Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Pruning! Not as in 'prunes,' even though I could benefit from a healthy dose or two daily at my age, but trimming back, lifting up and chopping so that vines become fruitful or grow or do what they do best.

For two Sundays in a row from the Rector at St. Peter's, I have heard about pruning as a necessity for life to be its best.

Three days ago, while I was standing in my loft on the stepstool (one of the few items I was granted in the divorce) ready to lop off the vine that grows at breakneck speed from atop my schrank, I wondered if plants have feelings. Anyway, I scissored away at the lengths of leaves until I could see that the tops of the wall storage units needed a good dusting and subsequent damp wiping. There! That was fruitful.

And I had to move items that I have seen but not seen for 3 or so years. There were the 3 Coolie hats - I purchased them in China when I visited - standing against the wall alongside the Waechtersbach red coffee pot I collected while living in Wurzburg, Germany during the first Gulf War. Many things from Costa Rica sat alongside, as well as the world's largest salad bowl from Bibee Pottery in Berea, Kentucky - given to me by my friend, John Leeson. My grandparents' stereopticon with the history of WWI in 3-D photos is there,too. Look up stereopticon. Stereo views were a new fad in 1889. Photographers liked being able to sell their pictures this way, since printing photos in daily or weekly (weakly) publications or books was still difficult and expensive. More fruit, for I took time from my pruning labors to look at photos of the war, a semi-naked 1889 lady, and a billy goat eating the wash from a clothes line.

I returned to my wondering. Leaving the flora, my mind wandered to the human animal, und Ich fragte mich if we have feelings. Then today, I decided that some of us do and others of us don't. I watched the news report about the young man (illegal) from Guatemala who is here to earn money to send to his poverty-stricken family in Central America. While here, he developed severe heart problems. He is dying in a hospital in a little town in Georgia. He has captured the hearts and love and smiles of the entire staff there. The dying young man's wish is to see his parents one last time before he goes. The staff and townspeople have raised the money for his parents' flights from Guatemala City, but the Department of Immigration seems to be the problem now. It is not clear if the parents are eligible by law for a visa, and if so it is not clear how long they can stay.

Come on, Immigration folks! Prune yourselves a bit. Be what you were intended to be; pruning causes the roots to take a firmer hold and the fruit to be sweeter and the flowers to be bigger and more colorful and sweeter smelling.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poetry, Piano and Pasta

With the arrival of warmer weather, the schedule of activities at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ashtabula is bursting into full bloom. Poetry, piano and pasta are on the schedule for the weekend of May 16 and 17.

At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, parishioner Dr. Janet Green will present a reading of her poetry in the Guild Room of the church. She holds a Ph.D. in Elizabethan English from the University of North Carolina. She has recently published a small paperback memoir describing her life with her mother, Elizabeth Lay Green, a memoir by her daughter Janet McNeill Green. The family name is no stranger in literary circles. Dr. Green is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Green. All are welcome and invited to attend.

On Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 in the afternoon, the Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio will return to St. Peter’s to perform a program of classical music. Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio members Stephen Rose, violin; Richard Weiss, cello; and Joela Jones, piano will be joined by guest artists Maximilian Dimoff, double bassist, and Dr. Timothy Kalil, pianist, for the concert in the sanctuary.

A pasta meal in the Parish Hall with members of the Trio will follow the concert. Seating for the meal is by reservation only. Anyone who wishes to make reservations for the meal should phone the church office (440-992-8100) between 9 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday. The deadline for reservations is noon on Friday, May 15. The poetry reading, the concert and the meal are free.

The Fine Arts Committee of the church sponsors the classical concert and pasta meal. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is located at 4901 Main Avenue in Ashtabula.

Another Opening, Another Show!

Published March 17, 2007 12:23 pm - ASHTABULA - -

The only thing missing from the set of "Over the Tavern" at the Ashtabula Arts Center is the smell of cigarette smoke wafting up the stairway into the Pazinski apartment and maybe the 'thump, thump, thump' of the jukebox that - - ...'Over the Tavern' will keep you Entertained
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA - - The only thing missing from the set of "Over the Tavern" at the Ashtabula Arts Center is the smell of cigarette smoke wafting up the stairway into the Pazinski apartment and maybe the 'thump, thump, thump' of the jukebox that - - without a doubt - - pours out polka music in Chet's Bar and Grill below.

This fun little show that delves into the lineage of Catholic school troublemakers at St. Casimir's Parochial School in Buffalo is packed with laugh lines from start to finish. Playwright Tom Dudzick has found the right mix of family, faith and fun to keep an audience entertained for 2 1/2 hours.

Even though the show begins slowly, it livens up quickly as cast members find their footing. The foreboding nun in charge of religious education for the 7th graders is Sister Clarissa; that role is habited by Martha Sorohan, a seasoned AAC actor. Sister Clarissa is the only non-Pazinski in the script. However, her influence on three generations of Polish Catholics in her charge is evident. Sorohan gets it done with a mixture of love, determination, frustration and adeptly wielding the ruler.

Douglas Eric Anderson is cast in the role of Chet Pazinski, bar owner and father of the four children about whom the show revolves. Anderson's transition from an angry man who is overworked and saddled with an alcoholic father to someone who awakens to the needs of his own children is subtle and well done. Cast opposite Anderson as his wife, Ellen, is Kami English in her first experience with the theatre. English, though too soft-spoken, does a good job as the mother of the children; however, she could define Ellen's personality just a bit more.

The four youngsters in the show are talented students who seem to enjoy their roles. Bryan Gildone, cast in the role of Rudy Pazinski, is the child who gives Clarissa palpitations with his questioning of the Baltimore Catechism and God's reason for putting us on this planet. His look, his actions and his gestures are perfect. Unfortunately, Gildone does not speak loudly enough for everyone in the audience to hear his lines. Often, I had to imagine what he was saying.

Ryan Oatman as Eddie Pazinski has no difficulty in getting across his lines or his personality. He rebels against his father's abuse and leaves the house. I got the picture that in later years Eddie was probably a parish priest somewhere. Sara Ruane as Annie Pazinski personifies every uniform-wearing girl who ever rolled up her skirt waistband to make her skirt shorter while managing to get across in her character that awkward stage that young girls go through just before boys begin to notice them.

A very interesting character is that of Georgie, a differently abled child in the Pazinski family. Georgie, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is played by Blaise Beach. Beach does an outstanding job with his character, taking in all that goes on around him but giving out with his own 'colorful' evaluations.

If you grew up Catholic in the 50's or know someone who did, or if you just want some good laughs, then "Over the Tavern" is for you. Scheduled for a short run, this production continues tonight and Saturday night at 8. Tickets may be reserved by phoning the arts center at 440-964-3396.

Star Beacon Print Edition: 3/16/2007
Click here to order our 3/16/2007 Archive edition.