Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Prayer for Chardon

A Prayer for Chardon

Gracious God, Lord of All,
We thank you for this day and for your grace.

And we ask you, on this the first anniversary of that awful day, to bless the victims of the Chardon High School shooting—bless Danny, Demetrius, and Russell. Bring them into your Beloved Community. Please help Nick recover from his injuries and live a good and productive life. We ask you to help the others who were wounded, and all those wounded in spirit. Bless their families.

We even ask you to bless T.J. Lane, his parents, grandparents, family, and friends. Bring your redemption and forgiveness.

Good Lord, help us to find a way to heal the victims and find a way to prevent such as this from ever happening again.

Finally, Loving God, thank you for Chardon, our home. Continue to bless our Community.


Bob Coughlin
February 27, 2013

Remembering Chardon

A year ago this morning, right around 7:45 am, I drove west on US Route 6 in Chardon, Ohio, heading for work. Right around the time I passed Maple Avenue, about a third of a mile from Chardon High School, I started hearing confusing radio reports about a possible shooting at the school two of my daughters had attended. I continued down Rt 44, which is called Center Street in Chardon, passing the Giant Eagle and Walmart right around the time an emergency medical helicopter was landing thereabouts.

The end result was a slaughter of three young lives, Danny Parmertor, Russell King Jr, and Demetrius Hewlin; the serious injury to Nick Walczak; and injuries to Joy Rickers and Nate Mueller. The shooter was TJ Lane, who yesterday pleaded guilty to the murders.

How many people were really injured and powerfully affected by this event--that can never be said with any certainty. I've seen Mr. and Mrs. Parmertor in church and watched an interview of them on television this morning. You can still see the deep pain and sorrow in their faces. We want Mr. and Mrs. Parmetor, as well as the parents, families, and friends of all the victims (and even the shooter, TJ Lane, and his family) to know that we are with them, we share their pain, we will continue helping them rebuild their lives.

We will never forget their loved ones. We will do all we can to prevent something like this from happening again.

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Poem

What a beautiful name we gave you, O Carolan!

What a beautiful name we gave you, O Carolan!
Musical with the three vowels,
The liquid r and l, the resonant n,
Contrasting with the hard-edged c

Perfect metaphor for you,
The mix of toughness and sensitivity,
Hard edged

yet beautiful.

A parish priest's hopes for the next pope | National Catholic Reporter

A parish priest's hopes for the next pope | National Catholic Reporter

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dermot Somerville and "Shanua" in Concert in Hiram, Ohio

What a wonderful concert we heard last night! In the old and beautiful Hiram Christian Church we heard the group "Shanua" do a concert that featured songs in Irish  English, and Estonian (yes, Estonian). Dermot Somerville and his wife √úlle Laido are the creative forces behind this music, writing tunes and lyrics, and arranging for chorus and other instruments (oboe, double bass, viola, violin, piano, harp, etc).

Last night's program was entitled "Enchanment," and featured most of the music and songs from their latest cd by that very name (with a few bonus pieces thrown in, like their wonderful version of "Wild Mountain Thyme"). [more coming]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Marion Lake in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Sunset at Lake Marion, looking toward Glacier National Park

Perfect Day for Ice Fishing!

"Shredding it"--as my daughter would say
Carolan and Jeremy, above Marion Lake, near Essex, Montana--looking toward Glacier National Park

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Northern Lights Over Iceland

Look at this amazing video of the Aurora Borealis over Iceland:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crested Butte, Colorado

Beautiful Day at Crested Butte

Carolan at Crested Butte, Colorado

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snow Angels in Crested Butte--Sarah Dean

There were three snow angels in a cemetery in Crested Butte, Colorado this weekend, created by Carolan, Elaine, and Heather, friends from the Montana Conservation Corps. Right there in two feet of snow by Sarah Dean's grave. Right there in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Along with the snow angels, I suspect there were real angels there too, as her parents and friends remembered Sarah, how she blessed the earth for her thirty years. Lots of tears, but also story telling and abundant laughter.

"Let perpetual Light shine upon her, dear Lord."

Irish Music Session at Hiram College

Yesterday there was another Irish music "session" at historic Hiram College (some 35 miles or so southeast of Cleveland). The sessions take place three or four times a year, on Sundays, 2-4 PM in Frohring Hall. Yesterday was a bitter cold winter day, which might have held down the number of participants a bit. Still, there were many fine musicians there and a few observers.

The organizer of these sessions is Tina Spencer Dreisbach--helped out by her husband Paul. Tina plays Irish flute (a simple-system flute) and concertina; Paul plays tin whistle and the uillean pipes (Irish elbow bagpipes). I'm pretty sure Tina and Paul play many other instruments too!

Also there was master bodhran player and whistle player Sheldon Firem (he lives a mile or so from me near Chardon, Ohio). We also had a piano player, a woman who played autoharp; an excellent guitarist; me, with my whistle and guitar; Bill Kennedy, emcee of the radio program "Sweeney Astray," on WCSB, 89.3 FM--Bill was playing a mandolin. There was also a fiddle player and the harp player, Ellen Eckhouse, of the Garrettsville Village Bookstore.

So not bad for a cold and snowy winter's day in Northeast Ohio! A wonderful Sunday afternoon of Irish music.

Rochester NY Snow Monster

From Tim Forward, my old Notre Dame/Innsbruck friend. He entitles it "February Still Life."

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Grandson Colin (Re-) Invents the English Language

About a month ago I heard my Grandson Colin (age 2 1/2) utter a sentence that was something like "Colin Nana happy no." We immediately understood what he was saying: "Colin and Grandma are not happy." No one in the history of the world has uttered some of the sentences Colin uses, with his peculiar (and I mean peculiar) way of pronouncing them. He has never heard his parents, his grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone utter some of these sentences in this way, with this peculiar syntax and this peculiar pronunciation.

What Colin is doing, and what every child does learning his or her native language, is inventing English--then reinventing it. Colin keeps reinventing it as he comes closer and closer to the language that adults around him are speaking.

This might seem to be a strange theory of language acquisition and development. But this is exactly what is done: We invent our native language.

Colin is now talking our ears off. We understand about 3/4 of what he is saying. Some of his most interesting language inventions are falling away. That's inevitable, but it does seem a bit of a shame. He is getting away from referring to himself in the 3rd person--"Colin," which he pronounces something like /a:li:/ using IPA approximations. Using our writing system you could write it something like "AH-lee," with the final vowel nasalized. He's now moving toward using the pronoun "I."

He is not using sign language gestures as much as he did (he used to consistently sign "more," "thank you," and "please"). He still uses the Spanish word "agua" for water (pronouncing it something like "AH-wah"). I taught him this word as a bit of a joke, but he persisted in using it. At one time one of his sentences would feature ASL signs, a Spanish word, and his version of English words, all pronounced in his non-standard (yet often understandable) way.

It has been so much fun to watch Colin's language develop. iIt's a little miracle--one that happens every day, all over the world.

p.s Just thought of another sentence he uttered a couple weeks ago: "Colin Nana Beep-beep." This means (and we understood it perfectly), "Colin wants Grandma to play trains (beep-beep) with him." To negate this, he would just add "no" at the end. That would mean "Colin does not want to play trains with Grandma."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ash Wednesday

The Last Ash Wednesday (February 2003)

After teaching my classes,
I drive over to Kevin’s house
Where Mom now lives after moving from Euclid
Our family home for fifty-one years.

It’s getting harder for her to go out,
So I come to her house,
Burn last year’s palm fronds in the ash tray

And anoint her forehead with the Sign of the Cross.

I find myself unable to utter the ancient words,
“Remember, Woman, from dust thou art,
And unto dust thou shallt return.”

The words are too painful, too real,
The abiding dust
too close.

Then Mom anoints my own forehead,
Again leaving the words unspoken:

No one can ever know . . . .

After the little ceremony,
We both laugh, and Mom says,
“Let’s drink a beer!”

“Not on Ash Wednesday,” I tease.

“The hell with that!” she retorts.
“I’m old enough now to be above the rules!”

We both laugh, and I pop open two beers.
We drink to Mardi Gras and to Lent,
And to the ashes on our foreheads.

[Bob Coughlin, February 21, 2007, Ash Wednesday]

Friday, February 8, 2013

Spring Torture--from Lexington, Kentucky

My normally wonderful brother- and sister-in-law, Steve and Sue Sanders, sent a photo of blooming crocuses seen in their neighbors' yard in Lexington, Kentucky. Meanwhile we are still under a blanket of snow. Crocuses aren't going to be seen in Northeast Ohio any time soon!

Here is their version of Spring Torture:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Carolan's Winter Adventure in the Great Bear Wilderness

Last night we heard from our daughter Carolan about her weekend. If you want to know why much of my hair has disappeared and the rest is turning gray or white--think Carolan and her adventures!

Carolan, along with her friend Jeremy and one or two other friends, drove on Route 2 from Kalispell/Whitefish, Montana to Essex (so small you can hardly call it a town) and the Izaak Walton Inn, which is on the Middle Fork Flathead River, just south of Glacier National Park and immediately north of the Great Bear Wilderness (a section of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex). They parked their car there, and then Carolan snow-shoed while Jeremy and the others cross country skied about 4 miles to Marion Lake in the Great Bear.

Carolan walked the Marion Lake Trail with a pack on her back, and her snowboard over her shoulder. The trek is about four miles long, with an elevation gain of 1800 feet. This is the definition of exhaustion. The trek was over very deep snow, so deep they could not figure out the depth--but it was over Jeremy's head. Maybe there were 6 to 10 feet of snow there. When they got to the frozen alpine lake, they snow-shoed and skied the mile across the lake. After that they climbed much of the way up a nearby peak and skied down.

That night the crew winter camped, probably at 6000 feet, and made their way back the next day.
Izaak Walton Inn and Amtrak Train, about 4 miles from Marion Lake

Middle Fork Flathead near Essex, Montana (Wikipedia)