Diversions of a retired pastor

From the beginning of writing my journal, I have worried that my thoughts might be repetitious. I don’t want my journal to be boring to regular readers. I decided that I would make political commentary a rare subject because there are plenty of political blogs and as a pastor, I didn’t want to alienate people who had different political opinions than mine. Living in South Dakota, there were plenty of people who had different political opinions and I counted them as my friends. I was proud of the simple fact that our congregation had rich diversity of opinion and was a meeting place for those who disagreed. I worked hard to keep opinions from dividing people and the conversation civil. I often would say, “I don’t mind telling you what I think, but I don’t want to tell you what to think.” I also knew that there would be people who might think that I was speaking on behalf of the church. A pastor is seen as a spokesperson for the church even when she or he feels that the speech is private. Since publishing my journal is an act of going public, I didn’t want people to think that I had authority to speak for the entire church. We congregationalists are fiercely independent and don’t like to have others speak for us.

I set up a few runs for myself in the early days of my writing. At one point, I decided that I had posted enough pictures and told enough stories of our cats and decided to stop writing about them. That rule became moot when our cats passed away and for a time we had no cats. Here in our rental home, we have a no pets clause in our lease agreement. However, our son has a barn at his farm and what is a barn without some barn cats? These days there are three cats who live in the shop where I work a couple of days each week. They are “rescue” cats and were quite wild when we got them. It has taken me a while to get to the point where they do anything except hide when I come into the shop. There are lots of good hiding places in the shop. But they now know that I’m the person who leaves fresh food for them and who puts treats and toys out and who cleans their litter box. I installed a cat door in the shop so that they could venture out around the farm and explore the rest of the barn, where there is no shortage of mice to hunt. So far, I see no evidence that they have used the cat door, even though I put treats right next to it. I’ll prop it open one night and see what they discover.

So, I might relent and include a cat story from time to time.

Also, there are times when I want to follow-up on things I have previously written. For those of you who don’t live in South Dakota, I should report that snow came yesterday. Friends sent a picture of 5” of snow on their deck. They live near where the fires were raging and are now under control. It turns out that the fires were a scare, but the losses were fairly light. The snow is just what is needed right now.

I’m still finding my fitness watch to be amusing. Yesterday, I replaced three valves in some of the farm plumbing and set seven fence posts in concrete. I was building fence as I went along with rails and pickets and carrying lots of materials, including 80 pound bags of concrete. After a day’s work, and a leisurely supper we went for a walk along the river. It was a pleasant evening for a stroll. My watch decided that the walk along the river was more than twice as much exercise as building fence. Go figure!

Our grandson has expressed interest in flying remote control airplanes. We purchased a basic beginner airplane for him at Christmas and he has enjoyed flying it. We expanded his fleet a bit with another plane at his birthday and I have worked with him building a couple more. Along the way I discovered that the basic airplanes, minus the electronics and motors, can be constructed very inexpensively out of cheap foam board purchased at the dollar store. I can build a pretty neat model for a couple of dollars. The process was fun and I was learning, so I made a couple model bush planes. Since I didn’t invest in a fancy transmitter and I didn’t install electronics in my model planes, they were fun to build and interesting to look at, but didn’t have much play value. I switched to making gliders that can be thrown. I’ve build several that we can use to play catch in the back yard and one that is way too big to fly in our back yard.

Then we had a conversation about aerodynamics that involved taking about the biplanes and triplanes that were used in World War I. Those planes produced so much drag that even with their tremendous lift, they simply couldn’t go very fast. So I build a model of a Fokker DR1 triplane and a Sopwith SE5 to illustrate the conversation. For fun I painted them. They don’t fly as they have no motors and the weight and balance are off, but they were fun to make.

Now I have a whole bunch of foam airplanes in the garage without much purpose. They were fun to make and I don’t have much money in them - probably less than $20 in the whole batch. I have no idea what to do with them. I guess I’ll see if I can meet a kid whose parents don’t mind if he or she brings home a bunch of foam airplanes. Maybe I could give them away one at a time. They seem to collect in the garage faster than canoes.