Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eighth Dolor in Las Vegas

OK, the first thing you need to know is that Dolor means sorrow. Traditionally there are seven sorrows which Mary suffers as the mother of Jesus. Hence her name: Our Lady of the Sorrows, or Dolores, or in Spanish, Nuestra Senora de los Dolores.

Now, when my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary there was a big party out at the Hoban's lake house in Coeur d' Alene Idaho. My parents and two other couples all got married around the same time that year, so the three couples and their children got together for a big shindig at the lake. I must have been around 15 years old. Well, as you might imagine with these large Catholic families, the kids lost no time finding ways to celebrate too. The result being captured on film by my god-father Austin.

Here I am passed out from my first exposure to alcohol. Austin very sympathetically (to my mother) captioned the picture, "Eighth Dolor." And so I am.

That's my mother sitting next to me, not pleased. You had to have a sense of humor to survive raising six kids through adolescence, through the 70's no less. Austin's quip certainly helped this particular episode.

This picture and its tawdry tale drifted into blessed memory for thirty years until my pal and I decided that New Mexico was to be our next home. Specifically, the former parsonage of a church in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Here is a picture of our new home where we should be living come June.

Established by Spanish land grant in 1835, Las Vegas was originally called Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Las Vegas Grandes (Our Lady of Sorrows of the Great Meadows)

And naturally her church is Nuestra Senora de los Dolores Catholic Church, its foundation was laid in 1862.

You are probably connecting the dots (or should I say "dolors," Dolores) quite effectively on your own. But each story beseeches its narrator to carry it to its own Golgotha, and so I continue the travail.

Of course, the church to which our new home was once parsonage, is indeed dedicated to "Our Lady of the Sorrows," aka Dolores.

You need to know that this move is something of a miracle: that we qualified for the loan to buy this place, that we survived a challenging year in Indiana intact, that we found a place that provides two studios a residence and rental income, that the world hasn't quite made that proverbial hand-basket trip to hell.... would all point to the miraculous.

I can't help thinking that Our Lady enjoyed Austin's joke some thirty years ago, and with laughter amid her Dolors, granted her "Eighth Dolor" a bit of grace, and called him to her beautiful home on the edge of the great meadows in New Mexico.

You can bet I'll be building shrines come summer!

Chantal Cordey Guitar Strap

Chantal Cordey is a gifted artist living in Australia. Currently she is lending her vast talents to the making of custom guitar straps. This is the strap she just finished for my R Taylor and me. I feel very fortunate to have this guitar to play, and doubly fortunate to have this lovely strap to support the playing.

The design took us several months to develop. Mainly because she is so talented and I love her work so much, I couldn't settle on just one idea. With patience, Chantal helped me hone my ideas down to this beautiful and powerful motif. I love how the Apple Blossoms cascade down the strap. The color tones and texture are evocative of the old west, and the Medicine Wheel is substantial yet soft. Just Perfect.

Check out her link in the "links of beauty" section. She has a wonderful web page which shows the breadth and depth of her work. She recently won an award for a design using the deadly "ghost nets" floating off the Gulf of Carpentaria in Arnhem land.

I'm here to tell you this strap helps me play better. And it looks so good too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

David Foege

My friend David died in April, the cruelest month. I loved him very much. He was a true brother, and I miss him greatly.

His family offered this poem at his memorial:

We trust that beyond absence
there is a presence.

That beyond the pain
there can be healing.

That beyond the brokenness
there can be wholeness.

That beyond the anger
there may be peace.

That beyond the hurting
there may be forgiveness.

That beyond the silence
there may be the word.

That beyond the word
there maybe understanding.

That through understanding
there is love.