Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Sonnenberg

Sunday morning dawned beautifully, but to me it was a somber morning as the three of us who wanted to attend a church service dressed and prepared.  A couple of the other ladies were also up, as we waited to be able to apologize to Script for the evening before.

When she did get up, we all hugged and talked and she said she had come downstairs after supper to see we had eaten and enjoyed her feast, and she was happy we had.  She understood that we didn't realize how long we would be gone, and we never intended to be out that late.  All was well.

Grace, Ally and i went to the local United Methodist Church for the 8:15am service.  It's in one of the big, old fashioned churches that are hard to heat in winter, impossible to cool in summer if you live down South where i do, and difficult to keep up in these days where church attendance is decreasing.  It's a beautiful building, with the most unique stained glass windows, round, with more than just one narrow picture of a saint or an individual, but entire scenes as if they are a painting.

The early morning service is in the small chapel, and the pastor is Korean.  The people were warm and friendly and spent almost ten minutes greeting each other at the "Passing of the Peace" portion of the service.  There was time to greet almost every person there, and i'd never seen that.

Three years ago, on the final Sunday of September, i was in San Antonio attending a service with  Grace.  Because the Scripture is read on a three year Liturgical Calendar, we got the same reading, the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man.  The sermon was similar, and as Grace and i discussed on the way home, we are seeing it as a sign that we need to be paying even more attention to G-d's message to care even more for the less fortunate among us.

After that, it was time to stop at Wegman's again so i could get bananas, and Grace and Ally could pick up a few things they wanted.  My second whirlwind tour of the place left me just as impressed as the first.

Back at the lake house, we were preparing to head to Sonnenberg House and Garden.  Some of us left early, some followed behind, and all of us met up in time to get the garden tour at 1pm.

Sonnenberg was the summer home of the Frederick Ferris Thompson and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson.  He was one of the men who ran the bank that eventually became Citibank.  They were enormously wealthy, and after he died, with no children, she used the money to make her summer home an entertainment showpiece for people of her class and status (think Aster and Rockefeller).  She also used it to build the town of Canandaigua a hospital, a post office, a train station, and many other things.  She insisted that she would never again hear of a child drowning in the Lake Canandaigua, so she built and funded a place where every child in the city had free swimming lessons.  Back before there was an income tax and people looked to the government for such things, the wealthy were expected to give back to their communities, even if it was a place they only stayed for one season of the year.

The Queen Anne style home and Victorian style gardens are so beautiful, and were neglected for years and vandalized.  They have only for the past 30-40 years been restored, and there is still much work to do.  Even so, it's one of the loveliest places, with so many gardens you really need two days to see it all and enjoy it fully.

At the end of the tour, Ally left us.  She had packed her car to come there with us, with the plan to leave after and go back home, since it was her husband's birthday.  It wasn't easy saying good-bye, and i hope she can come next year, and stay longer.  Good-bye isn't easy.

On the way up to Sonnenberg in Eagle's car, i noted not just the trees beginning to turn their lovely colors, but roadside produce stands that sell chrysanthemums, which must be a big thing in the area.  A few stands are unattended, with a supply of plastic shopping bags, the prices marked, and a box in which you put the money for whatever you take.  Truly something you will only find in the country or in tiny towns and villages.

There was also a completely new one to both me and Eagle -- someone had their mailbox hanging, as if it were a swing, on chains.  If someone coming around the bend hit the mailbox, it would swing!  Young people coming up the road with baseball bats, it would swing.  The snow gets too high, no need to dig it out, just pull the chain up higher.  It was such a cute idea that as i drove back with Script (we play a lot of musical cars), i told her that Eagle was going to pull to the side of the road and take a picture, which she did.

Trickling back to the lake house in waves, Westie was making dinner, a tostada bar.  Peppermint, Hairy, Sr., and Hairy, Jr., were there too.  That little blonde boy is so cute, and his parents had bought him a quart of chocolate milk to bring so he could drink it with his dinner.  He was so sweet, we used a tiny shot style glass, and he kept coming to me to having it refilled.

Over the course of the evening, we discussed what we would do on Monday, who was leaving when, and how nothing was to be left in the house that was edible when we all left.  As dinner was cooked, and eaten, and lingered over, we gathered as a big group, and separated out into smaller groups on porches or in the sitting room, and all discussed "shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings."  The evening ended late, but no later than usual, and i was finally able to get my Sweetie to quit calling for a while (where are the garbage bags?  why won't my phone alarm work?  I need to go to the store! and etc.).



Today is:

Armed Forces Day -- South Korea

Bat Appreciation Month -- hooray for Bat Conservation International!

Children's Day -- Singapore

Christmas Seal Campaign begins

Chuuk Constitution Day -- Chuuk, Micronesia

Cut Out Dissection Day -- lets find alternatives for school kids!

Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux a/k/a Therese of the Child Jesus or The Little Flower of Jesus (Doctor of the Church; Patron of African missions, AIDS patients, air crews/aircraft pilots/aviators, florists/flower growers, missionaries, sick people, those who have lost parents, tuberculosis; Australia; France; Russia; several cities around the world; against bodily ills and tuberculosis)

Festival of Penha -- Rio de Janiero, Brazil (through the 31st; pilgrimages to the Church of Our Lady of Penha)

Firepup's® Birthday -- have fun learning fire safety from Firepup; www.nfsc.org

Flattering Finals -- Fairy Calendar

Global Diversity Awareness Month begins -- to foster and further our understanding of the value of people of all races, genders, nationalities, ages, religions, sexual orientations, classes, and physical disabilities

Guoqing Jie -- China; Hong Kong; Macau (National Day/Founding of the Republic)

Homemade Cookies Day

Independence Day -- Cyprus(1960); Nigeria(1960); Palau(1994); Tuvalu(1976)

International Day of Older Persons -- UN

Investiture of the Captains Regent -- San Marino

Kalends of October -- Ancient Roman Calendar; also
     Day Sacred to Fides -- (goddess of faithfulness and keeping your word)
     Festival of Juno Sororia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Juno the Sister, protector of young women at puberty)

Month of Freethought -- inspired by Freethinkers who emigrated to the US in the 19th century

Nobel Conference 49 -- Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, US (annual two-day science symposium)

O'qituvchi va Murabbiylar Kuni -- Uzebekistan (Day of Teachers and Instructors)

Pageantry in Oslo -- Oslo, Norway (Storting [Parliament] convenes to decide the date for its ceremonial opening, which is usually the following weekday, when the King opens the session in the presence of the Corps Diplomatique, preceded and followed by a military procession between the Royal Palace and the Storting.)

Pancasila Sanctity Day -- Indonesia

Popcorn and Tears Movie Appreciation Night -- go see a tear jerker; if guys don't want to go, make them stay home and vacuum

Pudding Season begins (Time to preserve meat from slaughtering for the winter by making meat puddings.)

Ram Mating Ceremony -- various towns and villages in Turkey (through the 20th, each village setting its own date; after being separated from the females for two months, the rams are returned with ceremonies to ensure good luck and lots of babies next spring)

Right-Brainers Rule Month begins (because left handers / right brainers are in their "right" minds)

St. Remigius of Rheims' Day (Patrn of France; Rheims, France; against epidemics, fever, plague, religious indifference, snakes, and throat pain)

St. Romanos the Melodist's Day (hymn writer of the early 6th Century whose surviving works are still sung)

Unification Day -- Cameroon

US Fiscal Year begins (Why in October?)

World Dairy Expo -- Madison, WI, US ("Center of the Dairy Universe"; through Saturday)

World Vegetarian Day

Anniversaries Today:

South African College is founded, 1829 (Now University of Cape Town)
Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park are founded, 1890
Stanford University opens, 1891

Birthdays Today:

Mark McGwire, 1963
Randy Quaid, 1950
Julie Andrews, 1935
Richard Harris, 1932
George Peppard, 1928
Tom Bosley, 1927
Jimmy Carter, 1924
James Whitmore, 1921
Walter Matthau, 1920
Bonnie Parker, 1910
Vladimir Horowitz, 1903
Henry III, King of England, 1207

Debuting/Premiering  Today:

Compact Discs, 1982 (Billy Joel's 52nd Street)
Walt Disney World, 1971
Ford's Model T, 1908
World Series Baseball, 1903 (the Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates)
Postal Special Delivery, 1885 (USPS began special delivery services)
Postcards, 1869 (in Vienna, Austria)

Today in History:

Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia, BC331
The Russian Parliament accepts the annexation of the Ukraine, 1653
First session of the new French legislative assembly is held, 1791
Spain cedes Louisiana to France in a secret treaty, 1800
The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrives in New Orléans, Louisiana, 1811
Maria Mitchell discovers a non-naked-eye comet, 1847
A cyclone strikes Calcutta, India, killing 70,000, 1864
Karl Marx' "Das Kapital" is published, 1867
The world's first postcards are issued, in Vienna, Austria, 1869
John Philip Sousa becomes the new director of the USMC Band, 1880
Thomas Edison opens the first electric lamp factory, 1880
The USPS begins special delivery mail service, 1885
Jews are expelled from major Russian cities, 1898
Arab forces under T.E. Lawrence, a/k/a Lawrence of Arabia, capture Damascus, 1918
An oil field accident cost aviator Wiley Post his left eye, but he used the settlement money to buy his first aircraft, 1926
The Pennsylvania Turnpike, often considered the first superhighway in the United States, opens, 1940
Mensa International is founded in the United Kingdom, 1946
First broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, 1962
The Concorde supersonic transport plane breaks the sound barrier for the first time, 1969
Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida, United States, 1971
The United States returns sovereignty of the Panama canal to Panama, 1979
EPCOT Center opens at Walt Disney World, 1982
William Gibson's groundbreaking novel Neuromancer is published, introducing the word "cyberspace" to the English language, 1984
Denmark introduces the world's first legal modern same-sex civil union, 1989
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom takes over the judicial functions of the House of Lords, 2009


  1. Love hearing about your adventures! And too funny about the garbage bags etc, it sounds like you are much missed and will be appreciated all the more on your return.

  2. What a wonderful time you're having, and how stimulating it must be seeing old friends and visiting different places. And I'm sure your family is missing you back home, and that's a good thing.

  3. The parting is bittersweet though. I know you'll all be heading home soon and you're going to all be sad.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

  4. It sounds utterly lovely. Sonnenberg was my maternal grandmother's maiden name.