abbey will not appear on Sunday evening, February 28! To fill the Downton Void, come to a Downton Potluck Supper at 5:30p.m. in the Parish Hall. Feel free to dress as your favorite character, and to bring your sterling and crystal, or not! Do bring appetizers, salads, entrees and/or desserts to share; also any adult beverage you would care to offer your table. Macaroni and cheese, plus childcare, will be available for children, and punch, coffee and tea for all --using the silver service, of course!
Yes, the Dowager Lady Grantham would be appalled -- if she comes. Will she or won't she? We'll talk about our favorite characters, prognosticate on possible conclusions for the series on March 6, and along the way, wonder together about possible parallels between Downton Abbey and Christ Abbey -- er, uh -- Church! Please join the foolishness, and plan to have great fun!
I don't typically give theater reviews in this space, but"Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years" is not your typical play. Bessie and Sadie Delany's book by the same title was published 1993, and it's as if we have come to visit their home in Mount Vernon, NY two years later. First they invite us to stay for tea, and later for a dinner of all their father's favorite foods. Over tea and while preparing dinner, they tell us remarkable stories of their family, their own amazing lives, and of many African-Americans in the late 19th and the 20th centuries. Bessie, full of vinegar (her word), trained at Columbia to become a dentist, and from her dental office helped organize protests during the Civil Rights movement of the '50's and '60's. Both agree Sadie is more sweetly tempered. She tried to get along with everyone, also received a graduate degree from Columbia, and cleverly contrived, on the strength of her credentials alone, to be assigned to teach in a New York high school where no African-American had previously taught (and to be paid what no African-American teacher had previously been paid.)
Their father, the Rt. Rev. Henry B. Delany, was born a slave in Georgia, sent to school by an Episcopal priest, and later became one of the first African-American bishops in the Episcopal Church. They are just as proud of their mother, Nanny Logan Delany: They explain to us her identity as an "issue-free Negro," and the singular devotion their white grandfather had for their black grandmother. It was against the law for couples like their grandparents to marry in Virginia until 1967.
"Having Our Say" is now on-stage at the Long Wharf Theatre through March 13. A co-production with the Hartford Stage, it will be presented there March 31-April 24. Olivia Cole and Brenda Pressley convinced me they were 103 and 101 years of age, and their home, i.e. the set, appeared to be lifted right out of the early 1960's when the sisters bought their "harvest gold" kitchen appliances. Details are available here for New Haven and here for Hartford.
None of the Delanys figure in this year's Lent Madness, but Bishop Delaney is on the Episcopal calendar of Holy Women, Holy Men for April 14. However, the Lent Madness "Supreme Executive Committee" does welcome nominations. I will be suggesting them for consideration! You can learn about other interesting saintly characters at www.LentMadness.org, and in “The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness” The Definitive Guide also includes some inspired recipes and a mash-up of prayer cards and baseball cards for those who obtained the “Golden Halo” in previous years. Copies are available in the back of the church; $2 each, while they last!
I look forward to seeing you, as we continue our Lenten journey this week!
In faith and hope,
p.s. Huge thanks to the crew who cleaned out the Parish Hall attic last Saturday: James Austin-Small, Noah Elmaleki, Shem Elmaleki, Joe Ferrall, Evelyn Ferrall, Sheward Hagerty, Megan McNamara, Mark McNamara, Cindy McNamara, Mark Sullivan and Jane Ferrall who wrote, "a huge giant thank you and bouquet of roses to Gene Bishop for not only helping with the cleanup but donating the use of his dump truck!" It was a dusty, dirty, mildewed truckload. Perhaps now we can see to making the attic a clean and dry storeroom.
p.s. #2: Thanks for all the kind and thoughtful expressions of condolence and sympathy following Boone's death last week. It helped to know that I'm not alone in missing him.
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