Sunday Letters
Barbara at Museum12 March 2000

Dear Friend,

. . . This week was my first as managing editor of "Image -- A Journal of the Arts and Religion." I did throw several unsolicited submissions into a box but that's as close as I've come to actually editing a manuscript. The journal is hosting a seven-day retreat at St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 6-13 and for most of the past week I prepared materials for registrants and updated Image's website with new information including addresses and phone numbers of hotels and campsites in the Santa Fe area. If you are an artist or painter who wants to spend seven days exploring your craft in a Christian environment, let me know. There's also a course called "Faith and Imagination" for those who would rather philosophize. Click here to learn more.
. . . The offices of Image are in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, a town reminiscent of Bedford Falls in "It's A Wonderful Life." A cop walks his beat. People say hello. The entire downtown is a historic district. But other things don't fit the Hollywood stereotype. For one, Kennett Square is the "Mushroom Capital of the World" and the air is often thick with the smell of steaming manure. Much of the work is done by immigrants from Mexico and beyond, some of whom don't speak a lick of English. Then there are all those folks of means who are fleeing Philadelphia to live in new developments along Route One, a fast road carrying commuters past beautiful Longwood Gardens, historic Brandywine Battlefield, and the thrilling exhibits of the Mushroom Museum.
.Delmarvalous Chicken logo . . Seventeen miles to the east, Barbara and I have found a house we want to buy, just a block from where we've been renting. The house was built in three stages -- 1910, 1951, and 1985 -- so the bedrooms are funky and the living area is spiff. We just looked at it a few hours ago, so, other than telling the present owners we want to buy it, nothing further has transpired. We'll let you know as soon as we've moved in and have the guest quarters ready.
. . . Seventeen hundred miles to the southwest, Barbara's father, who recently had a pacemaker implanted, discovered his vision in one eye is suddenly bad. When he looks at parallel lines with the bad eye, they merge together in a pointed twirl at the center of his vision. When he looks at his wife with the bad eye, she has a long, sharp nose. Explanations? Perhaps a small stroke or a reaction to medication or . . . speculation is easy. A cure? Probably not. He says he is "really bummed out" -- as though he grew up in the '60s instead of the '30s. My question is this: I've played lots of card games where one-eyed Jack's are wild. What are one-eyed Joes?
. . . Of course we want your prayers, good thoughts, and idle musings about my new work, our possible new house, and Barb's dad's health. But let me ask for something else as well -- your recommendations. I'd like to hear from you what books, movies, and CDs you think others should consider. Here's my three cents worth: "The Madman and the Professor" by Simon Winchester, "My Dog Skip" (the movie based on Willie Morris's book) and "Mahler: The Symphonies" by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
.Detail of map at museum . . Incidentally, putting the Arden Artist's Tour on my website recently led me to a prayer meeting. Is this how God works? One of the painters on the tour saw the site, saw I had been to her church, and invited me to the prayer meeting. We prayed for everyone under the sun and under the ground. (Did you know that most of the people ever alive in the United States are alive now? Does that mean that most of the History of the United States is happening now?) We even prayed for you, giving thanks that you are thankful for your many blessings and patient in your distress. Just remember -- you are an individual, just like everyone else.

Photographs on this page are from our visit to the Delaware History Museum.
Top Photo: Barbara tries on wooden shoes and a hat.
Middle Photo: Here's the logo for "Delmarvalous Chicken." The Delmarva Peninsula -- named after the three states who share it -- ships chickens all over the world. Much of the dark meat and all the feet and beaks go to the Orient. Note the use of the map of North America in the chicken itself.
Bottom Photo: The old maps in the museum had these nice little drawings of sailing ships to fill in the empty oceans.

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