The United Church of Strafford lies in the main (upper) village, which is almost implausibly picturesque, particularly on this bluebird day.
The Town House, 1799
The venue, 1832
We take Strafford, 2022
The post office in the old brick store
Inside the P.O. They also serve up free coffee!
Posted in the post office
Strafford was also home to William Sloane Coffin, a leader in the Civil Rights and peace movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and later the nuclear disarmament and gay rights movements. The church’s community room had a display made by Sunday school students about Coffin and making difficult social choices. Funny connection: Coffin planned a career as a concert pianist and studied piano at Yale. His first wife was Eva Rubinstein, a daughter of piano giant Arthur Rubinstein.
This concert originated in an invitation by Cameron Speth, a climate activist and member of the congregation. About 45 people attended. Pianist Annemieke McLane is the church’s music director, and I was delighted when she agreed to join me in the Eight Czech Duets of my late composition teacher Karel Husa.
Annemieke and I rehearse the Husa
The audience, Annemieke in front. She cleans up good!
Cameron has filled in Strafford
Scarlatti Sonata in G minor, K.8
(preceded by 8 ii-V-I’s)
Eve Beglarian, “Another Time”
Constant companion and audience member Stella takes a break
At just under 5 feet, the GA1 model is the smallest of Yamaha grands. The touch was heavier than most Yamahas, and the action was a little unpredictable. Annemieke was glad my assessment matched hers, as it can be hard to be objective about a piano one is very used to, and she may recommend that the church have the action regulated.
*Noting the unusual spelling of Manheim, I followed up and realized that the Manheim’s son Dan, also an English professor, was my colleague in my first full-time teaching position at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Small world!
Because our daughter had a dance performance the day after the Strafford concert in nearby Corinth, my wife and I set up a tent at our son’s college roommate Bryn’s place in Chelsea. Bryn is active in clean energy work and works with U.S. PIRG, as does his girlfriend R.J. R.J., it turns out, is named for Rachel Carson, while her St. Bernard Ralph is named for Ralph Nader.
Our campsite at Bryn’s house in Chelsea
Bryn, Ralph, R.J.
Ralph had fun with my (fortunately cheap non-prescription) sunglasses
Stella on Wright’s Mountain in Bradford
View from the summit
At the trailhead
Camping by Bryn’s pond, waking up to three (!) kingfishers battling for this prime territory in the pre-dawn, hiking nearby Wright’s Mountain...it is hard to see this as self-denial.
In this Twitter thread, climatologist Peter Kalmus describes how reducing his fossil fuel use made his life immediately richer and more enjoyable. Drastic changes are necessary, and one way or another they are inevitable. But if we do it right, they do not have to be miserable.