|November 2021 Vol. III: Issue 5
The words (and wisdom) of Max Coots:
"...these days, Thanksgiving is not as obvious as it once was. There is too much artificial distance between us and earth. The squash comes packaged. The turkey too! Our only effort is to thaw and bake, to tear along the dotted line conveniently. The paying for it all is antiseptic now, with no smell of earth or of human hands to prove these things came from anywhere but some efficient cannery or some neon-lighted marketplace. Yet truth is truth. The earth abides. Beneath our machined
sophistication lies the earth.
“Possessions, conveniences, machines and things may cover up the earth' s decay and growth, the billboard hides the tree, the endless roads to nowhere cover grass, and human noise grows loud enough that no one hears the wind or cares to watch the sparrow. Yet, even these have come from the earth, and even these return to it one day... Now the world reveals itself in more dimensions, and neither things nor men nor issues can hide in the leafless woods. We may say it all looks stark and bare, and I suppose it does, but it also looks clean and clear, for those who dare to look without the screen of leaves and grass that covered so much before the frost came on.
“A clear view is one thing this time of year allows. Or if the day turns warm, as days sometimes do this time of year, we may see that the world is full of balance once again..."
“...For every Spring, a Fall. For every Summer, a Winter's snow. For every sort of sorrow, I suspect a time to laugh. For every noise, a silence.”
By Elizabeth Drew Stoddard
Much have I spoken of the faded leaf;
Long have I listened to the wailing wind,
And watched it ploughing through the heavy clouds,
For autumn charms my melancholy mind.
When autumn comes, the poets sing a dirge:
The year must perish; all the flowers are dead;
The sheaves are gathered; and the mottled quail
Runs in the stubble, but the lark has fled!
Still, autumn ushers in the Christmas cheer,
The holly-berries and the ivy-tree:
They weave a chaplet for the Old Year’s bier,
These waiting mourners do not sing for me!
I find sweet peace in depths of autumn woods,
Where grow the ragged ferns and roughened moss;
The naked, silent trees have taught me this—
The loss of beauty is not always loss!
Happy Thanksgiving to All!
|Music at UUCSV for November
November 7 - Sue Stone plays piano: Prelude, postlude, offertory and 3 hymns.
November 14 - Second Sundays music by "The String Sisters" ( 2 pieces); Linda Metzner plays piano: Prelude, postlude and 2 hymns.
November 21 - Linda Metzner plays piano: Prelude, postlude, offertory and 3 hymns.
November 28 - Choir Anthems (2 pieces); Sue Stone plays piano: Prelude, postlude and 2 hymns.
This music says "Thank You" here on You Tube! (You can skip the ad at the beginning.)
In Gratitude for UUCSV Board Member, Rochelle Broome
She’s on the Board
And sings a tune
Morn, night or noon.
Rides a Harley
A mobile doc,
This babe can rock!
Her glowing smile
Brightens our day
Lights our way.
She loves our church
Makes great pizza dough
We love her back,
She’s uniquely, Ro!
By Carolyn Shorkey
This is a true story about a circle of friends. With Phil's impending death as the catalyst, an endless loop of activity among us orbited around Dawn's house. People came and went. Donated meals were left off; many on the round table outside Dawn's office door. She even put a small refrigerator out there to help store them and not create too much traffic inside the privacy of the home.
For several months a wooden casket sat on my back porch, temporarily being used as a large coffee table. Early in Phil's cancer Dawn had asked me to build it. I asked her to measure his height, and I commenced working on it. It was a pleasure to build; a project I had never done in all my years of carpentry.
In this tiny little corner of the universe here in Swannanoa Valley, our circle of friends coexist in significant harmony with one another. There is a unified diversity among us. We are each unique, and mutually respected by one another. We have spent many an evening at someone's dinner table talking and laughing. We have sat around someone's fire in the cool of the night, the communion of the flames warming our hearts and silently bonding us while we gazed at the stars and counted satellites. Over time we have helped each other in many ways, and we have felt that friendship nurture our souls.
Phil came back to this valley to retire and was soon diagnosed with cancer. Even though they had been divorced for years, Dawn took him in her home and set up a space for Phil to find his way through the exit. Several of us helped get him to medical appointments and treatments. Phil often lounged on the back deck, with more blankets on him as fall approached. He walked Sadie and helped look after her. He and Sadie developed a close bond. Of course, if you know Sadie, she bonded with nearly everyone.
Then the daughters Carolyn and Annelies came and stayed through the final days. They and Dawn took shifts caring for and cuddling/sleeping with Phil. When Hospice arrived, some of us carried Phil to the living room and placed him in his hospital bed, which gave him a view out the big windows toward the northern mountains and Craggie Gardens.
(continued at bottom of post)
Thanks to the Universe for...gladness.
Glad for who I am
Glad for where I am.
Glad for where I live.
Glad for TV
even with disturbing. News.
Glad for a cell phone
Even as it upsets me so.
Glad for my Country
Even with wars, fake news and viruses.
Glad for my health
Even with some problems.
Glad to be able to be Glad, problems and all.
Glad to be alive.
By Ann Sillman
Gratitude for Water
Water will flow to you, lucky blessed Human
straight down the mountain, clear, crisp,
almost white with coldness on a July day.
You can drink this!
Water will flow for you, fortunate one,
over rocks worn beautiful with the
the rush and gurgle, the pounding of water
unending, abundant, all-powerful.
You can bathe in this!
Water will run through your arteries and veins,
dear blessed one,
making all your body sacred, connected,
healed in itself, and in each other.
You live because of this!
Here we are, Human, on our blue-green Water Planet,
spinning through the galaxy, evolving over eons,
because of Water, Water!
Touch Her to your forehead, your most sacred places,
Greed must not come near Her!
Never attempt to control Her!
In every blade, in every vein,
in every rock and stone, we share Her.
Do homage to our most beautiful, singing Mother,
July 31, 2011
|Memorial to Railroad workers
A debt of gratitude is the obligation of repayment for a benefit extended by the generosity or sacrifice of others. Sometimes we may owe a debt of gratitude that is impossible to repay.
Until the l870s, Western North Carolina was isolated from the rest of the state by the difficulty of traveling and carrying goods over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad in 1879 from Old Fort to the top of the mountain and through the Swannanoa Tunnel opened opportunities for tourism, logging, trade, and travel that transformed the region, including Asheville and Black Mountain.
When I was in junior high school, our class went on a field trip on the passenger train from Asheville to Old Fort, passing through seven tunnels from the Swannanoa Tunnel through Henry Station. Each of these tunnels had been carved through solid rock. We weren't informed at the time how this work had been accomplished.
From 1875 through 1879, hundreds of incarcerated laborers provided by the North Carolina state prison system were forced to perform backbreaking and dangerous work under brutal conditions. They had only primitive tools, inadequate food, clothing and shelter. Almost all were Black and had previously been enslaved. Many had been arrested for trivial offenses such as vagrancy, and had not received fair trials. Out of the approximately 3,000 incarcerated workers who worked on the project, it is estimated that between 129 and 300 men died. They were buried beside the tracks where they fell.
For the past two years, an organization called the RAIL Memorial Project, Inc. has been researching and documenting the sacrifices of these workers while raising funds for a memorial. At a moving ceremony on October 17, a stone marker was dedicated to them at Andrews Geyser. Although accurate records had not been kept, the group has used census records to identify some of the men, and their names are listed on a plaque. Markers will also be placed in Old Fort and Ridgecrest.
While it is impossible to repay these workers for the harm done to them and their families, it is hoped that recognition of their history will lead to some type of reparations. One step in the right direction would be to reform the criminal justice system, including discontinuing the cash bail system and repealing the death penalty.
Here are a few sources for learning more about this part of our history:
by Katherine Tharp
- The RAIL Memorial Project, Inc., TheRailProject.org.
- Kehrburg, Kevin and Keith, Jeffrey, “Somebody Died, Babe,” The Bitter Southerner, August 12, 2020, https://bittersoutherner.com/2020/somebody-died-babe-a-musical-coverup-of-racism.
- Ehle, John, The Road, Appalachian Echoes, 1967.
I am grateful...(a partial list)
For children still young enough to want snuggles from their Mama
For a comfortable home, in a lovely place, where my husband and I have kept our family safe and relatively healthy
For a Father who is still alive (if not entirely well)
For family that has rallied together to try to get Dad the care he needs
For friends and community
For technology that allowed some measure of connection while we were apart
For jobs my husband and I can do (mostly) remotely
For the hope vaccines have offered
For all essential workers (at every level) who’ve kept us in groceries, running water, electricity, fuel, sanitation services, finances, medical care, books, the occasional take out meal, and so much more
For access to nature
For those who’ve had the ability to find, or create, and share beauty and wisdom in these challenging times
For grace, and a renewed sense that we are merely humans - incredibly resilient and adaptable, and infinitely frail and flawed
For increasing self care, self acceptance, and self forgiveness
For all of the above,
and still more…
I am grateful.
By Susan Enwright Hicks
November 9 - Roberta Madden
November 15 - Brenda Chunn
November 21 - Beata Ball
November 29 - Spence Foscue
Have you picked out your holiday gifts? Chosen an exciting event for you and your friends? Zeroed in on the perfect craft item for your heirloom shelf?
Be grateful that there’s still time to register for our Third Annual Auction … and find the gifts to express your gratitude to our church family and your own!
Go to the Auction link on our UUCSV website and browse the awesome selection of donations from your fellow UUs and Black Mountain businesses in support of our congregation. Truly there’s something there for everyone – maybe even several one-of-a-kind purchases you’re ready to bid on!
Remember, online bidding for the silent auction begins Sunday, November 7, so buy your tickets now, for only $10.00
And then bid on!
And don’t forget to buy some raffle tickets, too. Get one for $5, or five for $20.
Last year's auction was great but the one thing that everyone missed was time together with food and entertainment so we are SO grateful that we have added that component into this year's auction. On Saturday 11/13 we will gather at the UU church from 5-7:00 pm to enjoy food, great entertainment AND some items auctioned off live.
The live auction items can be seen in our catalog but cannot be bid on until the live auction. Our last raffle drawing will also be done at the live auction so plan to be there. It's going to be FUN!
The Auction Committee
I'm grateful for Barbara Bryan's green thumb and the gift from her of
I'm also deeply grateful to Phil Fryberger for his years of commitment to form our congregation and to Evan Yanik for his (recent) years of
commitment to ensuring the survival of our congregation as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. It is because of Phil's visionary
leadership and Evan's steadfastness that we are able to function as a supportive community each and every day.
UUCSV Board Meeting Abbreviated Minutes
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Lee Reading, our volunteer treasurer, reported that we have finished the first quarter of this fiscal year. Our operating budget is ahead of where we were last year at this time. The Finance Committee recommended to the Board a replacement for our accountant, who is retiring. The Board approved hiring Thorstad Consulting Partners as our accountant.
The Building and Grounds Committee members will assume responsibility for locking up the building after Sunday Services for the time being. Jackie reported that use of a fire extinguisher training is scheduled to be held at the Black Mountain Fire Department. If you are interested in attending, check the Current for information to sign up for this training. The Committee is working on the cameras and motion detectors around the building and recruiting volunteers to help them with the bush trimming and leaf mulching project.
Evan reported that the Communications Committee decided that it is too difficult to implement a member marketplace where church individuals could electronically advertise items for sale. Such a listing is not compatible with the mission of the weekly Current or Tidings.
The Membership Committee reported that the new member UU class is delayed. Also, they are having trouble finding greeters & suggested the Board members volunteer to be greeters.
Susan reported that the she has tried to recruit new members to serve on the children’s Religious Education (RE) Committee with limited success. Susan reported that she hosted a successful pumpkin carving and crafts event recently. Ro Broome and Deb Evenchik have offered to host a family RE pizza party. Susan sent out an RE survey and six families responded. Families are more interested in social gatherings at this point in the pandemic than attend formal RE classes in the building.
Anna reported that the Social Action Committee (SAC) is meeting every other month. Anna highlighted ongoing activities including Suzanne Ziegler working on climate change art work. Many people from the church attended the Andrews Geyser dedication of the monument for incarcerated Blacks that built the rail line up the mountain. Swannanoa Museum hosted a Cherokee author and several members attended. SAC is working on a sign to recognize indigenous peoples land ownership. There will be an online racial equity gathering in November. The recent Current article refers congregants to support Afghan refugees with contact information.
The Sunday Service Associates (SSA) are contacting our major committees to encourage them to host a Sunday Service.
The Board previously decided to lock the church doors 10 minutes after the service begins and to pull the blinds in the portico as a safety practice. Evan is hoping to hold an emergency response training session this month should we ever have an incident in our church with an active shooter.
Look for a congregational survey to be sent via email within a month from the Board.
The Board is interested in creating a Stewardship Committee, and the first step is getting a chair. Evan is working on recruiting someone.
Our website, uusv.org has a link to our virtual auction site. It is a graphic of a gavel in a circle. Please check it out and buy a ticket so you can bid when the auction opens. There are about 200 items to choose from
The Board approved a capital expenditure of $700 to purchase Rev. Carter a new computer.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
Next Regular Board meeting: November 18 @ 6:00 p.m. on Zoom
Gratitude may be our theme for the month, but there have been many important things happening in our little congregation in October. As we move forward into November, we can remember with deep gratitude our dear friend and one of the founding fathers of UUCSV, Phil Fryberger.
We can also look to the relationships of all our deceased friends, relatives, and ancestors when we celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead on Nov 2...if that's part of your practice.
This quote offers an actor/dancer's words as he approached his own death..."When those you love die, the best you can do is honor their spirit as long as you live. You make a commitment that you're going to take whatever lesson that person was trying to teach you, and you make it true in your own life. It is a positive way to keep their spirit alive in the world, by keeping it alive in yourself." By Patrick Swayze.
On our ongoing interest of caring for the earth...I offer to share a YouTube video that's about How Veganism can Save the Planet. It's only 10:30 minutes long.
I am full of gratitude for my life today. As long as I have joy, breath, and love I can shout my thanks that is deep and everlasting. This little congregation of liberal minded people has become my extended and ever-so-meaningful family. It is a delight to offer what service to you all that I can give. Reading for the second time Kimmemer's "Braiding Sweetgrass," I am more aware of our offering to each other incredible gifts, many intangibles and especially personal caring.
I'm so deeply thankful for Innana's Daughters who met for a Samhain
ritual and sharing under the trees by the side of the church to build a circle of energy, and especially to Linda Metzner and Rebecca Williams for organizing it.
December's topic for Tidings will be Peace. I've sent holiday wishes for Peace on Earth for years. Maybe this year we can come together and share this wish.
|A Circle of Friends (Continued from above)
Several weeks before, Phil had come to play piano at open mic at White Horse. Some of the people there knew his condition; others did not. He looked frail enough to fall off the piano seat. But Phil played like there was no tomorrow, and I sense that that is exactly what he was knowingly doing. The energy and feeling he put into it filled the place with a palpable hush. It felt reverent. It was exceptionally good.
Although Phil's decline was very evident physically, his mind remained sharp to the end; even when he could no longer muster the strength to speak loud enough for us to hear him.
In the final days, a life-long friend of Phil's named Brewster came to visit and help. Handsome, calm, and confident, Brewster fit right in and blended with the program of looking after Phil. At that point, Phil stayed in bed except to use the toilet-chair set up next to the bed. It was comforting to see Phil's old friend assist him to the seat, as well as speak to him in a soft, loving tone that only old friends could know about.
To keep things going at the standard Dawn Wilson pace, she held a baby shower for her daughter Carolyn. While many good women gathered in the back yard to celebrate an upcoming birth, Phil was busy dying in the living room, permanently positioned by the big windows. Su came in and walked over to Phil in the fading afternoon light. She leaned over and spoke to him, and then commenced singing one of her favorite UU hymnals to him: How Can I Keep From Singing. If you have ever seen Su sing, suffice it to say that she will light up the room – and your heart – if you give her half a chance. There's a line from a Jack Johnson song: “One comes in; one goes out.” So it was that day.
Of course everyone cried and lamented often. There was no need to hide it. Wherever you were in the house at any given hour or minute, someone might be crying, someone might be fixing tea, someone would be siting by Phil, maybe reading a book while Phil's life slowly drained away.....
Dawn called me Tuesday night, telling me that Phil was gone. She and Brewster and her daughters kept Phil right there in his bed, packing him with dry ice. The next day Su and I came over at 2 pm in Big Blue. Dawn, ever efficient, had two saw horses set up in the front yard. Brewster and I got the casket which I had brought to her garage a few days earlier, and placed it on the saw horses.
In the living room lay the corpse that was Phil. They had washed him with lemon water and dressed him in his favorite red pants. They did not cover his face. Just like when my dad had passed, his eyes and mouth were open. Although his body was vacant, for us it was still Phil and we tended to him with patience and thoroughness as if he were still with us, because he was.
With what felt like calm, divine assistance, we clicked into the self-appointed task of getting Phil ready to go. Dawn and her friend Patty had sewn a shroud from an old sofa cover, complete with 8 carrying handles. First we Wrapped Phil in a blanket made by our friend Ruh. Then we rolled Phil over to one side of the bed while Dawn removed the bundles of ice and tucked half the body bag under him. Then we rolled him the other way and pulled the bag over and scooted Phil into it. Dawn had even thought to sew a large pocket for his feet in the bag, just to assure he would not slide out while we were carrying him outside.
Out in the front yard with the fall sun shinning warm and bright, we set Phil into the casket. Dawn and the daughters put coins-for-change in his pocket, just like he always had. They also put his baseball glove in the casket with him, and then we put the lid on. With three on each side, we lifted the casket and slid it into the truck bed. I tied it in good, just to be sure Phil would not slide out and go skidding across the highway. Harry got in Blue with Su and I and we followed Dawn and others to the cemetery.
We turned in at the road to the Unity Church just west of the airport and parked in a gravel parking lot just past the church. All our friends were there, waiting. We took the casket from Blue and placed it on a flat trailer pulled by a golf cart by the cemetery personnel.
I don't think any of us there had done this before. It was a new experience; a way of transitioning from life to death not only for Phil, but for each and every one of us as we participated in disposing of his body.
We were each issued some flowers and a yellow silk ribbon from the remains of the lining of the shroud. Then, in a long, slow, and peaceful procession under a warm afternoon sun we walked, following the cart along a winding narrow path, across some meadows, then a small wooden bridge over a smooth clear flowing creek. Around several bends and up a small hill we walked among the tall brush and small trees, with Sadie along as well. We passed several green burial sites along the way. It was very peaceful.
Soon our procession gathered at the hand-dug hole for Phil. There were a few chairs, baskets of flowers, and three large piles of dirt. They had laid down three boards across the hole, with three strands of heavy rope atop them. A different six of us slid the casket off the trailer and carefully placed it over the hole on the three boards. It was interesting to note that each time Phil needed lifting, a different six people appeared at his side each time. No selection procedure; just a fluid rotation of his friends stepping in to help carry.
Before Phil was lowered, Dawn, Tim, Rebecca, Carolyn, Annelies and some others each had something special to say. Dawn read the names of all the relatives connected to Phil. Rebecca called forth from the four directions. With Su by her side, Dawn and the rest of us sang Spirit of Life. In the hot afternoon sun, you could hear crying and sniffling. I was struck by Tim's description of where Phil might be going, from the perspective of where we are now....not so much the mysterious void on the other side, but rather the bubble-like void that we each live in here on this side, all life long. That maybe the unity that we continually strive and struggle for here is much more-so of what awaits us on the other side. Just before we lowered Phil into his grave we all sang the Grateful Dead song, Ripple.
Another six of us stepped up, grabbed the ropes, lifted the casket up as the three boards were removed, and then slowly lowered Phil into the hole. By this time Sadie was hot in the sun and Su was comforting her as best she could. My old back injury was already aching from standing still. The hot afternoon sun was glaring in my face, while others among us had their back to it.
Then the shoveling began. At first I thought, “Oh man, you mean we have to stay here until all that dirt is shoveled back where it came from? We'll be here for hours!” And what about the patriarch and matriarch among our circle of friends: Harry and Mamie...how will they endure? But a voice spoke to me, reminding me that this is a scared event, and not to tire of it; it is worth my patience, and everyone will be fine as long as we remain united in our effort.
And so it was. As each person grabbed (or was handed) a shovel - with a recording of Phil's piano playing in the background - the digging and filling continued. As I stood there watching, it dawned on me that this is the very essence of the bond we all have here. It is our task. It is a good task, and we are glad to fulfill it. The shovelers rotated. The grave began to fill. More flowers were spread amidst the deepening layers of dirt...a sweet combination...a blending of all our hearts and collective thoughts...a combining of all our effort, right here, right now, unified unlike never before.
And so it went. Everyone took a turn. Some were assisted by others. Scott placed his wife's hand on the shovel handle, never thinking that she would be left out. The more hearty among us (Peter, Lulu, Brewster) returned to shoveling again and again.
As I stood by Mamie who was sitting in one of the few chairs, I leaned toward her as she said the most wonderful thing: “The sadness is gone.” In these few words lies the essence, a profound realization – even in the presence of death – that when people share a task in friendship and good will, we are are cleansed of fear and worry. I hope to carry that gem of realization with me all the way!
Low and behold, all the dirt was replaced on top of Phil. The lid on the casket I built was holding. It did not cave in, but so what if it did...really! The mound of dirt was like a tiny hill, which was soon transformed into a thing of natural beauty with colorful flowers placed all over it.
As we all departed and meandered back down the path to the parking lot, Su said to me, “This is so good. It helps me feel much more comfortable about dying. Sharing this together made all the difference. Death is not so threatening to me now.”
May we each continue to share in the realization, whether spoken or just held silently within: gratitude for our being, for living in the struggle and the effort and the task of finding peace along the journey. I think Tim is right. I think if we keep trying we get a sample here of what awaits us on our journey through the universe. Maybe this is only the beginning. And maybe it just keeps getting better.
by Bill Altork
|Board of Trustees:
Evan Yanik– President
Rose Levering – Vice President
Anna Marcel de Hermanas
Non-board officers are:
Lee Reading – Treasurer
Milt Warden – Secretary
Building & Grounds - Deb Evenchik
Social Action - Kate Ramsey
Finance - Lee Reading
Nominating - Evan Yanik
Congregational Care - Larry Pearlman
Membership - Heidi Blozan and Maggie Schlubach
Personnel – Linda Tatsapaugh/Kathryn Coyle (co-chairs)
Communications - Susan Culler
Governance – Evan Yanik
Religious Education - Jessie Figuera, Jim Carillon, Heidi Blozan (rotating)
Coffee Hour Hosts Coordinator - Carolyn Shorkey
Sunday Service Associates - Diane Graham (rotating)
Strategic Planning Task Force - Michael Figuera
Memorial Garden - Dawn Wilson
Sunday Service Production:
Evan Yanik, AV producer/editor
Annelinde Metzner, Choir director and piano
Sue Stone, piano