Lordy, lordy, look who’s…


…No, Esta isn’t 40, but today is one of those other big milestone birthdays for my kid sister. What a long strange ride it’s been: a ballerina, cellist, artist, writer, Wahoo, archaeologist, financial analyst, sometime blogger, preacher, and all around great person. I’d be happy to recommend her as one of the finest people I know… odd incriminating bandana’d pictures notwithstanding. And she’s just entering the best years of her life, whether she knows it or not.

By way of present, I offer these words from a better writer than I:

you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you're young,whatever life you wear
it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever's living will yourself become.

Feel free to send her happy birthday wishes using this handy spam-free form. Or check out her 2001 proto-blog on this site (her personal blog is no longer available).


Esta and I were at the MFA today (pictures to come). On the way home, we were discussing “Long Distance Salvation,” which Esta has yet to receive (once I design the CD label, we’ll be in business). I was giving her a track-by-track breakdown, and said,“I am living liner notes.”

She said, “Huh?”

I said, “There are no liner notes for this mix, so I’m giving you your living liner notes.”

She said, “Ah. I thought you said you were living liner notes.”

We were silent for a second. I said, “I’ve been living liner notes. But it’s been for a John Cage album. And I don’t know what the hell is going on.”

—Hey, it was funny at the time.

Preaching to the choir

Esta has been too busy to post for most of this semester, but wrote late Sunday night/Monday morning about her debut as a preacher. She had quite a baptism by fire, though I have to say that even compared to preaching a sermon at a retirement home and co-leading morning chapel, the most difficult of the three experiences for me would have to be helping to lead worship at the church in which we grew up.

I can say that from experience. In high school I gave a sermon in that church one Youth Sunday. If I recall correctly, I was quite the judgmental little snot, too. Of the two of us, I’m really glad that Esta was the one that got this particular Call. Her gifts are so much more suited for God’s word.

Happy Birthday, Tim

I’m using my long-neglected status as contributing editor at JHN to jump in and wish my brother an unmitigatedly happy birthday. All the best, Tim; you deserve it. In the words of Ogden Nash:

Year swallows year and licks its lips,
Then down the gullet of next year slips.

Esta is alive, and living double rainbows

Esta found a minute to update her blog amid the hectic joy of starting classes at seminary (finally having Internet connectivity at her apartment might have something to do with it). She reports that she’s making friends, even if they do tend to be considerably younger than she is; that Julia Child’s recipe for baked cucumbers is as good as Julie Powell reports; and that updates on classes are forthcoming, including Hebrew I (I always wanted to be able to read Biblical Hebrew; now she’ll be living the dream! Sniff.). Hope she can keep posting.

And hey, Esta, if you haven’t discovered them yet, you might want to download NetNewsWire Lite and Manila Envelope. The former will make it MUCH easier to keep up with your weblog reading; the latter just might make it easier to post.

To Esta, who is making it real

Esta writes about her last day in the office before starting her course of study at Union Theological Seminary. I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations to her for finding the courage to make a really, really big move, and doing it it with clear vision and optimism in spite of the uncertainty. Esta, you may be my little sister, but it’s a big step—probably bigger than mine—and I wish you all the best luck in the world, and God’s guidance.

Esta: back, without photos

Esta reports on her trip home to the family ancestral stomping grounds, where they visited Dave and Sally’s home at Betty’s Cove on Bear Creek, and came away with memories but no photos:

Through the entire expedition I’d been taking pictures like a madwoman, with my aunt joking about Pulitzer prizes. I had my Dad’s camera slung around my neck, and took rather painstaking care with focus and light, hunting for unique perspectives. From the cove we went to Antioch church, where my grandparents and many other relatives are buried. I took more pictures of the headstones, documenting dates and relations for future reference. Willie, Johnnie and Alice; distant cousins I hadn’t known existed, all dead before they reached 25. A Lunsford ancestor who died in the Spanish-American war. Obidiah and Polly O’Dell — I don’t have enough time for all the stories about them.

Yeah, lots of pictures. Too bad there wasn’t any film in the camera.

I talked to her late yesterday morning as she was driving home. She’s bringing back a stack of recipes from my grandmother’s collection. Apparently most of them are clipped rather than written down, since she mostly made up what she cooked, except for cake recipes. But we’re still hopeful to find some gems.

Esta: “I got in”

Big huge congrats to Esta are due:

…no sweat on the admissions. You’re in as of yesterday afternoon. A letter goes in the mail today.

My sister, the seminarian. I’m so proud (sniff).

It’s worth noting, now that we can’t jinx the admission, that she’s continuing in a long tradition of ministry on my mom’s side that goes at least as far back as Benedictus Brackbill, who was born in 1665. No pressure, kid. 🙂