Saturday, December 22, 2012

What To Do?

The tragedy in Newtown last week left a heavy burden on my heart.  So many questions, not the least of which is What can I do?  Anyone speaking from a pulpit last Sunday had to address this as well and fortunately the Gospel for the day had something to say.  John the Baptist is addressing a restless, clamoring crowd who after being baptized asks him What should we do? And his unequivocal answer is to give away your extra coat and food.

So for once I took the Bible literally and did just that.  I marched up to the attic where two perfectly good coats were in storage just in case.  This morning I dropped them off at the Emmaus homeless shelter in Ellsworth and hope they will wrap someone in warmth over the next few weeks.

And the crowds asked him “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise."  

Luke 3:10-11

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Carrot Crop

Yesterday we harvested our late-fall carrot crop and I spent most of the morning today making a big batch of carrot soup.  Growing a late crop was new to us this year-we planted the seeds in August when the harvesting of the garlic made some space in the garden.  We’ve had temps in the teens which didn’t seem to harm the carrots, but we had to wait for a warm day for the soil to be loose enough to dig them.  Here’s the recipe for the soup, adapted from Moosewood Cookbook.

Herbed Carrot Soup

2 lbs. carrots
1 medium white potato
4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. dried thyme
1-2 T lemon juice, according to taste
Yogurt, for garnish,
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Clean and peel carrots and potato. (Boy, did this take a long time! A word to those who don’t grow carrots-the ones from your garden are not nice and uniform like the ones in the supermarket-they are of varying sizes and shapes, from long and skinny to short and stumpy, with many strange deformities.) Cut into pieces, put in a soup pot and add the water.  Bring to a boil, lower to simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté onion and salt in oil over medium heat until onion is soft.  Add garlic and herbs and cook about 5 minutes more. Add lemon juice.

When carrots are tender combine them with the onion mixture and purée in batches in a food processor. (This is when I wish I had an immersion blender!) Return to soup pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve with a dollop of yogurt and chopped parsley on top.

So that’s our carrot crop for the year-soup for three meals.  Sort of seems like a lot of trouble and a small pay-off, but it tasted great and as Garrison Keillor admonishes on the Writer’s Almanac, I did good work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Worship in a Foreign Language

Over the summer I had an opportunity to attend mass in both Portugal and Italy.  While others in the group were going to Etruscan museums and an alabaster workshop I was heading off to church.  I’m not even Catholic, as you know, but I just can’t help it.  As a church musician and someone more than casually interested in liturgy, I want to see how it’s done wherever I go.

In Portugal, where I was on tour with the choir from First Parish Church in Brunswick, the chance to attend mass was built into our performance schedule.  We were at the famous pilgrimage site of Fátima where the choir was scheduled to sing at an afternoon mass at the basilica.  They hold many services everyday and there is a real herd ‘em in, herd ‘em out mentality.  Nonetheless the basilica is truly beautiful and conducive to worship (unlike the newly built auditorium which seats 8,000).

As the previous mass was concluding I was excited to hear organ music, and as I walked in the door I set my eyes on a beautiful free-standing pipe organ near the front of the church.  After playing on electronic things so far on the trip I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a real instrument!  But no…the organist, an ancient little sad man, would not let us use the instrument.  He turned it off and stomped away with the key in hand.  So once again I accompanied the choir on an electronic gizmo.

We finished Mozart’s sublime Ave Verum a minute or so before communion ended and I jumped up to take my place in line.  I brazenly looked the handsome Brazilian priest right in the eye, feeling just a tad guilty for taking communion as a non-Catholic.  But I’m glad I did: that sacrament became the meaningful remembrance for me rather than the rude treatment given us by the organist.

In Italy Bill and I were in the beautiful walled city of Volterra on a Sunday.  After trekking around with a tour guide for a couple of hours I veered off to the cathedral, built oh-so-many hundreds of years ago.  Of course it was stunningly beautiful.  There were no hymnals or service leaflets but there was a pipe organ, of sorts, and an ad-hoc choir. (I was tempted to speak to the priest afterwards and offer my services free for a week or two in exchange for housing in this beautiful town!) And as usual in a Catholic church there were all sorts of people in attendance, from the well-dressed American ex-pats to the local handicapped man.

In both Portugal and Italy I could easily follow the order of mass, even with my limited knowledge of the language.  I could even get an inkling of what was in the sermon; at least I could tell both priests were impassioned about their subject!  But I was freed from the intellectual side of worship, full of many words, and that felt good. Best of all I felt a spiritual bond with those around me, one that transcends culture and language.

So here’s a recommendation:  when travelling in a foreign country, go to a church service.  You will be among the people, away from other tourists and the top sites in your guidebook.  And you will have a clear and unique window into the real life of the place you are visiting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,

What is man that you should be mindful of him?
   the son of man that you should seek him out?

You have made him but a little lower than the angels;
   you adorn him with glory and honor.

You give him mastery over the works of your hands;
   you put all things under his feet.

All sheep and oxen,
   even the wild beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
   and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.

O Lord our Governor,
   how exalted is your Name in all the world!

                                                                   Psalm 8:4-10

Grace is one of those church words that is hard to grasp.  We hear it a lot in sermons and use it often in casual conversation, such as By the grace of God I wasn't in that accident! (By the way, that comment seems like a total misinterpretation of the meaning of grace.)

Psalm 8 was appointed for October 7, and as I prepared to rehearse the musical setting with the choir it abruptly dawned on me that here is grace, as defined by the psalmist.  A gift, deserved or not, freely given.  And what a gift, to be a meaningful part of creation, no matter how small I feel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I Like About Italy

Ponte Vecchio in Florence


 The Duomo in Florence

Vacationing with Bill

Gorgeous Scenery


Outdoor Markets


Volterra Cathedral Cat



Gelato (everyday!)

Italian Businessmen

Cappucino (it bears repeating)

Big beautiful doors, everywhere

Felicita's pesto


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


That would be Bill’s 60th high school reunion…a daunting number, yes.  Bill graduated from Livermore Falls High School in 1952 (before I was born) and over a recent weekend we made the trek to Central Maine for the event.  I went purely out of a sense of duty and surprisingly ended up having a good time.  It certainly made for a few hours of superb people-watching!

As we arrived, a man taking photographs for a scrapbook exclaimed Hello there, Billy!  Did you bring your daughter?  I’m afraid he wasn’t joking-he was truly confused and later, during the meal, he asked Just how old are you?  The appetizer hour was full of stares and questions, but once people realized that Bill and I have been married for 29 years things calmed down.  I was at least 20 years younger than everyone in the room, but all the same I have lived a full 57 years and thought it much ado about nothing.

I was taken back to another time and place by everyone calling my husband Billy. He had long left that name behind when I met him. And it was interesting to observe these people, most of who had stayed within a few miles of their birthplace.  Superficially one could look at their lives and assume they had been dull and predictable.  But just start asking, and you hear about seeing the US in a motor home, international travel, successful business ventures and recovery after devastating loss.  When I asked one of the women at our table about her family, she volunteered that two of her four adult children had died within a year of each other.  I quickly lost my snobby assumptions about life in Livermore Falls.

Bill had spoken of one of his classmates, “the prettiest girl,” getting pregnant, going away to have the baby and subsequently giving it up for adoption.  Well, she was there at the reunion with her husband of decades, very sparkly and still pretty.  She told of their four children, a teaching career and a family business.  It struck me as a good example of overcoming a mistake, and I can’t help but wonder as I see many, many young unmarried women with a child or two, trying to make a life.

I came away from the reunion pondering, again…What would it have been like to stay in one place? Or even in one place for more than 10 years?  I have always wanted to see what’s around the bend and I thrive on bringing my particular skills and talents to a new choir, a new church and new students.  Although I would do it all over again, given the chance, I find that as I age my restlessness is subsiding. And I think that one of these days I might just stay put.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Last night I heard a breathtakingly beautiful piece of music, Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirrors in the Mirror) for ‘cello and organ.  Performed in the resonant acoustics of St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, the notes filled every nook and cranny of this magnificent space.

From the program notes: Spiegel im Spiegel, composed in 1978, is an ethereal lullaby.  It moves at an unvarying pace and is built from the simplest of musical materials: a continuous broken-chord pattern, subject to only the most subtle harmonic shifts; bell tones, deep in the bass and high in the treble; and long-held notes moving by fundamental intervals in the ‘cello. There is not a single chromatic note in the entire work.  The title refers to the infinity of images produced by parallel plane mirrors: tonic triads endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth in ever expanding phrases.

There are performances on You-Tube, of course, but I can find none that begin to replicate what I heard last night.  Most are with piano rather than organ, and this work seems to beg for the sustained sonorities of the organ.

Beginning with my dad’s memorial service on January 1, this year has been filled with loss and challenge.  I feel much like the plants that grow in bogs, buffeted by difficult environments and struggling to grow.  Last night the first few notes of the organ touched me; I closed my eyes and my mind to the distractions around and listened. I was moved to tears and felt comforted in a way that only music can comfort.  I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver 
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon, Constance (1993)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This Is Why…

My darling student Lily, age 9, recently presented her Suzuki Book 1 recital. This means that she learned, polished and memorized all 18 pieces in that level and then performed them on a private recital. It took place at my house, with her parents, sister, grandparents and 2 friends in attendance.

This is always one of my favorite work-related events.  The student is excited, the parents are proud and generally some lovely music-making is heard.  By this point the young pianist has learned quite a lot and is able to play with dynamics, rubato and the like.  It is the jumping off point for the real piano repertoire of Bach, Beethoven and Schumann.

This recital was a little different, though, because since Christmas Lily’s mother has had 3 surgeries for cancer.  She is a beautiful, vibrant woman fighting for her life. Throughout this ordeal Lily has continued her lessons and diligent practicing and I have had the honor and responsibility of providing some stability and normalcy to what surely must be a petrified little girl.  Even at her young age she has internalized the music and made it a means of expression, which she desperately needs right now.

So at her recital we all sat in my living room and listened in wonder as Lily laid out her highest hopes and deepest fears.  And yes, this is why I teach piano.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So long, Chester.  Good boy.  1999-2012.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good Friends, Good Food

There’s been a flurry of entertaining around here along with some experimenting with new recipes. Two of the best cooks I know, Joe and Jet, came for the last weekend of April. I am always a bit intimidated when cooking for them, but I know they’re willing to try just about anything.  Our meal was basically simple-salmon and asparagus- with an interesting grapefruit salad.  It was somewhat labor-intensive, but with Jet as my sous-chef it was a breeze.

Pink Grapefruit and Radicchio Salad with Dates and Pistachios
New York Times,  April 11, 2012

2 pink or red grapefruits
2 medjool dates, pitted and thinly sliced
½ medium shallot, peeled and sliced
sea salt, to taste
1 small head radicchio, halved and cored
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
freshly ground black pepper

Slice off the peel and pith of the grapefruits, saving the peels.  Slice the grapefruits into quarter-inch-thick rounds and arrange on a platter.  Evenly sprinkle the dates on top. Squeeze the juice from the peel into a bowl.  You should have about a tablespoon and if necessary squeeze some from one of the slices. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt; let sit for 5 minutes.  Thinly slice the radicchio and add to the bowl.  Add shallot and grapefruit juice and toss to combine.  Toss in 3 tablespoons of the oil.  Sprinkle grapefruit slices with salt and the remaining oil.  Place a mound of radicchio in the middle of the platter, leaving a border of the fruit exposed. Sprinkle with pistachios and black pepper and serve right away.  Yield: 4 generous servings.

Next up was a visit from my friend Susan, a transplanted Texan. She was game to try a seasonal dish of fiddleheads and pasta.  Fiddleheads are young ostrich ferns and I honestly don’t know if they’re available outside of New England.  Many people have their favorite, secret spots to pick fiddleheads, complete with mosquitoes and black flies, but I prefer to buy them in the supermarket (still fresh and local) or from a truck on the side of the road.  We cooked them with Portobello mushrooms and the combination was unusual but tasty.  Truthfully, I am good for only 1 or 2 servings of fiddleheads a year.

And last, but certainly not least, the organ guru who takes care of the tuning, repair and maintenance of the organ at St. Saviour’s came for dinner on a recent Sunday night.  Bill was in the area from Northampton MA to make a presentation at another church and do some checking up on our instrument.  He is great company and loads of fun, not to mention that he brings several bottles of excellent wine (we only drank one) plus old wooden organ pipes for kindling every time he comes over.  I made a tasty Moroccan stew of butternut squash and chickpeas, with plenty for leftovers.

I love to follow-up a good meal with a super simple dessert and a cup of decaf espresso made with my nifty little Moka (thanks, Emily).


Monday, April 30, 2012

Reading Proust

 About two years ago I decided I wanted to “read” Proust. I kept coming across references to his Remembrance of Things Past, I’d see it in a bookstore, and even Emily came home with the first volume in tow. In the New York Times I read of a group devoted entirely to Proust which met at the public library and I thought that sounded interesting. At the time I was still pretty new to Ellsworth and hadn’t found many non-work activities which interested me, so…I started asking around…a Francophile friend, a librarian, acquaintances who read serious books. And in the fall of 2010 five of us met at my house for drinks and madeleines and got started.

  Remembrance of Things Past (known as In Search of Lost Time in the newest translation) is a SEVEN volume series of the narrator’s musings on French life in the late 19th century. Paragraphs can go on for pages, descriptions include so many minute details that many readers want to throw in the towel, and once again, it is SEVEN volumes long! And yet…Proust was onto something. His observations of human character are superb, and the characters themselves, whether annoying or charming or both, are universal. With all his flowery language he still manages to speak to twenty-first century readers.

 Proust is most often associated with madeleines, small French pastries somewhat like cookies. It is the taste of a madeleine, dipped in tea, which brings a flood of early childhood memories back to our narrator. And, according to Jonah Lehrer in Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Proust actually anticipated the scientific discovery of involuntary memory; that sensory experiences of sight, sound, smell, feel and taste can trigger remembrances of things past.

 There are now nine of us in the group and we meet every 5-6 weeks for a marvelous potluck meal and “discussion.” We are all at different places in the seven volumes and our librarian member is always challenging us to go further with our analysis. She has even given us an assignment for next month: we are to read aloud a passage that has special meaning to us. That may be difficult for me because I have resorted to cheating by listening to the audio version as I drive back and forth to work. It is so much easier this way, and also somewhat abridged. To die-hard Proustians this probably doesn’t count, but it’s good enough for me.

 Invariably someone at our gatherings will ask if we should keep on, or might suggest another book as a diversion. And just as invariably the general consensus will be if not now, when?

 I’ve just begun Volume 4, and I promise to take a photo of the group at our next get-together.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome, Spring

The calendar says that spring has arrived, but usually that doesn’t mean a thing in Maine. Although temps last week were in the 70’s and 80’s, tonight will see single digits. But whatever Mother Nature gives us, I’m using this change of seasons to start the year anew.

Exactly 2 months after my dad’s death my mother fell and broke her hip, and on a day’s notice I flew to Dallas to help her. It was a horrible week, made more so by her post-surgical delirium. For several days she didn’t know her name, where she was, what had happened, how many children she had, etc. I was on night duty and just when I began to lose hope the fog began to lift and my mother was herself again. I have often heard that a broken hip is a serious thing for a senior citizen and now I understand why. The tortuous road thru surgery and rehab is coupled with the indignity of having to ask for help with just about everything. Seeing my beloved mother so helpless was almost more than I could bear.

These weeks away from home have left me disorganized, behind at work and out-of-sorts. The debris from our winter boots is scattered throughout the house, piles of laundry sit patiently waiting their turn, the cucumbers in the fridge have grown interesting molds. On my desk sits an unfinished seminary paper, the Fauré Requiem performance is looming, and just this morning did I choose music for Easter. Exercise has been almost non-existent and my attempts to eat properly are a constant struggle.

When I have a chance to reflect on the past few months I realize that my life is at a turning point…not only with my parents, but with Emily as well. Simply put it is called change and it’s something I’ve never been particularly good at. Friends tell me to go easy on myself and I suppose that’s good advice…but at some point I need to pick up all the loose threads.

So this change from winter to spring has given me hope-perhaps it is arbitrary, but I’ll take it. To celebrate the new season Bill and I went for a beautiful walk last weekend along Ocean Drive in Acadia National Park. I breathed deeply of the fresh air and let the sun shine on my face. The increasing daylight and occasional warmth has already blessed me with a new energy and will to tackle all the above and I am celebrating a personal Easter a couple of weeks early.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chef Bill

After almost 30 years of marriage I've been thinking that Bill should take on some of the cooking. After all, he is retired and I am still working long hours. To give my husband due credit, though, I have to say that there have always been a few things that he can cook, such as pancakes and cookies. But it’s time for him to expand his repertoire and we’ve been working towards that end.

So for now Bill has kitchen duty on Wednesday nights. I am in Bar Harbor all day teaching and practicing and he is at home. One night he made a delicious dish of chicken and olives from a recipe that we saved from our newspaper. He followed the clear, step-by-step instructions and it came out perfectly. Lately I’ve been trying to teach him how to make one of our absolute favorite dinners, salmon with roasted potatoes. These are dishes I’ve experimented and played with and I can’t give him an exact recipe. I tend to say add a little minced garlic or sprinkle with salt and pepper, while a bona-fide recipe would call for 2 cloves of garlic and a half teaspoon of salt. But he is getting the hang of it quite well and I see lots of potential! Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll catch him searching thru my vast collection of cookbooks on his own, eagerly anticipating his next Wednesday night meal.

Baked Salmon

Rinse a 1 pound salmon fillet and pat dry. Put into an oiled baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, until fish flakes easily. While the fish is cooking soften a tablespoon of butter and add some chopped herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano, etc.) When fish is done, dot with the herb butter. This serves 2 generously, with enough leftover to top a salad for lunch the next day.

Roasted Potatoes

Wash and dry some small red or fingerling potatoes, enough for 2 servings. If necessary cut some in half to make them of a uniform size. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some minced garlic, to taste. Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. You can start these while preparing the salmon and have everything come out of the oven at the same time.

Serve this healthy and delicious meal with a salad or green veggie and a glass of red wine. Bon appétit!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Hold on about the painting… I’ll get to it later.

The past couple of years I have been reading a lot of memoirs. Most are by women with some experience in life and two are even by Texans who left the state for the northeast. Naturally they deal with loss, sense of place, marriage and family, addictions and the usual gritty and difficult situations of middle age. Some readers may want to stop here, but if you can relate or just want to experience some excellent writing, here are my favorites in the order I read them.

Lit by Mary Karr. Karr grew up in southeast Texas, affectionately known as the Golden Triangle. I lived there, too, when I worked at Lamar University in Beaumont. It is an oil refinery culture and the flares from the wells make for a spooky type of nightlight. Lit follows two previous memoirs and tells the story of Karr’s trek to New England and New York and subsequent descent into alcoholism. But she is a brave and strong woman and her tale of overcoming this disease and making a good life for herself and her son is mesmerizing and powerful.

Woman Alone: A Farmhouse Journal by Carol Burdick. I stumbled across this book in the Bar Harbor library while looking for the new biography of Pearl Buck. Its stark cover showing a red barn on a snowy day, seen thru a window with an amaryllis on the sill, caught my attention. Burdick, in her late 40’s and on the heels of a painful divorce, has moved home to take care of her ailing parents. Reeling from her situation, she spends time each weekend at the family cottage writing in a journal. In this special journal I will try to censor my heaviness and merely report those things I do and see and hear, noting the small sensations and accomplishments which help to buoy a sinking spirit, restore an eroded ego. Good advice for those of us who rush headlong from one thing to another and a practical approach to living in the moment.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. A Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and former book editor at The Boston Globe, Caldwell is from Amarillo, only 100 miles from my old stomping grounds. Her first memoir, A Strong West Wind, compellingly speaks of both her need and difficulty in leaving Texas and her struggle to make a new life for herself in New England. (Yes, in respects both positive and negative Texas might as well be a foreign country.) Her recent book tells the story of her deep friendship with another writer and is a testament to the profound and extraordinary bonds of women. So many times in reading this book I was reminded of my own close relationships with my female friends.

The House By the Sea by May Sarton. This New England poet is equally well-known for her many journals. In this one she goes out on a limb, moving from a beloved town in New Hampshire to a friend’s big, empty house by the seaside in Maine. She chronicles the ups and downs of her health, writing, loneliness, gardening, social life and ageing. Particularly touching are her notes about a dear friend’s Alzheimers disease and the comfort of her pets.

In thinking about why I like to read memoirs I’ve come to the conclusion that I respect and am moved by how these writers have taken the time to honestly look at their lives. I suppose this blog is my own small attempt to do the same, which brings me back to the painting…my dear friend Kate painted this for me. It was inspired by a photo of when I was about 6 years old, taken in my grandparents’ back yard. I’m holding a trout that I caught in New Mexico, while wearing a Sunday dress. Can you see that my slip is peeking out from the dress? That is authentic, as are my super short bangs, courtesy of my mother. In the photo my grandmother’s black cat is rubbing against my leg, VERY interested in that trout. If I had to sum up my childhood, that photo, which speaks volumes about a loving family, vacations in the mountains and the importance of pets, would just about do it.

Monday, January 16, 2012


My dear dad died over the holidays. Early Christmas afternoon I got a call from my sister Amy saying that he had taken a bad fall at her house, shortly after they had opened Christmas gifts. He was being loaded into the ambulance as we spoke. Immediately I knew this was bad-I buried my head in my hands and took a very deep breath.

Over the course of the week Dad’s surgery for a nasty broken leg was repeatedly postponed due to one thing or another. He was immobilized and in great discomfort. I was able to get a plane ticket to Dallas for December 29 and arrived at 2pm, the exact time Dad was scheduled to begin surgery. But fortunately the surgeon was running late and when I arrived at the hospital he was still waiting in his room with my mother and sister. I was taken aback by how he looked- my 6’4 father was an ashen and shrunken old man. He could barely speak and was very agitated from the morphine. But I was granted a marvelous gift…2 hours in a quiet room by my dad’s side.

Later in the afternoon he was taken to surgery and towards the end he had a serious problem with his heart. He died a few minutes later in intensive care, my mother and sister by his side. I was at the airport, picking up Emily.

The surgeon was a quirky type-big tattoo down his arm and a cross around his neck. He said something along these lines: When the Lord calls someone home, there’s not a thing I can do about it. While I might not have phrased it like that, I do think we all have our time and I believe that my Dad’s had come.

My happy memories of time with Dad could just about fill a book. We rode horses together, rewarded ourselves with banana splits, enjoyed the annual Father-Daughter Day at the Lions Club and drove around Texas looking for the right college for me. He came to my rescue a number of times, such as when my apartment in Beaumont flooded and I needed to move NOW. And one New Year’s Eve, when I was desperate to get back to Dallas and my new love, Bill, the roads were icy and I dared not drive the 350 miles alone. He came right home from work and drove me nonstop across the top of the state. We stopped by the airport for him to catch a flight, and well, you know the rest of that story.

We had 2 beautiful services for Dad- a memorial at my parents’ church in Irving and a graveside at the family plot in Lubbock. He was a very special man to many folks, as witnessed by the attendance at these services and the many, many cards and calls. I have not yet begun to grasp what my own life will be like without his living presence or the size of the gaping hole his death has left. But I know that I am one lucky woman, to have had my dad for 56 years.

George Edwin Morris, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, died on Thursday, December 29, 2011 at Las Colinas Medical Center in Irving. A memorial service was held on January 1 at Woodhaven Presbyterian Church in Irving. Visiting hours will be Monday, January 2 from 6-7 pm at Sanders Funeral Home in Lubbock, with burial and graveside services following on Tuesday, January 3 at 10 am at Resthaven Memorial Cemetery.

George is survived by his wife of 60 years, Janice Berry Morris; two daughters: Julia Morris-Myers of Ellsworth, Maine, and Amy Rangel of Farmers Branch; and four grandchildren: Emily Myers Stein of Washington, DC, Jacob Luther Morris of Amarillo, and Lauren and Trevor Rangel of Farmers Branch. He was predeceased by his son George Edwin Morris, Jr. of Amarillo.

George was born in Lubbock on June 4, 1929, the son of Harry and Ulma Morris. He graduated from Lubbock High School and Texas Tech University, where he played clarinet in the marching band. He served four years in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Alaska. For many years he and his father owned Lubbock Auto Company, the local Ford dealership. George ended his working career at University Medical Center in Lubbock, serving as Assistant Director of Volunteer Services. George served as a deacon at First Baptist Church, as president of the Lubbock Lions Club and the Boys Club, and was a member of the Scottish Rite Masonic Order. He also served as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, an alliance between the city of Lubbock and Reese Air Force Base.

George took great joy in sharing life with his wife Jan and their children and grandchildren. He was known for his kind and quiet ways and his infectious smile.
Memorial donations may be made to the Scottish Rite Learning Center of West Texas, 1101-70th Street, Lubbock, TX 79412.