A mother’s final, best lesson: Part 2
Older folks: a summer exhibit

Freda's blog

One of the best things about Freda is her understated sense of humor:

“People find it hard to realize just how much paper and electronic mail the average minister has to deal with. It is not so bad if one keeps on top of it, but all too easily it piles up and seems a mountain. Jesus once said that faith could move mountains. I’m not sure this was the kind of mountain he was thinking of.”

Freda, who lives on the island of Seil (population: 500) in Argyll on the western coast of Scotland, is a minister in the Church of Scotland. This involves a lot of island hopping on boats that she reports are frequently off-duty for one reason or another. On Christmas Day 2003:

“Two services today [at] Luing and Seil with a fast boat in between. (The ferry is on holiday.) I do not know who is coming to collect me or deliver me back. Trust is a wonderful thing.”

Although Freda’s daily entries are short and rarely link elsewhere, they are filled over time with a strong sense of self, of place, of community and of a wry take on mankind’s frequent follies. Recently, she was trying to buy a product to soothe her eyes and found more choices than she remembered from the past:

“Optrex for everyday, Optrex for giving bright eyes, and Optrex for sore eyes. What if you want to use it everyday and have bright, soothes eyes that are not sore? Where will it lead next I wonder? Optrex for dogs and cats ( probably already exists), or how about Optrex-at-sea or Optrex-for-the-over-fiftes? Sounds more like bright marketing than bright eyes.”

Recently, Freda has been ordered by her physician to desist from preaching, or even talking at all, to ease some problems with her voice. In commenting on the lay reader who has been filling in for her at services, she spoke of the man’s dog, Ruby.

“I am told she enjoys being up front but is not too sure about being in the pulpit. Reminds of a time last year, when I looked down the church and saw her head peeking around the corner of a pew. We do get a nice class of congregation round here.”

I enjoy Freda's Blog because of the window she gives me on a world so different from mine, for a gentle strength she has that feels like it comes from a good lifetime of experience with people, and for the fine, funny edge she puts on her observations.


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