Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cultivating Culture

Mother and I have had a very comfortable week cultivating culture.  Every evening we have been faithfully watching BBC News, and not only that we have whiled away a few pleasant hours watching Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery Series by Dorothy Sayers.

“You know, Alfred,” said Mother, “BBC has a much better coverage of international news than our stateside news organizations.”

“Quite right, Mother,” said I, “and not only that, their command of the King’s English is impeccable.  Why after a few evenings of close attention to their speech patterns I have been able to brush up on my own accent.”

“Yes, Alfred,” said Mother, who was very excited, “and what we can’t glean from BBC News, we can certainly reap from Lord Peter Wimsey.  Such a lovely man, and such a lovely accent.”

“You know, Mother, years ago I learned so much from old Father Phineas Lofty.  He had spent five years in England as a student, but he grew up in New Jersey.  He had such a lovely English accent.  I once asked him why he still had an English accent although he had only lived in England for a few years in his youth.  He laughed and reverted to his New Jersey accent and said, ‘I if sounded like this, who would listen to me?’  Marvellous sense of humour, but he was quite right.”

“Not only that, Alfred,” said Mother, “He was so finely tuned to the members of his parish that he was never gauche, never confrontational.  Such a sweet man.”

“That, Mother, is precisely what is bothering me about going to Lessons and Carols with the Whittingtons.  I’m really not in the mood to sit through another sermon.  If the Whittingtons hadn’t offered to pick us up on their way to Church this morning I think I might just have given it a miss.  Going to Church on Christmas eve with our son Jeremy and his Winifred would have been quite enough Church for one Christmas season.”

“Don’t worry,” said Mother.  “With Lessons and Carols, if there is a sermon it’s bound to be short, and even if it’s not I’m quite looking forward to lunch with our group after service; besides that the Whittingtons are picking us up in their Aston Martin Lagonda.”

“Our group, Mother?” said I.

“Well, you know what I mean, Alfred, the Whittingtons and the group from Church.”

“Oh,” said I, but privately to myself, “I’m afraid, Mother, that I do know what you mean, and I’m not sure that I’m ready for that kind of involvement.”  But, you know it wouldn’t do to say that aloud to Mother.  When she gets a bee in her bonnet, best to leave it alone and hope that it just buzzes off by itself.

“Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).  

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