Ramblings from the Cove...

November 2006

By Lars Gren

It was not the most enjoyable ride that we have ever had on our way to mingle with the 286 thousand and some few folks that were passing through the nine different exhibition halls, scanning the booths that displayed books of all sorts which were available for translation rights. No, they didn’t all troop through on the same day but that was the number over the five day event held in Frankfurt, Germany. India was the country of focus and along with arts and crafts they had stations where one could sample their local cuisine. Remembering the “mild” curries that we were given in India we said “Thank you very much” and moved on to the music and song fest which catered, I believe, to the hearing impaired. The event certainly proved the diversity in cultural arts.

But to get there was a bit of a drag with an itinerary that we had never flown before. We left Boston for Chicago arriving with a scant hour to make our connection for Frankfurt. As we departed Chicago I wondered whether or not we were on the same flight path going east as we were shortly before heading west. I tried to see if the lights of Boston were below us about two hours or so after leaving but it was overcast. In any case it was interesting to fly for four hours plus and not have left our Eastern shores. We agreed not to do a repeat of such an itinerary in the future. Even so it was worth it to meet with some of the foreign publishers and seeing friends that live in Frankfurt and makes our time enjoyable.

On our way home we had a few days in London visiting several of Elisabeth’s missionary colleagues from Ecuador. The gatherings seem to dwell much on, “Do you remember Harry—what’s his name or whoever it was?” There was only slight mentioning of new joints—which by the way I’ve always wondered if when one gets a replacement hip, can you request the old one—it would make an interesting item leaning against the fireplace or in an umbrella stand—while arthritis, lumbago, operations and such did not enter in at all.” Mostly it was an exercise in laughter and pleasant conversation. Oh yes, while in Birmingham for a few days we attended a concert where along with the marvelous Schumann and Beethoven works the first performances by a local composer that our friends knew from their church was offered. It was ten minuets in length and based on Grimm’s Fairytales. Our friend Daphne whose departed husband was a lyric baritone at the Met in NY said as the audience applauded, “It was grim indeed” I’d say noise without number or melody, screeching strings, clanging bells, Chinese gongs and an “instrument” that resembled an overturned wooden vat with a handle in the center. The musician would pull out the handle creating tension on a string attached to it and the interior of the barrel then applying a vigorous stroke to the string the barrel responded with the roar of a Lion. The finale came as seven members of the orchestra marched to various stations on the platform furiously spinning what appeared to be a Tibetan prayer wheel causing ever so slight a sound as of a gentle breeze through the leaves of a tree. Perhaps akin to Elijah’s experience on the mountain when at the end there came, “A sound of a gentle breeze.” It was indeed a lifetime experience and one which I hoped would not demand an encore. We can only think of one performance given in Germany that may have been more baffling. The orchestra set, conductor with baton on ready and for 12 minuets or so complete silence follow by appreciative applause for the wonderful work. Name of the piece? “Silence.”

Oh, why did we fly west to go east? We used mileage for once, it was the only available routing and that’s it from the Cove.

God bless y'all,

L and E

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